I’m a little late to report on this one. It happened last Sunday, and it was the last one of the season (probably won’t race again until April or May). I’ll have running races–but I sigh a big sigh of relief that I don’t have to manage all of the different workouts required weekly for the triathlons. They are fun and add variety, yes, but also much more time-consuming than putting on my running shoes and out the door! But what a way to go out. I had an overall great race, and can’t think of much I could’ve done better (besides being faster, but that’s for next season!).
I did this race last year & it fits me well–first off it’s close to my house, it’s a smaller race so I don’t have to show up as early, the race isn’t all packed the entire course, and it’s my training route (on the bike)–so I know it well. The bike is fairly flat, which I’m good at. I wasn’t feeling so great over the weekend, so I was questioning what I was even doing racing only 2 weeks after my last triathlon. I really wanted to get my run right, though, and had one more shot to do so! I was sleepy that morning & it was dark when I got there–but as the sun came up, it was obvious the waves were being nicer to us than my last race–so I was good to go. We ran a little late, but still I was in the water by about 7:30am–a nice early race.
The swim was longer than I expected–600m & it just looked FAR…so I really paced myself. I’m still pretty new to open water swimming & am never really sure how fast I can go…but was just happy to be swimming an actual stroke & focusing on technique–a year ago, I was still freaking out & my breathing was a mess. I had no idea where I was in the mix because I could see swimmers all around me. I felt good coming out of the water, though, and thought it was pretty smooth.
Most of the bikes were still in my transition area, which is a good sign. For whatever reason, I was extremely calm during transition–I’m a clumsy, clumsy person, but somehow managed to glide out of my wetsuit as if I was a pro. I got on the bike & man, two hills right away (I was imagining this course to be totally flat, oops!)–one pretty short and steep & the next, a slow climb–but once I got past those, turned the corner, I was zooming. I passed some folks but quickly I was pretty much alone. It was hard because it’s my training route, so sometimes I would forget I was actually racing! I was a little confused because I was going really fast & yet usually I’m passing at least a dozen girls. Either I did great on the swim or everyone else is super fast on the bike as well.
It was cool coming in for the run because hardly any of the bikes were back in transition–meaning I was doing great & most likely going to place. The run is incredibly boring–an out and back on a wide sidewalk path near the beach. I prefer runs with a few twists and turns to keep it exciting–I hate that we can’t listen to music during the run portions of triathlons (against USAT rules)…it is SO helpful in keeping me motivated and my pace up. Instead, I’m singing to myself–songs from my ipod Shuffle that I’ve heard hundreds of times. I also can run faster when there are runners all around me–I have runners to chase, runners to run with, runners that are chasing me–but again, I ended up sort of alone–having to manage my own pace. I felt great, though, and ended up speeding up the last mile or so. A smoooooth race.
I ended up 1st in my division and 14th overall–I didn’t even think to look so high up in the rankings, so for 1/2 an hour I searched–thinking they had misplaced my running time chip or something. Ha! They give great prizes at this race, so I ended up with a medal and expensive bike helmet. Sweet! It was my first “first place” finish in triathloning—sure, it completely depends on the size of the race, the competition that day, etc–but who cares–it’s a first! I’ll take it!
Next season will be all about refining some of my skills–finally, I feel at least competent in the race, so I can work on speed! I still have no urge to do a half-ironman or Ironman…these are the really long distance, takes all day kind of races. I’d rather spend much less time training & just focus on getting better at the shorter distances.
In the meantime, I’ve got three events coming up in the next month (yikes!)–but all of them fun…tonight at midnight is Nike’s Human Race 10k with friends, 3 weeks I’ll be running a 1/2 marathon (that I have not trained for at all!) with Aransas, & in a month–I’ll be doing the Mud Run in San Diego with a hilarious team we’ve assembled. Then I’m taking it easy–trying for the L.A. Marathon in March, depending on how my body is feeling about those long training runs!
Thanks for reading!