Sunday, September 30, 2007

Mission Bay Triathlon - 2007

Ahh...Mission Bay. Where it all began. The first triathlon ever was held here! My first triathlon ever was here! (well, kinda...I did a club race the week before as my first). This race will always hold a sentimental place in my heart, despite the mucky MB waters. This was my 4th year in a row doing this race. I've definitely come a long way since the fall of 2004!

Pretty normal except for the fact that Pat set his alarm to NPR, and at 4:30 am, NPR had nothing airing. Blank. That means no noise when the alarm goes off. For some reason, I got up and looked at the clock. 4:45! Oh Sh*t! Not too bad. We rushed out of bed, dressed, and headed out the door.

Supposedly there was a favorable current. I felt it at the start as it was pushing us past the start buoys. I swear it ended just after those buoys. I felt like I was swimming through mud the rest of the distance. I just couldn't get into my groove. One of these days I really need to get into a masters program....

Pretty quick. I'd say about 40% of the bikes in my wave were gone when I got out of the water.

The bike course takes you out of ski beach, into the Sea World parking lot (lots of sharp turns), back out onto Sea World Drive and onto Fiesta Island for a loop before heading back. Since they paved the big loop on the island earlier this year, the race took advantage of it, making the bike course almost 2 miles longer. Advantage: ME! This is the only part of triathlon (other than transitions) where I can hold my own. The longer the better! I passed a couple of girls in my wave within the first mile, and then a couple more on the island. And then I started passing the boys. That was fun! I felt good on the bike. There were a couple portions where the wind held be back to 18/19 mph, but for the most part I was riding around 20 or 21 mph. For about a half a minute on the west side of the island, I thought I had a flat. Something just didn't seem right. Wheel looked ok though, so I powered on (I found out later at home that my tire really was flat...must have been a slow leak).

A couple of the 25-29 year old boys passed me on the bike (they started 5 mins behind). One guy passed me as I rode through Sea World the first time (must have been a wicked fast swimmer), a couple passed me on the island, and then 4 more passed me on the return trip through Sea World. Unfortunately they passed me just as we were heading into some water hazards (puddles). I was sprayed w/ muddy, dirty water and was speckled for the rest of the race. Oh well, you don't win races on looks.

Quick again. There were very few bikes on their racks when I returned. I love that.

Usually this is where I get passed by half of the people I passed on the bike. For some reason, that didn't happen too much today. I started off strong, and ran my first mile in 7:30. 7:30!??!?! Wait...there's no way in hell I ran my first mile off the bike in 7:30. Concensus is that the mile marker was placed incorrectly. I hit Mile 2 at 16:30, so my 1 mile of elation on how I had suddenly become a fast runner, evaporated pretty quickly. From what I can remember, only 3 or 4 people in my age group passed me on the run. I had passed Michelle Panik on the bike, and she passed me again at mile 1.5. Not too shabby. Clay, who started 10 minutes behind me, passed me at about the same time. I was able to hold off Pat (who started 5 minutes behind me) for another 2 minutes, and then he blew past me. I never saw Becky. She was ahead of me the entire time. How's that for some Ironman recovery? I was able to finish strong, and feel good at the end of the race. Sprints are stomach can usually be ready for beer within 10 minutes :)

Post Race
My wave was the third to go off. That meant I finished early and was able to make it to the beer garden by 8:30 am. Nothing like Mich Ultra for breakfast! :) It was a beautiful sunny San Diego morning. Couldn't ask for anything better. By 10:30 am, I was pretty buzzed. Pat and I were able to check another "Thing We want to do" off our list when we joined Paul, Erik, and Clay for breakfast at the Museum Cafe in La Jolla. I had the Asparagus Scramble. Yum!

Results (from my watch since Koz only does 3 splits)
Swim (500m)--10:24 (ugh)
Bike(10.4 miles?)--31:21
T2 --1:12
Run(3.1 miles)--25:23 (ugh)

Total: 1:10:35
16/119 W25-29

Saturday, September 15, 2007

TCSD September Club Race

Why I decided to do a race just 6 days after a half ironman is beyond me. I could've used a nice day to sleep in, but nah.....that's no fun!

Anyway, after a summer of "paid-for" races conflicting with club races, I finally had my chance to race on Coronado for the first time this year. Just a nice little sprint....

800 m swim (heard it was more like 1000) ----17:41
T1 ----1:55
15 mile bike ----46:43
T2 ----0:59
3.2 mile run ----25:23

Total: 1:33:51

After a quick bite to eat (Thanks again Denise), I headed home, showered, and got ready for another Tri Club Event....The Don Lopez BBQ! As a Michigan MBA, he didn't disappoint...a TV was set up for me on the bar :) Michigan beat Notre Dame 38-0. Go Blue!

Mmmmm.....some of Don's famous meat. This stuff rocks!!!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

My Big Kahuna Story....

....Otherwise known as "How I easily succumbed to peer pressure."

It's September. I'm tired. My body is tired. I've been training hard since last December. Work is busy. School just started. I had every reason in the world not to do this race. But... it was on my original race schedule for the year, I was planning on heading to Nor Cal for Pat's race anyway, AND half of the Bellas were already signed up. Even Juls! So, after a little push from the girls, I gave in. I signed up for another half ironman.

My race weekend began soon after Pat crossed the finish line at Pac Grove. Since Pat had TNT celebrations to attend to on Saturday evening, my friend Erik came down from Santa Cruz to pick me (and my bike) up. We headed straight for the (very small) expo and picked up our packets. After a nice big burger and fry lunch with the girls, we settled into our cute little rental beach bungalow. Before long, it was time to carbo-load with the rest of the TCSD crew at an Italian restaurant downtown. We had a couple hours of good food, good laughs, and good entertainment (at one point in the evening, the lights were dimmed, and all of the waiters and cooks put on a little song and dance show). Then it was back to the bungalow to get ready for the day ahead!
Race Day
Since our beach bungalow was only 1.5 miles from the race start, the 7 of us (Me, Court, Erik, Tina, Elaine, Shannon, Stephen) were able to bike down to transition. It was so nice to not have to load up a car, leave early, etc. A 5 minute trip, and we were there.

Transition area was a bit like Baja. No assigned racks, a little chaotic, but not too bad. This meant I got to rack with all of my friends, so that was fun. I got body marked, made my bathroom trip, drank some gatorade, and went on a 1/2 mile warmup run. Everything felt in check.

One great thing about this race is that my wave was for 34 and under Women. This meant that I got to start with just about all of my bellas. The gun went off, and we were running into the water. I couldn't have asked for a better swim course or conditions. The water was calm, and the sky was very overcast, which made for easy swimming and sighting. The swim was basically around the Santa Cruz pier. If you went off course on the swim, you were a dumb*ss. The pier is huge, you can't miss it! In addition, the buoys that we had to swim around were bright orange, and really stuck out in the gray water and sky. The water was a tad bit cold (around 60 degrees), so once I got over the initial brain freeze, I had to make sure to continue to wiggle my fingers and toes to keep them from freezing up. It really wasn't too bad though. The water in my wetsuit warmed up fairly quickly, so for the most part, I was really comfortable. I ran out of the water and shocked myself with a 37 minute and change swim! That is 5 minutes faster than my other HIM swims. This race may not turn out so bad afterall (I later learned that the swim course may have been a little short...oh well).

T1 was long, probably 3/8 of a mile. I ran up the beach and to the boardwalk, where out of the sand I was able to easily take off my wetsuit. I then got to run across the street, over some train tracks, past a skateboard park and some restaurants into T1. T1 was pretty standard, although since the weather was a bit chilly (low 60's), and it was a longer race, I had to spend an extra few seconds putting on my arm warmers and gloves.

This bike course was FANTASTIC! Once again, the weather was great (cloudy and low to mid 60s) which made riding the course even better. Compared to Oceanside and Baja, there was much less climbing, so that was a nice relief. There were quite a few rollers though, which added a little challenge. The bike course weaved through some Santa Cruz neighborhoods before heading out onto Highway 1. Most of the course was right on the coast and absolutely beautiful. Since it was an out and back course, I could see how all of my friends/competition were doing. I saw Michellie Jones heading back to transition when I was at mile 19, which meant she was 18 miles ahead of me. Damn! Crazy fast! My friend Tina passed me around mile 20, and then Elaine passed me at mile 21. Within 2 miles of the turnaround, I was able to see Mer, Juls, and Shannon on their way back as well. I passed Elaine around mile 30, but never caught the others. Around mile 40, I hit a nice descent and my bike computer read 38 mph....and then 0 mph. bike computer crapped out. This sucks. I had to ride the rest of the course blind (not knowing my speed or how many miles were left). Oh well, there was nothing I could do about it. I finally reached transition and saw Pat there (in a Michigan t-shirt, nonetheless) cheering me on. That put a smile on my face. :)

Nice, short, mindless as always.

I hit the timing mats out of T2 and saw that my watch read 3:39. If I could do a 2 hour 1/2 marathon, I could do a sub-5:40 race. I was pumped. And then I started running....

Pat cheered me up the first hill, and then it was time to get my mind in gear to finish this race. The crazy thing about this distance is that when you get off the bike, you are completely exhausted. In every HIM, I think to myself that there is no way that I can run 13 miles. Then you realize that you already have 2 events down, so you have to finish. Somehow mind overtakes matter.

The run started on the sidewalk along the coast, then headed into the neighborhoods, and then back onto a running path through some farms and seaside bluffs. Miles 5-8 or so (including the tiki turnaround) were on a dirt path along the water. It kind of reminded me of running at Torrey, except without the steep hills.

Around Mile 1.5, I caught Tina in my sight. It took me a good half mile to catch her and pass her. She was looking strong and in good spirits. As I was heading up to the turnaround, I saw Juls, Shannon, and Mer all within a couple minutes. They were a good couple miles ahead of me. Shortly after the turnaround, Elaine passed me, holding a really nice pace. I also saw Steve K. and Tina who were just a few minutes behind me.

I realized towards the end of the run that I'm getting better at dialing in my nutrition. I had 2 bottles of Carbopro 1200 mixed with gatorade on the bike (800 calories total), and no solid food. Although my stomach was a little nauseous during the run, keeping me from running the pace that I really wanted, I never came close to bonking. That was great! Recalling my last 4 miles at Oceanside where I was nauseous, bonking, and in pain, this run was a piece of cake.

With about 3/4 of a mile left, I caught up with Elaine again. I said something to her about how much she was kicking ass, especially since she didn't do much training, and then all of a sudden she took off. I must have been a good motivator. I couldn't keep that pace. She would finish 35 seconds ahead of me.

The last half mile of this run is beautiful, but absolute torture. You drop down to the beach, and have to run through the sand, under the pier, and down the beach (in the sand) up to the boardwalk area to the finish line. Running in soft sand after close to 6 hours of racing hurts. Pat found me with about 1/8th of a mile left and ran with me for 30 seconds or so. He was talking, but I wasn't much of a conversationalist at that point. JUST...NEED....TO...FINISH....

Well, I did. And in PR time as well! :) I wasn't incredibly happy with my run time, but I went as hard as I could (at least without puking). All in all, a great day, a great race, great weather, and a great course. I'd love to do this one again.

Here's the numbers
Swim (1.2 miles) - 37:30 (1:56 /100m)
T1 - 5:31
Bike (56 miles) - 2:55:32 (19.1 mph)
T2 - 1:06
Run - (13.1 miles) - 2:09:39 (9:54/mile)
Total - 5:49:19
24/66 Women 25-29

Pic below is of some great race recovery....This stuff was great!!