Saturday, July 23, 2011

Siesta Beach Triathlon Recap

by Meghann on July 23, 2011

‘Twas a beautiful morning for a triathlon.


Not a cloud in the sky and picture perfect views.

Of course, that picture perfect blue sky would come back and bite me in the butt later on, but it was really pretty to look at. 🙂


The Siesta Beach Triathlon was… an experience. I learn a lot – a heck of a lot – but the beauty of all races is that the majority of them are learning experiences. If they were all the same then that wouldn’t be any fun, now would it? 😉

My alarm had me up at 3:30 am this morning. I had an hour and a half drive to Siesta Key and needed to be there to pick up my registration packet before 6:30am. That’s an EARLY morning.

I gathered my gear, had a bagel with Chocolate Toffee Butter Peanut Butter and strawberries, and headed out the door.


5 minutes later I realized I forgot my wallet at home. Doh! Don’t worry, I went back and got it. 🙂

Once again Derek wins the award for boyfriend of the year for accommodating me on such an early morning.


Love this guy. 🙂

His stipulations were simple.

  1. I would drive so he could sleep.
  2. I wouldn’t blast my music so he could sleep
  3. We would find a Starbucks before the Tri so he could load up on caffeine

Done! Done! And Done!

Once we arrived on site, everything ran seamlessly. There was plenty or parking, I was able to pick up my registration packet without a fuss, and I immediately found Courtney!


Seeing my training buddy really calmed my nerves. All of a sudden the race didn’t seem so scary.



All set up!


The Swim


I’ve completed two sprint triathlons and one olympic , but all three had lake swims – this morning was my first open water beach swim. Ever.


I probably should have done a warm up, but I was too nervous to get in the water. I just wanted to start.


The ‘blue caps’ were the third group called. We were given a rundown of the course, then slowly inched our way to the water.



Ready or not – here we go!


I gave it my all and just jumped right in.

The majority of the blue caps split from me early on. I’m a slow – but consistent – swimmer, so I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting was how much the salt water would burn my throat. I was taking in more salt water than I wanted to with each breath and it immediately began to irritate my throat. I tried to push the burning feeling out of my head, by concentrating on my stroke. I’m proud to say that I never stopped or waited in the water – my goal was to keep moving and I succeeded.

The swim was an out and back along the beach. I didn’t realize we were going with the current on the way out, until I had to fight it on the way back. It took everything in me to go straight and not get caught in the waves or be pulled in the other direction. At some points I wasn’t sure if I was even moving or just staying in one place! The water was really shallow – and warm! – I could have stood at any point during the swim – a fact I found really comforting.

I took the swim one buoy at a time and eventually I saw the final one. I made my last left and headed straight to the beach.


Swim Time: 35:51 (1.5 K)


Transition 1

The run to transition 1 was all in sand and felt like uphill. I was happy to see my bike wasn’t the only one still there and quickly saw other blue caps file in behind me.

I wiped my feet off, slipped my socks on, shoes, helmet, glasses, and gloves and took off. At the last minute I decided to shove the packet of Skarkies into my sports bra.

T1 Time: 4:13

The Bike


During the swim I mentally set a goal of maintaining 15 mph on the bike. That’s my goal for Augusta and I wanted that to my goal here. However, I felt great when I got on and was easily maintaining in the 16.5 – 17.5 MPH range. Instead of fighting it, I decided to go with it.

That was an awesome speed for me – and one I am pretty darn proud of! – but it was hard to watch cyclists after cyclists pass me going much, much faster than that. There’s nothing more humbling then seeing someone on a mountain bike zoom on by. I had to keep reminding myself that this was MY race and I all I could do was the best speed for ME.


I had a lot of time to think on the bike.


  • I need to raise my seat – it’s way too low. I wonder if I’m brave enough to attempt this raise on my own?
  • The one piece swimsuit was a bad idea – HELLO chafing! Ouch.
  • Trying to eat Sharkies on the bike was… interesting.
  • I want aerobars. bad.
  • I really, really need to work on speed with drills or something. I wasn’t the last one in my age group to finish the swim, but I was the last on the bike.


I almost missed Derek at the loop point, but he found me! Check out the video he caught of my on his iphone HERE.

The second lap was very lonely. All of the sprinters were done and I was lucky if I saw a cyclist at all on the road. The road wasn’t marked very well, so there was a lot of crossing my fingers that I was going the right way!

The bike portion took place entirely on an open road. There were cars zooming by the entire time and I even saw someone get hit on their bike from a car trying to turn into a parking lot right in front of them – it was very scary! There were cops directing traffic at all the stoplights, but the guy didn’t see me on the second lap and started letting cars cross as I came to the light. I had to practically come to a stop and scream for his attention so I could go.


Eventually I found my way back to the beginning and was more than ready to hop off my bike and start the run.

Bike Time: 1:31:13 (26 miles)

Transition 2


When I came in for transition 2, a majority of the sprint triathletes were packing up their gear and heading home. It was really hard knowing I still had a 6 mile run and they were all done. I threw my bike over the bar, threw off my helmet, switched shoes, and headed out.


T2 Time: 1:18

The Run


The run? Oh god, what can I say about the run? It was hell.

I’m not in my best running shape, so I knew it was going to bad. Throw in sand, direct sun, humidity, and heat and you have the recipe for a disaster. I started out strong, but it quickly crumbled from there.


The sand wasn’t so bad. It was hard, compact, and completely runnable. I saw a few people running barefoot and almost wish I had left my shoes at the transition area as well. The course was another double loop. Down the beach for a mile and a half, turn around, and do it all over again.

I knew I was in trouble a half a mile out when the heat got the best of me. I felt drained and exhausted and needed to walk. I took a few sharkies and decided to try a run/walk method just to survive. I started running 5 minutes and walking a minute, but eventually ended up running 2 minutes and walking 30 seconds. It’s the most I’ve ever walked in a race, but I didn’t care – I wanted to be able to finish, not die in the process.


I saw Derek at the turn around and told him I was dying. He joked back with ‘so, you ready for that half ironman now?’ Ha! Only if it’s a freshwater swim with a shaded bike and run that doesn’t involve sand. 🙂


I was taking three waters at the stations. Well, one heed drink and one water to drink and one to pour over my head. Cold water never felt so good.


Once I got the 2 minutes running/ 30 seconds walking pattern down, the second lap was much smoother. I was still dying, but I felt more confident that I could finish. I should also note that we were running by families who were settling into the beach for the day. I was very jealous of their relaxing/ sunning day. I was very tempted to take a dip in the water at various points during my run. 😉

Run time: 1:03:57 (6.2 miles)

The Finish


The finish! The finish! The finish! Something I never thought I would see. 🙂


Finish Time: 3:16:31

Done! And so proud.


I was all smiles, but I really felt like this.


And did this.


Sooo.. Cold. Loved it! 🙂

I immediately found Teresa (who did the sprint!) and Courtney (who rocked the olympic with me!). Awesome job ladies!


And Derek!


My faithful photographer, who wouldn’t let me give him a hug in thanks.



Final Thoughts

I know I complained about parts of the swim, bike, and run, but, honestly, I loved this race. It was challenging and fun. I’ve only done Buttar triathlons before in Orlando (which are cheap and always in Moss Park), so this race was a great change. Now I can say I’ve done a beach triathlon and truly call myself a triathlete.

I learned a lot today, mainly that I really need to pick up my training. This race was tough, but Augusta is going to be twice the distance and even tougher. Holy cow, what did I get myself into?!?!

Feed me

After the race Derek and I headed down the street to The Broken Egg – a cute local place that was perfect for a post-race feast!


My hunger really began to sink in once we sat down. I ordered the biggest thing I could find on the menu.


The Sampler: One Egg (scrambled), One Pancake (whole wheat w/ apple), Ham, and Fruit Cup.

Come to Mama!!!


The pancake was larger than my head! I ate 3/4 of it and gave the rest to Derek. It was amazingly delicious and exactly what I was craving. 🙂

When we made it home ( 4 hours later – don’t ask) I made a batch of smoothies for the house.


  • Frozen Peaches
  • Vanilla Soy Milk
  • Spinach
  • Ice
  • Vanilla GoTein Powder
  • Kashi Go Lean Crisp



Nap time!

Have a great Saturday everyone!

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