Top Gun Triathlon

Nothing compares to racing your heart out and leaving everything on the course.  This is one reason I love sprint triathlons.  I love not having to hold back or pace myself.  I also love that no matter how busy my schedule is I can still fit in the necessary training to have a good sprint tri and the prices are more affordable for my current budget Smile.

There have only been a handful of races I’ve done more than once because I’m still relatively “new” to the sport and I moved around a lot for two years.  Top Gun is one of my repeats and will probably remain on my race calendar because it’s simply a good race.  There’s more competition than the average local race, Fort De Soto Park is beautiful, and Florida Race Place Magazine consistently puts on a great event.

After my race last weekend at the Siesta Beach Olympic Triathlon (race report here), I was ready to redeem my run.  For the past few weeks, I have been hitting some more quality run workouts with other people.  Thanks Oldsmar Run Club!  Slowly I feel the speed coming back.

Race morning started out a little rushed because I perpetually miscalculate the time necessary to get out of my apartment, drive, unpack the car, etc.  One of those lovely bad habits I continually battle.  After cleaning my bike the day before, I somehow put the back tire on wrong and it popped off as I made my way to transition.  Yeah…that’s just great.  I hate my back wheel because I have yet to figure out an efficient way to put it back on my bike.  Fortunately, Outspokin Bicycles was a race sponsor and one of the mechanics helped me figure out I put the springs for the skewer on backwards.  For the record, I’m a genius. 

Warm-up…didn’t really happen.  I swam a few hundred yards.  Normally I like to get about 10 minutes of each sport in before a race with a few seconds of sprinting every minute or so.

I had only one goal for this race – to beat my time from last year (1:03:21).  Triathlons have so many variables that I have a hard time getting to focused on PRs (Personal Records).  Conditions are always different and distances are hardly exact.

Swim (400 meters)

The swim felt really crowded and hectic.  I spent almost the whole race trying to catch a girl from my wave and weaving in and out of the people from the waves ahead of us.  It was fun and short.  I only wished there was more than 400 meters.  I hopped out right behind the other girl in my wave.  I’d met her earlier that week at the Oldsmar Run Club and we said our good jobs as we ran into transition side-by-side.  Swim Tip: When you are coming into the finish on an open water swim, wait until your arm touches the ground before standing.  This will prevent you from standing up too early since it’s difficult to judge the water depth sometimes.

Total swim time: 6:11 which was better than my 6:59 from last year.  Hard to say I’ve truly improved on my swim though because waves and current probably account for the difference.

Bike (10 miles)

My transitions haven’t been as fast lately because I’ve been leaving my bike shoes off.  Normally, I leave them clipped in but after the announcer at the Florida 70.3 said we weren’t allowed to leave our bike shoes clipped in I haven’t figured out if this was a Ironman or USAT rule.  Apparently, somebody took down an entire bike rack because his bike shoes got caught.  Way to ruin it for the rest of us Smile

I was on a mission to keep above 20 mph and ideally 21 mph.  Ft De Soto is usually pretty windy so I was taking head winds into account.  I was pretty happy with my pace and only got passed by a few women, one being in my age group.  One time, somebody told me to race each sport separately and don’t save your energy.  I usually don’t follow that advice but today I did.  My heart rate must have been sky high the entire race and it felt awesome.  Go, go go!   Don’t let up!

Bike time + T1: 30:16 which is exactly the same as last year, to the second.  Last year my T1 was 3:11 and bike was 27:05.  Something happened with the timing system so we don’t have bike and run splits separated from transition. 

New tri top Smile  I love my UCF top but after an embarrassing wardrobe malfunction last week it has been put to rest.


Run (3.1 miles)

I was truly excited for the run.  After multiple beach 5Ks and the full 10K from last weeks Olympic, I was more than prepared for the sand run I normally dread at Ft De Soto.  Half the course is on the pavement and the other half is on a sanded trail.  With no watch, I couldn’t get my mile splits but I knew this run was going well.  I was determined.  I was on a mission to redeem myself to myself.  I passed a 60 year old woman a few hundred yards out of transition.  She had a nice pace going and I silently hoped I’d be her in 35 years.  Around mile 2 they passed out wet towels…glorious.  I don’t care that it was only a 5K.  Come down to Florida and run in July…even for 500 yards.  You’ll love anybody handing out a wet towel.

At this point a fellow triathlete came along side of me.  I huffed out, “Good job” and he replied, “I’ve been trying to catch up to you the whole race.”  A big smile crept across my face as a cramp developed in my side.  Not because it was an ego boost but because I knew we were going to finish the race pushing each other.  Camaraderie with a stranger.

He fell back and then would push back next to me.  He did this a few times and I finally said, “You’re going to finish the race with me.”  And we did just that.

Total T2 + Run time: 24:04 which I was definitely happy with considering last year on the the same course my run time alone was 25:00 (T2 was 1:08).   Take that sand.

Total Sprint Time: 1:00:50  1st in Age Group, 5th Female Overall.  I ❤ Sprints. 

Ready to put my feet in the ice bath (genius idea) and get more food, cause I’m done!

Wading pool    Oh yea

Glad to be done   IMG_2647

aero  Shay

Food, as usual, was awesome and I made sure to head straight for the food tent to miss the long line to stock up and head back cheer on my boyfriend and friends.  I met the woman I’d passed earlier at the finish line.  She learned how to swim 11 years earlier at age 49 and was preparing for Kona (Ironman World Championships).  Impressive on so many levels.

Nice podium for awards.  I’m loving more competition in this age group.  Great job ladies.


My boyfriend had a nice 3rd place finish with a 4 minute drop from last year.  He’s kind of awesome.

Boyfriend  award

Shay and Alvaro…friends since 9th grade.  Shay has the added honor of sharing May 20th as a birthday.  Smile

Waiting for awards

Next race coming up is the last Pier 60 5K beach run followed by the 4th race in the Central Florida Triathlon Series in Clermont, Florida.  Ready for some hills.  In a month, I’ll be racing at Age Group Sprint Triathlon Worlds in Beijing.  I’m beyond excited to be traveling to Asia and racing in my first international competition.

What races do you have coming up?  Are you focusing on shorter events or gearing up for something longer?

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7 Responses to Top Gun Triathlon

  1. An hour? That is so awesome. Nice work!

  2. Amy says:

    Congratulations!! Although I can’t ever fathom doing a full triathlon perhaps a sprint is in my future, that does mean learning to ride a bike first though :).
    I just finished my last planned race for this year so I am looking around for some more 🙂

    • Courtney says:

      A sprint is totally a full triathlon. And yes…I think learning how to ride a bike is a definite if you ever want to compete in a tri 🙂 Anything is possible though…I’ve taught a handful of mother’s how to float and swim this summer. Good luck with picking more races!

  3. I have a friend going to Beijing for that triathlon! That is so awesome!

  4. Wow – great job Courtney! How awesome that you’re going to Bejing to race?! An experience like that sounds unbelievably amazing. I’ve actually decided to give the Olympic distance a shot, even though my last sprint wasn’t so hot. I officially started my 10 week training program this week & will race on October 16th. I’m hoping I can find another sprint to do between now and then just to have another race under my belt going in to this one.

  5. Feerlessfood says:

    Nice work! Glad you could still ride this weekend! You and Alvardo will crush Beijing!

    Was the run as fun the Siesta Key beach run?

  6. Congratulations on the run! I just found your blog and I’m so excited to read about another Florida runner’s adventures! You’ll definitely be my source of inspiration as I start getting my butt in gear and training more fully!

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