2012/07/15 – Shadow Creek Ranch Triathlon


  • Shadow Creek Ranch, Pearland Texas

What is it?

  • 500 meter swim
  • 16 mile bike
  • 3.2 mile run


  • Male 35-39

Official Results

  • Did Not Finish (DNF)


This will have been my first race since I did Capt’n Karl’s trail run last year in September or August or whenever that was. It will have been my first multisport activity, since Ironman Canada 2010. Which also makes it my second ever triathlon. So, I was kind of excited to be able to get back in the racing game.

It had been raining a lot in the Houston area, and as such, the race directors had to make changes to the plans of where we were to park. Instead of parking in a big empty field like we did last year (when I volunteered) we were to park on the streets in and around the neighborhood. This would complicate things quite a bit. Better to leave that much earlier and get there earlier so that we don’t end up walking 5 miles to TA from where we park. We left the house at 4:45am, and got down there around 5:30. Just in time, as the line up of people started to build up pretty long behind us. We got a not too horrible spot all things considered.

We then make our way to the transition area (TA) so we can get about setting things up. I go looking for where I’m suppose to be, and I can’t find it, then realize that they have split TA into two and I was in the second one, which was furthest away, meaning I will have to run through the first TA area to get to mine. No real problem, just kind of funky setup I think. I am lucky enough to be on the very end of the rack. Meaning I get a little extra space to setup my gear, and so I make use of it!

After getting things setup, go around talking to some other people and then start walking over to the swim start. While standing around waiting, I managed to find some fire ants, the hard way. Spent the next 15-20 minutes constantly kicking at my feet trying to get them off, and constantly worrying that there were more on me. Luckily I’m not allergic to them, they are just painful first bites.

Finally it’s time for my wave to get into the water. So, down I go. The water is quite murky and warm, but not altogether bad. I got out to the start line, and started to tread water out there kind of to be warming up the muscles and also to be close to the start when it’s time. We had about two minutes to wait at this point.

The gun goes off! I hit the button on my watch to start it up. I realize I hit the wrong button, and so have to look at it and get it going. Lesson number 01: Start the watch before the race starts a couple of seconds so that I can concentrate on actually racing and not the silly watch. Right after that, I get an upper cut to my jaw. I actually black out and see stars for a fraction of a second and it was enough to throw me completely off my swim. The rest of the swim I was pretty much swimming vertically, instead of horizontally and it was a full on struggle. I could not find my breathing pattern, I could not get myself horizontal. I could not get anything together at all. It was a rough swim for me for sure. But, towards the end I was finally getting my wits about me, just in time to exit the water. Oh well, out I went and ran across TA, to my spot.

This was going to be one of the areas I was worried about in the race. The socks I use are a bit tight, which is great as it eliminates hot spots on the feet and no blisters form. But because of that, they are hard to put on when the feet are wet. I dry my feet on a towel, and the first sock just slides on no problem. Great! This is going better than I thought for sure! Then the second one went on as well with little problem, aside form the fact I put it on sideways, but quickly corrected it and put my feet into my shoes, stood up put my jersey. Next I grabbed the gloves and glasses out of my helmet, toss the helmet on my head and do it up. Grab the bike and start running out of TA. I then notice that I had put my race belt with my number on the handle bar. Crap! Forgot to put it on, oh well, will do that on the bike and grab it with my hand full of gloves and glasses.

Get out of TA, and hop on the bike, still trying to juggle the stuff in my hands, finally I think to put the gloves into my jersey pocket. Next on go the glasses. And finally I can put the race belt on and I am set to go. Lesson number 02: No bike gloves for sprints. Once they were in my pocket I kept them there to see if they would even be needed, and they were not.

I start spinning out my legs trying to wake them up and I’m feeling not too bad. I start passing a couple of people and some people pass me. The ones that passed me that were on full on fancy time trial/triathlon bikes, they passed me and I never saw them again. The people that passed me on regular road bikes, I would end up passing them again shortly down the road.

The bike was two 8 mile loops. Towards the end of the first loop, I was feeling quite good on the bike and ready to ramp it up. So, I did start to speed up, and then when I passed by TA, I started to get up and sprint a little bit to try to get ahead of some of the people that were just coming on to the course and to find a new rhythm and speed that’s faster than what I was doing.

And after settling down there ready to get going, my hamstring started to tighten up on me around mile 9. The problem with this is, about a month ago, I had pulled my hamstring. So, I am trying to be cautious with it so I don’t do something stupid and cause it more problems while I try to get it back to 100% healthy. Several thoughts go through my mind at this point. One, do I just keep going and push through this. Two, do I ease off and finish the bike leg. Three, do I stop all together and walk off the course?

I decided on option two. I eased back and finished off the bike. Several times though my leg started to feel better and I wondered if I should push it again. But, ultimately decided to stay the course and just easy spin and not push too hard and let my leg be happy. I finished off the bike leg and call it quits and did not start the run leg of the race. DNF.


Pictures all borrowed from Dave Shaw (my coach) who was out there taking a billion pictures of everyone.

Final Thoughts

This was a race I got a free entry for because I volunteered last year. I didn’t have anything really riding on it, since it was a freebie. But, I still wanted to go out and see what I could do in it as it was my second attempt at a triathlon, and my first sprint tri ever. I was also dealing with this hamstring the last month or so as well, and didn’t want to do anything stupid to strain it again.

At the time I think I was making the correct decision to quit the race when I did. I didn’t want to strain the leg. I thought I was being smart. I felt good with stopping at that point.

The Next Day …

My jaw still a bit bothered. I have no idea what happened in that swim, but I was eating my almonds and that was slightly painful to do so. Definitely need a hockey mask or something for next time!

The more I have been thinking about this race the more I question if I did the correct thing and drop out of the race. Was my leg really that tight that I shouldn’t have done anything? Should I maybe have gone out? Lori, said something to me after the race that really got me thinking about it all. “Some times you are too much in your own head.” This is a very valid statement. I am too much in my own head, thinking too much about these things.

I’ve been thinking about my lessons learned as well. Definitely need to start my watch before the race start. This way I can better protect myself by getting moving right at the gun. The picture of me above shows me looking at my watch setting it. Look at all those people that were around me but are quite a bit ahead of me now. Yeah. No more watch staring at the gun.

No bike gloves. I definitely don’t need them for a sprint. Or even shortish rides in general. Less is more right? Why worry about extra gear that takes more time to put on and take off when seconds count? Definitely won’t be worrying about gloves in the future or even other little things. If it’s not really mandatory gear, then it won’t be in my TA. This brings up the question of to race in socks or not. That was one of my worries about taking time in TA, was the socks. Especially putting wet feet into socks. Or if it’s raining, the socks will be wet too and make it even hard to use. I will be talking to my coach about this one at some point to see what his thoughts are on it, and how best to train with or without socks for the future.

Some other things after talking with my coach that I knew, but didn’t do, like placing myself at the start of the swim. And how I was riding my bike. The sprinting past TA to get around the people there, not such great idea after it is all said and done.

All in all, it was an over all good learning experience for me, and I’m looking forward to tackling my next one!



2 comments to 2012/07/15 – Shadow Creek Ranch Triathlon

  • I’ve made the mistake of pushing through something like that to have it only get much worse. If this was an IM or other big race where you’d been training super hard for months & months, then I say push it, but not with this one. I say it was better to be safe than sorry. I’ve also learned that for the swim, it’s best to position yourself on the far right. If you’re a fast swimmer, be up front & to the right, but if not, go to the back to avoid receiving any more upper cuts (that’s where you’ll find me).

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>