Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Carlsbad Triathlon Race Report

I can't believe how busy I've been lately! It's been fantastic. The Carlsbad Tri was this past Sunday. First, in chronological order, all the events this past weekend:

Saturday--Long Run:
I'm training for America's Finest City 1/2 Marathon August 20th as well, and I didn't want to miss my long run. A group of gals has been inviting me to run with them, and I really wanted to go since I missed the past few group runs due to being out of town and other races. They were nice enough to have the run on Saturday. So even though the tri was on Sunday, I rationalized that it was "just" a sprint and lugged myself out of bed Saturday morning to meet the gals for a 9 mile run. We went early since the heat and humidity was just sweltering--very unusual for around here. We had a great time. I love long, slow, group runs! It's very relaxing. Afterwards, we ate breakfast at this cool local greasy joint, "The Potato Shack" in Encinitas. Ugh. I was stuffed.

My friend called as I was picking up the race packet wondering if she could visit for the weekend from L.A. Again, against better judgement (she's a friend from grade school, and I really wanted to see her!), I told her to "Come on down!" I collapsed at home for an hour while Jason furiously cleaned the apartment. When she showed up, we all went up to Encinitas. She surfed, and I body-surfed until sunset. It was sooo nice and warm. I was able to get in the water in just a bikini! Afterwards, we dragged our tired selves to a great seafood joint in Del Mar. Finally got back home by 11:30 and started to pack up my race gear for the following morning. I had popped a tire (ugh) Friday afternoon and was too exhausted to change it. Screw it. Went to bed, not sure if I was going to get up for the race the next morning.

Sunday--The Race:
Actually got up the next morning at 5:45 (pushing it but still doable) to do the race. The race started at 8 but my wave didn't go until 8:30. Changed the tire, inflated it, packed up my gear and was heading out, when Jason volunteered to come and support me. He's a saint. He grabbed my bike. "Aren't you going to pump up the tire?"

"Sh*t!" I quickly threw out the pinched tube and put on a new one. I always get lots of extras since I'm good at flatting stuff. I panicked. Could it be this race wasn't mean to be? No. Threw my stuff in the car and took off for Carlsbad at 90 mph, making it there in about 20 min. Lots of people were still coming in. Kissed Jason and ran off to the transition area, squeezing my bike in between two others. Where's the G*d*mn wetsuit!? In the car. Ran off to go retrieve it but the urge to use the facilities predominated. Everyone was wandering towards the beach. I saw a girl in a bathing suit sans wetsuit and grabbed her. "You going to skip the wetsuit?" She nodded encouragingly and I decided to follow suit. The water was 74 degrees, and it was the best last-minute decision I have ever made.

Got down to the beach and jumped in the water to acclimate and check my gear. Everything felt great. Goggles weren't leaking, water was warm and calm. I walked over to my wave and chatted with the other girls. Everyone was very relaxed and friendly, which was very refreshing. I finally started to relax when the gun went off for my wave to start.

Swim (1000m):
I feel like a little kid every time I get in the ocean. The first wave hit me, and I couldn't help but let out a shrill giggle. Why do I do that? The others looked at me, amused. I took my time getting out past the waves. I didn't want to swallow a bunch of salt water or step on a sting ray. The backwards current was really strong, and it took awhile to get out to the first buoy. Once I was there, swimming down 500m past the 5 buoys was easy. There were lots of guys on longboards to watch us and make sure we were okay. I felt very lucid and comfortable. I loved swimming without my wetsuit. My arms got less tired because they felt less restricted. I didn't get as seasick either, b/c of the decreased buoyancy w/o the wetsuit. On the way out, I took my time as well to orient myself to the waves and hold my breath when they broke over me. It was cool. The volunteers on their surfboards would yell, "Wave!" every time one was coming for us to give us advanced warning. Awesome. A few of the girls stopped suddenly. I looked up at them since they had been going strong. Their faces were ashen white. Oooh. I knew what was going on with them. Yuck. The forward and backward motion of the waves coming in can really make you ill if you keep your head down and don't orient yourself. Hit the sand, got out, and ran up towards the transition area. Photographer took a pic just as I was spitting out seawater. Sexy.

T1: Awesome b/c no wetsuit to get off! On the bike and we're off! Steep hill coming up out of the trans. area.

Bike: Rolling 15 miles of coastline. They closed off Hwy 101 for us. It was gorgeous. Sometimes, it's hard to focus b/c I just want to stare at the sea. The 2nd half, something really clicked for me, and I was able to really center myself and focus on every pedal stroke. It felt great, all-in-all.

T2: Very quick. Threw on shoes and ran off, clipping on race belt in mid-stride.

Run: Ugh. 1st 10 minutes were torture. The heat was beating down, and I was on a sidewalk surrounded by 2 walls on either side along the beach. Then, we ran up this grueling steep (but short) hill to get back on Hwy 101. Luckily, with only a 5K to go, the miles flew by. I focused on finding a pace and staying comfortable. I had no problem accepting my 9 min./mile pace. You can't expect to do better than what you're training! I've been focusing on consistent, steady training workouts to build a base, and with the half-marathon coming up, I felt strong and steady. It was very hot. I actually accepted water at the aid stations, which I almost never do for 5Ks. I sipped some water and dumped the rest on my head much to the amusement of some onlookers. At the last mile, this really nice woman came up and said I was a good pacer and wanted to pace with me. Cool. We egged each other on with supportive comments for the remainder. Stuff like, "Good pace. Keep it up. Only 1 more mile. Almost there. Finish strong. Good job." It was awesome. We ran side by side down the chute and towards the finish. I didn't feel like we were racing. We were doing this together. I've never felt such comradarie during a race. It was sweet. Afterall, it really is a race against yourself. She still felt good the last 100 meters so I told her to kick it and swung in behind her over the mats. She gave me an enormous hug afterwards. We chatted for awhile, and she invited me to train with her and her group in Oceanside. I love these events. I always meet at least 2 or 3 new people. It' s awesome.

Post-Race: They had the most delicious fruit and bagels. OJ and water. Just what I was craving. As I chowed down, a news reporter came up to my new friend and I for a post-race interview. I stuttered awkwardly through the questions with sand stuck to my belly, sweat streaks down my cheeks, and orange juice dribbling down my chin. Sexy.

As I grabbed my stuff and headed out of the transition area, I grumbled about having to walk up that d*mn hill again. The guys in front told me to think of it as training in a joking manner. "I have to taper for the Camp Pendleton International next weeknd," I replied.
"And you did this race today?" they asked in bewilderment.
"Taper starting...NOW!" I replied. Yeah, I guess I'm a little over-zealous and crazy with my race schedule right now. Not my fault they plan all the cool races right in a row.

I actually felt really good after my breakfast, shower, and nap. About when the world cup final was ending, my friend and I went down to Pacific Beach. I bought some bikinis and a boogie board, and we headed down to the beach. I tried boggie-boarding with a bikini for the first time. Actually, the bikini had no problem staying on, much to my surprise and relief. However, my contacts didn't want to stay in. I lost one out on the waves, and caught it with one hand, riding the waves on the board with the other. Jumped up on the beach, popped the contact back in, blinked furiously for a minute (salt water stings!), retied the bikini to insure it would not fall off, and jumped back into the water. The people were so friendly. A couple of guys asked me if I knew how to catch waves.
"No clue. Just bought this board 20 minutes ago."
"Oh. We bought ours like 5 minutes ago."
Small world.
Played in the water and laid on the beach until sunset. We watched the sun go down. It was incredible. After the last drop of light dipped behind the water, everyone applauded and whistled. It was a free show! Gotta love San Diego! Anyway, needless to say, I've been sleeping like a baby lately.

Swim: ~23 min
T1+Bike+T2: ~55 min
Run: ~27 min
Total: 1:48:53


jameson said...

good job on the race. it was a pretty awesome day. I am really looking forward to the pendleton race this weekend!

JeffM said...

Great race and you had a great time! Your ocean wave prep payed off too. Good luck this coming weekend.

Paul said...

Good work! You've got a crazy back to back race schedule.

Mike said...

Rachel you racing maniac! :-)

Solid effort especially after that busy day prior....great race report too.
How come we guys can't meet another guy on the course and run with them to the finish and end it with a big hug!? ;-)
not that there is anything wrong with that, of course!

Jack said...

Great race, great report! I think I need to move to California, you make it sound so nice.

Jenö said...

Great job! Sounds to me like you've got a huge bunch of great races to choose from! Well done!

Chris said...

Great RR! I've only done one tri sans wetsuit, and I agree it was very nice!

My parents are still in So Cal. They've been telling me it's very hot!

Mon said...

Fantastic job on the race, you have been busy!!

Cliff said...

Great job Rachel.

That's how a race should be.

About Mike's comment...i ain't that touchy touchy type of guy. But i dont' mind holding some guy's hand all the way to the finish line...of course, in a heterosexual way. :)

jessie_tri_mn said...

Awesome job! And great report...

You are non-stop, wow. So Cal sounds like a great vacation right about now.

Taper going well???

Rachel said...

Thanks for all the rockin' comments, guys!

Jessie, what taper? jk.

Jessi said...

Sounds like you've been having so much fun! It's raining and in the 60's up here today! WTH? Sigh. I miss socal...

Jodi said...

Fantastic race! I get a little giddy in the water, too. People think I'm crazy when I tell them how much I like swimming in the waves :)

Ellie said...

Great race, Rachel! You gave me some insight into what it's like swimming in the ocean... I'm gonna need that come November! Great report!

Kewl Nitrox said...

Sigh... Can't wait till I can call a 9 mile run "relaxing". :)

Great race report, sounded like a lot of fun! What great volunteers, we gotta teach the local volunteers to shout "wave" when they see one coming...

And how did you manage to catch your lost contact lens in the sea?!?!

theseamonster said...

Awesome race report... wow, you sure have a full racing schedule. Btw, my favorite part was that you went bodyboarding afterwords! If you get some bodyboarding fins, you'll have an easier time getting waves.