Tidewater Sprint Triathlon Race Report

This is WAY overdue since the race was now two weeks ago. But alas, here I am finally writing it because I really like to document races so I can look back on the recaps for a boost of confidence and reminder of training progression over time. Plus, this was a solid race {with a podium!} so that makes it even more fun to recap.

The main purpose of the Tidewater Sprint was to shake-out the rust from not racing triathlon for almost a year and to test my fitness on about half the distance prior to Age Group Nationals. My training plan initially had a race scheduled for the weekend before but the location and timing of this race worked much better for me.


Race Morning

I got up at 4:15 a.m. so that I had plenty of time to get ready, eat, etc. before leaving at 5 for the 30 min drive to Hampton, VA. Normally I am not big on being at races crazy early, but since I didn’t have my packet yet and also didn’t really know where I was going, I wanted to leave myself plenty of time.


Being at the race early = plenty of time to enjoy the sunrise.

Everything went smoothly and I was checked-in and had my transition area set-up by about 6:00. I spent 45 min wandering around, using the bathroom, etc. before wading in the water to warm-up. The first thing I noticed was just how rough the bay was. In just the 400 yd warm-up, I ate multiple mouthfuls of water. The salt water is new for me this summer, but I have at least gotten used to it on calm days in the bay by my house. The waves, current and chop added a whole different level. After I got out, I went back to transition to grab some Nuun to wash out my mouth and chase a quick Gu before heading to the starting area.

The Swim

The race was very well organized and started right on time. It was supposed to be a “beach” start, but they let us wade in up to our knees…which resulted in most of us wading in waist deep (I’m wasn’t mad about it…I wasn’t really prepared for any dolphin diving). I positioned myself way left of the first buoy because I saw how strong the current was pulling the first wave of men to the right of the turn and I didn’t want to have to swim back upstream to avoid getting disqualified.


Spandex-clad athletes waiting for the start. Credit:

The 40 and under women were all in the 3rd wave and we started exactly 4 minutes behind the 40 and over men. There was really no underwater boxing in this race at all. We had plenty of space to spread out and everyone seemed to be taking their own angles to the first turn buoy. The waves crashing in my face for the first 300 meters more than made up for that. As did the hoards of men that I swam up on after the first turn. But once I rounded the 2nd buoy and was swimming toward the beach, I cruised in with the help of the waves. I waited until my fingertips brushed the sand 3 times before standing up then took off running up the beach. Despite how choppy it was, the swim went by really fast and before I could even think about how hard I was working, it was over. The best I could tell was that I was 3rd out of the water in my wave. The results show that I was 11th overall in the swim, but the top 3-5 show times of <4 min with really long transitions, so I think that there may be a mistake with some of the times.

500 m swim: 7:43, 1:25/100 yd*, 11/152 overall female

*I also think the swim may have actually been a little short, which was offset by ~100 yd beach run to T1.

T1: 0:50

I knocked through a few guys to jump in the baby pool of fresh water to get the sand off my feet then headed into transition. Quick in and out and I was the first woman on the bike course.

The Bike

The bike was two 5-mile loops. I tried to bare down and make it hurt, but there wasn’t a whole lot of time. The course was really crowded, especially in the sections where we only had one lane to ride and every time I started getting into a rhythm, I needed to pass someone in front of me.

Just before the first u-turn, another female came flying by me. I tried to hang with her, but just couldn’t keep up (where do I find this power on the bike?!). After that I focused on not letting the girl behind me catch up. I had about 1 min on her at each of the first two turns and knew that I would have to bust it to stay in 2nd.

{After the 2nd turn I never saw the 3rd place girl again. I was really confused because I never saw her pass me. But then about 1/2 mile into the run, she came running back toward the finish. I knew right away that she skipped the second lap of the bike and would be DQ’d!}

I kept pushing as hard as I could in the 2nd lap, trying to keep a solid cadence with as high a gear as I could tolerate. I wasn’t wearing a heart rate monitor, but I imagine that it was pretty high for the majority of the ride, as my breathing was heavy and my legs were on fire. All-in-all I was pretty happy with the effort.

10.5M Bike: 29:42, 21.2 mph, 5/152 overall female

T2: 0:50

There is no reason that T1 & T2 should be the same…I need to be quicker at getting my running shoes on and out of there!

The Run

The first 1/2 mile of the run was pretty rough. My Garmin showed a 7:15 min/mile pace and my legs felt like lead. Things eventually started to wake up and I was able to get the pace down much closer to 7:00. Mile1: 7:01. After mile 1, I decided that I felt pretty strong. My cadence was good and there seemed to be enough in the tank to push a bit more. Mile 2: 6:50. The 3rd mile was hard, as it always is, but I had enough left to get the pace down a bit more. Having that little extra when I ask my body for it at the end of a race is the best feeling {and I hope I experience the same at Nationals next week}. Mile 3: 6:42. 0.1: 6:31 avg.

I wondered after the race I could have run faster if there had been a chance I could catch the 1st place girl (she finished about ~1 min ahead) or if someone was chasing me? I was definitely pushing, but I still think that there may have been a little bit more in the tank.

5k: 21:15, 6:50 min/mile, 6/152 overall female

Tidewater Sprint Triathlon: 1:00:17, 2/152 overall female


This was definitely a good effort for my first race of the season. My fitness is right about where I thought it was, which is okay, but I was hoping to be able to find a little more power on the bike. I will need to ride over 0.5 mph faster than that in Milwaukee if I want to improve on my time from 2013. The course profile there is a bit different and there is more of an opportunity to build speed over 24 miles, but throw the 2xbridge in and that certainly adds more challenge.

But racing is FUN! Anytime I feel a little burdened by two-a-days or long rides by myself, I have to remember that the races are completely worth it!

About Corey

I am a 30-something swim, bike, run addict married to my best friend and in love with my two schnoodle doggies.
This entry was posted in bike, Goals, Race reports, Races, running, swimming, training, triathlon. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Tidewater Sprint Triathlon Race Report

  1. Nice job on 2nd place!! 🙂
    I can’t believe that girl skipped the second bike loop. I just don’t get people that cheat in races! I’m glad they figured it out & she was DQ’d.
    Good luck at Nationals!

  2. Congrats speedy!!! 2nd overall is amazing! Sprints are so hard….kudos for keeping up the effort the entire race!

  3. Nice job! I have a triathlon next weekend and it would be a miracle if I ever saw over 20mph on the bike. Amazing!!

  4. Pingback: USAT Nationals Goals & Stuff |

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