Quite a way to end a season: a rainy cold morning in L.A. It was kind of cool, though. By the end, I was soaked, covered in mud & cold. It certainly makes you feel like you really DID something. But my general reflection on this race is: why did I do ANOTHER race? I counted back & realized I have raced 4 races in the past 6 weeks. Fun, yes, but I’m discovering I can’t just show up on race day–say “get into race mode” & then go. I’m a moody racer. The ocean was mean to me; it hurt my feelings by picking me up and hurling me around a few times before it sent me to shore. I yelled at it. I think the lifeguard thought I was yelling at him. So already, after the first event, I’m a little beaten down.
Once I was on my bike, I was definitely back in the zone. I know this course so well (I train there at least once a week), & I finished the 12 miles in 40 minutes. Not bad for a wet course. And then I started the run, which is the most boring run that could exist. It’s an out and back on a sidewalk. Yes, there is an ocean view, but it is overrated–especially when it’s dark and cloudy & also it’s the ONLY view for 3 miles. I ran the first mile trying to think of a song in my head that would entertain me at least for a mile. I would start to think of a song (Eminem’s “I’m not Afraid”) & then mid-way through the first lyric, I was suddenly thinking of another song (Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb”). If my focus in day to day life lasts about 8 minutes at a time, my focus on a run is about 15 seconds. I was too frustrated with the songs, so I just looked at the cars on the right side of the way (I would have the entire way back to stare at the ocean). I prayed for the turn-around (which meant a tiny cup of water from the volunteers). Once I hit the turn-around, I sped up (my feet felt so heave earlier) & passed a few people. Luckily, I caught up with one girl with about .10 miles to go & was totally able to sprint finish at the end to beat her. I’m really good at appearing really really fast in the last 5 seconds of the race.
I placed 5th in my division, 15th overall. I was bummed I didn’t end the season with a medal. Yes, I’m spoiled. But I knew my race was actually OK…the swim was longer than last year, which always kills me. But I loved the feeling of being able to leave the race right away (sticking around for medals is always another hour at least) in the rain, drive to 7-11 & happily order a VERY unhealthy bacon and egg burrito that falsely claims a calorie count of 280. The great thing about these races–even if you don’t meet your expectations, you still get an AMAZING workout in–in the outdoors, which is awesome–even in the rain. And the feeling of hopping into bed after the race & passing out for my post-race nap—ahhhh. The cold and the clouds were perfect for this day.
I am very happy about the season being over. I realize that running a marathon in my off-season last year actually gave me NO off season. I went from a marathon in March–to racing in April, May, June, July, September, and October–a total of 9 races (8 triathlons+1 duathlon). It somehow didn’t seem like that much when I was planning it last January. I actually remember thinking, “I’m going to race more selectively this year.” So, I’m definitely happy that I won’t be putting my gear and bike into my Mustang anytime soon to shuttle off to another event at 4:30am. Don’t get me wrong, the races are awesome–but because they don’t HURT physically like a marathon, I somehow think it doesn’t take anything out of me.
I had no problem taking today off (of course, there were a few “i need to get in the pool right away, so I can seek revenge on the ocean next year” thoughts). I am no good without any plan, though. Mindless working out never worked will for me. I’ve been working out and racing for over 10 years, and I can’t imagine doing it without a goal. So, this week is about finding my *off season* goals. I thought I would just go into the trail-running scene & run long distances, but then I thought, “ummm, exhausting!” and “hard on my legs!” So I’m going to keep variety in the off-season. I want to focus more on technique in swimming (and just more swimming in general), more speed work on the runs (with some 5k/10ks thrown in for fun), & some indoor workouts on my bike (just bid on a ‘bike trainer’ on ebay, so i can ride in the comfort of my own room…if no one outbids me). Now, you’re probably thinking, “That doesn’t sound like much of an off-season.” But all of these goals will just be driven by impulse and opportunity. I’m a member of the LA triathlon club, and through that club–I’ve been introduced so far to some great coaches, cool gyms, awesome lectures, etc–and so I will be taking advantage of classes and things that come along…it’s often hard to randomly fit these things into your ‘workout plan,’ but since I don’t have a ‘written in stone’ plan–shouldn’t be so bad. I may try out some kind of yoga class (I need some flexibility please!), & I really really wanna try paddle-boarding (make yourself ONE with the ocean, Kristy…stop fighting it).
I love the community I live in, where this world of race reports and training is normal…and yet it will be fun to get back to my other friends who I probably haven’t hung out with in a long time. And I can focus on finalizing my costume for Halloween! And stay up late even! So, thanks for reading these ridiculous triathlon details that are most likely only interesting to me. I will have other stories to tell soon, I hope.