yesterday, i completed my first Olympic distance triathlon. the San Diego International Triathlon was the very first race I put on my schedule. i tried and tried to convince james that this should be my "A" race, but 3 weeks out from a 70.3 didn't really make that possible. so, on paper, the race fell into the "B" category, but in my head, this was the race i wanted to do well at, honestly even more than vineman 70.3.
a couple things behind this thought: last year, this was the first triathlon i ever spectated! on crutches, i hobbled over to the finish (i remember it being quite a workout) and was in awe of this whole triathlon thing in action. it was honestly a world i never knew existed. since i had started swimming and cycling a bit in my hobble-life, and happened to meet some nice triathletes in the process, i thought i'd check it out since it was only a half mile from my house (another reason i wanted to do it) .i felt totally awkward being some loser girl who didn't know anyone, on crutches at a triathlon, talking to random people, but i had a blast. these triathlon things had people partying in beer gardens, a band at the finish and a lot of people just having a blast! i remember being there and it took me a long time to understand wave starts and such. i had trouble picturing that some of the people crossing weren't necessarily "behind" others.
so watching the 2007 San Diego International was kind of what hooked me, and i said, "i want to do this". i was in awe of the fast brazilian, Paola, who won my AG and wondered how she got so fast! SDIT was also "A" in my head this year because it is possibly the biggest local race in san diego and it feels like everyone you know finds a way to put it in the schedule (about 2000 people w. sprint & oly distances offered, big pro field w/ a purse-people like Luke Bell out there this year).
okay, back to 2008. june 28th. getting stoked for the race, i ordered carbs, carbs, carbs for dinner and i knew TJ (transition james) wouldn't argue...and i had some belgian beer along with my fab pre-race meal:
i love this picture because we find a way to make even brick oven pizza relatively healthy: we got an extra thin crust red pie (no cheese) with broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, onions, artichokes and spinach with a huge salad on the side. YUM!
after the meal, we headed home and james helped me get my stuff together. TJ was in full effect (think vanilla vodka) and we were joking around...TJ loves to take photos of me looking cool
so i went to bed early. woke up at 4:30. insert all other typical "pre-race" stuff here (except the poop- no poop! argh).
i wasn't nervous for the race at all, just unsure of my abilities in the swim and bike. muscling through the sprint distances hadn't been a problem, but i totally felt like i was "faking it" on the swim and bike to get to the run.
getting last minute advice from james..
SWIM FISHY SWIM
gun goes off at 7:20 and my wave of 100+ (women under 29) started...as james noted afterwards, some girls "caned it" right off the gun. i quickly ended up in no man's land and swam sans draft the whole way. i need to find a way to find some feet. i just felt like i couldn't hang with the fast fishees and the slower ones were slower. we need to mobilize the middle-men! the swim felt LONG. honestly, during the swim, i kept thinking about how i was going to go LONGER in 3 weeks for 70.3 and that made me scared. i also wondered if i slow myself by bilateral breathing 100% of the time, even in a race. is this wrong? any thoughts? looking for help here.
ok, out of the water, with a quarter mile run to transition. james tells me pre-race to take off my wetsuit by the water and run with it to T1. i do this and it is a GREAT call. i pass all these people doing the penguin shuffle in their rubbersuits.
james notes i am "a few" minutes down on the leaders. not amazing. not bad!
pretty good! bethany and i came into T1 at right about the same time, but i left T1 before her so that's my guage that T1 went fine. we'll see when the splits are up. i cross the mountline and don't fall off or cause traffic jam, so i'm happy.
HAVE FUN ON THE BIKE
if you read my blog, you know i struggle with the bike. i train and train, but can almost never keep up on training rides and this makes it mentally hard for me (playing "catch-up" and "close the gap" for hours and hours each week is stressful). anyhow. i am a little nervous about the distance (will it feel like a really long time to go hard? (uh...beth, come on..its only 30k!!!) and am not sure how to pace myself. however, in my head, i know that i have a "race face" that refuses to come out in training and i am armed with james' disc wheel and an aero helmet ( i take all the help i can get- i WILL be that girl!)...things start off well. i am pushing up the initial climbs and passing slower men from the previous waves. i'm not getting passed by a ton of people. that's weird.
the bike course is beautiful and i am surprised that i feel great and fast. lots of rollers and short climbs..there are pretty much 4 legs of the bike and bethany does not pass me until the last leg...so surprised i stayed ahead that long, and i knew i could keep her in my sights to motivate me to the finish. i do this as i take a double latte powergel and get in an easier gear to spin out the legs a bit for the run.
as i coasted into T2 i had a surprising thought..."that was actually fun". like, a LOT of fun. i'm soooooooo glad i had fun on the bike!
i get off the bike and feel like i had had a decent ride. i am way back from the leaders, but no idea exactly how far or how many girls are ahead. i put on my zoot racers ( they are my magic shoes... make me feel about 10 times faster than my training cloppers) nice and fast and tear out of T2 and hear james tell me "there are a TON of girls you can catch"...in my head i'm like, "ouch! a TON of girls? i must not be doing so hot".
RUN YOUR FACE OFF
anyhow, i fly out and in my head tell myself to do an impression of someone whose legs are fresh...some chub-scout spectator dude next to james tells him ,"whoa..that chick is flying...she's going to blow up around mile 2"...james (got my back, brotha!) tells him, "no way, she's going to kill it" and takes off on his bike to check in with me on the run course and take a video...
the first 3.5 miles are a big out and back loop around Harbor Island so you get a chance to see where you're at. the first two miles were tough. i sounded like i was having an asthma attack i was breathing so heavy, but i know that will settle eventually. as far as i can tell, there are about 6 girls in my AG ahead of me...and they have MINUTES on me. the first girl takes a long time to catch (3 miles!) and i worry if i can get any more. she was not going slow and i kept feeling like i wasn't making much ground. anyhow. once i passed her, it was ON!. after the Harbor Island loop, it is a straight flat-as-heck shot along the harbor's edge to the finish. the finish line is 5 blocks from my place, so this was a run i knew well. i knew at every second exactly how much time i had left to catch up! james tells me right after Harbor Island...they are just a couple minutes up...laura (see my last post on the aquathlon) is right there and there are two girls ahead of her...
so, i put the head down and churn out the steps. i keep turnover high and settled into a strong pace. i felt like i knew like i could put in all i had and make it to the end...i kept telling myself "two miles to catch them, two miles to catch them"...on a mission, i passed tons of men...passing men is cool and motivating because they cheer you on and say things like "go get 'er"....love it! about 1.5 miles from the finish, i catch up to laura...reallly? did i just catch up to laura? in my head, i'm like, "no way"....then, i think...those other girls ahead can't be that fast.. I AM GOING TO GET THEM. james checks in and tells me..."you can win this race"...it is funny becuase he looks REALLY shocked. i finally see the two "her sports" team girls ahead and start closing the gap.....i pass one with about .75 miles to go....in this video, in the first second or two, she's the one in the pink and blue kit..
i had to dig dig dig to reach the last one, less than a quarter mile to the finish....
crossed the line, and realized that somehow i won my AG at San Diego International...what??? i didn't get too excited because i was sure there was some stealth speedster ahead we had missed or something, but the results got posted after a few minutes and my name was on top. unreal.
me with the 2nd and 3rd place women..i am the midget in orange
after the race was awesome, i got to catch up with denner, jessica, paul, mac, emilio, bethany, the breakaway training crew, jay, shannon, michelle, pat, buck, steve t., alex...everyone seemed really happy with their races and having that kind of friendship and support out there takes the whole experience to another level...
and of course, a special thanks to TJ (in his final day of glory!...it is monday morning and transition james is in official hibernation!)...james did an amazing job of shuttling, shuffling, photoing, following, cheering, and supporting in general. one of my favorite parts about the race was that he was truly truly shocked and surprised that I won. he confessed later over dinner that he knew i could me in the top ten, hopefully top five, possible a come from behind for 3rd...but first caught him off guard for sure...my thoughts exactly. we had a nice dinner and a cheers to TJ.....
one last TJ face for the road:
it's monday. july starts tomorrow. j and i have started a new "nutrition mission"...posting on vo2maxxed on it ASAP..
3 weeks to vineman 70.3!
if you aren't bored to tears yet, check out my "pre-race" video. this should answer the question in case you had any doubt whether or not i am afraid to embarass myself in the blogosphere...