Thursday, August 5, 2010

Pirate Triathlon

Fairport Harbor, OH hosts an annual sprint triathlon and they call it the Pirate Triathlon. This year it was on July 25th. It is the deal of the century. If you preregister for the race it is only $20. Let me tell you it falls under the category of “The Best $20 I Have Spent.” I can hardly believe they do so much for so little.

The field is limited to around 350 people and for those who do not like to swim, they can kayak 3K. Many people choose that option. They provide a T-shirt, some good coupons from local sponsors, a clear and safe course, and good food at the end. It is very low key and fun that it is perfect for first timers and beginners. It is a 500m swim, 20K bike and 5K run.

Last year, it was only the second triathlon I had ever completed. My goal was to improve over last years time of 2 hrs and 9 min.. I figured it would not be too hard since I learned how swim better (last year was mostly breast and back strokes) and purchased a road bike instead of using my trusty mountain bike.

It was thunder storming pretty hard right after I arrived to the transition area that morning. Later I heard there were water spouts on Lake Erie visible on shore (for those not familiar – they are a water tornado). Yikes. I didn’t know that and am glad I didn’t. In this case…ignorance truly was bliss. The race was supposed to begin for the kayakers at 8am and my wave was at 8:20. They kept delaying it because of the storm. Finally, the lightening and thunder stopped, but it was still raining. For a while there the race director said they may postpone until the following week. Ultimately they modified the swim portion of the race to just go in one direction with the waves.

I’m not sure what time we actually started but it was around 8:45-ish. At some point while the 35+ women were waiting for the race to begin, it started to hail. It was a water start so the best thing to do was crouch as far down in the water as possible. The water was actually way warmer than the air so it was very comfortable.

Since we were swimming with the waves in the direction of the wind, it gave an amazing boost to everyone’s swim. Once I found the rhythm of the waves, I was able to breath without any issues. I only breathed to my right because if I would breathe to my left I’d catch a mouthful of Lake Erie water. I finished the swim in about 9 minutes but had to run all the way back to transition which took me about 2 min. My swim time was:

2010: 11:22 min
2009: 28:38 min

Holy tail wind! I must have had my wheaties or learned how to swim or something. Once I got back into transition, I changed into my bike gear. No real reason to dry off because it was still pouring down rain and all my gear was soaked.

The bike was pretty good. Last year I averaged about 12.9 mph. This year I averaged 17 mph and it was pouring down rain so I took it a bit easier. What a difference a road bike to a mountain bike makes. The course is relatively flat but with a few railroad track crossings and an ‘S’ turn twice since it is an out and back. Unfortunately, they do not back out the transition times so I’m not exactly sure what it was in T1 – about 4 minutes. My bike time was:

2010: 50:52 including transition 1
2009: 1:00:56 including transition 1

Transitioning into T2 was a bit difficult because the transition area is at the bottom of the largest hill of the course. You cannot fly down the hill because you have to stop and dismount immediately at the bottom. It was especially dangerous because of the rain. I made it OK and quickly changed into my soaking wet running shoes. Again, I’m not exactly sure of my transition time but it is about 2:30 min.

I really like the run on this course. All elevation gained and lost is on two hills. I went up the hill out of the transition area and was at the same elevation until about the half way mark where I went down another hill to finish the last half.

At that halfway mark I ran into the mother of my oldest son Sam’s friend. She was a volunteer and I don’t know her all that well and I was surprised to see her and she was surprised I was doing the race. We managed to have a 10 second conversation and actually planned a play date for the kids for later that week. See… as a mom – I’m always multi-tasking – even in a triathlon!

My run time was:

2010: 39:30 including transition 2
2009: 40:21 including transition 2

2010: 1:41:44
2009: 2:09:55

That is an overall improvement of 28:11 min. To say I was happy with my performance would be an understatement. I was ecstatic to see that my hard work over the winter was paying off.

After the race I packed up my stuff and went home to shower and change. I was off to Waldamere Park in Presque Isle, PA with my husband Lou and two boys Sam and Tom. Woo Hoo. The perfect icing to the perfect day. Of course it stopped raining immediately following the race – which was good for going to the park!


  1. Wow, major improvements!

    That is just huge! Look at how far you have come in just 1 years time!

    Great job and keep up the good work.

    I loved the multi-tasking part of the race, that was classic.

    Hopefully your year continues to show improvement for you. You are a triathlon pro at this point with all the experience from your races this year! That is incredible.

  2. That's super impressive! You are really kicking ass! :)

  3. Way to go Miss Fit!!! Huge improvement. One of things I don't like about my swimming is that I can only (comfortably) breathe on my right side. Need to work on that bilateral thing. And your bike time was AWESOME! 17mph?? You go girl.