Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Lake-Lanier-Islands-Tri-logThis weekend I completed my final sprint distance race in my inaugural triathlon season, leaving one last event for the season  my first Olympic distance triathlon.  This last sprint marked the end of a very race/event heavy September consisting of steady training hours and races every weekend.  The goal was to prepare and push myself, with this triathlon marking the start of my final two week taper for my Olympic distance race.  Of course I pushed pretty hard up to this point and on Monday I was unsure if I could come back from the state of exhaustion I had pushed myself  (detailed here).  As this was not my major race I did little to specifically prepare for this race, but I did cut back the effort for the week to give myself a chance of completing this race.  By race day I figured I had gotten back to about 40-50% recovered if that, my muscles still felt a bit slow and heavy.

Obligatory afterwards self image.  Tri suits getting looser!

Obligatory afterwards self image. Tri suits getting looser!

The Lake Lanier Triathlon is hosted on the scenic Lake Lanier Islands and resort in Northern Georgia.  Think one part natural scenic nature enjoyment with two parts heavy tourism mixed with rides and heavy cement landscapes.  The triathlon would start at a popular boat hangout, Sunset Cove, moving into a bike leg through the park and out to the hilly surrounding roads and ending with a final run through the campground areas of the park.  This race usually marks the conclusion of triathlon race season in Georgia as its on the border of shifting fall and summer temperatures, leading to a huge turnout of over 900+ participants.

The race providers handle this well by requiring a mandatory bike check in the day before and by issuing body tattoos to reduce race morning sharpie marking congestion.  Overall the logistics worked perfectly and the process of using temporary tattoos and leaving the bike the day before were new to me and added a spice of something different to my triathlon experience.

Sunset Cove, the swim start location.

Sunset Cove, the swim start location.

One of the cool things about this race for me was that a friend of mine had a lake house and boat not too far from this race location and I was able to participate in my race and enjoy a relaxing Saturday out on the lake.  Oddly enough we docked the boat at Sunset Cove and I spent some time swimming the course, guardedly as boats were all over the place.  Additionally I scoped things out, figuring where everything would be and their overall logistics.  I noticed that from the swim conclusion we had to go over a dock and then up a hill, adding 3/10ths of a mile uphill climb to our swim leg.  I enjoyed swimming and relaxing the rest of the evening, but I learned for my next event not to eat Mexican food, even mild and dull looking dishes before a race!  All ended up ok in the end though, albeit a little scary for a while race morning.

The end of the swim requires continuing down this dock to a steep uphill 3/10ths of a mile climb to transition.

The end of the swim requires continuing down this dock to a steep uphill 3/10ths of a mile climb to transition.

Race Morning:

I woke up at 4:30 and figured out the body tattoos while consuming breakfast.  While my friend was being a good host, I leave little to chance and so I brought my own food.  I packed my bags the night before and placed them next to the door so I was ready to go.  I got out the door at a good hour and I was at the race parking lot by six in the morning.  I discovered that the parking lot was a good mile trek to the transition and was immediately glad I had my Ogio bag that doubled as a backpack.  After the long walk I got my spot setup, borrowed a bike pump to fill the bike tires and was ready to go.  I milled about for a bit and made sure all was well with my transition setup and everyone on my rack was happy with their spot and the overall setup.  I have gotten used to doing this as I have been surprised at a race to find my stuff moved because one of my rack mates did not like the way things were setup.  Being a good neighbor and sticking around has worked really well for me as I get to know the people I am sharing space with and we can work though any issues before race time.  Minimize the surprises.

As the race time neared I headed to the water spot with swim gear in hand.  The hill from swim to transition was not going to be fun, it was steep and going down it hurt my ankles.  It was that bad.  On the beach I hopped into the water to feel where the temperature was and to reduce shock to my body as I started swimming.  This also helps me calm a bit as I mentally swam the course.  The air temperature at race start was 62 degrees and the water temp was 76 degrees.  A few triathletes had pulled out the wet suites as it was wet suit legal.  I just kept myself calm  and let my body adjust to the water.  I wonder how many of the others in the water with me were using this time to alleviate the bladder to avoid the long porta potty lines?  I really did not care though, it happens.

The dock leading from the swim finish to the long climb up to transition.

The dock leading from the swim finish to the long climb up to transition.

Swim 400 Yards/0:13:05:

This was pretty uneventful except this race had allot of new triathletes that had not quite gained the confidence of open water swimming and turning.  I tried to stay outside but there were too many people and so I just swam and kicked and occasionally got kicked, especially by swimmers treading water or breast stroking with large leg kicks.  The worst was coming to the buoy and most people were treading their way around it, enough so that navigating the buoy required navigating the floaters and ate up some time as I could not just swim and turn, but I had to stop and go around several times.  Towards the end of the swim I pulled up a little to early but things still worked out.  My watch said about 8:50 or so for the swim.  Looking at the final results they added the time of the climb to the swim time, which skewed the numbers a bit.  Guess its better added here than in transition numbers.

A very long transition area with close to 1000 participants this took a bit to get from end to end.

A very long transition area with close to 1000 participants this took a bit to get from end to end.

T1 0:2:36:

Got things together pretty quick but the climb had me winded a little bit.  Not a great time, but not bad for the length and size of the transition area.  Taped the tongue of my bike shoes so they would stay still when putting them on, this worked fairly well and only needs a little bit of tweaking.  One guy in my rack was changing clothes for the bike leg and I almost busted out laughing.  To each their own, but I still found this to be extremely amusing.

Bike 13 Miles/0:59:52:

This leg of the race provided the reality check I needed, my body needs more recovery before my race in Amelia Island and this proved it.  I had to fight hard to get the speed I achieved on this leg and the climbs felt difficult at best.  The entire bike leg felt like a struggle.  Still pulled out a decent time for me, just need stick to my taper strategy to be fresher for my final triathlon.  I was ready to ride and race but not on fresh legs.  Overall the course itself had some really good climbs and I was able to make up some speed on the downhill portions.  As I stated earlier this entire ride was a struggle and my training beforehand had  worn out my legs that pushing up the climbs, my legs screamed with soreness and stiffness.   I pushed through it though.  In my transition from T1 to bike, I messed up my watch and had no data for that leg or anything previously.  At this point I was blind time wise.

My first race with temporary tattoos.  They look so professional compared to sharpie!

My first race with temporary tattoos. They look so professional compared to sharpie!

T2 0:01:48:

This transition was pretty smooth and typical.  Similar to previous transition, getting out of transition ate up some time.  The legs were really tired at this point but I knew I had only 40 minutes to go to get to the end.

Run 3.1 Miles/0:41:26:

Overall this run course went up and down some decently steep graded terrain.  Combine that with the sluggishness in my legs and I felt like I was ambling more than running most of the time.  I stuck with my run/walk splits and tried to push myself, I wanted a sub 2 hour time on this race and I was not sure where my time was heading into the run from the bike.  All I knew at this point was that I needed to push the run and try to finish as strong  as possible.  The final push to get to the finish line was uphill and I almost died at this point, I had to walk for a brief bit, but once I was in view of the public and the finish chute I pushed it passed the finish line.  I was disheartened to see the clock as I passed the finish line flash 2:04:40.  I had missed sub 2 hours…. Or so I thought.

All my triathlon races in comparison.

All my triathlon races in comparison. Click to make larger.

Total Time 1:58:46:

To my surprise later the results were posted and I discovered I had done it, I had gotten a sub-two hour finish in my last race of the season.  After four sprint distance triathlons I had done it.  I was unsure if I could as I am training for my race in two weeks, but deep down I believed it would be possible to do it.  I had figured I would have to put this off for next year, but when the official results came back I was elated.

The after party was pretty cool as they had pizza and of course muscle milk in supply.  I milled around and swapped stories with other triathletes for a bit.  This was a well hosted race and it was pretty fun too.

This season still has a remaining race and a big goal: complete an Olympic/International distance triathlon that is now two weeks away.  But completing this triathlon this weekend marked the conclusion of my sprint distance races this year.  Looking at the numbers I have improved gradually through out the season.  On Friday I indicated I wanted to complete a sprint under two hours.  This weekend I achieved that goal.  This was a fun race and the weather was perfect, not too hot and not too cold.  Today I am sore from pushing the training and racing this weekend, time to start the taper and get to the next level for the final race… Til next time.



  1. Under two hours!!! You. Rock. 🙂

  2. Well done and congratulations on the sub-2 hour finish!!! Amazing how far you’ve come.

    1. For me it’s very surreal and hard to believe that last May I was a dedicated, life long, couch potato and here I am finishing my 4th triathlon only getting better with each one (within reason since distance and course changes things for each race). Thank you for the support, one more to go til I get a rest and I can start thinking of next year.

  3. Mexican food? Really? No wonder you went so fast…you were gas powered! LOL!
    Excited/scared/looking forward to AmeliaMan…2 weeks!
    Train safely…see you there!

    1. The training safely part is what worries me. Less than two weeks and then Amelia!

  4. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  5. Fantastic. Time to recover and focus on the A race.

    1. My thoughts exactly. I just hate tapering and recovering, its so boring.

  6. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  7. Hey, great job! Under 2 hours!!! I’m so impressed with how far you’ve come this year~

    1. I think I have changed allot mentally and physically as an athlete. Viewpoint and perspective, the mental aspect is rarely mentioned as a change caused from doing a major fitness change/overhaul. But I am way more confident that I was at the beginning for sure. One more to go, then I can start to analyze the year and plan for the next. Thanks for following along.

      1. What are you going to do with your training this winter? Will you take a break or pick something else to challenge you physically? I think you’ve already done such a great job but it will be fun to see how things go at Amelia Island! One of the best things you can probably use to analyze the year is your blog, kudos Chatter!

        1. I hear you on that one,I sound totally different now I’m time and confidence since that first triathlon earlier this year. This adventure has changed me allot more than just physically. I will take a week off then transition the focus to running for a month or two and more strength workouts. I’ll still very in the pool, but probably not as often, till I start preparing for next season. Thanks for being there.

  8. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  9. Great job getting under 2:00:00. Must feel great. Sounds like you’re in a great place for your final race!

    1. I realize now I would have been further under 2 hours if not for that climb to get to transition from the swim. Still feels great to pull this little surprise out at the end of the season!!! I hope i am ready for this final race, can’t tell if I am taking too little time off or not enough! The agony of athletics! Thanks for the encouragement.

  10. […] week I reduced from 13 hours to about 8 and concluded the week with my final sprint triathlon (catch up here).  Not much of a taper, with a race at the end of the week, but it was the best catered practice I […]

  11. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  12. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  13. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  14. kruzmeister · · Reply

    Nice work breaking the two hours Chatter! Love the number tatts by the way, they look awesome, I wouldn’t have washed them off for a week!!

  15. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

  16. […] Lake Lanier Sprint Triathlon Race Report ( […]

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