Carpinteria Sprint Triathlon 2016

6:31 PM

The odds were pretty much stacked against me in September. I had big, big plans to build up and come into the race feeling super strong, but there seemed to be one mishap after the other: tripping on a curb during routine Sunday morning run and ending up with serious road rash, mysterious GI problems, treating myself to a new wetsuit (thanks to my ever-changing body) and swimming into an oil slick that left me covered in sticky tar from my goggles to my Garmin. Luckily, we salvaged the suit and the Garmin due to some home remedies and everything turned out okay in the end.

I hesitated even signing up for this race, but Greg convinced me to. He felt that I was ready to return to Carpinteria and see what I could do after my first race in 2014.

Saturday morning: pre-race consisted of packing for Yosemite, a leisurely breakfast, and heading up to the beach for a nice swim. Packet pickup ended with a fantastic "living" butter lettuce (roots and all) that are locally grown. I tried to settle in for a quiet evening, and had some pre-race nerves.

Homegrown triathlon, homegrown race swag!

Sunday morning: I woke up promptly at 3am despite my wave start at 8:25 am. Go figure. I laid in bed and tried to relax, and mentally went over how I wanted the whole race to go. I met Greg at 5am outside of his work and he checked my tires, made me some oatmeal, and sent me off to find parking at the beach. Apparently that was more than enough time, and I scored an excellent spot right outside transition area!

I took my bike out of my trunk and attempted to place my race number on my bike frame. No luck. I ended up sticking it to my seat post, and tried to stuff my flat kit in my top tube storage box. Due to it being so incredibly aero, I could only fit my tube and a tire lever. I decided to tuck my CO2 cartridge in my back pocket and hoped for the best.

Got my first choice of transition area spot. That never happens! My coach ended up racking her bike right next to me and we chatted about bikes, strategies for the race, and said hi to the other athletes that we knew. This was a "small town" local race with lots of familiar faces!
My stuff to the right, my coach's to the left.

Transition area was starting to fill with energy as the sun rose. I finished setting up and headed out, seeking some solace in my car with some oatmeal and fluids. After a handful of triathlons, I've discovered that I'm much better off heading out of transition ASAP due to all the energy. I get too overwhelmed. If I head out to a quiet spot to watch the water, use the restroom, get in my suit, and start getting warmed up in the water with half an hour to go, I do much better.

Greg found me not long after and we headed off to the sand. "I just want to have a really great swim today," I said. "I don't care what else happens, but I want to see what I can do."

I saw the water and thought, "Wow, it's a beautiful day for a swim." I was actually EXCITED to get in the water--usually I am dreading the swim. Crazy! I met up with my triathlete friends from swim group/triathlon club that were also in my wave (Women 39 & under).

Excited, for once.
Swim: 15:21 (1:55/100 yd pace, rank 7/9).
I positioned myself in the middle of the group. That was a bold move on my part; all my other races have started with me hanging out in the back and off to the side, but I felt really prepared and wanted to push myself. The race started and I hopped through/over a wave near shore, then eased into the water once it was waist/chest high. I focused on a good, strong breath and exhaling smoothly. I stayed in the middle of a pack (another race first!!) and drafted my way to the first turn. It felt like no time at all! I settled into a steady pace and tried to sight for the second buoy. The sun was directly in my eyes and I swam near the girls around me. My teammate Lori happened to sight on her right (and I sight on my left), so we worked together to get to the second turn and head for shore. I even passed a couple men from the earlier waves (!)

T1: 3:12 Jogged out of the water, happy to be vertical and on solid ground, and started stripping my wetsuit down to my waist. The timing mat was on the other end of a sand hill, so I ended up slowing down and trudging. Stepped out of my wetsuit, put on my helmet and sunglasses, threw my CO2 into my jersey pocket, and walk/jogged out of transition.

Probably my favorite race kit to date! SOAS Racing's 2015 Kona Series.

Bike: 33:09 (16.3 mph, max speed 28.2 mph, rank 6/9) This was familiar territory. I haven't done much riding, but I knew what to expect from previous rides. I have a habit of being in an "easy" gear because I'm afraid of my knee hurting. Greg set me straight on the last ride in terms of my gearing choices, and my mantra on the bike was "go two gears lower than you feel comfortable with". My first split was 15mph with long slow climbs, but my second split was a nice 18mph. I was so pumped, I smiled and pointed at Greg as I headed back to transition.

T2: 2:15. It was so damn hot. The sun was starting to beat down on me, and all I had to do was finish up a 5k and about 30 more minutes of effort. Racked my bike, slid my shoes off, sat down and tugged my socks and running shoes on, and jogged out while pulling my race number belt over my head.

Last turn before the finish.

Run: 29:06 (9:26 avg, splits of 9:33, 9:54, 9:03; rank 5/9) To be honest, I ran a total of twice in the weeks leading up to the race. Once was earlier that week in the afternoon heat during my lunch break, and it really helped in terms of "heat training". Goals for the run were to 1) not stop and 2) walk through the aid stations while taking as much fluid as I possibly could. Goals were met, water was dumped under my hat and all over my back, volunteers were thanked and spectators were high-fived. I was honestly having such a blast on the race course. Before I knew it, I made the turn back to the beach. I tried to kick with half a mile to go, but my legs just wouldn't go and felt heavy in the heat. I felt my heart pounding out of my chest and I knew that it would be over soon. 

I saw the finish line and stared immediately at the clock. I had a PR by at least ten minutes!

Results: 1:23:29 (2014 was 1:34:45)
7 AG, 38F, 120 OA. I am honored to race with F25-29, and I have never seen race results that deep. Many places were determined by minutes or even less!

Comparison from 2014:
S- 22:00
T1- 3:04
B- 37:44
T2- 2:19
R- 29:38

My swim was nearly seven minutes faster over 500m. I felt strong and steady, and it was the best swim that I've had to date.

Bike improved by over four minutes, and I can attribute this to 1) having a new road bike and 2) riding with stronger riders like Adobo Velo and trying to keep up with Greg. That one hill used to leave me totally exhausted, but I learned little nuances with pacing and gearing and it never felt challenging. I hope to improve this with a lot of strong fall and winter riding :)

Running: I ran more last year. I barely run now, but I managed to scrape by with a thirty-second difference. I want to work on the run a lot as well, with hopefully cooler weather.

After the race, Greg and I said hi to our friends and headed back home--and then we went to Yosemite to relax and unwind!

THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get through this season in one piece! Let's make 2017 a big year!

SOAS Racing, at least I look fast wearing your gear! Everything is so well thought-out and coordinating that I have never worn anything else for the last two years. My SOAS teammates are wonderful and I am so grateful to have a group of supportive and amazing athletes.

XTERRA Wetsuits, thanks to my increased swimming and changing physique, I am now on my second Vortex suit. Great deal for a new swimmer like me!

Nuun Hydration, a newer team partner--I have been using their hydration tabs for the last two years during racing, training, and general existence in hot and sunny Southern California.

Buenaventura Tri/Coach Britt: I could not have knocked 7 minutes off my swim without your guidance! I felt more prepared and confident for the swim than I EVER HAVE.

Adobo Velo Ventura Chapter: Riding with you guys is always a great time. Thanks for always looking out for me and making me a stronger climber with your "flat" routes!!! It is a huge learning process learning to ride in a group and I am proud to join your ranks. I cannot wait to build up my mileage again soon.

Greg: Thanks for all your bike help and believing in me when I have a hard time believing in myself. Can't wait to enjoy the off-season with you!!!

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