Breath of Life Sprint Tri 2017

7:22 PM

 Alternative Title: I Get By With a Little Help from My Friends

Race start intensity, photographed by the talented Krystal

What: Sprint Triathlon (Swim 750m, Bike 20.4km, Run 5k)
When: May 20, 2017 (moved up from it's usual SUNDAY around Father's Day weekend)
Where: Ventura, CA--my hometown race! No hotels, 5 min drive, the wonderful privacy of a pre-race bathroom visit and not an awkward portable toilet situation.
Why: in honor of Dina La Vigna, proceeds go towards improving treatment facilities at local hospitals supporting children diagnosed with Primary Immunodeficiency.
Who: me + Greg (first time ever racing the same exact race!), swim friends from Buenaventura Tri Squad, cycling friends from Adobo Velo Ventura Valley, and my SOAS Racing and Hansym Racing teammates, and a special pre-race appearance from family--David and Krystal (fresh from her 13.1 debut!) I would say that it was a social event with a triathlon on the side.

Let's file this under the "Couch to Tri" category for the following reasons:
2 weeks of no exercising, fatigue, coughing, naps all the time during my work breaks/in my car
3 days of a fever
5 lbs lost from not eating for 2 weeks
3.5 seasons watched/napped through of How I Met Your Mother
3 swims in the week leading up to the event for a total of ~5000 yd
1 run of 30 minutes, with approx. 0 minutes of fun
1 bike ride at 1:20 for a lightning fast 14.8 mph avg and being unable to breathe due to weak lungs and heavily congested nose (not even the fiercest snot rocket could clear it out, ew)
0 open water swims since Oceanside 4/1
0 expectations on race day

Pre Race (Mis)Adventures
We arrived at the parking lot ready to race on such a gorgeous morning! It was not without some occurrences to spice things up and test our ability to "keep cool" under pressure: 2 popped tubes, 1 bike pump with an aforementioned dead tube's broken valve trapped inside, 0 operating bike pumps, 0 remaining tubes, 1 helpful car neighbor, 1 reunion with SOAS Racing teammate Megan T. to SAVE THE DAY with tire levers, a spare tube, and a bike pump. We owe her a beer at our next race meet-up for sure.

Swim 20:16
After getting completely distracted in transition by saying hello and chatting with so many friends (swim friends Debbie, Tiffany, and Josie; fellow Adobo Velo cyclist Jhing, teammates Michael and Rebecca), and taking lots of photos (pics or it didn't happen, am I right?), I managed to buckle down and set up gear/wiggle into my wetsuit before heading down to the water. The course is triangular, with water temps in the high 50s/low 60s F and maybe 14-17ish C, two right turn buoys, and a pair of buoys on the finishing stretch. Current was going in, so it took more effort to get to the first turn buoy; it helped on the second buoy, but the course felt a bit long.

Bike 43:18
The bike course is one loop, fast, and flat--but there is enough of a headwind/crosswind to keep you honest. The Olympic course does three loops, and it does get a little congested where the Sprint/Oly athletes merge.The roads are a mix of agricultural fields and main city streets, so beware of mud/dirt, debris, broken glass, etc. Harbor Blvd and Gonzales Rd are closed to traffic, however the Victoria Ave/W 5th St. parts of the course are not, so be careful when passing (if applicable--there is a no-pass zone on the bridge). I kept my aero bars on for this one, wore my aero helmet, but opted for casual sunglasses instead of my helmet shield/visor.

After clocking the fastest T1 per division results (did not feel like it at all), I felt awful on the bike for approx. 4 miles and tried to hang on. Saw my friend Monica cruise by me at mile 1 looking strong on her new ride, sipped some Nuun and started working my way through the field. Hardly saw anyone in my AG so I was either doing really well or really terribly; T1 had only a few bikes on the rack, so I decided to hang on and try to push for a fast ride due to my lack of run fitness.

Run 28:55
Course is straight forward, 1.55 miles out and back. Flat, fast, but it can heat up pretty quickly (no shade) so I suggest sunscreen, a hat/visor, sunglasses optional.

T2 was a little awkward for me due to pulling socks onto cold feet and almost wearing my helmet out of transition. Saw Greg as I was jogging out and pulling my race belt and visor on, and hoped to see him on the run! The plan was to survive the first mile, pick it up on the second mile, and hold the pace until the finish line. I was sad when I got passed by one woman in my division and she basically flew by me like I was standing still. She looked strong and I couldn't keep up--talk about a real gut check. Stuck to The Plan, saw my teammates Michael and Rebecca on the last half, high-fived Greg, ran with swim lane mate Debbie for a bit, booty-slapped my teammate Megan, and tried to summon up any inherent muscle memory to try and kick with a mile to go. With half a mile to go, I saw fellow Adobo Velo cyclists Gabe and Joy on the run and en route to finishing their very first triathlon! Happy for them and with the finish line in sight, I picked up the pace and turned the final corner.

SOAS Racing & Hansym Racing teammates. Post race, pre-beer garden

Results 4/8 AG, 17/88 F, 88/205 OA

Midpack in swim (5/8), biked 2nd best bike split and passed 2 women, got passed by 1 (3/8), got passed by 1 on the run and a definite 4th place by many minutes--3rd place came in around 1:20, and I was well beyond 1:30 (1:35:43).

Overall, things went better than expected--I raced about average in my division after being sick again/prolonged illness, and in past seasons I am usually near the back of the pack while healthy. I am proud of my effort and am adjusting my training plans for races later in the season/defining goals for 2018.

Garmin data revealed that I swam a little more (almost 100m more, very likely self-inflicted due to sighting, current, navigating around other swimmers etc.), biked pretty well for minimal riding, and a constant pace for the run despite rising temps and a huge lack of fitness. I like to take this data with a grain of salt because I'm not the best at remembering to start/lap/stop my watch at transitions and finish lines, but the overall time was pretty close to my race results (1:34:51 Garmin vs. 1:35:43).
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Garmin data upload

Good things: confident swim start, sighting every 10-ish strokes, felt strong on the bike, having a realistic plan based on fitness level going into the run and executing it.
Things to focus on: more open water swims leading up to key races later this season, sighting more strategically, working on turning/cornering, practicing flying mounts/dismounts, and the thing that gets me every time--running consistently.

Time to add an Ironman medal to the wall?

What's next?
1. Re-building my base through the summer & early fall
2. Fall 70.3 race (not officially signed up yet)
3. Volunteering at an Ironman
4. Registering for my first Ironman 2018!!!

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