My husband and I got back into town late Monday afternoon, so I'm just getting around to getting my race report written for the 2011 St. Anthony's triathlon. St. A's was an Olympic distance race which took place in St. Petersburg, Florida on Sunday, May 1. We did the race with the Palm Beach Florida chapter of Team in Training (TNT). TNT is the largest fund raising program for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Participants in the Team in Training program, from chapters located throughout the country, helped raise 1.5 million dollars this year while training for the 2011 St. Anthony's triathlon - GO TEAM!
Above: Bike Diva at the St. Anthony's Hospital booth at the triathlon expo. Yes, St. A's is THE St. A's of the St. Anthony's Triathlon. Got my blood pressure and pulse checked out while I was visiting their booth, along with a travel size packet of band aids, a pen, sunscreen and some mints.
My husband and I decided to go over to St. Petersburg a day early and called our hotel to see if we could extend our stay from Thursday evening to Monday morning. They had a room available for Thursday night, so we left our house around 2:30 Thursday afternoon. St. Petersburg is located on the west coast of Florida, just south of Tampa, and is about a 4 hour drive from our home on the east coast of Florida in Delray Beach.
Nice Hotel Stay
We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard hotel which is a short 1/2 mile from St. Petersburg Pier and the St. Anthony's triathlon expo. We walked to and from our hotel some days and took the free hotel shuttle at other times. There are also two downtown St. Petersburg trolleys which pick you up and drop you off at a variety of locations for only 25 cents per ride, what a bargain. The Courtyard had a buffet breakfast available, which we enjoyed on two days, and after our Saturday morning swim practice, we enjoyed brunch at one of the downtown restaurants as we were walking from Spa Beach back to our hotel.
Above: Spa Beach looking out at St. Petersburg Pier. This was the location of the original swim start of St. Anthony's triathlon. Swim start moved north on race day morning due to choppy wave conditions.
Swim Bike Diva Swim
We are both fairly new to the sport of triathlon. Since the beginning of the year, my husband has competed in 3 sprint distance triathlons and I've competed in 5 sprint distance triathlons. St. Anthony's was our first Olympic distance triathlon. Since the swim was scheduled to be almost 1 mile long and takes place in the ocean, we decided we wanted to get in a few practice swims at the St. Anthony's swim start prior to actually doing the race.
We got in a practice swim on Friday afternoon, Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon. The two afternoon swims were nice and calm. The Saturday morning swim was cut short, it was really windy out causing very choppy swim conditions. Unfortunately it was really windy and choppy on race day morning causing the swim course to be altered. But the 3 practice swims really improved my open water swim confidence, so I'm glad we kept making ourselves go into the water.
St. Anthony's has a really great expo which is set up at the race site each year. A variety of vendors selling all kinds of triathlon merchandise had booths setup at the expo. I had my picture taken with pro triathletes Andy Potts and Michellie Jones. They are sponsored by ISM saddles and were hanging out at the ISM booth on Saturday morning. Pretty cool, I'm 5' 5" but felt like a midget standing next to the pros. They also look like they don't eat bacon or cookies. :)
Olympic Distance Triathlon
An Olympic distance triathlon consists of the following distances:
- 1.5 kilometer swim =.93 miles = 1640 yards
- 40 kilometer bike = 24.8 miles
- 10 kilometer run = 6.2 miles
The water conditions at St. Anthony's have been dicey for the past two years. In 2009 the swim portion of the race was cancelled for everyone except the professionals. So all the age groupers ended up doing sort of a bike-run duathlon that year. In 2010 the swim started out being the full distance but as the water conditions started getting worse, the swim was cut in half for the last few swim waves. This year was no different, very strong winds in the early morning caused Tampa Bay to resemble a washing machine.
Have a Safe Swim
With almost 3,600 people signed up to race, race officials wanted to make sure everyone stayed safe while in the water. But instead of having to cancel the swim, the swim start location, direction of swim and swim distance was changed. Instead of starting at Spa Beach, we started at the beach just north of the transition area at the North Shore Aquatic Complex by Vinoy Park. And instead of swimming east-north-east, we swam east-south-east. And the swim was shortened from 1640 yards to 1000 yards. So although we didn't get to do a true Olympic distance swim, 1000 yards was still twice as far as my husband and I have ever swam in a race. So we were pretty happy that we survived the swim, especially since it was a bit choppy and the surf temperature was so warm that we weren't allowed to wear wetsuits.
Above: Bike Diva dropping off her bike in transition on Saturday afternoon. We had assigned bike racks, so it didn't mater when you showed up to do bike drop. My husband lucked out and got the end cap on his transition rack.
Bike Diva's Race Results
I've only been swimming since January 3, and I am trying REALLY hard to get over my water phobia. So even though I had a pretty slow swim, I was real happy I was actually able to do such a long swim in competition. Two of the waves that started after my swim wave caught up to me. I get a bit panicked when swimmers pass me from behind, but I found that if I switched to breast stroke, my strong leg kick kept them from getting too close and feeling like I was being drowned.
Above: Bike Diva at the Profile Design booth. Profile Design is one of my sponsors. Unfortunately, due to extremely high surf temperatures the 2011 St. Anthony's triathlon was not wetsuit legal so I was not able to use my Profile Design sleeveless Wahoo wetsuit during the swim. But I did have my Profile Design aero water bottle and bento box on my bike during the race.
T1 included a 1/3 mile run from the swim exit back to the transition area. The Bike portion of the race took place in downtown St. Petersburg. The streets were not closed during the race which always makes for interesting conditions. City streets were nice and smooth in some places and under construction in others. It was really windy during the bike leg, but because there were so many turns on the course, we kept changing direction so the wind only affected us in a couple of sections. The bike leg started and ended on cobblestones, a bit lumpy and bumpy, so I slowed down while riding over that section. After the race I heard about a couple of triathletes having a really bad wipe out while riding too fast over the cobblestones, can you say road rash?
My run was horrid. My swim wave didn't start until around 8:15 so by the time I started the run, it was pretty bloody hot out. Racing in south Florida, UGH! Thankfully there were a TON of spectators out along the course. There were quite a few home owners that set up their garden hose at the end of their driveway. I ran by everyone of the hoses and shouted out "hit me baby!" and got a much needed blast of cool water. I also drank way more water and electrolyte solution than I normally do. That caused my stomach to start feeling BLECH, another thing which caused me to slow down. I was hoping to run the 10k at 10:00 pace, but I was just dang worn out by the time I started the run and ended up doing the zombie death march.
So, I wasn't dead last in my age group, but pretty close. I had an okay bike time and I always have pretty good transition times. So now if I can just work on panicking less in the water, my swim time should start to improve. I've been running for about 3 years now, not sure what to do to improve my run times. Move to Alaska where it's a bit cooler!?!
There were 137 girls registered in my age group, but only 100 finished the race. Same thing with my husband, there were 123 men registered in his age group but only 94 finished. So in my fantasy world I really finished 87 out of 137. Don't know what happened to the other 37 girls? Did they have a hissy fit when they saw the swim was not wetsuit legal and decide not to show up? Did they freak out when they saw the rad swim conditions and decided not to start? Did they get too many penalties during the race and DQ the race? So I'm patting myself on the back, I actually showed up and completed the race - YEAH ME!!!!
- Swim = 30:42
- T1 = 6:01
- Bike = 1:21:58 = 18.2 MPH
- T2 = 2:57
- Run = 1:14:58 = 12:05 pace
- Total time = 3:16:36
- Division place = 87 out of 100 women 45-49
- Gender place = 752 out of 987 women
My Next Team in Training Event
I just registered for Nation's Triathlon with the Palm Beach Florida chapter of Team in Training. Nation's is an Olympic distance triathlon which takes place on September 11, yes 9/11, in Washington DC. I was already planning on doing Nation's before we did St. Anthony's, but now that the swim at St. A's was shortened, I really want to complete an Olympic distance event with the full 1.5 kilometer swim. My husband is coaching the TNT team that will be doing the 109 mile El Tour de Tucson century bike ride in November so he won't be able to train with the triathlon team. But he wants to participate in Nation's so he will be paying his own way and doing Nation's with me, but won't be an official member of the TNT team.
- Website: www.satriathlon.com
- Facebook page: www.facebook.com/pages/St-Anthonys-Triathlon
- Official 2011 results: www.onlineraceresults.com
- Official 2011 photos: www.finisherpix.com
- Salvador Dali museum: www.thedali.org
- St. Petersburg Pier: stpetepier.com
Additional Triathlon Related Posts
Here are a few other of my triathlon posts that you can read on the Bike Diva blog:
- Spring Training Triathlon
- Club Med Triathlon #2
- Photos of Club Med Triathlon #1
- Club Med Triathlon #1
- 2011 Egg Hunt Triathlon
- Swim a Triathlon with a Snorkel
- Triathlon Race Day Essentials
- Why Switch From Duathlons to Triathlons
- Bike Diva's Ironman Triathlon Plan
- Bike Diva's First Swim
- Bike Diva's Second Swim Practice
- Bike Diva's Triathlon Training Observations
- Bike Diva Tries Wetsuit
- Bike Diva to Race Ironman Lake Placid
Lynn Smythe AKA the Bike Diva