The 2018 St Anthony’s Triathlon Weekend was a huge success in so many ways. Held right in my “backyard,” St. Anthony’s triathlon has been called “One of the 10 Best Destination Triathlons,” and celebrated its 35th year in 2018.
At the 2018 St. Anthony’s Expo with my finisher’s medal.
The 2018 St. Anthony’s Triathlon Was A Success All The Way Around!
First off, the weather for the 2018 St. Anthony Triathlon Weekend was simply perfect. Cool evening breezes ushered in warm and sunny days, perfect for last-minute training tweaks, and shopping at all the vendor’s booths at the Expo. There were so many teaching clinics offered that any athlete could attend for free, presenting information on all-things triathlon, for ages ranging from children to senior racers, like myself.
I attended one of the three open water swim practices led by the incomparable swim coach Leo Briceno on Thursday evening. He informed us of several important things relating specifically to the St. Anthony”s Tri and then we all headed out to the water and swam the course we would be racing a few days later.
Day 1 of three open water practices during the St. Anthony’s Triathlon Weekend 2018 led by open water coach Leo Briceno.
The Expo opened Friday morning and athlete check-in began at noon so I headed down to the Vinoy Park Friday afternoon to check in and check it out! The athlete check-in process was well thought out and ran very smoothly thanks to all the dedicated volunteers. After I showed my picture identification and current USAT (United States Triathlon) membership, I was instructed where to go next in the huge tent by the wonderful volunteers who could answer any question a nervous participant could ask, to get my bib number, t-shirt, and the all-important participant wristband. Without that wristband, an athlete would not be permitted to participate. To make things easier, the wristband was secured around each athlete’s wrist while in the check-in tent, and a volunteer verified upon exiting it was indeed on the wrist of each athlete. Last stop in the process was receiving the timing chip, which would be wrapped around the participant’s ankle on race morning.
Athlete check-in tent. Here Maureen is receiving her timing chip to be worn on the ankle during the race.
Next, I headed to the Expo adjacent to the check-in tent. There was everything an athlete could ever want or need, especially any last minute necessities for the race, for their swim, biking, or running. Think goggles, swim caps, wetsuits, biking accessories, with several local bike shops there on hand to handle last minute bike repairs. Local running shops were present selling all things running: shoes, socks, running gear. There was food to purchase for nourishment and a massage tent for tending to the last minute ouchies! Yes, I snagged a few items for myself to remember the race!
The crowded and very popular Expo during the 2018 St. Anthony Triathlon Weekend.
Saturday was the day all athletes brought their bikes to the race venue and checked them into the transition area. Saturday is a very popular day, and the Expo was very crowded There were clinics and training sessions all day long for the athletes. Also, Saturday was the first of the three triathlons of the weekend: the Meek and Mighty, for children and for the young-at-heart who wanted to get a taste of what the sport of triathlon is all about!
Race day, Sunday morning was cool and sunny. The water temperature was 76.4*F and the race was considered ‘wetsuit legal’ for athletes. So we had the choice to wear or not to wear our wetsuits. I decided not to wear my wetsuit. I am not nimble enough to remove it quickly enough in transition. On race morning the transition area was open from 4:45 a.m.until 6:45 a.m. and that meant leaving home mighty early to arrive on time with all the gear necessary to complete my triathlon and to set up that gear near my bike.
All I needed to complete my triathlon, right next to my bike.
Finally, it was race time!!! The skies were bright blue with puffy clouds, and the water was beautifully calm. Wave after wave of swimmers began their race, and finally, it was my turn. I was in wave #23! In the water, there were ample support people to aid the swimmers if anything should go amiss, on paddleboards, in boats, and in kayaks. They were a reassuring sight and kept the swimmers on course. The calm waters meant for many PBs (personal best) for the swimmers, including me!
Me (on left) exiting the water and heading into transition, then onto the biking portion of the triathlon.
It was 4/10 of a mile to transition for my sprint distance triathlon and then onto the 12-mile biking portion of the triathlon through the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. The course was well marked and there was a huge presence of volunteers and police all along the route, keeping traffic off the course to ensure the safety of the athletes.
Me (on left) leaving transition heading out to ride the bike course.
The final portion of the triathlon was the run. By this time the weather was heating up, and I was starting to get tired. The run course was very well-marked, and there were loads of people in the streets cheering the athletes on. My personal fave was the man who had his garden hose going full blast, spraying those who wanted a good soak, and yes I did! There was water and Gatorade offered frequently at water stations along the route by amazing volunteers who also were our cheerleaders! Finally, I could hear the crowds loudly cheering, and the announcer calling out my name as I crossed the finish line of the 2018 St Anthony triathlon! It was an amazing feeling. I beat my overall times from the 2017 race by 9 minutes and earned second place in my age group.
The finish line! I’ve got my finisher medal, ice cold towel, and cold water, and I’m headed off to the postrace festivities.
The Expo was open an additional day this year, on Sunday after the race, to allow the athletes and their families and friends one last opportunity to shop. The local massage organization generously offered a free 10 minute massage to each athlete, and that was just about the first place I headed to, after I connected with my daughter Victoria, who unceasingly supported me throughout all my training, and came to the race to cheer me on, and the results tent to see my unofficial times.
The post-race party was held under a huge tent with unending food and drinks, and the awards ceremony was held in the same location.
Second place in my age group. With my finisher medal and AG award. It was a fantastic race!
My training for the 2018 St. Anthony Triathlon was made more pleasurable by wearing my Oakley sunglasses with Prizm Technology lenses. (I have them on in a lot of the pictures in this post.) The frames are unbelievably light and the lenses protected my eyes from the Florida sun’s harmful rays and eased any potential eye fatigue.
The 2018 St. Anthony Triathlon weekend was a great experience. The race was well-run, with everything carefully thought out and prepared to keep things running smoothly for the 3,000 athletes who participated. A huge thank you to all the volunteers who gave freely of their time to ensure a successful weekend.
Have I inspired you to consider doing a triathlon? If so, registration for the 2019 St Anthony Triathlon, April 27-28, 2019, is scheduled to begin in October!
Disclaimer: I received an entry into the 2018 St Anthony Sprint Triathlon, and a pair of Oakley sunglasses with Prizm Technology lenses to train with, in exchange for this review. All opinions expressed here about the triathlon and the sunglasses are my own.