Friday, October 11, 2013

Camp Courageous Triathlon - the BEST triathlon

Okay, I realize this triathlon was now like forever ago two months ago.  I still want to highlight it because I think this race really deserves the publicity.  This was my third year participating in this race and I keep coming back because it is one of the most organized and well done triathlons ever. Seriously.  Plus it is a very affordable race.

This year before the race they announced that 100% of our entry fees were going directly to Camp Courageous.  So thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors that help out for this race! Camp Courageous is "a year-round respite care and recreational facility for individuals of all ages with disabilities" and serves nearly 6,000 individuals with disabilities.

August 5, 2013, 9 am
500 yd swim, 15.5 mile bike, 5k run
Jones County Central Park

Since I was still training for Pigman and finishing up the last big week of training before taper, there was no taper for this race.  Racing with no taper seemed to be the theme for this year's races.  That didn't lead to a lot of great races, but it helped me to go hard on tired legs and that's useful for half-Iron races. I did a tough and hilly 50 miler bike ride the day before this race and felt flat on the way home.

Race eve was in typical Alyssa fashion and included drinking a few beers.

Then staying out late and going to bed late.  But since this race didn't start till 9 am, it was like sleeping in!

Like I mentioned before, this is my third year participating in this year, yet oddly, over those three years the course has never been the same. The first year (second annual for the race) the bike course went from Central Park to Camp Courageous which meant two transition areas.  My second year, the swim was planned to be at the new man-made lake at Camp Courageous, but due to an extremely dry year, well, there was no lake.  Instead the race had a pool swim.  This year, due to construction issues at the lake, the race venue was moved back to Central Park.  I really liked this course, so I hope it stays the same for next year.

This race offered packet pick-up the morning of the race so I opted to save myself the trip and do that.  My friend, Angie, and her mom were volunteering at packet pick-up so I got a chance to chat with Angie.  Thank you for volunteering!!

Arriving early, gave me time to leisurely set up my transition area, chat with other people, and be Matt's photography subject. 

Race photographer and sherpa for hire! I may be a bit biased but I think he's great. 

The water was surprisingly cool this year and just barely made the cutoff for wetsuit legal. I skipped wearing mine because it was a short swim and the water was still comfortable for me.  Though it did take a bit for me to convince myself to submerge myself. 

It's cold and I don't wanna

This race was a time trial start and so it was self seeded.  I positioned myself near-ish to the front. That was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I usually underestimate myself and start too far to the back.

I was 43rd overall in the swim so I think I put myself in the right spot. 

The swim went by quickly and soon I was headed out of the water. 

The bike starts with a easy but long climb out of the park and is an out and back.  The rolling hills keep it interesting but no hill is too challenging.  Every corner on the course was swept and many of the cracks and potholes were marked with paint.  Roads on the course were not closed for this event, but it is a fairly rural area so this wasn't a big problem.  I saw maybe a handful of vehicles on the course.  Volunteers were stationed at every side road to stop drivers and warn them about the race.

Matt gave me a pep talk before the race and told me I needed to "attack!" and pass 20 people on the bike! ha! I passed more like 5 people. I still figure that's good because only 42 people were ahead of me after the swim. Like I said, it's a small race!

The run course was well, let's just say interesting. It was partly on a cross-country cross and off-road for the majority.  It weaved around the border of the park and included running through sections of trees and then a large section of an open field. The terrain was hilly.  Not long hills, but a lot of steep up and downs. And boy was it hard.  I power walked many of the steepest because that was just as fast as running!

Where's the darn finish line?
Swim: 8:23, 1:41/100 yds
T1: 1:07
Bike: 51:30, 18.1 mph
T2: 0:40
Run: 27:28, 8:51 min/mile

Once I crossed the finish line, I was handed an insulated pre-filled water bottle.  At first, I thought the run was only a 4k (about 2.5 miles) and I couldn't figure out why my time was so slow for me.  Turns out, it was actually a 5k.  Maybe I should review the course before the race.

I rested in the shade a bit with my mom and Matt before hitting up the food table.  The spread included oranges, watermelon, bananas, cookies, chips, and plenty of drinks. I don't really need a ton of food after a sprint but fruit always tastes so amazing after workouts in the heat. I went back for seconds and thirds on the watermelon.

At this race, door prizes are given away and I won a $15 gift certificate for a Road ID.  This is the second time I've won one at this race and I ended up giving the gift certificate to Matt.  He rides his bike by himself a lot as well so it gives me some peace of mind that he will be wearing a Road ID too.

I like to joke that they will be able to use the road ID to identify my body, BUT it is a very good idea to have one. In the case of a head injury or unconsciousness (could be for a variety of reasons-dehydration, low blood sugar, crash, etc.), it provides and easy way to find the name and emergency contacts.  Okay, that's it for my public service announcement.

The awards ceremony was great. They presented awards to an athlete that was battling cancer and a para-triathlete!

I managed to snag 2nd place in my age group for the second time!

This race has some of the best volunteers around.  And it seems like there was one volunteer for each of the 209 participants! I think there was a volunteer every 20 feet on the run course! I can't say enough about the awesome volunteers.  Thank you so much!

Cost: $60
Pros: good post race spread, great volunteers, insulated water bottle, and fitted tech shirts
Cons: the closest thing that comes to a con is the challenging run course
Would I do it again?  YES! 

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