Hard to believe that this was my 5th year competing in Trinona. I love Winona and its community, and that is what brings me back each year. Winona is a gorgeous city making it a great location for a triathlon. A few years ago the race was purchased by Lifetime Fitness, and while the race still has some local flair to it it’s just not the same as it was in the first couple years that I competed. Plus, the registration fee has greatly increased and yet it’s the same race it was. Ok, enough negative talk. Let’s talk about the race.
Packet pick-up, volunteers and the morning of the race- Packet pick-up the night before the race was a breeze as there were so many volunteers ready to help you. The morning of the race there were plenty of volunteers for body marking and helping you find your way through the chaos of people. I was participating in the sprint course which started after 8am, so I didn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn which was a huge bonus. Since this was my 21st race, setting up my stuff at transition area took me less than 5 minutes. I’ve gotten really good at bringing the bare minimum of equipment, and knowing exactly how I need my gear set up. I’ve even learned to keep a separate bag of all my swim gear (goggles, time chip, wet suit, swim cap, body glide, nutrition/fuel and Garmin) that I take with me and get ready outside of transition.
The Swim – Considering I did minimal swim training this spring I had a decent swim. I was about a minute behind my pace from last year, but I feel as if I dealt a bit more with traffic than in 2014. Trinona does a time-trial start, which means they let us start two (2) athletes at a time instead of the dreaded mass start of 30+ people.
As always, Lake Winona is the murkiest, smelliest lake I’ve had the pleasure of swimming in. A new feature of the lake this year was the after effect of swimmer’s itch. Have you heard of swimmer’s itch? If not, let me enlighten you. It’s a skin rash caused by the allergic reaction to parasites that burrow in our skin. The parasites are from waterfowl feces – and Lake Winona is rich in duck and goose poop. Fortunately, humans are not suitable hosts for these parasites and they die within a few days, but not without creating some nice itchy chiggers. I had minimal swimmer’s itch on an ankle and wrist. At first I thought they were really bad mosquito bites, but after reading some remarks on Facebook from my fellow Winona swimmers I realized that I had nasty duck poop parasites underneath my skin. I proceeded to freak out slightly and drive to the nearest drug store to get some extra-strength hydrocortisone cream. I read accounts from others who hadn’t worn a wetsuit at Trinona that had full body swimmer’s itch. Gross!
The Bike – I felt really great on the bike, I was only a couple minutes behind last year’s time. The weather forecast for the day had a lot of potential to rain, but fortunately it turned out to be great triathlon. Warm, but overcast for the majority of the morning so it didn’t get too hot until later morning. The road conditions were fairly dry, and the state patrol/city police and volunteers made it smooth sailing across the highways.
The Run – The run course is very flat, and goes along the bike path that wraps around Lake Winona. I had a great 5K run actually improving my time compared to last year. I credit my faster run time to the fact that I had fresh legs from minimal training prep for the race and yet having a lot of muscle memory from the previous 20 races I’ve done in the past six (6) years. I was able to finish strong in the last quarter mile, and felt really great post-race.
Post-race – Race participants get a lunch meal catered by Hy-Vee after the race that includes pulled pork sandwiches, pasta salad, chips and a cookie. They also had free beer – Michelob Ultra – in the beer tent. The hubby and I stayed for awards which dragged on for longer than what we wanted. They kept us captive as you had to be present to win the prize drawings – a paddle board (I really want a paddle board, but can’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on one) or a HED bike wheel set.
As with any race, I have to thank the volunteers. All volunteers for the weekend were organized by my very good friends at Live Well Winona, so major credit goes to them for their hard work and dedication to the Winona community. Also, big thanks to my hubby for taking photos and being my sherpa.