This is a great race for a beginner, or any triathlete, because of the beautiful venue, the low key and fun atmosphere, and a great post-race set up. I really enjoyed my experience from start to finish.
My busy Saturday left me dreading getting up at 5:45 AM to race after all the driving around Tampa, visiting friends and family, and eating too much party food. There was something inside of me that wanted to stay and have fun at the house party and go out later with friends…I wanted a normal Saturday night.
When the alarm clock rang, that feeling left me and was replaced by my usual pre-race jitters. The Dunedin Triathlon took place at Honeymoon Island, which is a gorgeous beach north of Clearwater. The music and enthusiastic race director set the vibe before the race start. When we walked to the start line, I realized just how far we would be coming out of the swim from the transition area. Maybe a quarter mile or more on powdered sand (Yipee! My favorite).
The swim was short and fast with a nice current going with us. One girl shot out ahead of me at the beginning only to fade back. Another passed me right as we were coming out of the water but I quickly passed her on the looooooong run back to transition. It’s hard to believe I was racing on this beautiful beach. At this point I was in the lead for women.
Two miles into the bike, one female flew past me in a hot pink suit and an awesome bike set up. It wasn’t until the second female passed me that I started to pick up speed and re-focus on the race. My mind sometimes wanders into la la land when my legs feel weak on the bike. The actual bike course was really simple, just two 6 mile out-and-back loops. The second lap got really congested with most of the athletes on the course.
The run was by far my favorite portion of this race. The majority of the run took place on Honeymoon Island’s nature trail through pine trees that is quite serene and beautiful. Even though the run was mostly off road (meaning a slower run), the shade provided a small escape from the Florida heat. My only complaint for the race course (besides the powdered sand…bleh!) was getting lost after I came out of the trail since there wasn’t a volunteer at that particular point. There were, however, volunteers standing at every other possible place we needed directions.
After the race, we had plenty of food and free beer from Dunedin Brewery. My choice at 8:30 in the morning was their Red Head Red Ale. I don’t drink much but there is something about a cold beer after a hard race or workout. I am loving this new post-race beer trend; too bad I didn’t think to bring my new Das Boot. 😉
I found the overall female winner and started asking about the team she trained with, The Tampa Bay TriGals. This race made me crave training with a team and especially one that wears a hot pink uniform! More on finding a team later…
We spent a few hours waiting around for awards with the USF TriBulls. It was fun getting to know new triathletes and sharing race experiences. All-in-all, a great way to spend my Sunday morning before being holed up writing a drastically postponed research paper.
Clarification, I graduated from University of Central Florida with my first degree and am now currently enrolled at University of South Florida working on my Bachelors in Nursing. I will forever be a Knight at heart but am proud to say I’m a Bull nurse too 🙂
1st in 25-29 Age Group, 5th Female Overall
400 m Swim: 8:56 (including the long run through sand)
12 mile Bike: 34: 04 (21.1 mph)
3.1 mile Run: 21:47 (7:00 min/mile)
Total Time: 1:06:33
This was a really fun race and like I said before, it’s really great for people who are considering their first triathlon.