California Sprint Triathlon

June 29th, 2015

A few weeks ago after a group swim at Shadow Cliffs, my teammates were talking about who was doing this event and having a BBQ after.  I pondered on the drive home doing the event as well, mostly just for the BBQ.  🙂  My teammates were signed up for the International (Olympic) distance, but there was also a sprint being held at the same time.  I didn’t feel ready to do a 10 K run, but I’d already been doing more than the sprint distance in my bricks, so I knew I could handle a sprint.  After checking with my coach, I signed up.

My goals for the race were pretty simple.  First and foremost I wanted to enjoy the day.  The second major goal was to have a good run – meaning I dialed in my pace to not walk at all.  I can’t help myself, I also had in my head some time goals.  The swim was listed at 800 yards.  I wanted to do it in under 20 minutes.  The bike distance was nine miles, I wanted to do it in 30 minutes.  I estimated 36 minutes for my run time.  The course at Shadow Cliffs is gravelly and goes up and down berms.  The hills aren’t long, but to this running challenged triathlete, they are steep.  Factor in a couple of minutes for transition and I figured a 90 minute race.

The week before the race we had a team brick workout at Shadow Cliffs.  I biked pretty hard for 25 miles and then I had to run for 60 minutes on the trails.   This was actually a big confidence booster because it gave me the opportunity to run up the big hill on the back side of the course.  It wasn’t fast and it wasn’t pretty, but one of the things I have  learned from my coach, is how to keep moving at a recovery pace.

I never sleep well the night before a race and I always have a hard time eating the morning of.  I woke up a lot, but fortunately was able to fall back asleep.  We planned to leave at 5 AM, so I would have plenty of time to pick up my race packet , set up transition and be able to cheer on my teammates as they finished their swim before my wave started.  I did not eat anything before we left the house, but I had a protein shake in the car on the way down.  And the usual butterflies started, except they are worse than butterflies.  Thom was great at reminding me of what my stated goals were and that helped me to relax a bit.

Once at the venue, I went off to get my packet while he pulled my bike out and double checked that was all was good.  I set up my transition and started sucking down my gel.  I’ve been using a homemade maple/almond butter gel on my bricks.  I’ve been having good success with it on my bricks, but today I was experimenting with it as pre race food. I actually managed to eat the whole thing  – 600 calories.  That should hold me over for a 90 minute effort.   I got some pre race instructions from Rob – what to do to warm up and when to start it and a reminder to smile and thank all the volunteers.  We went over to the swim exit and I was able to see my teammate Jeannine exit and cheer for her.  Then I had to prep for my own race.

I have never really warmed up pre race.  Usually, I’m just too jittery to think about anything.  But I did the easy jog Rob said to and then I got in the water and swam easy for a bit.   Rob had also told me to position my self on the inside for the start.  I’ve always gone to the outside before.  I don’t worry about swimming the distance at any of my tris;  it’s all the other people in the water with me.  I worry about getting kicked or having my googles ripped off and losing a contact, so I’ve always tried to stay away from them. However, that means I always swim further than necessary.  But I did what Rob said.  Since hiring Rob, I have tried really hard to do everything he has said, even if it’s not comfortable.  You hire a coach to assist you, not doing what they say, seems illogical.

The swim was fabulous!  I was moving through the water thinking – easy peasy.  I didn’t get kicked and my googles stayed on.  I think I did an okay job sighting the buoys. I had opted to not wear a wetsuit as the water temp was 75 degrees and it would make my transition easier.  Swim time was 18:49.

On to the bike.  Nearly every bike starts with a hill and I am always surprised that people don’t remember to put their bikes in an easier gear.  Now I have ridden up this hill in my big ring, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.  I spun up the hill in my little ring, letting my legs get use to doing their job.  Once at the top, into the big ring and off I went.  I think I could have gone harder on the bike.  I never had trouble thanking the many course workers and everyone I passed got a cheery, “Good Morning!”  I hope it didn’t make any of them mad,  but I was having a blast on my bike.  There is one hill on the back side of the course and that one I went up in my big ring, passing a couple of people there.  A few more corners and then it was back down the hill and into T2.  27:18   Woohoo!

Now the hard part – the run. So many of my teammates and their families came out to cheer us on.  It was awesome to have them there as I started my run.  The run was hard.  I had two 60 year olds pass me.  That’s incredibly humbling since they started 3 minutes after me.  I do a lot of self talk during the run.  I get passed – A LOT.   I lack confidence on the run.  I don’t know that I can do it, like I do with the swim and the bike.  But I have been following Rob’s directions.  I know I can run this, I’ve done  it before.   Just some of the ramblings from my head.  That big hill on the back side was hard and hurt,  but I did it and actually passed a couple of people walking.  Big surprise there – I don’t pass people on the run.  I had to really dial my pace back at the top to recover, but I didn’t walk.  I finished the run with a time of 33:39.   Overall race time was 1:23.30

I’m very happy.  I accomplished everything I wanted to and then some.  It’s a good feeling.


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