Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon Relay Race Report (2014)

By , August 12, 2014 6:35 am

I’ve said it before and I will say it again! Triathlon relays are so fun! Especially when so many people I know are doing it, too!


This year, the studio I work at, Essential Fitness LLC (Efit), had four teams and one individual participating in the Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie Sprint Triathlon (last year, we had two teams and two individuals). And, xaarlin stayed at my place and was doing the full relay, too! SO MANY PEOPLE!!!


I had actually been thinking about doing this race as my first triathlon, but changed plans when we decided to have several Efit teams. And yes, I asked who I thought was the fastest swimmer and runner to be on my team. Ha ha, why not?!

There was a lot of teasing about having a “stacked” team and even some straight up questioning if I should be the cyclist on that team. Yes, this was my first time being the cyclist on a relay team. But gosh, people, I don’t suck that much! Ha ha!

But all that talk, despite knowing my team (and me!) just wanted to have a good time, made me a bit nervous. My “happy with an average 16 mph pace” didn’t feel like it was going to cut it. So I looked at last year’s winning race results and saw the average bike pace was over 20 mph, and aimed to average 20. I wanted to push it the entire time and spend the whole (biking portion of the) race in the  “pain cave.”

Great method, right? Don’t train for it, just push it on race day. Well, it is “only” 12 (or 11 – it’s not measured accurately) miles. I just biked 70 miles and that was easy… it should be fine, right?

Spoiler alert: it was fine. But I’ll tell the whole story!

This triathlon starts at 7:00 am with five-minute wave starts for age, starting with oldest athletes first. The relayers go with the youngest athletes, in the final wave at 7:45 am. Quick side note: it’s so interesting to watch this, because people are already on their bikes before your relay swimmer has even started, and already on their run, before your cyclist goes! The whole time, you don’t really know who is in first overall, since they could be in any one age group, and might not be the first to cross the finish line!

Our swimmer, Marlene, did fantastically, and was the third relay swimmer out of the water, with a time of 14:53 for the half mile swim. T1 was done in 47 seconds.


Of course, the relayers are nervously waiting around at the transition area, wondering when their teammates are going to come in, and sometimes seeing the other teams take off before you (all of the relay bikes were racked together and off to the side).


I knew we were in third when I started, and wondered if I could catch the first place relayer, who had just over a two minute head start. 

I pushed and pushed and pushed on my bike. I tend to be a lazy rider – spin, spin, spin, coast for awhile – there was NONE of that. I was pedaling in a medium high cadence the whole time. I shifted as necessary, but didn’t so much pay attention to what gear I was in, just that I kept that cadence up. That was pretty neat – I felt really connected with my bike, and that method worked really well!

There are rules about taking no more than twenty seconds to pass on the left then getting back over to the right, and maintaining a distance of four bike lengths between bikes. Yeah… I was almost in the left the entire time, passing people, and calling “on your left!” I rode on the right when I wasn’t passing. 


I was passed by one person the entire time, and I kept playing tag with this other cyclist – she’d get ahead, then I would, then she would, and so on. I said to her “it’s unfortunate we can’t pace and draft off of each other!” She agreed. It was a bit windy and drafting would have been nice. 


But other than the wind, the course was pretty good! There was a bit of uneven pavement, but I could keep pace there. Three smallish hills that slowed me down, but not terribly. I was worried about the two 180° turns, but there was no issue there (just losing speed). 

Most of my GoPro pictures look like this – me checking my speed to try to average that 20 mph. 


I am not so good at math when I am working out, so I was trying to figure out if I was on target with pace, and knew if I got to 30 minutes and my watch said I had gone 10 miles, I would be on pace. 

I wasn’t. I was under. Too slow. But I kept pedaling as hard as I could, anyway!

I had told Yvonne, our runner, that I would try to cycle the advertised 12 miles in 35:00 minutes, and my final cycling time was 35:08! Right on target and a 20.5 average pace according to the official results. The Gramin recorded 11 miles at 19 mph pace. So… at least I hit around the 35:00 minute goal (I think a few people were really surprised I did!)!

My plan was to dismount my bike and take my shoes off then run all the way through transition to Yvonne. We had a good rack spot near bike and run exit, but were all the way across from swim and bike finish. 

So I got off my bike and my calves immediately cramped up. Gah! I ignored it and ran as fast as I could. I felt like I was running fast. Ha ha. Who knows!

Video of T2 from Brian


T2 was done in 43 seconds and Yvonne took off! We knew she was aiming for a sub 21:00 5K, so we watched the rest of the relay teams come in, as well as our individual triathlete and xaarlin, then booked it to the finish to run in with Yvonne!


Yvonne’s PR is 20:26 and she finished the 5K in 20:27. Gah! Second 5K this summer she has been off by a second! But man, she was looking fantastic on the run! She said she got all worked up and started out too fast, then slowed it down a bit, and really struggled with the sun and some nasty gravel part (must be new to this year – boo!). But you never would have guessed it when she came flying in!


Oh! And what happened to the first place relay team? I never caught that girl on the bike – she was averaging 22 mph. We finished a minute and 46 seconds after them, overall! Yvonne made MAJOR headway on our overall time!

A hopeful goal of mine for this race was that I would beat my previous team sprint relay times on this course of around 1:30:00 each. We did. Our final time was 1:11:58, and we were the second relay team overall!!! 


I felt so proud of my team and how hard we all pushed it! And I felt relieved that I belonged on the team with these two, after all the (teasing) comments I received about it. 

And I felt so proud of ALL the teams and individual athletes – and even the people I don’t know! This is a super supportive race, and it was fantastic to hang around at the finish and cheer on everyone.  

And I LOVE how many people came out to support us. Steven was there taking photos. I didn’t get a picture of us together, but apparently I can rely on the GoPro. 


And several Efit friends were there spectating – special thanks to Bobbi, Pete, Rich, Mike, Brain E, and Dave! And of course, to Brian S, our trainer who encourages us to do so much!




We wore pink headbands and pink ribbon tattoos in support of a friend with breast cancer

It really means a lot to have so much support. And especially for a hectic race like this. I mean, yes, it’s all in one area, but you are running all over to see the swim start, then back to transition, and to the finish. And watching for four teams and two individuals is a lot of work! I felt EXHAUSTED when it was all over!

This race left me really jazzed about what I could actually do on my bike if I train a bit. Of course, I mean in the single-event sense. I am sure I would have been much slower had I swam before I biked! And let’s not even talk about the run. Ha ha. 

Okay, and since this isn’t long enough, a few final thoughts:

  • I am so so proud of xaarlin for doing her first triathlon!
  • Like last year, I still think this race is crazy expensive to do the relay. But, they do have nice medals and shirts. Maybe some of the money is going to that?
  • There were new rules this year for relay transition – your bike had to be mounted (or stay mounted) before the ankle strap was transferred.
  • I left my left shoe a bit loose so my toes wouldn’t go numb as they have been. Now my left ankle is a bit sore from cycling so hard. Derrrr, Kim. 
  • Parking was much better this year, than last. 
  • I liked how you didn’t have to go as a relay team to get your packet this year – it made coordination easier. And I liked that they gave the cyclist and runner both a bib and bike stickers – I put my bib in the bibfolio! HOARD ALL THE RACE THINGS!!!

50 Responses to “Iron Girl Sprint Triathlon Relay Race Report (2014)”

  1. Looks like so much fun! Congrats on your team and great job!! Ha, you wouldn’t want me on your team because I am too slow for a 5K. 🙂

    • kilax says:

      Don’t say that? Notice the times from the last two years were much higher? That is because I was running the 5K. There were about 20 relay teams, so the paces are ALL over. It’s so fun to see all the different types of athletes out there having a good time!

  2. Chaitali says:

    Wow, great job! I was a bit nervous at your “it will be fine, right?” paragraph so I’m glad you put in the spoiler!

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha ha ha ha! I was just certain I would get a flat and blow our time or fall of my bike (which would have been nbd since it wouldn’t blow the time, ha!) but luckily it was all good!

  3. Michelle says:

    awh this post is just filled with love and passion and makes my heart happy. GREAT job ladies! <3

  4. Pete says:

    You all were a wonder to behold! It was awesome to be there, and all the teams did a wonderful job!!

    And, yes, you were flying through the transition area!

    And your T2 transition may have been the best I saw all day! Very slick!

    That is all. 🙂

  5. Xaarlin says:

    Oh yeah! You freaking rocked out on that course! Heck- your whole team brought their A game 🙂 I wonder if the go pro created some wind resistance for you- lol I’m still surprised we didn’t see each other out there.

    What a fun weekend 🙂 thanks again for having me over. And thanks to Steven for the fab photos!!!

    • kilax says:


      Ha ha. I was thinking that during the windy parts. Maybe a little but not enough to affect someone like me. I did get the chest strap so I could try that! 🙂 And I am surprised I didn’t see you, too! I missed two Efiters, as well!

      It was so fun! Thanks for coming! 🙂

  6. Maggie says:

    This looks so fun! Maybe someday I’ll try a TRI – solo or relay. My brother’s really into biking, it would be awesome to do a relay with him. Of course his bike of choice is BMX …

  7. Kiersten says:

    That is a rocking bike time! I tend to average 15-16 when I am out on my own, and then I always surprise myself in races by averaging 18-20. I just can’t make myself hold that pace though if it isn’t a race. I’d rather enjoy the ride.

    • kilax says:

      Exactly. I don’t do “race” pace when I exercise (or during a lot of races). It’s almost always about enjoying it for me! Of course, I enjoyed this, lol.

  8. Tiina says:

    Well done! I am trying to convince a couple of friends to do a tri relay with me, but no luck yet!

  9. Heather says:

    Great job! When it comes to biking the sum of my knowledge is what you have blogged about, but still – in this non-professional opinion you kicked some butt!

    What are the numbers on your arm?

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha ha, thanks 😉

      The numbers are my team’s #. Everyone gets body marked with what is essentially their bib #, for identification purposes, since you aren’t always wearing a bib (like during the swim).

      • Heather says:

        You’re welcome! And hey, my two cents are still worth two cents!

        Ooooh, gotcha! That makes sense.

        Hope your ankle feels better soon!

  10. Kristina says:

    Congrats on a great team effort and you were super speedy on the bike! I find it so hard to push on the bike, so very well done getting into the “pain cave”!
    I still think that you need to bite the bullet and do a tri as an individual – I think you’d surprise yourself!

    • kilax says:

      Thank you!

      Hee hee. Maybe. I really would want to train for it and lose some weight… and maybe get tri bars. But hopefully next year! 🙂 I like all the sports individually 🙂

  11. Amy says:

    That does look like a lot of fun and you ladies were smokin’ it! I have no idea how fast I could bike, but 20 mph sounds fast! Glad you had fun 🙂

  12. Steph says:

    Killer bike ride! Way to go!

  13. This post makes me all warm and fuzzy for my tri next week.

    Way to show that bike course (and the silly naysayers) who is boss! I can’t imagine having that kind of mph average. You should be proud of yourself and your inner beastmode!

  14. Jen2 says:

    You’re awesome! Anyone that would ever doubt you is foolish! You showed them all. Congrats to you and your team for an incredible race!

  15. Rachel says:

    Uhhh yeah your team was stacked – which is including you! DUH! Congrats on getting 2nd place! And you really weren’t far behind the first place team compared to how far apart the rest of the times were. Awesome job to all three of you!

    That video of T2 makes me smile. Looks like you had a very supportive and fun team!!!

    P.S. I want to be fast like Yvonne! WOW!

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha ha ha! Thank you! Yeah! I was thinking that, too. We had a good ranking. I wonder what we could do next year… 😉

      Hee hee! I love how Yvonne is shaking her bootay and cheering. It was so fun to look through Steven’s pics and see images of people completing their legs, framed by people cheering for them 🙂

      I want to be fast like her, too! She is amazing! And so humble and sweet!

  16. Awesome job!!! Did you get a special prize for your second place finish?

    Haha even when I try hard, the most I ever average on a bike is 16mph. I get too distracted with all of the things to look at! Plus, you know, trying not to fall off.

    • kilax says:

      Thank you! We didn’t. They only award first place for relays. At least, that is what they did last year. Ha ha.

      Yeah, unless I am in a race, I am not really pushing it. I don’t want to, and there aren’t many opportunities to – too many cars and/or pedestrians. Do you have a mountain, hybrid or road bike?

  17. jan says:

    Great job!! I’m laughing about you not being able to do math well while working out–same here! I’m glad it was such a fun event and that you did so well, too!

    • kilax says:

      Ha ha! I was going to add that I am bad at it almost ALL the time, but decided not to go down that route 😉 But it’s so much worse when I am working out and less blood is going to the brain.

      Thanks 🙂

      • jan says:

        Well yeah, me too. LOL I REALLY can’t do math while running through. Some races here mark off kilometers instead of miles and I don’t even try to figure out my paces.

  18. Nice job on the bike! I don’t like to swim, but participating in a relay is an attractive option for me! My cousins did this one, as their first tri, and loved it!

  19. Linda says:

    Great job on the bike. You were flying!

  20. Amy says:

    Wow! This sounds like it was so much fun! And I didn’t realize there were all those rules about the biking…interesting!

  21. Way to go to you and your team- fantastic on all accounts! (I guess a late night sleepover didn’t occur this time hehehe) The video of your transition was SUPER speedy and smooth like buttah! I had such a great time doing this race- sad I missed it this year but glad I could live vicariously through your recap! Thank goodness parking was better this year too- HUGE help I’m sure!

  22. Hooray, more GoPro photos! (Seriously, I love them.) Awesome job rocking that race! I am still LOLing over “pain cave”…I’m totally using that one. I’m glad I’m not the only one who hoards all my race stuff–is bib/medal hoarder a thing that I’ll wind up on a TV show for?

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! I am happy you like them! I am running around Lake Geneva this weekend and am taking it for that! 🙂

      Hee hee! I heard Pain Cave from a friend in my multisport club and love using it!

      Nah, I bet you won’t. Especially if the bibs are just in a ziploc! 🙂

  23. Erin says:

    Congrats to all! You rocked that bike portion, too. I remember last year doing the same thing: just.keep.pedaling! I love that the relay gives you the ability to go all out on the bike without worrying about cars or pedestrians and such.

  24. Margaret says:

    Nice job! Looks like a super fun race, too!

    I think a tri relay would be awesome to do someday, although I’m not sure which leg I would do, I’m pretty slow at all three. 🙂

  25. martymankins says:

    How awesome! I did a Triathlon once (back in the 80’s when I was young and fit). It wasn’t a full one (1/4 mile swim, 25 mile bike ride and 5k run) but it was fun.

    I think I’ve said it before but you photograph well.

  26. bobbi says:

    I had the BEST time spectating! This race is so fun and well organized and encouraging of all ability levels.

    Oh, and you SMOKED the bike leg. SMOKED it. You looked so proud and happy and excited coming into transition! Proud of you!!

    • kilax says:

      I am so happy you were there and had a good time! It’s nice to be able to cheer on so many people at one event.

      Thank you!!! 😀

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