Report from Madeira Beach Triathlon

We went up the day before to save some travel time Sunday morning, and to get packets early. It was a good move as we saw parking being a BIG issue, and because we were half a mile from the starting line we just walked up the morning of the race. We also got in a practice swim at 4 PM Saturday. Waves were rough and the current pushing you to shore were pretty strong, BUT the water was warm and getting my face in and doing 10-20 strong strokes seemed to work. Here is a video after the swim. I know it doesn’t look too bad on the video, but it was worse in the water than it appears.

I woke up at 1 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep so laid there until the alarms went off at 4. I did NOT want to get out of bed, but training partners made me get up, and I am glad they did. My gut was doing flip flops, nervous about the swim as usual, but I got up, threw on my Tri Suit, grabbed my transition back pack and bike, and headed toward the starting line.

We did not get timing chips the day before with the race packets, so had to fight through everyone to find the right one before getting marked. Not very smart on their part. Headed over to get marked (both arms, front of both thighs, and age on the calf with the Big C after it, which in Triathlon Speak means Fat Bastard), the set up bike and gear. Went over to check on Jennifer, and then to the beach to see the course and test the water.

The first thing we noticed was that the buoys were not far out. Outstanding. The water was also warm, probably about 81, another plus, and was FLAT FLAT FLAT. I started thinking, Hell, I can do this! And it got better when I saw that the buoy was at a place that you could get your feet down with two strokes toward the shore. Not that I was going to do that, but that does wonders for the mental aspect for me.

The swim was fast and I improved my last time by 12:10, so I was very happy. Got into a rhythm of 20 strong strokes, then alligatoring to site, then 20 strokes …. was making a good 100 meters for each “sprint”. I actually was passing people in my group, which was a first for me. Can still do better, but felt very good with the results this time, and it showed I can get my face in and power through the swim. Should help for later races. (22:03 / 12:10 improvement)

T1 was MUCH improved, mostly due to not having to deal with wetsuit. Had one issue with putting jersey on over tri suit but ditched it. Probably could save another minute there. Legs felt good when I got on bike. (6:32 / 8:00 improvement)

The bike leg hits you with a bridge right away, but because it was at the start of the leg it wasn’t too bad, until I realized I had to go over the thing near the end, but I would deal with that later. A lot of climbing during the course pushed my time down, but easily made up on the down slopes. I was pulling 14 going up but was getting to 22 going down (actually hit 28 at the end and freaked me out! LOL). Drank enough during it so learned my lesson from last time. The bridge at the end burned my thighs out, which I felt immediately when I dismounted  Still improved overall pace by 1.3 mph from last race. (59:04 / Pace improved from 13.9 to 15.2)

T2 was smooth, but it should be because you’re only grabbing shoes and hat and race belt. The one issue I had was that someone put their bike on the rake over my area and there was no room for my bike, so I REMOVED his. An official was right there and his comment to me was “I would have done the same thing” so a mild irritant. It was a nice Cannondale Tri Bike, so he obviously felt because he was faster he had “dibs”. He thought wrong. (4:46)

The run …. sucked. My legs were gone and didn’t recover until halfway point. I walked most of the first 1.5 miles, then when we turned and went to the beach for return half I started running at normal pace. Overall still improved my pace from last one, which is scary, but need to work on that bike to run transition. I must be doing something wrong. Also had water sloshing in my belly which is not a great feeling, so I must have drank too fast. Jennifer ran back the last 1/2 mile and finished with me, which was GREAT. Running on the beach is not the best for pace, but I went near the water so the sand was packed and it went OK. (50:27 / Improved pace by 1:11)

Overall time was 2:22:50. Placed 655 out of 709 males, but still last in my Clydesdale Group. Still much room for improvement but it is heading in the right direction. LOVED the venue and it will be on my list next year. To end, here are a few pictures:

After the practice swim Saturday
The hotel where we stayed the night before. Right on the water. Nice.
Saturday’s View
Saturday’s Sunset

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