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USAT Nationals Race Report: Beer, pretzels, triathlon

September 12, 2013 by Carly Johann in Triathlon with 0 responses

Just realized I hadn’t written down any of my take-homes from Nationals, which was almost two weeks ago. At least now I’ll probably remember only the good things and totally forget the bad.

I was a pretty late entry into Nationals, when I realized I couldn’t pass up the excuse to go to Milwaukee. As an avid beer drinker, this is one of those must-visit cities. It was everything I’d hoped it would be, and I was ready to move on day 1. Hopefully Artie the man-friend will figure out a pilot to write about the city so we can move there while it shoots.

My hotel was walking distance from the race site, so that made logistics very simple. I went into the race with a goal of hitting the top 3. I’d never had a good race at previous Nationals, so I was hoping for a solid weekend, as part of my build into 70.3 Worlds in September.


MKE and the awesome art museum

Race day came quickly, but the morning passed by slowly. Transition closed down at 7:30 or so, but my wave didn’t go off until 9:50. I was at the race site 2.5 hours before I could even get in the water. Luckily I had two bottles of new formula Pur Pak and two (no longer) top secret new flavors (it’s Coconut Cashew!!!) of Bonk Breakers to keep me fueled. It was a long morning and all I could think about was the beer I would drink afterward. So many good breweries, and only one day to discover them.


The Swim Start

Dad and I tried to relax and watch the first 2 hours of the race in shade and sitting down. I eventually started a leisurely warm-up around 9:15 and went down to get in line 20 minutes later. But the race was running late and I had another 30 minutes to wait.

The Black Eye Swim

The water was wonderfully cool, and pretty protected. I have no excuse for coming out of the water in 47th place, except that I am not that great a swimmer apparently. I was anywhere from 1-4 minutes down on the main competition in the age group. That was a bummer. But, it was pretty awesome that I got punched hard enough in the eye to give me a sweet bruise and tender eye sockets for a few days. The girls are rough getting to that first bouy, and if you aren’t fast enough to get away early, or slow enough to fall back early, it’s a shit show.


It’s a blur!

The Cynergisitic Bike

I’m so grateful to Cynergy and Specialized for the Shiv. I love riding it, I feel fast on it, and the Body Geometry fit has me so comfortable I never feel like I need to get off. I had a PR ride in Milwaukee, thanks to a pretty flat course and some cross winds that I could catch onto with my sweet HED disc (thanks Dusty!). It was especially fun to ride through the 46 ladies who came out of the water in front of me and dismount to a completely empty bike rack in T2. That is a great feeling.


Had fun running for the first time in awhile!

The Run for Dad and beer

Skechers was awesome enough to get me some beautiful new GOrun Speeds before the race. I love these shoes, and haven’t found any that I feel faster in. I brought a fresh new pair to MKE and couldn’t wait to rock them. BUT, I forgot to install some elastic laces before the race. Coupled with a cut on my foot that made it impossible to race barefoot, and I had a relatively slow T2 time, as I had to put on socks and tie shoelaces. I still left transition first and tried to settle in. Coach G and I had done a series of fast 100s in the final track workout before the race, and I was counting on those to make 6:45 pace feel easy. I figured that was the fastest I could maintain, since I’d mostly been training to run half marathons all summer.

I got passed back by the first two girls in the age group before mile 2. I focused on just keeping them in sight, and not getting passed again. There was another girl close behind me, and I really didn’t want to let the podium go by. I kept trucking along, thinking of how happy my Dad would be at the finish line to see me come in third, and how happy Mom would be when I called her after. And, also how good it would feel to have a strong race during a build phase in the training plan. My GOrun Speeds carried me to the finish in 41mins and change, with a 2:11 finish time, 3rd in the age group.


Thanks for the support Pur Pak!

Thanks to Skechers, Coach G and Fortius Racing Team, Cynergy, Pur Pak, Bonk Breakers, Balanced Strength, training partners, Triple C, and Artie for helping me on this road and keeping me healthy and sane(isn). Thanks to Catharine for keeping me inspired!