the orange county triathlon was last weekend, but it's taken me until this weekend to write about it. AND, since i was -1 (james stayed in san diego) i had no photo crew and thus needed to wait around this weekend until everyone else posted up their pics so i could poach them.
the day before the race started off a bit chaotic. kristin was set to pick me up at 1pm but i was all a-mess. we had moved the day before and i couldn't for the life of me find my race top! i eventually gave up and decided to just wear an old one because kristin was on her way and i was only half packed (note to future self: finding race gear one day post-move is not an easy task but i managed to find my SpeedZoot (no wetsuit swim!) and my no-lace Zoot 2010 race shoes).
kristin got to my house, and always the fashionista, let me know that my 2nd tier race top was not an option. lucky me, she had designed my race top and ordered an extra to use as a sample size- so we sped on back to her place and i was no longer topless. yes! thank you, kristin!
up in the O.C., we settled into the race hotel and met up with colleen. girls day was in full effect. yeah yeah! don't get me wrong, i missed james a little, but it was really fun to just hang with the ladies and do what we do best: talk a lot! we even did something i've never done with james- we drove the bike course. it was so fun and really helpful- i need to start doing that. we quickly realized the hills were no joke. i remembered it being hilly but not that hilly. for those of you who have ridden in kona, the girls agreed that the bike course is very very similar to the rolling hills and climb up to Hawi. nothing too steep but some pretty long grinders in there.
back at the hotel, we did some more chatting, toenail painting, you know, the usual girl stuff and then kristin and i headed off to a romantic dinner with golden spoon frozen yogurt for dessert. i drank a TON of electrolyte-laced water throughout the day as the forecast was HOT in the high 90s.
race morning was uneventful. i ate a powerbar and a little bit of leftover greek yogurt and blueberries with lots of coffee and some water. looking back, i think i need a little bigger breakfast pre-olympic distance.
dark transition...thanks for the pic, charisa!
the 350 calories i think wasn't quite enough. my warm-up run felt good (15 minutes with some pick-ups) and i even swam a couple hundred meters in the warm lake. last year, the race was wetsuit legal, but this year it wasn't. i was actually stoked because i've been swimming much better without my wetsuit this year and the water was 80 degrees! the only thing i even thought about as negative with no wetsuit was that when comparing my times, its not easy to say how much speed a wetsuit would have given you. 1-2 minutes? who knows.
the race started fast and we were off. our swim wave included some men over 50 and all women under 35, so lots of age groups in the mix!
i missed the first pack (by a LONGshot) but was ahead of any second pack. there were a couple swimmers within my sight and i was sure i could see Charisa about 15 yds ahead, but mostly i swam alone. i wanted to find some feet but there was just no one really at my particular speed. i ended finding some feet for about 500 meters, but they were the kind of feet where it felt too easy when i was drafting, but when i tried to pass, we just were going the same speed. eventually we chose different lines and were separated. i popped out of the 1500 meter swim, ran up to transition like i meant it and was very surprised and excited to see Charisa in transition. this meant (to me) that i couldn't have been too slow!
i hopped on my bike and began grinding up the rollers. the first half of the 40k bike course is lots of slow uphill, the kind where you convince yourself your brake is rubbing or half the field will pass you you are going so slow. i had to hop off my bike for a minute because the sticker on my wheel started flapping and clicking with each pedal stroke. i only lost a little time, but it was really hard to get back going since i had sopped on a slight uphill. felipe soon passed me as if i was standing still offering some encouragement. throughout the ride, i felt pretty good but never as if i was going quite hard enough, but i also couln't go harder. i was never out of breath, and probably should be during an olympic distance triathlon, but i felt like i was going as hard as my legs would allow.
off the bike and into T2, i was determined to make this my run! i wasn't sure how many girls in my age group were ahead of me (i saw NONE on the bike) but i knew colleen would be in the lead so my goal was to just run until i (hopefully) saw her. i clipped off the first 2 flat miles really quickly becuase i knew the "fun" was ahead and i wanted to bank time early on. then came the hills. this run course is x-terra similar in that there are a lot of mulchy mulchy trails and a big old climb out of the neighborhoods. from last year, i knew what was coming. when i got to the base of the huge climb, i saw colleen in the distance. i knew that the hill wasn't my time to make a move, so i climbed up within my limits, ready to really push when i got to the top and other people would be recovering from the climb. after the top of the hill, colleen was about 20 yds ahead and i moved up and ran ahead. we had a quick chat, exchanged "good jobs!" and i ran ran ran to the finish. the last 1.5 miles are tough as they loop around the finish and there is a false-flat type of climb that seems endless when you just want to be at the finish. the last 1k was downhill and oh so lovely. i crossed the finish line in 1:20, 4 minutes faster than last year.
i hadn't worn a watch, so before they posted the splits, i hypothesized that i had gained my 4 minutes mostly on the bike. i assumed my swim times would be similar year-to-year as my swimming is much improved this year, but we also had no wetstuit, so i thought these would cancel out. i also thought my run would be pretty similar to last year. so for sure, the bike would be where i really improved....
well, here's the splits year-to year
Total time: 2:20:22/1st AG/2nd overall 2:24:00/1st
Swim: 23:27 26:03
Bike: 1:12:27 1:12:12
Run: 41:48 42:56
transitions were faster this year than last as well..
well well, looks like that bike didn't improve as much as i though! or actually i biked 10 seconds slower this year :). i can't blame it on the conditions because they were perfect. the wind was there on the way back for sure, but nothing gnarly. i'm not quite sure why i didn't go faster on the bike because i certainly feel stronger than last year. i DO want to look into my bike nutrition. i drank only water/no calorie electrolytes and had one gel on the bike. i ended up taking the gel earlier than planned becuase i felt i was lacking some umph. those were the only calories i took in the whole race. i an olympic distance, i shouldn't need too much more, but maybe adding some liquid calories on the bike (150-200?) would help me stay strong and not fade.
no worries about the bike though, becuase look at that SWIM! i swam 3 minutes faster without a wetsuit this year. i am so happy my swim work showed up in a race this year and feel so lucky to have my masters group and coach Hux and Colleen. seriously, without them and the group, i'd still be clipping off 2-minute 100's.
the run was better than i thought. although this is not close to a 10k triathlon run PR for me, this is a slow course and my run was 2nd fastest in the amateur race (to Charisa who got me by one second!). i think it definitely helped being familiar with the course this year and knowing where i needed to lay it down and where to recover. and, must have been the Zoots!
post race, we hung out in our betty designs tops and zoot accoutrements...(photo by Rich Cruse...Me, Kristin, Colleen) and waited FOREVER for awards...the girls had a successful day in the age group race with podiums all around
i also got to meet lots of bloggers and friends in town for the "regular" OC tri but also the Best of the US Race (a wave held separately than the traditional race and let me tell you, these people are bionically ridiculously fast.) good times with charisa, ian, maggs, beth, tawnee and all the breakaway training crew.