happy running

The Rookie 2018 race report.

Last year I did the Rookie shortly after doing Ironman Texas. Having just done an Ironman, my body was a little beat up, but in great shape. This year was the exact opposite. This is basically the beginning of my Ironman training. I have a great run and swim base, but no speedwork for a really, really, REALLY long time, and no real work on the bike of any speed to speak of. So I really wasn't expecting much other than to remember where all of my triathlon stuff is.

To make matters worse, I ran a undertrained trail 30k last weekend, and it wasn't until Thursday that I could walk down stairs normally again.

But I love local events and I love the Rookie and I love hanging out with friends, so I headed out to Decker Lake looking forward to fun, not at all stressing about the race itself.

"Triathlon is stupid" was the theme for this race, but it was so much fun getting to hang out and laugh with so many friends. Congratulations to those who raced, and thank you to those who volunteered and cheered!
Swim 300 meters

It was wetsuit legal, but I wanted none of that nonsense. Not for 300m. Not when I'm heavier than I would prefer to be. Not with a wetsuit that I was already afraid last year was going to develop fingerholes.

When it was my wave's turn to line up, I ended up at the back of the wave, talking to Kendra. Heather came up and said we were too far back, but honestly it doesn't matter at all when it's a time trial start. There's going to be people in front of you no matter what. So I just waited my turn, and then they said go, I jogged into the water and dove in. And immediately jostled my goggles such that the right cup was a little out of place and letting a little water in. That's the eye I can see out of. Oops. I decided to just keep swimming and see if I could still see enough to get by, and I was fine the whole swim. I couldn't really see very well, but the buoys are big, and I didn't swim into any walls of people. Just did my swim, trying to stay as focused and strong as possible, since this was the one sport I actually felt okay about, speed-wise.

And it was over super quick, which is what's so wonderful about 300m swims.


I had left my Oofos on the path up to transition, but I learned last year that when I lube my feet up such that I can later run without socks, it means my Oofos are rather dangerous on my foot, especially while running. So as I ran by them, I tried to pick them up so I could carry them up, and didn't plan well, and almost fell over as the crowd watched me. Yaaaay.

Then I ran up the hill to transition, figuring I could put on my shoes if things were super-stickery, but it was fine.

Found my rack with no problem, ditched my goggles and swimcap, grabbed the Gu from my helmet and put it in my back pocket, put on my sunglasses, put on my helmet, grabbed my bike and ran out.

Bike 11.1 miles

I had actually practiced the shoeless mount the day before (having a coach again means I actually do stuff like practice transitions), but there were so many people at the mount line, and not really much room, and people weaving everywhere, so after one rather abortive attempt, I just swung my leg over and pushed off. And then as I rode out to the road and turned the corner, I couldn't get my left foot into my shoe. The velcro was messed up, and I couldn't sort it out. Eventually I did, and then fastened the straps, but gawd, you can really tell when you haven't been riding a bike or doing triathlons. Just a mess.

Drank some water, settled into my aerobars, and rode my bike.

I originally thought Karen's wave started 10 minutes after mine, and figured I'd hold her off for as long as I could. Then I found out she was only 4 minutes behind me, and I figured I'd still try. And she passed me about 3 miles into the bike. So much for THAT motivation.

Otherwise the bike was pretty uneventful. Nobody did anything particularly dumb, nothing particularly noteworthy happened. The hills were all still there, and terrible. I ate my Gu around mile 9. I did a similarly crappy job of my dismount as I had with my mount. This dismount is always awkward, because you go up a hill, so you can't get your feet out of your shoes then, but at the top of the hill you're practically at the dismount line, and there's a speedbump you go over, and everyone is watching you. So I cruised through the crowds at about 5mph, dealing with my shoes, and then hopped off at the dismount line.


I initially went down the wrong row, but realized it pretty quickly, and found my spot on my rack. Racked my bike, ditched my helmet, crammed my shoes on, grabbed my race belt, and ran out. I fumbled a little with my shoes, but otherwise this was a fairly solid T2.

Run 2 miles

Julie had passed me at the end of the bike, and we came out of transition at the same time. She took off running and passed me, and I settled in to see what my legs were willing to do.

The course was different this year, because of rain in the few days before the race. They said it was still 2 miles, and there was still water at mile 1, but I knew nothing else about the course. It still started on the powerline downhill, but evidently since nobody was coming up, it didn't turn around and come back up.

I passed Julie back a little while later, which she said was because I was a trail runner, and I told her I wasn't a trail runner who ever tried to run FAST on trails.

I never really felt GOOD on the run. It's a tough course. You can't see the divets in the grass, and you constantly feel like you're going to turn an ankle. Makes it hard to trust pushing yourself.

I passed some people, some people passed me. We looped around and went into the woods where we usually come out of the woods to the finish line. I ran by the aid station for the first time, not yet at mile 1, and grabbed a cup of water. Looped around some more, by the aid station again, and then there was a dumb hill.

It's not THE dumb hill, the one of the end of Danskin, but it basically led down to the base of that hill. It was a steep downhill, on grass, and then you had to U-turn and run back up the stupid steep uphill. On grass.

It looked tremendously unpleasant from the top, and it proved to, in fact, be tremendously unpleasant. I tried to use the downhill as much as I could, without turning an ankle in one of the many holes. I turned around. Then I started back up. That hill just sucked. Full sun. Grass. Steep. Lots of people were walking, but I was determined to run up with no walking. There was a girl ahead of me that was super solid and I'd been following for a while, and I just tried to hang with her. (She was in my age group, but I was fairly sure that I was nowhere near podium contention, so I wasn't trying to beat her. Just use her energy.)

We went by the aid station one more time, and I really did want water, but I didn't want to deal with.. anything, I just wanted to be done, so I ran by without taking water. We exited the woods as we normally would, and the rest was the old finish line stretch. Well, the last year version, where it's all grass and you don't get on the road. Grr.

I came up behind Sharon, and I told her I'd been using her as my rabbit for a while now, and she should come with me now to the finish line. She stayed with me for a few seconds, then said she could only do what she could, and fell back. I tried to push myself as much as I could, but I felt very rough and awkward.

That last stretch took a thousand years, but I managed to get to the damn finish line, and was done. How in the world can a sub-sprint be so hard?


I really had no idea at all what to expect from my times. I hadn't looked at my watch, and while I was secretly hoping to be somewhat close to an hour, that was really an unrealistic expectation. I ended up ~1:30 slower than last year, which is probably about right.

Swim: 5:42 (1:54HM)
T1: 2:41
Bike: 39:02 (17.2MPH)
T2: 1:27
Run: 17:14 (8:37/M)

Not super impressed with my swim pace, but who knows how far the swim actually was. Plus I didn't wear a wetsuit. Transitions were fine. Nothing to write home about. I'm actually pleased with my bike pace! I've done very little riding, all on the trainer, and definitely no speedwork. I didn't deserve that 17.2mph, but I'll take it. Hopefully that means good things for my cycling when I actually.. cycle? As for the run, that's a significantly slower pace than I have run the Rookie run in the past, but for my current fitness, it's not too shabby. Of course, I also think the run was short, so it WASN'T that fast, but regardless, I felt good about my effort, and I think I have a good base to build on.

I was right about my performance not being podium-worthy, I was 9th in my age group, 6 seconds from 8th because I couldn't pass that girl in front of me.

And right after I crossed the finish line, I found Karen, and we met up with Todd and Cecilia, and we all cheered for Belle as she finished the bike, and then the run, of her first ever triathlon, at age 73. She would have won her age group no matter what, but she turned out to be the only person 70-74 who came out to do their first triathlon that day. Inspirational, and proud to call her my friend.

"Triathlon is stupid" was the theme for this race, but it was so much fun getting to hang out and laugh with so many friends. Congratulations to those who raced, and thank you to those who volunteered and cheered!

And now Ironman training has officially begun!