Pleasant Prairie Triathlon Relay Race Report

By , June 26, 2017 6:23 am

On Sunday June 25, Alicia, Rachel, and I did the international distance Pleasant Prairie Triathlon as a relay team at/around the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Alicia swam 1500m, I biked 40k, and Rachel ran 10k.

I’ve been on sprint and half iron triathlon relay teams, but this was my first time doing the international distance! I’ve done most of my triathlon relays at the RecPlex/Lake Andrea in Pleasant Prairie, but this course was different/longer AND this is the first race I’ve done there since living so freaking close. It takes five minutes to get there! It used to take forty. Being so close was nice, since we did race day packet pickup and got there at 5:00 am! (Hooray for race day packet pickup – the expo (which I went to the day before for funsies) was only open from 11am-3pm on Saturday and Alicia and Rachel couldn’t make those times! And you have to pick up your relay packet as a team.)

This was Alicia and Rachel’s first time being on a relay team. Alicia has done all triathlon distances up to half iron on her own though! I love doing relay triathlon teams because you can push super hard on your leg and not have to worry about how it will affect the next one.

There were several events going on on race day – the para athlete nationals (sprint distance), the sprint and international triathlons, and a sprint duathlon. The athletes at the event were nice and friendly, but it was a serious and competitive (unlike the other race I do at this location – Iron Girl – which is all female and focused on beginner athletes and not as competitive). There was one sprint relay team, and six international relay teams. We ended up placing fifth out of the sixth!

The race started at 6:30 am with seven waves of para athletes, then the relay swimmers started at 6:45 am with the elite international racers. Whoa!

It was oddly cool for June – 51° when the race started! The water was much warmer than the air – 78°. Alicia got in to warm up and get some water in her wet suit before her wave and didn’t want to get out. Ha.

Alicia is a strong swimmer, and swimming is her favorite discipline in triathlons. She was stoked to swim 1500m, while Rachel and I were looking at how far apart the buoys were and making lots of “whoa” and “eek!” eyes to each other. Ha!

There she is! Ha.

Alicia had a decent swim. She was battling a cold and congestion and that held her back from her usual bilateral breathing, and slowed her down a bit. She said it was also the first time she panicked during an open water swim, because her breathing felt so off! But she kicked arse and finished in 39:01.

Rachel and I watched the swimmers for a bit before we got back in to the transition area to wait by the bike rack (the relayers had two whole racks for the seven teams – there was LOTS of space!). I get sooooo jacked up when I am waiting for my turn in the race and I could feel my heart rate rising! I did some breathing to try to calm myself down before I got on the bike.

Alicia came in and Rachel swapped our timing chip. I unracked my bike (and embarrassingly shook the whole rack) and took off. T1 was 0:46.

I checked the weather before I got on my bike to see where the wind would be coming from – 9mph winds from the west. Blah. A lot of the course is in to the west (see course here). And a lot of the course is open!

I got out there and headed right in to the wind. My plan was to keep my cadence as high as possible without feeling like I was tearing up my quads, use my weight as an advantage to gain speed on the downhills, go as fast as possible when heading east, and to not get exhausted headed west in the beginning (but to crank it going west at the end).

My bike rode smooth and I was happy I got it tuned up right before the race. I kept my cadence up (85 rpm average for the ride) and tried to keep my speed in the high teens (17.9 mph average for the ride). I’d feel frustrated by the wind and wonder if it was in my head – but then I’d look at the trees and see them blowing the opposite direction as me (later, every cyclist I talked to thought it was windy).

I am happy they were able to tag me in the photos – I had to put my bike sticker on the side of my helmet because it wouldn’t stay on the front! I should have put it on my left side, duh.

I drink a lot when I cycle. And I was so jacked up before the start I almost forgot to put my bottles on my bike! That would have been a disaster! I drank most of my two bottles, and took a gel at mile 10 and again at mile 20. I actually felt a hunger pain in my stomach at mile 20. Sigh. I was so hungry all day Saturday and that evening when I tried to sleep and woke up feeling crummy. I am lucky that didn’t affect my race.

I cranked and cranked and enjoyed being out there. I did a lot of positive self talk in my head to keep myself pumped up despite the frustration of the wind. There was only two spots I felt I had a tailwind – the rest it was either in my face or blowing at me from the side. But I really did have fun! And loved that I was riding on roads I normally drive on.

I came in, dismounted, and ran in to transition in my cycling shoes. Alicia swapped the timing chip from my leg to Rachel’s. My overall bike time was 1:22:58 and T2 was 0:42.

I was happy it wasn’t too hot when Rachel started her 10K – 59°. You never know what you are going to get, doing the run leg, on a relay in the summer! Although, Rachel quickly warmed up on the open course with very little shade! Her run was where I do my speedwork – the paved path around Lake Andrea. Unfortunately, about half of her run was on a hilly rocky trail. She said she was feeling great until the trail part. I’m not surprised – when I’ve run on that trail in other relays at this location, I’ve hated it! I never run on it when I go there!

Rachel rallied back when she got back on the paved path though, and finished the 10K in 56:50!

We all ran in together, and our overall time was 3:00:15!

We received our medals and hung around at the finish because I wanted to see two friends from Efit finish.

I like the medal and the half zip shirt – I’ll definitely be wearing the top in the fall!

Kim, Rich, Kim, and Kim from Efit

Waiting around, it actually felt cold when a cloud would cover the sun! The post race food was so so – some Gatorade bar, bagels, and bananas. We had the hardest time figuring out what to do with out timing chip. We walked all the way back to transition before we realized we were supposed to put it in a box by the finish. Wish someone would have told us at the finish line.

That was the only bad part of the race though. Well, maybe the rocky part of that run, and the wind. Ha. The race is well organized and fun, parking was easy, and we were able to get out before everyone finished.

We had a great time and we’ll be looking in to doing another triathlon relay… this season!

Other notes:

Alicia and Rachel stayed over Saturday night and we had a lot of fun and got a bit goofy when we were getting ready for the race:

The race was well organized, but what I have found as a triathlon relayer at every other event was true here, too – people don’t seem to know what to do with you, or if you have any special rules, or even need to be body marked. The relayers often seem like an after thought, which I get, with them being such a small population.

I was stoked there was free race photos and they had them out the evening of the race!!!!!!!

Notes on my cycling:

  • I am not very good at corners/turning! I tend to slow way down and be cautious.
  • I felt like my nose was running for the whole ride. Odd.
  • My butt got a bit sore on the bike, but I would get out of the saddle every now and then to give my legs a break on the inclines, so I readjusted then.
  • The inclines were mostly over highways or over train tracks. There was one section with rolling hills.

20 Responses to “Pleasant Prairie Triathlon Relay Race Report”

  1. Rachel says:

    You missed the memo about the tongue out thumbs up picture. 🙂 That is a cool pic of you on the bike though!

    So, do you have to be named Kim to work out or teach at Efit? haha.

    I had so much fun! It was a cool way for me to be involved in a triathlon without have to do that swimming and biking thing.

    • kilax says:

      I totally did! Although, if I attempted that on the bike, the photo would have been of me crashing. Ha! (I can’t ride hands free like some people can)

      Ha! You have to be Kim, Cathy/Kathie, or Anne, we’ve discovered 😉

      I am happy you had fun and got a taste of triathlon-ing!

  2. Chaitali says:

    Great photos! It sounds like a lot of fun to do a triathlon as a relay with friends 🙂

  3. Well done. I’m glad your bike was ok and wel tuned for the race. Those temperatures sound like heaven 🙂 I like the top you got!

    • kilax says:

      Me too! I would have been so mad if it broke during this race!

      We are having a crazy cool spell here this week, still!

  4. Lish says:

    Agh, we missed a sub 3 by 16 seconds!! Maybe if I hadn’t freaked out by how fast the elites were. It was a fun new experience and had the best team ever!!!

    • kilax says:

      We will have to do again and have sub 3:00 be our goal! 😉 And we totally had the best team ever! It’s awesome we all got to do a part we really like 🙂

  5. I was at Bigfoot in Lake Geneva yesterday (spectating, not competing), and it was SO windy there, too. I felt really bad for the swimmers – the swim was on the east side of the lake and the course was parallel to the shore (north/south), so they had waves hitting them from the side the whole time. It did not look fun at all!

    It’s funny you mention that about no one knowing what to do with relayers at triathlons. I was just talking about that on Saturday, and the consensus was that pretty much across the board, no matter how big or well organized the “actual” triathlon is, the relays always seem forgotten, which makes me wonder why race directors bother including them at all. The additional participants they bring in must make it worth it, but you’d think they’d be more inclined to make it easier on themselves/everyone else by just not offering them. I guess at least since some races do, at least you and your team can participate this way!

    • kilax says:

      Oh man! Having waves come at you like that for the entire race would be frustrating, especially if you only breathe in on that side! I wonder if that is better or worse than them coming at you from the front.

      I wonder if they just include them to make more money. The relays are expensive! It seems like it would be simple to have a special section of the website with relay instructions. But even if they have that, there is often no signage on race day, and you’re left to figure it out and hope that you don’t get disqualified (like, for unracking your bike before you have your timing chip on, etc.)

      Hope you had fun spectating!!!

  6. Kristina says:

    Nice! Sounds like a great experience for all of you and a well-organized race, despite the “what to do about relays”? I used to do a tri in CA every year and the relays actually were a big deal – some people would do the long course on Saturday and then race as a relay on Sunday. What I appreciated is that they wrote a big “R” on people’s legs, so everyone knew who was in a relay and who was in your AG.
    And nice that you raced a new distance! The international distance may be my favorite – you finish well before lunch so you can go out and enjoy a nice big breakfast/brunch afterwards. And it’s usually not *too* hot at that point either!

    • kilax says:

      I am happy to hear that there IS a race where the relayers are paid attention to! That’s cool that people do it solo then do the relay the next day. How fun! Ha ha ha – so our runner didn’t have an R on her leg, but I did! She said she felt bad when people were cheering her on since she was “only” running!

      Yes! I liked that about the international distance – I still had time to do other stuff that day. But man, we ate lunch so early – I was HUNGRY after!!!

  7. Pete B says:

    Congrats on your strong bike portion. Very cool that they let you guys all finish together! I’ve been thinking about trying a tri, but I don’t have a decent bike. So, maybe doing a relay would be good place to start, at least to get me out there and see how a tri operates.

    • kilax says:

      Thank you! Just so you know, you don’t have to have a fancy bike to do a tri! People do them on mountain bikes! But I bet you’d really like a relay, too! 🙂

  8. Shelley B says:

    It’s cool that you did this as a team – play to your strengths, I say!

  9. Anne says:

    Congrats to your team for having such a strong race! How fun that you already want to find another relay to do together! 🙂

    Is that the cloud factory looking all pretty in your early morning race site picture?

    I love doing races that are so close to home! That takes away a lot of my race day anxiety, since I tend to overthink logistics. It’s cool that the Rec Plex puts on so many races! (I actually remember seeing a few 5ks there too, while looking for races last fall). Also, I can’t get over the quality of those race pics! Looks like they have really good photographers.

    • kilax says:

      Thanks! That is the cloud factory!

      That is one of the things I used to love about the Frosty Footrace! It’s nice to know a race is close and to be familiar with the area! I will have to check out a 5K at the RecPlex at some point.

      I feel really grateful they took such great pics, had them up that night, and that they were “free”! 🙂

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