Keeping My Head Above Water: Buffalo Tri Race Report

Hard to believe it but I already have 3 multi-sport races under my belt for the season.  2 weeks ago, I raced the sprint at the Buffalo Tri and last weekend at Lake Minnetonka.  The race report for Minnetonka is forth coming, stay tuned.  But let’s chat about Buffalo.

Leading up to the race, there was lots of distracting discussion, mostly around the weather and water temps in Buffalo Lake.  It was cold for many days at the end of May so it was likely that the swim would be cold, if not canceled all-together.  A few warm days leading up to the race helped bring the water temps up to that the swim wouldn’t need to be canceled.  I watched Facebook and saw a few posts about upper 60 degree and even 70 degree water temps.  So I relaxed a bit and carried on with race prep.

Sunday morning I packed up and drove the 60 miles to Buffalo for the race.  After getting my race packet and getting set up in transition, I had some time to kill so I chatted with fellow racers and focused on warming up. img_3867This being my first tri of the season, I was really excited to see how all of my winter swim sessions would impact my open water swim time.  My usual routine is to get into the water and do a brief warm up swim to acclimate to the water and focus on my breathing.  As I walked down to the water’s edge to start my warm up swim, another racer walked out of the water passed me muttering “70 degrees, my ass”.  And he was right, as soon as I got out to do some dolphin dives and the water hit my face, I knew this was going to be one very cold swim…strike that, a freezing swim.  I was just thanking the gods that is was only a 400 yard swim.  “I can do 400 yards, even if it is freezing” I thought to myself and carried on with getting prepped for my wave to start.

Soon it was time to line up at the water with my wave and the gun sounded us to start.  I ran in with the pack and it was no more than a few seconds before the cold water, massive amounts of flailing arms and legs of other swimmers took me from calm to panicked.  I lost the rhythm of my breathing as I tried to get out of the pack but it was near impossible. The cold water and other swimmers through everything off for me and  I am pretty sure I dog paddled half of the swim.  I was extremely disappointed as I exited the water but knew I needed to put it aside and focus on the bike.

The bike went by in a flash and without incident.  I worked to just put my head down and pass everyone I could.  Soon I was coming down to the bike dismount and off to start the run. 

If you have participated in this tri in the last few years, you know that the run out is a nice long climb out of the park and onto Montrose Blvd.  It’s a killer on the bike legs.  Once I got out onto the blvd, I focused on keeping a steady cadence and pace.  This year, I can really tell that my runs have been improving.  I am feeling more efficient and my run times are showing vast improvement.  It’s awesome when you can see hard work paying off.  After about ¾ of the run, you get to take a fun downhill back into the park to cross the finish line.  I love that part.  I just let go and let my legs carry me. 

Overall, I didn’t do as bad as I thought. My swim did improve from the last time I did this tri by 15 seconds and my run improved by nearly a full minute.  Overall my time was 2 seconds faster than my previous PR and I was able to take an AG podium (my first time on the podium at Buffalo) and a top 10 women’s finish time.  Can’t complain too much! 😊