Well, this race was breaking new ground for me. I had never done a reverse triathlon. Not knowing what to expect, I was pretty upbeat about the new opportunity to race the Telos Timp Triathlon on April 14, 2012.
Race morning was frightful. I woke up around 4:30am to tons of rain; things were not looking good. I prepared myself for the worst (race being canceled) and hoped for the best (slight drizzle for the race). Well, it turned out even better. As I left for the Orem Fitness Center, the rain began to stop. By the time I arrived at 6:30, the rain was gone. Awesome!
Packet pickup was scheduled for the morning of the race from 6-7:30 am. I picked up all my stuff and went to set up transition. One of the benefits of a run, bike, swim order is that transitions should be lightning fast. We had a race briefing about 10 minutes before starting and then headed to the starting line. Since the race started with the run, I worried about getting stuck in a big group of people, so I headed to the front of the pack. As the race started, it was sheer madness; fortunately I escaped with a pack of about 10 runners at the front. We started off quick and ran the first mile at about a 6:20 mile pace. The 2nd mile of the run has some uphill & we saw more runners drop back- 6:38 mile pace. The last mile seemed to be the toughest...as you head towards the transition area, with still about ¾ of a mile to go. You have to run around a track before heading back to the transition area... done. Finished the run—averaged a little over a 6:30 min/mi.
Transition from run to bike was simple; throw on bike shoes, helmet (tough for me as I tried to do it with gloves on) and off I went.
Did I mention this race has a great bike course? The course was very well marked. The bike course starts off flat and then picks up speed as you head towards UVU. Everything is smooth sailing until then. It was not bad maneuvering through the roads on campus until the 2nd loop, when it was congested. The bike course has a couple of decent hills and you hit both within a half mile. Not long hills, but some good grade to them. Second loop was more of the same, just more congested.
Transition from bike to swim was fast; take helmet, shoes off and go. One problem, this transition was new to me & I ended up bringing along my race belt, heart rate monitor, watch & socks—throwing them aside as I went.
The swim was a mess for me. First of all, the pool was super warm. In addition to that, I was worn out. It seemed to be 1000 degrees in there & the 50 meter lanes seemed to be 100 meters or longer each. Nevertheless, the swim was not actually long and was shortly over.
The race had some great post-race snacks—trail mix, bagels, oranges, bananas, water and Swedish fish. Did I mention that the support crew for the race was fantastic... led by many from TriEdge?
The award ceremony and raffles were great as we basked in the nice warm sun (it rained later in the day). All in all, it turned out to be a great race—very well organized and lots of fun! I would give a very strong recommendation for all to give it a tri as it is a great way to start the season off!
I first heard about Road ID shortly after my first triathlon in 2009. I knew it was a great idea, and every time I was out on the road by myself I thought about the wisdom of wearing one. But, being an accomplished procrastinator, I just never got around to ordering one. Road ID is one of those things you hope you'll never need, but if you do need it, it's invaluable. Unfortunately, there came a time when I needed one.
It was July of last year at the Echo Triathlon in Coalville, UT. I had done a few sprint distance tri's earlier in the season and was ready for my first olympic distance race of the year. It was a beautiful day, an awesome venue (Echo is one of my favorite races), and preparations that morning had gone smoothly. My swim was okay, not my best, but I got through it and was enjoying a nice, scenic, low-traffic bike ride. I made it to the olympic distance turn around, headed back and passed the turn around for the sprint distance. I was on the home stretch riding slightly downhill in my aero bars holding about 24mph. And then it hit me, "I have to pee!" I'd never had to pee in the middle of a race before, so I started the great debate- should I just run with a full bladder or will I run faster if stop first? (And NO, I did NOT consider going on the bike as some of you would have. Looking back I am SO glad I didn't do THAT!) "How much time is this going to take? Where are the porta-potties in relation to the transition area?" That's the last thing I remember thinking.
I have no memory of my front tire hitting a pot hole (as I was later told that I did), I don't remember flying over my handlebars, hitting head first and sliding across the pavement. In the days that followed I got concerned emails from a few fellow triathletes who stopped to help me, but I don't remember any of that either.
The next memory I have is hearing Jen Hamilton, who was also racing that day say, "Carriann, what happened?" It must have been hearing my name or a familiar voice that brought me back to consciousness. I remember sitting there looking around, unsure how to answer her, and noticing several pools of blood around me. There were people riding by on bikes making inappropriate comments about my condition, but I had no idea what had happened to me.
As I sat there unable to move much, waiting for the ambulance, Jen and I laughed at my cracked helmet and my concern about getting blood on her water bottle since my fingertips were pretty shreaded. Even though I'd been wearing a helmet, I had managed to put a decent gash in my head. The road rash was pretty much head to toe on my right side, the more severe ones being on my knee, forearm and shoulder. I kept hearing comments about how awful my arm looked. All I could see was the road rash & I didn't think it was that bad. Thankfully I was unable to see the slice on the underside that went all the way to the bone.
I pleaded with Jen NOT to call my husband. Not that she could have anyway because there was no way I could have come up with the correct numbers at the moment. Road ID would have been really helpful in this situation. The ambulance seemed to take an unusually long time to get to us. It wasn't until after the ambulance came and Jen caught a ride back to the transition area that she was able to find my phone and go against my wishes (as she should have) by calling my husband. She also found my inhaler at transition. What if I had needed that? No one out there on the side of the road even knew I had one, let alone what drug was in it.
In the ambulance, they asked me all sorts of questions that Road ID could have answered more accurately than I did at the time. It took the billing department over 6 months to decifer my contact information. I had given them all the right numbers, but not at all in the correct order. My house number, for instance is 1798 and I had given them 1897. It was the same story with phone numbers. The street name they had written down was obviously a slurred version of our actual address.
Somehow I came away without any broken bones. Just a bunch of stitches, a pretty good concussion and, as I later discovered, a labral tear in my left hip caused by the bike flying around with my foot still attached. It could have been a lot worse! And it could have been a lot better had I been wearing a Road ID to convey all the information that was needed in this situation. These things can happen so quickly! No one plans on it. If I had, I would have cleaned my house before the race that day because I was stuck in bed for nearly 2 weeks following the accident. You owe it to yourself and your family to be armed with all the information necessary in the event of an emergency. I've ordered my Road ID & I won't be training without it any more.
For more information about Road ID products go to: www.roadid.com
Carrianne Harlan is a wife, mother and avid triathlete living in Draper, Utah. She is a member of the CK Elite Racing Team with her eyes set on Age Group Nationals this year in Vermont. As a former competitive gymnast, Carrianne knows how to work hard and push through the pain; we're sure glad she's still around to kick our trash!