Belated Race Reports: Strawberry Fields Triathlon & Camarillo Duathlon

I won’t go into too much detail here, but I didn’t want you to think I wasn’t racing at all this summer–I am! I did! My favorite race, the L.A. Triathlon, is next weekend & I can’t wait for that fun challenge. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my last triathlon of the season (unless I’m still inspired to do another in October), and then I’ve decided to run a half marathon & possibly L.A. Marathon again this year. I miss long distance running! My older brother is running now, and it’s making me jealous! Thanks John for buying me my first Garmin Forerunner (sorry I broke it already). I can’t wait to see how this watch changes my run times.

So back to races, Strawberry Fields was my birthday weekend & I just LOVE this race. I will do it every summer. First, the bike and run is super flat. Sure, hills can keep it interesting, but flat roads keep it fast! Second, it maintains a “small town feel” even though it’s not that small of a race. The transition area is on a field of grass as opposed to hot asphalt & already I feel like I’m in the country. I placed 3rd last year, but I also knew the swim distance was off last year. It was REALLY short, so I was hoping for that again. But no, looking out at the buoys, they actually measured it correctly this year. I knew in that instance my hopes of placing were not great. I haven’t been in the ocean ONCE this year–besides races. I just decided I really don’t like it, and the tri club stopped doing my favorite Wednesday “interval” swims—so I just wing it. The waves were pretty intense, but I didn’t go horribly off course or anything. It felt like an OK time, nothing great. My bike and run were a pleasant blur. I probably should’ve pushed a bit more on the bike, but the run felt much better than last year’s. It’s never a great feeling to be suffering terribly on the run–even if it’s just a 5k…3 miles of feeling like total crap can seem like hours. But I felt good & kept my pace. I ended up placing in 4th (I thought I was 5th, but I just rechecked the times & was ALMOST on the hay podium!), but everyone gets a medal and strawberries, so I left happy. It always feels good just to have a smooth race–sure, it makes you think you could’ve gone out a little harder, like maybe it shouldn’t have been THAT smooth. But overall, I was happy. So happy, I stopped at McDonalds for a post race treat. I haven’t been there for years for breakfast, it felt so indulgent and greasy.

In August, I raced the Camarillo Duathlon–really not too far from Strawberry Fields. Another flat race. This is a series of three–the courses remain the same, but I just raced one this year (and last). This really is a small town race, so I love it for all the reasons I love small town races. You can show up 30 minutes before the race starts, not 2 hours like some bigger races. You can see all your competition pretty much the entire race. You end up running next to a 10 year old, but you’re both super serious like you’re in the Olympics, not thinking “Wow, do I look strange as a 33 yr old racing a 10 yr old on this dirt road next to this airport?” I love that we run right next to an animal shelter & hear 50 dogs barking (not the most calming sound as you’re trying to pound out the miles).

The distance is short: 1.5 mile run/11 mile bike/1.5 mile run, and I already knew the course from last year–so I felt good. I knew once the run started that I would place & was just trying to keep track of which place I would be in. There were a couple of girls in front of me (one I swear cheated & didn’t do the bike portion of the race, but I’ll refrain from trash talking too much), but one I passed right away on the bike & the other (cheater) was just roaming around the transition area–not even trying to hop on a bike. I remained in that position throughout until another girl challenged me on the bike in the last mile. I love that stuff; it’s when it really starts to feel like a race. I’m super fast in transition (wish there was just an event for changing clothes, I’d win!), though, so I’m in front of her for the run & all of a sudden the girl beating me in the first run hops onto the run course & zooms past me. I think, “is this a relay race?” because it’s weird I never saw her on the bike & yet she’s right behind me on the run–the bike has lots of turns, so you can see a good deal of the race behind and in front of you. Anyway, I just keep focusing on my race & come in second place overall female. Third place rolls in & tells me that I was first & the other girl must’ve been doing a relay. But turns out, there was no relay–and I end up in SECOND. Not bad, but terrible when you think OMG, I won the whole thing!!! And when you’re convinced 1st place cheated. Also, they didn’t have any of their winner sweatshirts in stock & promised to mail me one. Well, a month later & I’m still without a sweatshirt. Time to send an email. Oh, in case anyone searches Camarillo Duathlon & comes across this site, I’m not really convinced that 1st place cheated. It’s just a better story, guys. Do this race! It’s fun times!!!

OK, be on the look out for one more race report after next week’s triathlon. Have a great week!

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