Tuesday, 1 May 2012

St. Anthony's Triathlon 2012 Race Recap


This past weekend, I went to St. Petersburg, Florida with my team and had an amazing race weekend. St. Pete's is a cute town just outside of Tampa, and although doesn't really have any beaches to speak of, is just a 30-45 minute drive to Clearwater, which has beaches that lives up to its name.

Fitness Expo

The Fitness Expo for the event took place in Vinoy Park, just a short walk away from the transition area. A nice touch that I haven't experienced before was that the whole expo was outdoors, including registration and packet pick up. The staff and volunteers for the race were quick and helpful, and packet pick-up was all-together pretty painless. The one issue I had was that being a member of Team in Training, I was expecting to be racing with the rest of the charity waves, which went last, but was originally scheduled in my age group. Nonetheless, the staff quickly switched me, gave me a different colored swim-cap, and I was on my way.

There were also many triathlon related  retail booths set up throughout the expo. These little stores were selling everything from race chip-holders to full bikes, and everything in between. Prices were generally what one could expect anywhere else, but the sheer volume and range of products made the expo a great one-stop-shop for everything a triathlete might need. I myself picked up this beautiful Zoot Tri Bag.  Also, because we weren't allowed to bring any CO2 cartridges on the flight over, most of us grabbed a couple cartridges, which mostly went unused and were later thrown out.

Body Marking & Transition

Body marking was efficient and early as it usually is. My team got marked up at about 5:30AM, and had everything set up and out before the required 6:30 transition closing. Space was a little tight, but everything fit, and because the area was fenced off, we were allowed to move our bags and non-necessary gear to lean against the fence, out of the way of any athletes during the race.


The Pros  had the first wave, with elite, age groups, and finally novice/charity waves starting every few minutes after. The course itself had apparently changed from previous years, and basically followed 3 sides of a rectangle. The water was a few degrees under the wetsuit legal limit, and between my full body wetsuit and the seriously salted ocean water, I floated pretty well. Honestly I don't think I could have drowned if I wanted to. I'm going to chalk it up to my inexperience with open-water swimming, but I swear the marker buoys were moving. Every time I looked up to sight, I ended up facing the wrong direction. By the end of the swim, I must have swam at least 2000 meters instead of the usual 1500. I finished the swim in just over 40 minutes. I had been hoping to finish about 10 minutes faster than that, so now I know Ill need to practice sighting a bit more before my next race.


The bike course for the race wound through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. Probably in order to  minimize the total area of the course, the bike route had several out-and-backs. Police presence was heavy. and they did a great job of keeping local traffic off the bike course. The course was very flat, but technical with many turns. Also, because my wave started at nearly 9AM, it was beginning to get pretty warm by the end of my ride. Unfortunately, I had some pretty severe abdominal cramping throughout my bike ride, which slowed me down a little bit, and so I finished with a segment time of 1:32.


The run course was another out-and-back through some nice residential neighborhoods. Though the route was mostly flat, the 90 degree Florida heat made the run very difficult, especially with fairly limited shade cover. The aid stations that were set up every mile or so were a godsend, with water and Gatorade. Many local residents were also out on their lawns or sidewalks with water hoses, party beads, and even some cups of ice-water. Having trained almost exclusively in the cold Canadian winter, I found the heat very hard, and was reduced to walking a few times. Still though, I finished the run at just over an hour. Not exactly a PR, but with that heat and after 2 hours of exercise, I'll take it.

So that's it, my first Olympic distance triathlon. I finished with a total time of 3:17:28 (I spent just over 2 minutes in both transitions). I had been hoping to go under 3 hours, but I'm going to keep that as my seasonal goal, and with many races ahead for this summer, I am determined to hit that mark.

Thanks for reading this rather long post, I hope you have enjoyed it and are getting ready for the race season. 

Happy racing, and keep Tri-ing!


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