2024 St. Anthony’s Race Report

a male and female triathlete with medals

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First race of the 2024 season! Last weekend, we headed south to St. Petersburg, Florida for St. Anthony’s Triathlon. Matt and I used to live in the area, and we’ve done this race before, so it felt like going back home. 

We both signed up for the Olympic distance, so 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. The race is located at Vinoy Park on the bay next to the pier. The water is fairly warm this time of year and the wind often causes choppy conditions.

We didn’t know how choppy until we received an email at 8 pm the night before telling us our race would be a bit different…

A group of triathletes at the swim start

Race Morning

After looking at the weather for race day, we were expecting 12-15 mph winds at least on race morning. As a result, the Olympic distance swim would be shortened to 750 yards due to safety concerns. Matt wasn’t too broken up about this, but I would’ve liked a longer swim.

Because we stayed at Matt’s dad’s house 45 minutes away, we had a 3:30 am wake up call, which is always lots of fun. Parking is hard to find in St. Pete, so we opted for the parking garage and walked our bikes to transition by 5:15 am.

After I set up transition, I always walk through the flow from swim in to bike out and bike in to run out. I count transition racks and look for markers that will help me find my spot easily. Luckily we were next to a large tree, so that was convenient. 

We ran into a few Rev Tri Coaching friends, put on our wetsuits, and headed down to the swim start around 6:25. The race starts at 6:50, but there’s a pro wave and then a few specialty waves before the age groupers start. The wind was whipping across the bay causing a lot of chop and whitecaps, but the sunrise was spectacular!

A triathlon swim


The swim starts from the beach and the water is shallow, so you have to run in about 100 yards before it gets deep enough that you can swim. This causes a backup, so there was a lot of traffic around the first few buoys.

I don’t mind swimming in rough water, so I thought it was fun! But the swim felt so short. By the time I got into a groove, we’d already rounded the last buoy and headed back to shore. That meant another 100 yard jog in the water to get back up to the sand and then a very long run to transition. My T1 was 6:19.

I was excited to see Matt when we got to transition! We did a quick T1 and headed out on the bike course.

A female triathlete on a bike


I wrote a post last week about how we always practice transitions ahead of a race, and someone asked me why we don’t do a flying mount. The reason is that Matt and I prefer cycling shoes for better power transfer. You really need triathlon shoes with a Velcro to justify having your shoes attached to your bike. We’ve experimented with it, and it just takes too long with cycling shoes. Too high of risk for little reward. 

Also, for a 6-mile run, we wear socks. Typically, they go on in T1, instead of T2, so that does take a little extra time. But if you practice, you can do it quickly! My T1 was the second fastest in my AG and I put on socks, shoes, and did a regular mount, so do whatever works best for you. I know I passed a bunch of guys out of T1 who were trying to play pro on those cobbles but couldn’t figure out how to get into their shoes… 

The bike was great! It’s a flat, fast course, but there are about 20 different turns so it’s pretty technical. Also, it goes through town, so the road surface isn’t great and most of the potholes and cracks aren’t marked. 

If you haven’t done St. Anthony’s before, it’s kind of like a mini-Ironman in scale. There were 3,000 athletes registered. This race also draws a lot of beginners, and for some it’s their first triathlon. That’s great! But it’s something to keep in mind on the bike course, because you will run across a lot of people who don’t have much cycling experience. 

a female triathlete on the bike

They don’t know that you’re supposed to ride on the right and pass on the left, that drafting isn’t allowed, how to hold your line through a turn, or how to go through an aid station safely. This causes some of the more experienced athletes to get frustrated, so they shoot gaps, pass aggressively, or yell at people.

While all athletes should know the rules (even beginners) a race isn’t the time to try to educate someone. I try to focus on my own race and maneuver around people the best I can so I stay safe.

Due to the shortened swim, the bike turned into a legit crit race with people riding 3-5 deep, blocking lanes, and huge packs. It got a bit sketchy, but I was pleased to be able to hold my power and heart rate in the right range, and it felt pretty easy to maintain.

It never felt like I was overextending, so much so that I considered that maybe I should’ve ridden a bit harder. But we’d talked ahead of time with our coaches about backing off the bike just a bit, because we had plans for the run.

Matt got a big bike PR! He was very excited for his first race back after a bike accident during a group ride 7 months ago.

A female triathlete running in a triathlon


The first mile of the run felt like crap- slow and sluggish. But the plan was to start out easy the first mile and negative split, so I stayed relaxed. By mile 2, I felt a lot better and was able to push. 

I grab ice and put it in my sports bra at every aid station. I also wear an Omius cooling headband, so I dump water on my head to keep it activated. 

Since I’ve started carrying my own nutrition for the run, I wear a race belt from Naked that has a place to attach my bib number and space to carry an 11 oz. bottle and a few gels. 

By mile 4-5, I didn’t quite have the pop to keep ticking the pace down, and given where my heart rate was, I didn’t feel I could push it too much more. That’s about all I had for the day, so I just settled in there. Then, once I hit the last straight away off the bridge, I started to pick it up and actually got up to my 10K pace for the last few minutes, so that was a great sign. 

Honestly, I was just happy the run didn’t hurt! We had to take some time off from running in April, because of a shin split, so I ended up missing the 10K I’d been training for. It was frustrating, because we’d done a lot of specific work in the months leading up to it.

But with this race on the horizon it was more important to take time off to let it heal so we could start building back slowly and then get to running with pace again. The week of the race I was able to do a few half mile efforts, but that was it, so I’m pretty happy with what I was able to put out! Very glad everything is healed and we can start building up speed again. 

Matt nailed his run exactly as he’d planned and got a PR. He doesn’t feel like he’s 100% back yet, but this was an excellent sign that he could push pace and do it without any pain. 

A female triathlete on a podium


Matt placed 20th of 90, which is amazing for such a deep division, and he got a bike and run PR! I placed 5th of 40 and got a bike PR as well.

We had 16 athletes from our local tri club come to race, 8 from our coaching group, and everyone did great! This was my first time wearing our new club kit, and it’s amazing. Matt and I were on the committee that helped design it, and I think it turned out really cool.

Check out the repeating bird pattern that’s a replica of our logo. (Matt’s idea). Our crew was able to snag a few podium finishes and several people had big PRs.

Some of our pro buddies, Jason West and Grace Alexander, stopped by the team tent after the race to chat. It’s always fun to get to race alongside professional athletes and get to hear about their experiences.

Although Jason got a flat just 3 miles from T2 and rode in on his rim, he still clocked a sub-30 minutes 10K, which was a personal best for him. I literally have no concept of what that pace that is, so I had to ask him. It’s crazy fast! Grace had a PR day as well and ended up 7th as she heads to Chattanooga 70.3 next- one of our favorite races. 

I write a race report after every triathlon I do, no matter the distance. Sure I record all the fun details like pace, heart rate, power numbers, and results, but I also include notes about what I ate that morning, how I felt during each discipline, what my RPE was, and what I would like to do differently next time.

I feel like I learn something at every race and writing a race report is just a way to organize my thoughts and do a little post-race reflection. It’s also something I share with my coaches. We typically have a pre-race call and a post-race call to talk about reasonable expectations, make a plan, and how we can execute it.

They had 8 athletes at this race, and I’m not quite sure how they manage all of us so well! All of us are as prepared as we can be going in, and then it’s up to us to execute the plan they lay out.

Typically nobody ever gets to read the race reports (except for them) but now that I have a blog, you do too!

happy triathletes at a race finish

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