Not sure why I keep doing this to myself. I got a bib last minute off a transfer after the race had sold out. Last year I signed up in advance, but used it as motivation to get training after ironman...we all remember how that turned out. The year prior, I got another last minute bib by volunteering at registration. Seriously, you think I'd show up one of these years with actual preparation. Yeah it's fun to test the limits on race day...but I'm sure it'd be nicer to actually know what those limits are having trained properly in advance.
So my international distance on a whim experience unfolded a bit like this:
Oatmeal with too much brown sugar [not possible] for breakfast. A "late" morning for a triathlon, as the transition area is 2ish miles from the house. Remember, this is my backyard. I've only ridden this bike course approx. 100 times. I know it like the 200yd. backstroke. [I don't quite understand the "back of hand" reference - as I really don't know the back of my hand very well...however, the 200yd. backstroke swimming event - that is something that has brought me great pain and great excitement many times in my life.]
Transition area opens at 5:45 - uh, yeah right. I arrive at 5:40 with hundreds of peeps already racking the bikes. Whatever, so I don't get the coveted "hole shot" [end of rack for triathletes] but it doesn't matter. I set up my area [with the trusted Sioux Girl tie-dye towel transition mat] and stretch a bit. I notice that the transition area setup is almost fair. WHAT? A fair koz race? This can't be true?! Apparently, the sucky part of the regular transition area is being taken over by the construction of a boat. So they moved the ladies into the road and had a cross over mat area which made it a pass through transition area - rather than the out and back of the past. I hope they learn a lesson and keep it this way in the future. [end of rant]
[start of rant] Seriously - porta potties were not convenient. Had to zig zag my way through transition, out and around and found them on the beach. zig zag back to finish preparation and get the wetsuit on. [end of rant]
In the water swim start. [YES!] You think I would've learned from the last race [super seal sprint] or SDIT last year that I should really invest in my $5 goggles and just get a new pair before a race. How many times do I have to remind myself?! Cloudy day [YES!] and the goggles are fogged by the 1st buoy. Awesome. Kyle [best sherpa ever] was watching from the shore and said I had quite a lead right from the start. Before the race, I do this thing:
I look around and check out the competition. I think this is a usual thing for most. Everyone is floating in the water, with a little nervous chatter going. Can't really hear the dude in the boat anyway but attempt to listen at how much time we have left. What am I doing? Looking at goggles. You can tell a swimmer's speed by their goggles. Let me give you a rundown:
Mask: Steer Clear. These folks think they need a giant mask to see the buoys better, yet they are the zig zaggers. Seriously? Why not just put a clear bucket on your head. Learn how to swim straight - compensation with larger goggle frames is not the solution.
So back to the race. I don't see any other "sweeds." Okay, looks like I'll be navigating this one on my own. This year they had the waves 5 min apart, but they put the women 45+ in front of us young guns. Not sure what is worse to swim over: 1) Men 60+, Clysdales, Challenged Athletes or 2) Women 45+. Either way I end up feeling horrible for any contact. But it's a race people. Please don't crowd around the turning buoy for a chat session with your swim buddy about how your life is ending.
Made it through the swim without incident and out of the water first. 12:14 - 2nd Amateur Female (little miss idropboys.com edged me out in a later wave!)
|Dodging all those purple caps|
Into transition and it's Kermit's time to shine. The only real training I did before this race was interval work with my friend Noko. I did the Tues/Thurs rides from Moment to get the "hill" work up Canon, but spent most of my time on the dreaded Fiesta Island pushing the pace next to my power meter driven friend.
I knew my HR would be a bit high going up the hill. I didn't push too hard, and actually got passed by a 54 yr old lady on a road bike. I let her go, but I knew I'd eventually pass her on the rollers/flats due to my bike position and hopefully age. Got to the guard shack and it was on. I love this course because again, I know it like the 200 backstroke. I know where it hurts and I know where to push. I know where to shift and where to hang on. As I rounded the corner at the lighthouse a girl on a B10 (yeah that's the Di2 Felt tri bike) passed me. She had a power meter. I legally drafted her with the mental note that she is probably using said power meter and probably going to hold a consistent pace.
One of my main issues on the bike is that I'm too easily distracted. I very rarely ride an even pace for and entire ride. I find myself drifting off and then wow, back to reality, you are going to slow. So B10 girl was my carrot. Or doughnut - mmm much better.
She stayed in the big ring up a hill where I always shift 2-3 down in the rear and then drop to the small ring in the front. And look at me, spinning with ease and passing you up the hill in my 34 tooth. Sorry to rub it in. Anyway, out and back again, I kept her within my sights. I had 1 GU in transition and 1 at the end of the bike. I drank a little gatorade but the lemon lime wasn't agreeing with me. I finished my entire aerodrink of water, and longed for more.
Bike: 50:37; 22mph average, 2nd AG
|love this picture - flex for the camera! [or put your visor on with hands full of goodies]|
Headed into transition and the awesome sherpa didn't expect me so soon, so camera was not deployed for bike photo. Racked and was out with a hand full of goddies [race belt, visor, chomps and Garmin]. Got a sip of water at the aid station and then started running on the beach. WTF, no one said anything about a sand run right out of T2. Dead legs, sinking into quick sand. Not going to make it through this 25 yard stretch. Okay stop being a whiner.
|being a whiner.|
Sherpa caught up on his trusty steed and asked how I felt. "Not sure yet." I looked down about a half mile in and I was going 1 min/mile faster than I told myself on the bike that I'd allow for the first 3 miles. It's decision time.
Time to gamble. I feel okay. Good, surprisingly. Do I try and keep this pace, or slow up and keep the pace I told myself during the bike? F#@& it, I'm going for it. Steady, turnover, short steps, pick up that hip, drive that heel up. Circular motion. Just like riding my bike. Only not.
Felt pretty good, all things considered. The run for me is always a countdown. I usually have a pretty good conversation with myself that is trying to convince my body that no matter the training, you can go faster. You've done this before. You've ran a marathon; in an Ironman. This is only xx more minutes of your life. 4 miles left, you did a 4 mile run last month. Only 16 more minutes of your life. Faster turnover. Go. Stop slouching. Eat a chomp.
I got passed at mile 3 by the girl who ended up 2nd (3 min ahead) and then again at mile 5.89. Not sure how that 2nd pass went on to to finish 10 minutes before me and win our AG. B10 girl from the bike looked like her leg said 34 and her bike was from TriLab (LA based bike shop) but there wasn't any LA peeps in the top 10 of that ag. Anyway, ended up 3rd. Same as last year, but 2 minutes faster. I seriously have no idea where I pulled that from.
10k run: 51:06; 8:13 pace. That "goal" pace I set for myself during the bike - 9:00min/miles. I had expectations of finishing 10 min slower than my actual time. Gamble paid off, but not sure where that even came from. Seriously, it's pretty funny to look at the results - how many people had a faster bike time than run time? Not many; especially in the top 10%. Looking at the top 3 in each age group, men and women, this anomaly only happened 5 times. Men 62 & 69 and Women 56 & 60, oh yeah and 27. Awesome Rachel. This is either a great moral booster - wow you can really swim + bike, or the usual; wow, your run really sucks. We'll sick with the later and use it as motivation to get out there and run!
Random sponsorship plug: [I work for Moment Sporting Events]
Sign up for the San Diego Triathlon Classic! Stone Beer garden/Barefoot wine oasis is not enclosed in a bright orange fence, but a classy white picket fence, and it is adjacent to the finishers chute - cheer or heckle your friends as they cross behind you! Start/transition/finish all in the same area. Good food. Great course. Actual Olympic distance.