Sunday, July 29, 2007

Solana Beach Triathlon

After the 10K on Saturday, I didn't know what to expect. And the boogie boarding. I was actually pretty sore on Sunday. And tired. But the acupuncture on my stomach Saturday afternoon had helped like a dream. My tummy purred like a kitten all morning. Luckily, Sunday was much cooler in the morning than Saturday and the water was smooth as glass. You couldn't have asked for better conditions.

I woke up at 4:30, feeling groggy and exhausted. But then nerves kicked in. I was excited about the race! I think only doing a few tris a year is much better than cramming in as many as you can. I've been really psyched for all my tris this year. This is only my 3rd so far. Which is still a lot! But they've been more spread out. I like it that way. Makes me more fresh than when I do 1 every weekend. (Have to cut down on the C races though....)

After half-an-hour, I felt ready to go. Plus, I was hungry, which never happens that early. I was able to easily eat a banana and bowl of cereal, my ritual pre-race meal. Met at our group leader's house, conveniently located in Solana Beach. I had convinced my running buddies to do the tri or the du! I was totally stoked. I love indoctrinating new people into tri. Let me just say that doing a race with a bunch of friends totally rocks!!! I'm so used to going solo, which is still fun, but nothing beats a gaggle of friends.

I helped BR with her bike, we slapped on our backpacks and were off to the transition area. I set up without any problem but felt more pre-race jitters than normal because I was constantly wondering where my friends were, what they were doing, etc. As opposed to when I'm solo--I just focus on myself. One negative, I guess. Plus, I saw so many people I knew!!! Tri club people, running buddy people, bike people, people I'd met at other races. I love it! It's so stimulating.

BR before the start of the Du at Solana Beach.

Rule #1: Leave time to chat with friends briefly before the race and make a mental note to chat more extensively with them aftewards. Leave more pre-race time to be alone and focus on yourself to settle down. About 30 minutes before the start, I made friends with the girl next to me in transition, and she had this amazing calming effect on me. She was so easy-going and laid-back, I instantly took a liking to her. Rule #2: Always introduce yourself to the people around you in transition. Rule #3: Try to make at least 1 new friend at each race. It helps to bring pen and paper for contact info! My new friend convinced me (it didn't take much) not to wear a wetsuit since a) the water was warm--72, b) the swim was super short (400m), and c) it would save time in transition. Sold! I always have more fun sans wetsuit anyway. We headed down to the swim to warm-up.

JH and me before the tri. I look nervous.

In line for the Port-A-Potty.

The water felt great and playing in the waves really helped me calm down and loosen up. I just love swimming for fun in the ocean. Nothing hard. Just enough to get out and away from it all. The quietest place in the midst of chaos (race, beach, etc.) is about 100 m straight out into the ocean. There are always fewer (if any) people. You can't hear the din of the bustle on land. Just the lapping of water and crashing of waves. I calmed down and felt at peace. Rule #4: A good pre-race warm-up swim is verrry important.

Swim (400m): By the time we reached shore and lined up, we were almost ready to go. More tri club buddies came up to wish me luck. Awesome. The gun went off, I started my watch, and jogged off into the waves. Most everyone stayed upright way too long, which is frustrating because it's hard to dive under the waves when a bunch of people are standing in front. I slogged out through a few small rollers, and then dove in. A few big waves crested above me. I dolpin-kicked to get momentum to dive under. Wham! I gave someone behind me a facial (kicked them in the face). Another big wave came up, I dolphin-kicked, and kicked someone again! Wtf? Sorry! What's a gal supposed to do. The first buoy came up just past the breakers, and I turned no problem. I was in the midst of my group and focused on drafting off feet. It was so much easier today! Way fun. I found a gal kicking really hard and enjoyed the super draft off her for a bit...until I passed her. Yes, folks. I actually passed people on the swim today. Unbelievable. I was huffing, but it's a sprint, right? You should be swimming harder! Hit the final turn (already?) and caught a swell on the way in. Stroke, stroke, another swell. Stroke, stroke, wave! Body surf. Yesssss. Almost all the way in. Pause. Water is about knee-high now. Start slogging in wave comes. Dolphin dive! Body surf all the way in. Hit the mats at 10:00. Considering my pool 100 is 2:30, swimming an ocean 400m in 10:00 is super awesome. Not only that, instead of getting left behind and being one of the final swimmers of my wave, I was in the midst of my pack. This was the first swim (even for a sprint) where I felt it was over with too soon. It went really well and was Yipee! I was stoked. I have to say, successful drafting and body surfing helped immensely. Rule #5: For ocean swims with a surf entry and exit, surfing, boogie boarding, and body surfing as a hobby helps a ton.

T1: Seemed to go pretty smoothly. I power-walked up the steep boat ramp leading into Fletcher Cove. I was already out of breath. Waved to my friends, about to start their wave, and they cheered me on. At transition, I was just happy not to be the last bike in the rack, like usual! This motivated me too since I wanted to beat my wave out of transition. Shoes, no socks, dripping wet. Sunglasses, helmet, bike, and I'm off! Had to dodge a few people laid up with their wetsuits (ha, ha!). Trotted off to transition, clipped in and took off.
Swim+T1: 0:09:10 (Is this right? This can't be right. Assuming at least 1:10 for transition (which would be stellar for me), that's 2:00/100 m--0:30 sec faster than in the pool! must've been a current.)

Bike (9 miles): After half a mile, my heart rate settled down and my breathing found a natural rhythm. I popped up into my big gear and found a resistance where I could maintain a high cadence with a slight push. Hit the turn-around, lost momentum, and stood in the pedals to get it back. Grrr. This happened 3 more times since it was a 2-loop, out-and-back course (2 turn-arounds you hit twice--4 turn-arounds--ick). Passed a lot of people the first few miles. Then again, a lot of people passed me too. Especially, the male elites with their disk wheels reverberating like helicoptor blades, whrr, whrr, whrr, clipping by so close I could feel the wind from their carbon steeds. I decided with Torch on a route I train on more than anywhere else in SD, I simply had no excuse not to hammer it out. I managed b/tw 18 and 20 mph most of the way, which is definitely hot for me. Hammered it on the the little decline to gain momentum--28 mph, baby. Hit the 2nd turn-around and found an easier gear for the return incline. Kept telling myself although it was steep, it was short. It's a sprint. Go for it. My breath was rasping but I hung onto the aero bars and redlined it up the hill. Of course, the photographer was at the top taking pictures of me fighting the hill with my hideous Grrr face. It'll be fun to post when it comes out. 2nd loop, same as the first, except I actually felt stronger. 9 miles later, it was over. Torch was sad. I glanced at my watch as I crossed the mat. ~30:00 for the bike (18 mph avg). Rock on!
Bike+T2: 0:33:46 (a 3+ transition; ack! need quick laces)

T2: I struggled a little since I wimped out and wore socks. Plus, I still have laces. Need to get the quick-ties. Grabbed my visor and race belt and took off, strapping them on as I ran.

Run (5K): It felt hard. I was still midst several members of my wave, and I was hungry for them. However, my legs hurt. I had gone hard on the bike and hard on the 10K the day before. I had my doubts. At least my stomach was purring like a kitten. I focused on maintaining a rhythm and seeing if I could match the pace with the person in front of me. Mile 1: 8:? I felt like I was going hard. I was focusing on focusing. Isn't that weird? I remember thinking I was going faster than I felt. After mile 1, I began to feel better. My breathing settled down. The girl I was matching was breathing harder. I decided to let her go. I still didn't know if she was on her first or second loop. I wasn't going to kill myself yet. Mile 2: ? I know I looked but I can't for the life of me remember. Guess I got total amnesia on the run. I heard people yelling my name. I had a delayed response. And it was more like a, "huh?" than a "Thanks!" Why do I blank on the run? I started pushing the pace because several girls in my age group had passed me. First 1. Than 2. 3. All of a sudden, it was 5, and I was like a hornet. I wanted to go faster too, dammit! I pushed the pace until I was huffing. Still in a rhythm though so I felt okay. I could hold it. My legs felt like rubber. They weren't responding to my brain. I finally caught the girl next to me. As we passed mile 3 (completely forgot to look at my watch at this point), she said, "Do you sprint?" My reply--a pathetic, "Sometimes." She said, "Let's go for it!" She totally boosted me forward, urging me. Then, we hit the chute, and she was off. But she had helped me pass some of the people who had passed me. Some, of whom, passed me again at the last second! A very competitive group of gals! Rule #6: Sometimes, when the run is hurting, it helps to focus on the pace of others around you. And sometimes, you can use the pace of someone slightly faster to push yourself.
Run: 0:24:18 (a PR for sprint tri 5K; sub-8 min/miles!)

I crossed the finish and promptly forgot to stop my watch. Of course, I was just trying not to puke. It takes about 10 seconds. As long as I'm walking, the feeling passes quickly, and I'm fine again. I love how quickly I settle down after a hard effort! When I remembered to stop it, it read 1:07:58. So I'm thinkin' I did the whole thing in ~1:07? Which means my run was about ~24:?? 8 min/miles in a tri 5K? Which is totally awesome!!! I made sure to thank the girl who had egged me on at the end. She was super sweet. I love how she told me I did a great job, when I was struggling to keep up with her! I also congratulated everyone else who had finished in my pack since they had all pushed me. They were all so nice! Everyone telling me what a great job I did and thanking me for pushing them! In my opinion, it had been the opposite. Great sportmanship, folks. We ladies do it right. Cardinal Rule #7: Thank and congratulate your toughest competitors at the finish. Sometimes, your number 1 rival can be your number 1 training partner.

Official Results:
Place (Overall): 477
Place: 24/86 (AG)
Total: 1:07:14

All in all, a great race. Super fun sprint. I loved doing a tri in a neighborhood where I know the swim, bike and run like the back of my hand. I just wish it was longer! The loops allow you to see lots of people, faster and slower, lots of time (good for spectators too). It's also very beginner-friendly, which can be rare in SD. I enjoyed seeing the people duking it out on their mountain bikes in bathing suits and running shoes. Great job, everyone!

A group of us returned to the run turn-around to cheer everyone us behind us. It was truly enjoyable to be a cheerleader after I had finished (Rule #8: Cheer others on when you're done.) We all had a huge breakfast afterwards, new friends in tow. Yes, omelettes again, my favorite post-race meal (pre-race dinner the night before is sushi). I already had my bikini on and my boogie board in the truck for another afternoon of body surfing (Pacific Beach, this time). As I was out there, waiting for the next big wave (arm and all still body-marked), a sole dolphin came within ~15 meters, cruising about for fish. A perfect ending to a perfect day. I'm sore (legs from tri, chest, shoulders and abs from boogie boarding), sunburnt and exhausted but I've had a crap-ton of fun this weekend.


Unknown said...

Very wise rules. All important to enjoying the sport and making the tri community a fun place for everyone!

Ann (bunnygirl) said...

It sounds like you had a great time! I so envy you your experience in the open water! None here closer than an hour away. :-(

jameson said...

Killer race. Way to push yourself. It was good to finally meet you (kind of). Hopefully next time it will be for more that a second...

Steve Stenzel said...

What a great day! I think #3 is VERY important! - I do that each race too...

Unknown said...

Wow, sounds like you had a fantastic weekend. Two hard, well done races and boogie boarding, too? Very impressive and sounds like a ton of fun!

But sushi? Really??

Fizzgig said...

as usual, very inspiring! I needed a good kick in the pants, after reading all you do, it makes my workouts seem doable!

Paul said...

Good work Rachel! Sounds like you had a total blast. I didn't get a chance to say hi, but I saw you running around. Congrats again.

Kate said...

Nice work! Thanks for the rules- it'll be good to keep those in mind!

Anonymous said...

Great job! The swim and run courses were a bit short this year, but who cares! Super job!