the weeekend was stop #5 on my tour de triathlon this summer...In total, i planned eight triathlon races for 2008- as its my first season, i figure one of the best ways to learn about racing is to do it! the total will include 1 half ironmnan, 2 olympic/internationals and 4 sprint races. the remaining races are on 9/28- the Orange County Triathlon (Olympic) and 10/5- the Mission Bay Triathlon (the first/oldest triathlon.
stop #5 was in lovely Imperial Beach, CA. Imperial Beach is right below San Diego, right above Tijuana, they call it the "Most Southwesterly City" in the u.s....
Okay, so the RACE!!
james had me all prepared and drove us down to the beach in the morning. as usual, he had me all under control. i headed to transition and james set off on his long run....expertly timed to finish when i got on the bike so he could see most of the race...
I was excited to be racing with Breakaway-Training again and the morning was more like happy hour than pre-race...chit chatting, catching up...and threw in my 20 minute run warm-up. it's so fun to have the team atmosphere at a race that is usually such and individual sport. i love it!
i lined up in the front row of my women under 29 wave in my brand new Zoot zenith- i love this thing- it is sooo comfortable and hugs all the right spots:) ...there were about 10 of us shoulder to shoulder in front. 30 seconds before the start, a huge "swimmer girl" walks up from the ocean, plants herself right in front of me, her wet butt on my wetsuit. it was a bold move, and we had clearly already gotten our "places" in the front row, but she nonchalantly butted in. i didn't give this much thought and just stayed behind her-according to her calf, she was only 20, so i gave her some slack :). i also have to remember that its a race and its not her job to be nice or polite.
the swim (500) was pretty typical. i was again behind the front pack, and just ahead of the large middle pack so i cruised it solo.had some sighting issues, but came out alright. the long sandy jog to T1 was long and sandy.
we took off on the 2 loop course and i passed 3 or 4 girls within the first few miles...i wasn't sure how many were still ahead of me, but i knew i made it close to the front of the pack..the course was flat flat flat...
started off well (i think?). one day i will wear a watch! i tried to really focus on cadence and turnover right away and whenever i felt myself striding out or falling apart, i just repeated "tur-no-ver, tur-no-ver, tur-no-ver" to every step. in the first 2 miles i saw a lot of my friends from different waves on the out-n-back and cheered for them. they mostly gave me the head nod or the thumbs up. i think i need to slow down my cheering game and focus a little more on the running game...like stop doing stupid stuff like posing for the camera: anyhow. .....so i was running and running. i passed two girls. the last one was right at the turnaround and there was no one ahead. whoa. i dropped her. and had the realization that i was in first. overall! like winning! i kept running and felt great. i picked up a little 16 year old boy whose twin brother was ahead of him. he was sputtering "podium!!! right there" i was confused but thought i'd help him out. the race was "in the bag"...i knew it becuase the last girl i had passed was that huge/tall swimmer chicked who body blocked me at the swim start. since she was "Swimmer chick", i was not worried...so i gave little mr. 16 some advice and cruised with him to the finish chute. i looked back once during the second mile and swimmer chick was far behind. at the finish chute, i was looking around, wondering if they were going to announce, "first female....BETH GERDES!" and i would be so excited!
and then THIS happened:
huh? yes, you can laugh!!! SNEAK ATTACK from huge swimmer chick (who happens to swim for stanford and swim a 500m in 4:44!) Holy moly she got me. i was stunned and had no response. it just all happened so quickly i had no time to make a move back. the race was over...but gotta LOVE the pictures and laugh thoroughly at mylsef....so in the last 10 yds, she literally body blocked me (the actual chute/timing mat is much narrower than the finish "line"....)
let's play "where's midget beth?":
can you find me? james gets major props for capturing a classic moment.
let's just say i learned my lesson. i felt so dumb! if i had kept my head in the race instead of assuming i had it, there is no way she would have passed me. i had so much left in me. i should have seen the foresahdowing at the start that the finish would end in a body block too!!! i got bullied by the big kids. but i deserved it.
wasn't in my age group, so technically i still won that, and was 2nd overall. i had an awesome time with breakaway training and our group was on the podium in almost all the age groups! matt (below with james) was 4th in his age group on his single speed! awesome.
me and claudia (3rd 25-29):
after the race, it was home for a spin on the bikes.....with my favorite person.