Race Report/Birthday Report: Strawberry Fields Triathlon

I should really be heading to bed about now, but I sometimes rebel against the early bedtime that has become my norm.  I mean, 11:30 sounds so much sexier than 10:30, right?  Probably until tomorrow morning.  Anyway, what a great race!

It was also my 32nd birthday, and what better way to spend it than waking up at 4am for a race!  Seriously, can we start these races just a little bit later?  I drove up to Oxnard (about an hour away…if you don’t get lost, like I did…thanks GPS for saying I was in some national forest when I was literally parked next to a Wienerschnitzel) & got set up without any issues.  The race was sold out, but they actually stuck labels on the bike racks for each individual–which I had never seen before & was really cool.  Nobody could take up too much space or find a prime spot for their bike–all pre-determined.

I made my way down to the ocean for the start, meaning to jump in the water, dive under some waves & warm up.  I stuck my foot in the 61 degree water & looked at the waves and thought, “Umm, why would I do this more than absolutely necessary.”  Instead, I just watched everyone else warm up.  I’ve only been in the ocean once this year, but I’ve learned that when you jump into it–there’s really no other option than to try to make your way through it & around the buoys.  This swim was ridiculously short compared to my others, which made me SO happy.  I was literally only in the water for about 6 minutes & even though the rolling waves weren’t the best for someone with frequent motion sickness, I was totally fast & proud.

The bike course was designed for me–completely flat!  I can and did get going pretty fast on the course–I averaged about 20 mph, which is awesome & it went by sooo quickly.  On the run, my legs were fine–but I could tell early on that my breath wasn’t so hot.  I haven’t been running much since the bug bite incident & at moments like these–it’s really apparent.  I stopped to walk every mile–which I would normally never do in a 3 mile race.  But I still felt really good at the end–proud that just a month ago I was on crutches with a gross swollen foot & now am back to racing.

It was a cool surprise to find out I placed 3 out of 35 people–that is a really big division & the best I’ve done against such a large group of people.  I actually finished 1st in the bike, which is awesome!  But most importantly, I got to stand on the podium made of HAY to accept my medal & strawberries.  Yes, I was awarded with locally grown strawberries.  It brought back memories of my days at the Luling Watermelon Thump 5k!

So, great to be racing again & the medal provided a much needed ego boost for myself.  I like these shorter races, partly because I’m better at them & partly because they ARE shorter & don’t take as much time to train well for.  It makes me re-think the rest of the season & still questioning whether I’ll head to Nationals this year or not.  I’m pretty sure I could qualify again next year & next year they are in Vermont, which would be awesome.  So we’ll see.

I’m still not sure what race is next, but I’m just so glad to get my training back on track.  I’m working out with the UCLA team this summer–10 workout sessions with them & probably a few more group workouts thrown in there to push my training to a new level.  I’m just giddy about it today.  I did hill repeats on the bike, probably the most painful workout I do–with a smile on the face, happy to be back at it in full force again.

So it was a great way to spend my birthday.  And the margarita I had that afternoon wasn’t a bad way to end it, either.

Texas trip and Happy Anniversary and more.

First off, Happy Anniversary to my wonderful Mom and Dad.  I won’t go on and on about you because I did that already on Mother’s and Father’s Day (don’t expect it twice in one year), but congratulations for 39 years of married life!  You are an awesome example for me (if I ever actually decided to get married, that is).

I spent an amazing 5 days or so in Texas over the 4th of July weekend & had a blast.  It was just what I needed.  My parents, my brothers, my sis-in-law, my beautiful niece and nephew, the dogs!–it all forms a pretty cool package deal–especially after a long long school year full of additional hours without additional pay.  It was nice to take an actual vacation (weddings, triathlons don’t count).  I spent a day with my parents eating out, shoe-shopping, movie-watching–which was all awesome.  When the rest of the clan arrived, we ate BBQ, went to an awesome amusement park, played laser tag, board games (I WON! I WON!), watched fireworks, ate more BBQ, watched movies, painted tea cups, etc.  The fun would not let up!  I love our summer get togethers even more than Christmas–it’s like family fun without the stress of gift-giving (happy b-day Jesus!  Didn’t mean to offend you or anything!).  So thanks family–what an awesome time I had.

Texas is home for me.  I’ve always been fascinated with it–how when you leave, you somehow feel more connected to it.  It’s no longer the kind of “man, we don’t do things like that in Texas” kind of attitude I first had when living in Southern California.  The “who are these Hollywood crazies? and where are my down-home Texans?”  My parents live in New Braunfels/Gruene now, along the river, & it’s the kind of Texas everyone loves.  The kind that make it a tourist town.  A place where hopping into a tube  in the river with a cooler packed with beer is the daily activity.  There are no other plans for the day.  I love the slow pace.  We drove into a field in our pickup truck–alongside a dozen other pickup trucks–to watch the fireworks & listen to the local radio station play some sort of Freedom 4th of July set list.  There was that dull roar from the millions of bugs out & it’s like for a brief moment–all the cliches about small town life, about being a country girl at heart–they are so real.  I had my nephew on one side, my niece on the other, and there was no doubt in my mind that the only thing that matters are the people in my life.  To me, Texas is my place where those moments happen all the time–mostly because my family is there–but also, there’s a general statewide agreement about the order of importance of things: family, friends, laughs, music, the outdoors–that  makes me feel so connected to it.  It’s not that I’m a different girl out in L.A., but I do love going home a few times a year to have a refresher course in Priorities.

So I’m back, summer camp is in full swing (along with my 6am alarm) & my workouts are improving (from the crutches days last month).  I’m so happy to be back at the gym, back on the bike, and back to running–get to add some swimming in the next few days—and planning to do a short course triathlon on my birthday next Sunday.  Even though I’m not 100% yet,  I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday morning!  I’m also looking into getting back into group workouts & doing more sessions with the UCLA group.  I’m still hesitating about whether to go forward with nationals in September–or to race the same local races I raced last year & hope to qualify again next year.  I feel like if I travel across the country for a race, I should be at my best & not sure I will be there by September–but I’ll give it another month or so.

Have a great weekend!