The Columbia Triathlon

With the tiny exception of posting this race on the “Race Calendar – 2011” side-bar, I didn’t tell many people that I was doing The Columbia Triathlon.


For starters, I wasn’t sure how I would feel after my marathon. Would I be able to do an Olympic distance triathlon 3 weeks after my marathon?

Secondly, I wasn’t prepared. I took 1 week off after my marathon – which gave me 2 weeks to train for the race. In preparation, I swam twice and rode my bike 3 times (since September 2010). I had a strong running base but I didn’t do any double or brick (bike/run) workouts. In a word, I was nervous.

BJ told me to treat the race as just another training day. My friend, Betsy, reminded me that I finished EagleMan 70.3 with less training than mentioned above (granted, I ended up in the hospital but I still finished). I knew I could do it, I just wasn’t sure how fast I could finish.

Race Day: I woke up to beautiful weather, finally. I completed the race in 2009 and 2010 – and it poured both years. In 2009, it also hailed as I was getting into the water for swim start. It’s hard enough to wake-up at 4:45am for a race – I don’t want to wake up to rain. 2011 weather – thank you very much!

Swim: Wow, I felt like I was in the middle of a major girl-fight. I have never been in so much physical pain from a swim. It was a large group – 150 women in 2 age groups (25-29 & 30-34). About 1 minute into the swim, I was punched in the face – obviously not on purpose – but the blow was so hard that it knocked my goggles completely off my face. I had to stop, tread water, and try to get them back on. The pain continued the entire swim – I was hit more times than I can count, swam on top of people, had people swim on top of me, and was punched once more at the end. This time the pain was so intense that I started crying. No joke, I have bruises on my eyes from the swim. I know that the hitting and swimming on top of people is normal at the start of a swim, but it usually “breaks-up” a few minutes into the race. Not this time – it was a full on girl fight for 31 minutes.

Okay, for only 2 swims and each lasting no longer than 25 minutes and a treading water/goggle adjustment penalty, this wasn’t a terrible swim.
Time: 31:34

Bike: I can’t bike or race this course without my chain falling off my bike. I can’t make this sh*t up – my chain drops every time I bike Columbia. The 1st year it happened, I had NO idea what to do or how to put a chain back on. Thankfully, I was more prepared this year. But preparation aside, it’s still annoying to lose a few minutes getting off the bike and trying to fix it. Double dagger: when it happens while you are going up a hill.

Other than the chain drop, I felt really good. I was able to re-pass everyone that had passed me while I was fixing said chain, but wasn’t able to catch (back) up to the pack I was riding with prior to the chain drop. It was a beautiful day for biking and I was excited to be on the bike and experience little to no pain.
Time: 1:26:56 (includes 3 minute chain dilemma)

Run: Ahh, my sweet spot and the only thing I was actually prepared for. I felt good considering I had not practiced a bike-to-run run (aka brick workout). It wasn’t my best run ever but it also wasn’t my worst. The last mile is really flat (a nice change from the rest of the course, which is extremely hilly) and I was able to sprint it in. The run is where I make-up for my lack of speed on the swim and bike – so, no matter what my time, I love passing people on the run.
Time: 51:21 (8:16 pace)

2011 Columbia Triathlon finisher!

Time: 2:54:09
Swim: 31:34
T1: 2:48
Bike: 1:25:56
T2: 1:33
Run: 51:21
Age Group Place: 9/56
Female Place: 122/539
Overall Place: 655/1633

The Columbia Triathlon is a great, local race. The volunteers are amazing and really put a lot into making it a great race. There are some heavy hitters (in the tri world) that race Columbia – and it’s so cool to see them on the course. It was a beautiful day for a “training day” and I’m happy with the results. Oh, and I should mention that my 2011 time (with very little preparation) was 14 minutes faster than my 2009 time – a testament to marathon training (thank you marathon). Overall, it was a great day – and I got to spend time with BJ and my friends – I can’t think of anything better {with the exception of the beer we had a brunch}.

BJ and Me: Pre-race

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.


  1. Congrats to you. Getting punched in the face is never fun, and I would have cried too. I'm mighty impressed with your athleticism! I could never ever do a triathlon, and I have so much respect for everyone who can.

  2. Congrats! It's a tough, tough course, for sure, so seeing big improvements over 2009 is big stuff!

    On the chain drop–you can get it back on easily w/o stopping by upshifting to your big ring. Try it!

  3. Sorry I never managed to find you – we had one official bail, so we each had a ton of the transition area to cover, so I was pretty busy in my section all morning.

    Congrats on still managing the race well considering everything. Rough swims are annoying, but sometimes there isn't anything you can do about it. Also, not sure if you were aware, but you can install a chain catcher, which has helped a lot of people from those kinds of mishaps:

  4. Great effort and you had fun. What more can you ask for?

    I do not do tri's. I have done one, with swimmers banging me around as hard and harder. The gallon of Lake water in me said no more tri's. I will keep my feet on the ground or pedals for now.

  5. Wow. That is good.
    Besides the minimal swim/bike training.
    Youth. I miss it!

  6. Congrats on this tri! You did an amazing job, especially considering it was so soon after the marathon–and with such minimal training. You rock!!

  7. Holy crap girl! you're teensy bit hard core to do that 3 weeks later! I'm not even allowed to run until 3 weeks after my marathon:( I'm on week 2 of rest right now! lol….
    you did AMAZING!

  8. I'm just glad this means I could probably pressure you to do timberman with me, too! 🙂

  9. Congrats on the strong race! I would be in big trouble if I dropped my chain (or had any other bike related issue) since I would have no idea what to do.

    I see you're running Lawyers Have Heart. I'll be there too! 🙂

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.