Athlete Race Recap From The Clark Lake Triathlon

Podium Training Systems athlete Kari Waddington was in attendance at the Clark Lake triathlon in Brooklyn, Michigan this past weekend.  She's getting her final shake-out races under her belt as she gears up for Steelhead 70.3 in August.  Kari was kind enough to write up a race report for us......

The 27th Annual Clark Lake Triathlon.  A very generous 1/2 mile swim, 13.5 mile bike, 4.25 mile run around Clark Lake.  Love, love, love this event!  It's has had many incarnations over the last, nearly 3 decades:  anywhere from a 19-26 mile bike, 4-6 mile run with various start and finish points and a couple of sponsor changes before arriving at the current distances and its affiliation with Elite Endeavors Event Production Company.  With about 400 tri/duathletes and multiple wave start, 2011's version was, as usual, an enjoyable race for both veterans and first timers.  Jim and Joyce Donaldson of Elite Endeavors always put on a great, well-organized, well-supported, efficient race.  And hey, I certainly can't blame them for the mid-July heat greeting us on race morning last Sunday.  Boy was it steamy.

Needless to say, with a string of days in the 80s and 90s, the swim was a "no wetsuit" affair.  Not something this inefficient kicker likes to hear!  But when you've been tri-ing for awhile, you learn to go with the flow.  A good strategy, because as it turned out, the 1/2 mile swim turned out to be a bit longer.  As I was slogging through the last 200 yards, I thought of my brother, an avowed "non-swimmer" doing his longest open-water swim to date.  Fortunately he, and everyone else, got out of the water unscathed and on to the fun, gently rolling bike loop.

From my perspective, the bike was my favorite part.  My wave of "older" women, 35+, was the 4th wave of the morning, with two waves of males and another of duathletes starting before us.  This made for a steady stream of bodies on the course and provided ample motivation to keep the big ring churning.  As the tri-gods have been kind to me over the years, I tried to make sure I had an encouraging word for my fellow athletes as I passed them on the bike (did I mention the bike was my favorite part?).  I believe in Karma, and if I hold true to form, more often than not, I will see a few of them again on the run….

This year, for a change, I made a vow NOT to crash and burn on the run.  Since I invested in a Garmin Forerunner in the off season, I thought wearing that for the run would keep me honest.  My awesome coach Dave Burgess (shameless plug!) thought I should be running 7:30s for a race like this, so I needed a little accountability out there to keep me on track.  It was pretty hot out there by run time, but a relatively flat course and the many wonderful Clark Lake summer residents out with their hoses made it tolerable.  I managed to run pretty even splits of 7:31 over the 4.25 mile course (well, okay, it took a mad sprint to the finish to make that happen, but still…).

My only small gripe about the whole event was that the results posted called it a 4 mile run, not 4.25 as advertised on the website or verified by my GPS.  Yes, it was the same for everybody, which is to say, everyone was equally disappointed at their slow run splits!  So here's a little shout out to the Donaldsons:  Could ya' please fix that one little detail to satisfy our fragile little egos?!

But I digress….  All in all, it was a great day!  I was happy to meet my goals and managed to take home the title of first women's master triathlete, and was second overall woman (by 15 seconds....wish I'd have known that a mile sooner).  

Thanks, Dave, for the vote of confidence, and training plan.  Hoping to keep building on my fitness level over the next month toward a peak in August….  Happy racing everyone!

Congrats, Kari.  That's the 6th triathlon in a row (by my count) that she's finished on the podium.  Nicely done.  Speedwork at the track is Thursday, right?