I beat my sub-2:35 goal with a 2:33:59!
Race day started with a nice little ride from my parked car to transition. I arrived at 6:30, because transition was closing at 7, but I wasn’t racing until 9. I got there just in time to see them closing the parking lot and directing us somewhere else. Oh well.
They kept transition open later for the Olympic Distance athletes – the Sprint started at 7, and the Olympic at 8 – which was a nice surprise. It was a pretty relaxing morning, though I was getting anxious to go race!
Around 7:30, I changed into my tri kit. Around 8, I grabbed my wetsuit and headed through the tunnel to the start.
I finally got suited up and in the water around 8:40, and warmed up at little. I chatted with another girl in the military division. I even found a girl with no wetsuit ready to brave the 64 degree water! She said she was afraid she’d overheat, so I pegged her as a hardcore swimmer, because who else follows that logic?
At 9, we were off! The bay was calm, the course had TONS of marker buoys, and the water temp was perfect in a wetsuit. My wave was military men and women, clydsdales, athenas and relays. I took off with the front pack, but by the first buoy resized that this was NOT their initial surge, and that I probably shouldn’t swim THAT fast for the full 1500m. I looked to my side and saw non-wetsuit girl. I spent the rest of the swim hanging on to her feet. It seemed like every time I sighted, we were at the next buoy. I was super pumped about how quickly the swim was going by, and that I found feet moving at the right pace.
I got out of the water, and realized I never put my HR monitor on, which was critical to run pacing! Luckily, I knew exactly where it was, and my bag was against the transition fence. HR monitor on, shoes on, helmet on, and off I went!
The course is two “loops” which are really out and backs with transition right smack in the middle. We divided it up into 4 sections, and had target power numbers for each. This is a fantastic course – fast, flat, smooth, and naturally broken down into pretty even sections! I more-or-less hit my numbers well. On the first loop, I passed a guy in nothing but a speedo on a hybrid. He decided to draft me because he said he liked my pace, and actually kept up with me for a solid 3 miles. He honked his bike horn and cheered the whole time. It was awesome. I was in good spirits, and I felt like a caged animal. I wanted to ride faster, but I stuck to the plan because, you know, I still had a 10k to run.
As I started the last ¼ of the bike course, I finished my water. I usually don’t do that. I had a 24oz bottle! It was warm. They had an aid station at the last turn around where I tossed my bottle and grabbed a new one. Hadn’t planned on it, but luckily I have a stash of PowerBar water bottles, so I’m sure I won’t miss the one I tossed!
Racing with a power meter really, really helped me stay “in the moment”. Speed wasn’t on my main screen. I just had certain #’s to hit, and I hit them. So simple. Not thinking about pace, effort level (am I going to fast? too slow?), or time… awesome.
Into transition I ran to the wrong rack, looked around, and then found mine – my bright orange lining of my Blueseventy wetsuit was like a beacon of hope to a confused triathlete. After that mishap, this went smoothly, and I took the time to put on socks. Still a little worried about my shin, I ran in regular shoes, not my fancy-pants tri racing shoes. The plan was to do the first 5k at the high end of my tempo run HR, and then take off for the last 5k. Well, my HR never really got low enough. I toughed it out (DANG it felt like AZ weather, not beautiful SoCal weather!) and at mile 3, after dumping water on myself, I went for it… and I didn’t seem to get much faster. I had a really stressful week and just didn’t have the mental fortitude to push the last two miles. I still finished right around my standalone 10k PR – which speaks volumes about my improvement on the run, but I can’t shake the disappointment in letting myself slow down.
I had no idea where I was for my total time when I crossed that line. I saw 3:33 and hoped beyond hope that our wave had taken off exactly an hour after the first wave – and it HAD!
I happily accepted my 3rd place military female award – and noticed that I would have had 2nd if I raced in my AG instead. Oh well!
Based on my race, and some upcoming stuff in life, it’s time to switch to a run focus. I’m not declaring my shin “healed”, but I’m declaring it under control if I do the right things (strength, stretch, roll, and sometimes ice).
Also, the Army team roster was released. I am NOT fast enough (yet!), and even cranking out a 10k that’s 5 minutes faster (which I think I have the potential for) would not have landed me a spot on the team. And I’m ok with that. If I made it the first time I applied, where would the challenge be?