2014 Young Life Triathlon

First time tri at Olympic Distance Tri

Young Life Race Report

Detroit Lakes, MN, August 16, 2014
(by Noelle Kuitunen-Johnson)

I was very excited to do this race because it was the race I was aiming for last season, when I was sidelined with a broken foot.
I have been working so hard at triathlons hoping they will give me rock hard abs, but not the rock hard abs I was looking for on Saturday, but I’ll get into that momentarily.

Saturday morning was beautiful! I had a nice drive over to Detroit Lakes, listening to MPR and eating my pre-race muffin and sipped some coffee. Excited to take my new tri bike for its inaugural run. Also there was a story about the first Ironman race and how it got started, so I took that as a good sign!
I arrived to transition with plenty of time to set up and get ‘settled’ before the swim. The men took off 3 minutes before the ladies and I was shocked to see many of them walking out to the middle of the lake! Since the lake was really mushy and weedy I swam! I felt great during the swim portion. I worked at staying relaxed and riding the water. I felt great getting out of the water and into transition.

My first transition went quite well, expect I have to wear my prescription googles in, so I can see where I am going, and of course they fogged up and I ran right past my bike. I found my bike and had a nice transition and was able to mount the bike and get going quickly. (This year I learned how to mount the bike with the shoes already attached)
The bike course was fun and fast I had a great first lap! I was cruising I felt relaxed and had a nice cadence (when I looked down I was doing about 19 mph). Typically in my training (I had been doing three hour bricks) I have been taking a nutrigrain bar, sometimes two with no ill side-affects. My stomach has tolerated them well so about 6 miles into the bike I ate my nutrigrain bar. Coming in for the second lap the last mile is terribly bumpy, so much so I had to ride the cow horns because my teeth literally rattled! However, I didn’t notice that going over the first few bumps in my aero bars, with the weight of my body and the bumping had turned my left aerobar to the left. So going into the second lap I was crooked. About one mile into the second lap I started to get terrible stomach cramps. At this point Jeff Cadwell passed and I kept him in sight for about a mile and then I just had to drop off the pace. My abdomen was killing me. I would come up and arch my back to see if that could help, I changed my breathing. I took a gel around mile 20, but really didn’t want to but knew I needed the fuel for the upcoming run. I also knew I had the really bumpy last mile coming up on the bike and was dreading it. I had Nuun in my aerobottle and thought it was enough electrolyte (it had been in training) and I finished most of the bottle on the bike, plus took in a bit of water as well hoping it would help my guts. Also by the end my aerobar was so far over, I am surprised I have skin left on my elbow from it constantly sliding on the pad…..
I dismounted the bike easily (had my shoes undone and mashed up to the dismount something else new for me this season) however I limped into transition. Considering how I felt, it still was a decent transition time, I put on my hat, calfsleeves and shoes. And took off, rather, hobbled off for the 10K.
Since I was injured last year my running has not been as good as I had hoped for this season, but on a good day I was shooting for about an hour 10K, however, the ‘rock hard abs’ were not allowing this! I had to take frequent walk breaks. Quite honestly I wanted to puke to see if that would help release the muscles, but I couldn’t. I also though to myself, “Why the hell am I wearing calf-sleeves, I need a gut sleeve!” I took heed and water at the first station and that almost made it worse! I just kept waking and running. I seriously think my walking was faster than when I tried to run.
I finished. I had set a goal in mind of 3:15 for my first, however I was at 3:23. I crossed the line and laid down on the grass, in the fetal position, this did not help. Dave Lewis, Rich and the kiddos were there for my finish. I sipped a bit more water, of course I was so close to the end they’d run out of Gatorade (grr). I had packed a salt tab and so when I was able to get upright, I went to transition and took that. About 20 minutes later my guts finally released, I don’t know if it was the salt tab, or being done racing, or a combo of the both.
If you’d have asked me while I was lying in the fetal position on the ground writhing around if I wanted to do another Olympic, I probably would have said no. However, by the time I’d driven home from DL I already had my game plan in place for next year. So as Arnold said, “I’ll be back!”

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