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.