Sandman Triathlon 2015: Race Report

I’m writing this report to give you a better idea of what the Sandman Triathlon is like. I hope it helps you decide if you want to participate next year!

The race is held in late November, and the weather can be unpredictable. Last year, it was rainy and foggy when we started at 6:30am, but by the time we finished at 9:00am, the sun had come out and it turned out to be a beautiful day. The weather was also sunny and warm when I raced in 2015, so it’s hard to predict what will happen on race day.

Swim & Bike

The swim is .93 miles through Lake Washington from Seward Park Beach to Madison Park Beach. It’s not very deep (maybe 4-5 feet), so even though I am an experienced swimmer, my feet were still scraping against the bottom at times during my first lap of swimming.

The bike course goes along Lake Washington Boulevard from Seward Park Beach to Madison Park Beach before turning around and heading back again; then it heads north on NE 95th Street until it hits NE Ravenna Boulevard where it turns around again before heading south on Ravenna Boulevard towards Seward.

The Sandman Triathlon is an annual event

The Sandman Triathlon is an annual event that takes place in Cary, North Carolina every year in early May. This year, the event took place on May 1st and I was able to participate for the first time. It consisted of a 1.5 mile swim, a 25 mile bike ride, and a 5k run. I had never done anything like this before so it was really exciting to get involved!

The swimming portion of the race was held at Lake Crabtree County Park, which is about 20 minutes away from where I live. We showed up around 4:45am to check in and get ready for the race start at 6am. They gave us our timing chips, which we had to wear throughout all three events (although they were removed during the run). They also gave us numbers corresponding with our gender/age group (mine was #1054) as well as a shirt that said “Sandman Triathlon” on it. We were told that we would be starting on a dock near where we parked our cars and could wait there until our wave went off at 6am sharp (there were multiple waves).

My personal experience

The Sandman Triathlon was my first time participating in a triathlon, and I was nervous as heck. The course itself was very well-organized, with plenty of volunteers and clear signage to help us find our way around the course. The swim portion of the race took place in open water and was a bit choppy due to high winds, but overall it was a good experience—especially since there were so many people around to keep me safe!

The bike portion was by far my favorite part of the race. It’s been a long time since I’ve ridden on a bike, and it felt amazing to be back on two wheels again. After about 15 miles, though, my legs started screaming at me from all that pedaling!

The run portion wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be—but then again, we were running on sand instead of pavement. That made for quite an interesting experience: getting stuck in soft sand every few steps! But seriously: how cool is it that this race takes place on an actual beach? And how lucky are we that these guys work so hard to make sure we have fun while also competing?

How did I manage the swimming part?

I’ll start this by saying that I’ve never been a huge swimmer. I’d like to think of myself as a good runner, but I’m not the most graceful in the water.

That said, I was excited to see how my swim skills would fare in a triathlon setting.

I arrived at the beach ready to go and was happy to see that there were lots of people there! The first thing we did was get our wave assignments so we knew when we would be in the water. When it was time for us to get in, there were two waves: one for those who had swum in an open-water event before and one for those who hadn’t.

The swim itself went okay—but not great. It was really choppy on the water due to how close we were to shore, so it made it difficult for me to keep my bearings straight and stay on course. But all things considered, I’m happy with how it went!