race report // lake waconia triathlon


Although the Lake Waconia Triathlon was on my calendar this year, I completely spaced it and signed up the last possible day. I even debated signing up at all, but knew open water swimming and transition practice alone would be worth it. So, Nick and I were up and at ’em early (4:30a) for another typical race morning: Pack last minute gear, eat breakfast (double shot espresso with coconut milk and gluten-free PB+honey toast), load the bikes, braid my hair and hit the road. Pre-race jitters started as soon as we were in the car.


We arrived plenty early for the 8:30a race so we could get a transition spot near bike and run out. We went through the usual set-up (unpack gear, attach race numbers, body markings, etc.) and found friends and former P2 teammates Sarah + Chris (they race with Pearl Izumi). Race warm-up was a quick bike to work out any gear kinks and a one-mile run, both done on the race course. Pre-race food was a mushed banana from my bag.



Swim // 0.5 miles, 18:47, 2:08/100

I was anxious about the swim all morning. Butterflies, jitters and holy-do-the-buoys-look-farther-than-a-half-mile-total. A time trial start, we lined up by number (I was 265), and in a matter of minutes, I was running into the water. It started out ok, but maybe 100 yards in, goggles completely fogged, it went downhill. My pre-race anxiety flared its ugly head, and I could not calm myself down. Not even my mantras be present or just keep swimming worked. So, I sidestroked. Almost the entire swim. Whaaaa?!! Every 100 yards or so I’d attempt freestyle again, but after 10 strokes, panic mode would set in, so it was back to the trusty sidestroke. Ugh. Self doubt even creeped in… if I was borderline freak out on this should-be-simple half-mile swim, how the heck am I gonna swim 2.4 miles at Ironman Canada?! Nonetheless, I made it out of the water (I stood up far too far from shore), super irritated at myself, but done and more than ready to bike.


T1 // 2:18

Like at Liberty 70.3, I could not get my (borrowed) wetsuit off. Darn thing once again caught on my ankle timing chip, so I had to sit down to wrestle with it. So frustrating. Once it was finally off, shoes and helmet were on, and I was biking. (I was racked near all the elites, which is why there are zero bikes in transition.)


Bike // 20 miles, 59:24, 20.1 mph average

After my less than stellar sidestroke, I had some work to do on the bike. My heart rate was 161 bpm right off the bat thanks to cemetery hill (and subsequent rollers) about a half-mile in. It finally calmed down to around 150 around mile five, where it hovered the rest of the bike. Unlike Liberty, the bike was fun today, and I enjoyed every mile in the saddle. There were plenty of rollers (about 650 feet of climbing), but nothing serious enough to require the small chain ring. I passed a lot of people (and men in their 40s), so that was fun.

Bike nutrition: I had a vanilla bean Gu (love chocolate outrage and really need to find salted caramel!) around mile eight and a bottle of pineapple Skratch Labs.

T2 // 1:22

Bike racked, helmet off, shoes swapped, and visor and bib number on.

Run // 4 miles, 29:03, 7:15 pace

The more I do it, the more I love running off the bike. I almost always have a stronger + faster run; and, today was probably the best so far. I felt good from my first stride, even on cemetery hill a half-mile in (I was a bit worried, too, because my stomach had been wonky much of the morning leading up to the race… I should know better than to have a pre-race dinner of pulled pork… it never sits well). And, the momentum continued on the rollers through downtown Waconia. A four-mile out-and-back, I saw Nick just after the first hill (he was crushing it! Sixteenth overall!) and then saw friends Chris and Jen, who both had rock star races! Sarah was just ahead of me in T2, and I caught her around mile one (she looked awesome and is going to rock Nationals later this month!), where my Garmin beeped 7:38. Happy about it, I told myself to settle in, get comfortable with the uncomfortable and see just how hard I could push myself the last three miles. Ahh, and such a good hurt! My splits: 7:15, 7:16 and 6:38… where did that come from?!!

Run nutrition: A few swigs of water.




Official results // 1:51:07, 4th AG, 25th female 

I didn’t have any expectations for this race, other than to finish and have fun. Subpar swim aside, I’m pleased with it, especially given it’s one of the most competitive triathlons in Minnesota.

And, once again, most comfortable and cutest kit out there thanks to SOAS Racing! Loving the team kits this year! They’re making their way to Minnesota, too… saw a pink peacock and green gingham on the course 🙂

Lessons learned
  • Just keep swimming. Waves never hurt anyone. You will not drown.
  • Smile. Because it makes the hurt a bit more bearable.
  • Don’t be afraid to hurt. Pain is temporary, and it’s fun to test your limits.
  • Thank the volunteers. Because they’re awesome and don’t have to be there.

We hung around until the end, watching awards, chatting with friends and chowing on some post-race food (watermelon is the BEST after a race!). Glad we did, too, because Chris won the Gear West gear bag filled with $625 worth of tri gear!

All in all, a fantastic day for everyone… congrats! So, so proud of Nick, too… he gets stronger and stronger, and I cannot wait to see how he does at Ironman Canada!



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  • Reply Julia 07/05/2013 at 8:00 pm

    I Love Waconia, its one of the hardest shorter courses out there. The swim is always rough:) Its a big lake! I have a few SOAS kits and wore the bottoms at IM Wisconsin last year, love them! You will be fine for Canada, I know you will have many more freak out moments but Joe will get you ready just trust his plan!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:40 pm

      Glad you like your SOAS bottoms! Most comfortable shorts I’ve worn. If I can get past the swim, I’ll be just fine 🙂 Congrats on a great race at Waconia!

  • Reply Jesse - Questionably Texan 07/06/2013 at 8:20 am

    Walking away with $625 worth of new gear at the end of a race would be nice! Congrats on finishing 4th despite the swim portion not going as well as you wanted. I have never thought about having to pull the wetsuit off over a timing chip. Given how hard of a time I have getting my wetsuit off over my ankles on a good day, I’m pretty certain mine would get caught and cause me issues.

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:41 pm

      It sure would, right?! Lucky guy.

      Thank you! Agreed… they’re difficult to get off even without an ankle timing chip! Happy swimming 🙂

  • Reply vardotrichic 07/06/2013 at 9:31 am

    Congratulations on a successful finish!! I’m proud of you for not giving up on the swim…just remember to relax and breathe 😉 It is always fun to push your limits from time to time and see what you’re made of!! Nice work!!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:42 pm

      Thanks so much! I’ve been working on relaxing and breathing during recent open water swims, so that should help!

  • Reply hyedi 07/06/2013 at 9:48 am

    Congratulations, friend — you rocked this race! And WOW, a sub-7:00 mile on the run? That’s amazing!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you, dear! It was a good run day 🙂

  • Reply Candice 07/06/2013 at 2:00 pm

    Just keep swimming is one of my faves. “This too shall pass” and “ebb and flow” affirmations are so powerful!

    congrats on another race Erin! your beaming in your pics. Triathalons looks good on you!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:43 pm

      Ooo… I love those mantras, too! Thanks for sharing, Candice!

      Awww… thank you! I only wish I would have started them sooner 🙂

  • Reply Katie T. 07/08/2013 at 3:57 pm

    Congrats, you had a great race! You are really strong off the bike; I suspect you will be passing people right and left at the end of Ironman Canada.

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Katie! There have been many, many bricks this year to prep for that, so I hope so 😉

  • Reply Luv What You Do 07/08/2013 at 5:48 pm

    I love your lessons learned! Looks like a really fun race! Way to go!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:44 pm

      There are different takeaways at every race, right?! Always something to learn. Thank you!

  • Reply Carrisa 07/10/2013 at 8:33 am

    Way to bring it home on that run!

    • Reply erin 07/24/2013 at 5:44 pm

      Thank you, Carrisa!

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