Superseal Olympic Triathlon 2017

3:34 PM

First race of the season. Going into this, I had zero expectations and a vague idea of my "goal" times: 45 min swim, 1:30 bike, 1:00 run--slightly faster than my first effort at an Olympic distance triathlon back in 2015. I was under-trained, unprepared, and it was my first full season in triathlon; it did not end well, and it took me this long to revisit the distance.

Swim 

Bathroom, change into tri stuff, work on bikes, put on stickers...Greg and I made it to transition around 6-ish? My wave start was 7:15 and I THOUGHT that I had time to spare. Oh, I was wrong. So wrong. The wave start was moved up to 7:10. And then 7:00. I found myself in the Glorietta Bay, spitting in my goggles and getting water in my wetsuit when the race directors ended the practice swim and sent us out of the water. Well, there goes my thorough and leisurely pre-race routine that I had planned!

I lined up with the other pink caps in the F30 and under wave and moved up to the middle of the pack.

"This is the party wave!" exclaimed the announcer. "Let's see some hands in the air! Ten seconds..."

My heart was racing. Why do you make things so difficult on yourself? You could be at home, in bed, thinking about what to have for breakfast. Your life would be so much easier if you didn't do any of this crazy stuff!

The "plan" was to draft and swim conservatively until the first turn, and then start to pick it up on the way back. This ended abruptly when the sun rose and the gals in front of me didn't really know where they were going. I found myself getting held up by slower swimmers, and had to routinely swim away and find my own line. My shoulders ached, I got clawed at by some faster swimmers in the next wave, and I felt my arm get wrenched as I got passed. Whoa lady, don't give me a rotator cuff tear!
 

Halfway through, I got impatient with trying to find gaps and just started swimming my line, and everyone else seemed to bump into me and move away--perfect. The finish arch seemed to take forever to reach, and all I wanted was to beat my previous time. I swam hard and opened up my stroke until I hit the sand. I tried to stand but immediately got a calf cramp. A volunteer grabbed me and guided me out of the water, sparing me from face-planting back into the ocean. Greg cheered for me as I trudged up the sand and unzipped my wetsuit. The transition from horizontal to vertical is difficult for me, and I needed to get my "land legs" back!


T1: I have zero hustle from the edge of the water through the sand.  Something noteworthy? My bike wasn't the last one on the rack.

Bike
I have never been happier to get on my bike. I met with Jon Avery and got my bike fitting at the local shop. He made some adjustments to get me more aero and I could feel the difference.



I nailed my nutrition (25 oz Nuun Plus + 1 tab Cherry Limeade, 8 oz. water from aid station + 3 Clif Shot Bloks Margarita) and felt really strong and steady. Everything felt evenly paced on the two-loop course. I even saw Greg! I overtook many cyclists and loved the first loop; the second loop was difficult and more crowded, and I also got caught up in a few packs. Some men wouldn't let me pass; I got a little flustered, like why would anybody do that deliberately? Just drop them on the run.

T2: Only a handful of bikes on the rack. Yes!

Run
I am injury-prone and have purposely under-trained the run. Pretty risky. I felt solid for the first 4 miles and struggled through the last two. I convinced myself that if I didn't quit in the swim all the times that I wanted to, I sure as hell was not going to "quit" the run.

Greg and I high-fived at 1.5 miles when he turned around, and we kissed. Some volunteers cheered. It was enough of a mood boost to hold me over until my turnaround. There, an elderly volunteer handed me some water encouraged me to "Chick 'em!" so off I went, channeling my bike frustrations into some good running. I ended up running solo after passing them all, so I kept my eyes up and focused on the next group ahead of me.

At half a mile to go, I started to suffer. Two older women encouraged me and they pulled me to the finish. I saw Greg, standing in the crowd with his new kit and wearing a medal around his neck. I picked it up and pushed hard until the end.



I crossed the finish line and I couldn't stop smiling. I put my arms in the air and everything. It felt like a solid race. I didn't even look at my watch until the end, I just went by feel.

Results
Racing is my favorite thing. I get anxious and nervous, and have a lot of dark moments in races, but that feeling at the end? Totally worth it. It's more than a medal and a finishing time: it's feeling like you are at your absolute limit, cannot go on, and somehow convince yourself to keep going. It's knowing that you are stronger, faster, and better than yesterday.

6th Place F25-29
Swim: 36:36, (2:05/100yd per Garmin) ranked 8th
Bike: 1:19:14 (18.8 mph avg) ranked 5th
Run: 57:45 (9:18/mile avg) ranked 6th

Previous results (2015, Breath of Life Ventura)
Swim: 47:38 (2:54/100yd)
Bike: 1:35:20 (15.6 mph avg)
Run: 1:08:49 (11:09/mile avg)

Support
This weekend could NOT be possible without the help of friends and family: Steph & SOAS crew, Hansym Racing for helping coordinate Greg's team uniform pick up in time for race day (despite preparing for an event that same weekend) and my Aunt Alina (I've known her my whole life and we joined her and her family for baseball games, the best food that I've ever eaten, and some quality time); amazing support and partnerships with Feed The Machine for all my nutrition needs, Nuun Hydration for the only electrolyte tabs I have ever trained and raced with, Xterra Wetsuits, and last but certainly not least, the brilliant Jon Avery and the crew at Open Air Bicycles in Ventura who have seen me grow from a new cyclist in 2014 to where I am now (and hopefully a super fast cyclist in the future)!

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