Race Report- Orange County International Triathlon
today i race the Orange County International Triathlon in the heart of the OC. the 1500M swim, 40kbike and 10k run started and ended at lake Misssion Viejo- this was exciting! Being on the ocean and all, we rarely get to have a good lake swim, so not dealing with surf entry, chop and salt water was a big treat.
Since it's my first season, I didn't want to burn out and end with ironman, or even another half. So, the OC Triathlon was perfect! AND it was a USAT (USA Triathlon) sanctioned race and most of ours out here aren't (although i'm sure this sanctioning is pretty irrelevant).
anyhow, i didn't have a whole crew of friends and teammates from breakaway training...which made the warm-up/post race so different! i really missed having all my buddies out there cheering eachother on. BUT, i did have my #1 fan, james...and the team work was in full effect....and even though I was there to race, we did get to have a little mini vacation in the O.C.(even if i did make him eat at Wahoos fish tacos for dinner.....so classy!)
we rolled in saturday afternoon and brought the crap up to the room and hit the race expo (which was in the hotel....) rolling your bike around with a race wheel on is SO obnoxious... its all "click click click click look at me i think i'm fast click click click click.."...i was kind of embarassed. it's like when you're wearing heels in a quiet building and the sound of your clicking echoes and feels uncomfortable loud. or like chewing carrots in a movie and everyone can hear you chomp. wait, i am probably the onle one rude enough to bring carrotts to the movie.
rolling in "incognito" :
after getting everything i needed , we headed to Transition 2. The race had 2 transition sites, so i had to drop all my run gear off the night before. this included my race belt, which i had to try on to make sure it was as minimally annoying as possible. james and i agreed that "192" seemed
after getting situated, we headed back to the hotel for some relaxing, an early dinner and a movie in the room...."Forgetting Sarah Marshall"....HILARIOUS...(but very far from PG so watch out)..
race morning came at 4:30 and james was on it with coffee and "computer time" (james' required morning "mission" ....but i'm a girl, so i don't poo....right?)
left for the race a little after 5, this is me waking up the building with my sweet aero wheel click-fest (actually, these are james' wheels but i have permanently borrowed them)
Got to the race quickly (it was only two miles. we saw a couple dumb ninjas charging it on their bikes with NO LIGHTS....so smart.) after getting transition set up, i set off for my warm-up jog (20 minutes with some good music- easy jogging and 4X20 second pick ups to race pace)...i KNEW it was going to be a great day because a great song came on the ipod, TEN cottontail bunnies ran right across my path (really!), and all of a sudden i had to GO to the bathroom and an open, well-lit, clean bathroom with stalls and mirrors appeared in front of me! this was my lucky day! no 10 minute line for a dark port-o-potty mission for me!
after the run, i headed down to the water. the weather was nice, but the FOG was intense. you couldn't even see the lake! i talked with james a few minutes (procrasinating a real swim warm up) and told him a few times we could just go home, i didn't need to race and i was scared of the hills. i thought i wasn't prepared becuase i hadn't been doing much swimming or biking this month or last- maintenance only. he told me he didn't wake up at 4:30 to watch me warm-up. i gave him the stink eye and zipped up:
so i got in the water and it was actually nice! i thought i would get lost in the fog, but tried to remember we were all in the same boat. unless I was the one that drowned under the boat...
OKAY- THE RACE!
the swim was ALL about the FOG (in more ways than one!)
they delayed the start a bit becuase of the fog. can you see the buoys? ME EITHER!
my wave was huge... all women under 39 and relays so maybe 150?....
and we're off!
the swim was actually a highlight. i'm not sure i've ever said that. but, i started out slow, and got on F.O.G.s (Fat Old Guys) feet. he lined up near the front with no westuit, AND since he was not a woman, he had to be in a relay, which means this is his strong leg, right? he looked just like the many sandbagger F.O.G.s at masters that drop me like its hot.. so, i thought, "F.O.G.+no wetsuit+relay= perfect draft!" WRONG! THIS F.O.G. blew up after 100 yards..and i was in no man's land for a few hundred yards. then, i did something BIG for me. i saw a pack of 4/5 swimmers about 10-15 yrds ahead, put my head down and CHARGED IT until i caught up with them. i bridged the gap- i had no idea i actually had more than one swim gear! so, i caught my pack and hung on...it petered out to me and my "navigator" and i followed her the entire rest of the way. she got me through all sorts of traffic from earlier waved and home to shore safely. THANK YOU, NAVIGATOR!! (i kept chanting, "follow..the...navigator...don't...be....a wimp..."
out of the water, up to transition, and on the bike!
wow. holy hills. i haven't been in a race NEARLY this hilly. there were more hills in those 25miles than there were in 56 miles at vineman 70.3...everything, long climbs, short climbs...grind it OUT! the day was completely exceptional weather-wise and i was enjoying it. i had no idea where i was in my age group and never really knew... a couple miles before the bike turnaround, you do this huge loopy thing which makes it impossible to ever glimpse any competition 5-10 minutes ahead or behind of you...so you just GO! i got passed by two girls from my wave on the bike. and passed a few myself. i ended the bike leg with one foot in a bike shoe and one bare foot..total traffic hazard at the dismount line (sorry fellow racers!)
off the bike, time to RUN!
i hit T2 and threw on the run shoes. i had been waiting for this! i heard the run course was very tough, but i laughed during the first mile or so...this was tough? yeah right!
okay, i spoke WAY too soon. all of a sudden we were in xterra land with big big climbs, dirt, deep mulch, carnage walking everywhere! i knew i was slowing a lot, but it seemed like others were slowing more. I passed about 4 women from my wave (including the 2 that had passed me on the bike) and kept trucking along. no blazing pace, just kept it rolling. after the nastiness, the last 1.5 miles is out and back past the finish and a "hot corner"....as soon as i came out, i hear this from james:
if you couldn't play the video (or have better things to do i'm sure!), james tells me i am 30 seconds back from the leader. at this point, i had never even seen this girl in the race!
i thought it was over. my stomach was hurting badly and i was tired! but i kept pusing and closed the gap. i ended up passing her and getting ahead another 30 seconds by the finish!
i crossed in 2:24. i thought this was just an okay time. then i learned that only one dude (the male winner who is the european ITU champ and on his way to race pro at kona) broke two hours (1:58XX) and his competition was 10 minutes behind...
when we checked the results...i had won my age group, and was the overall winner as well! There was one pro/elite woman and i had finished more than three minutes ahead of her..
turns out i picked a GREAT race to do well at...these guys had an actual podium, real trohpies and prizes and things! I got nice sunglasses and some fun tri gear too...all size Mens XL. perfect :)
needless to say, this was a fantastic experience. i went in with few expectations and came out with the best race of my season. i was especially happy to have enjoyed all three portions of the race i just need to get rid of the "i'd rather be spectating" overpowering feelings i get before the start.
of course this all made me think how much i rely on and value all the people who have helped me out. without my fabulous bike and the coaching and teamwork and comraderie from breakaway training, i wouldn't be half as fast or half half as much fun at races. this one was fun, but where were all my friends? can't wait to race in san diego next weekend!!!
i also have new run confidence and speed from my run master, tim luchinske. lucho knows what i need to be fast and healthy...going into the race today i had complete confidence (and was STOKED) for the run. that alone is awesome. i'm excited to see the splits! i think "bob" was with me the whole way.
i also am lucky to have gotten the support of ZOOT over the season. they keep me in good clean running shoes, a fancy wetsuit and all geared out.
and of course, my #1 sponsor....james...
AND he only charged me a dollar for each digital image i used in this posting. thanks for the athlete discount!