Saturday, September 25, 2010

Long Beach Tri - WOWNESS

Good morning athletes!
Repeat with me these three glorious words:
Weekend! Weekned! WEEKEND!

Not that that makes a huge difference in my life right now; as I have been running around like a chicken with its head cut off with. It's a good day if its 'only' a ten-hour day, but I'm not complaining, because for the first time; I actually love what
I am doing!

So this is why this race report has been super duper late. Sorry, yeah? Well lets not dilly dally any further.

Just to set the tone from the beginning, and just to make it absolutely clear:
It was EFFING awesome.

It rocked my helmet off. I'm a convert.
Let's see, Saturday night I started getting all my sh!t together for the race. I had really no idea what to pack. I relied on all your blogs, and all the exper
iences you've been kind enough to share to guide me as to what to bring.
That was my list... you can click on it to make it bigger I think. Since I was biking to the race start, I needed everything to fit into my back pack. It was challenging making towels, shoes, wetsuit and multiple bottles of water fit into my high school, but I made it work!

I went to bed early for a nice 4am wake up call.

Sunday Race Day:
Woke up dark and early at 4 am, and made myself a bowl of oatmeal that I am absolutely obsessed with right now (in fact I had it for breakfast 6 out of the 7 days!) It's chocolate and protein and banana oatmeal and it is soooo fantastic.

Anyway, as I was eating my breakkie, I decided, "hey..... wouldn't it be a good idea if I knew what to do during transitions...?" (I've never practiced a transition before!) so 2.5 hours before race start, I started Googling transitions. I learned that when you come out of the water, as you are running to T1, you should take off your swim cap/goggles/ear plugs, and pull the wetsuit down to the waist. Great info! I also made a mental note to REMEMBER THE ANKLE STRAP! I had read a blog post (sorry dont remember who!) about forgetting to put the ankle strap back on after taking off the wetsuit. I basically spent the entire race looking at my ankles in utter paranoia every five minutes :)

I arrived at around 5:30 am, and it was already pretty crowded. I had no idea what to do, so I asked the volunteer guy... 'um, where do I put my bike? Do I just find an empty rack or something?" Yup, total rookie right here! But he was kind enough to gently tell me what to do ;)
Since I was early enough, I got a really good spot; a corner with easy access and a street curb to sit on. I put my bike on the rack, and started laying out all my stuff.

I told anyone and everyone who would listen that it was my first tri, and it was awesome the kind of camaraderie there was on race morning. Everyone was SO helpful, nice, enthusiastic, and encouraging. I felt right at home. Thanks to everyone who was so friendly! It really made my first tri experience special. I spent some time wandering around, drooling at all the bike-gasm tri bikes, getting a quad massage, and waited in a long ass line for the porta-potty.

Before I knew it, it was time to put on the wetsuit and head out to the ocean. (I wore my new tri shorts and a sports bra under the wetsuit) Now........ the swim was the only section I was worried about. 59 degrees. Murky. Crowded. I have no problem with open water swimming. I actually love it. But 59 degrees? That's COLD! I seriously was very, very, anxious about the swim. Given that I had never tried a wetsuit prior to this morning, I had no idea what kind of protection it would provide me from the freezing waters.

I pushed those fears aside as I bravely marched down to the beach. Swim cap check. Ear plugs check. (Ohhhh how I love my new earplugs!) Goggles check.I was in wave five, so I knew I had about ten minutes after the gun went off. I marveled at all the brave souls going in without a wetsuit. Dang. That takes balls. Big Balls. 59 degrees. Yeesh!
I watched all the elites go in, and started getting kind of nervous. And seriously, before I knew it, I was running into the ocean.

Brr! I tried my best not to think about it, and just found a nice, calm spot away from the crowd. I was literally the second to last person in my wave to get in the water.

Surprise!!! The wetsuit worked! The wetsuit worked! Though my toes, fingers, face, and neck were kinda cold, I was generally really comfortable! OMG OMG OMG PHEW! As soon as I realized I wasnt gonna freeze to death, I relaxed and started swimming.
Swim swim swim. For some strange reason, the words "And She Swam Like a Fish" kept repeating in my head. WTF, right? I dunno where it came from, but I kept repeating it like a mantra, and swim I did. Since I'm actually comfortable with open water swims and spotting, I found a really great route, inches inside the buoys. I started passing people like crazy. I got in a groove and just swam. I even started passing people in the two waves before me! As soon as I saw the shore, I got excited though. I read on another person's blog that you should swim until your fingers touch the sand. So though I looked like an idiot swimming in a foot of water while everyone was already walking, I grinned as I easily passed them all.

The run to T1 is about a quarter mile of sand. UGH. I felt like I was running FOREVER in the sand to get to T1. I managed to take off my swim stuff, and get my wetsuit down to my waist.

Ran into T1 and got to work getting the sand off my feet. I had a little towel and a bottle of water for this purpose, and it worked excellent. I took off the rest of the wetsuit, REAPPLIED my time chip, put on my bike jersey, my bib #, helmet, and was off.

The bike was the bike. 11 miles, two 5.5 mile loops.As you can see, it was really foggy/misty. I didn't mid though... it kept it nice and cool. I was still starting to sweat though.... I felt like I was giving it a 85-90% effort on the bike. I was feeling kind of confident, but just kept getting passed by these guys in their $6000 tri bikes. OH MAN! These guys were FLYING! It was insane how fast they were! I spend much of the ride envying aerobars, aerodynamic helmets, and tri bikes. One day, Julia. One day.

Though I was getting passed left and right, I tried not to let that pressure me into going faster. I didn't need to burn out my legs right now! I tried to conserve some juice for the 3 mile run coming up.

Other than the fact I got wupped during the bike, it was pretty uneventful. Oh! Though I did make it a personal mission to beat this one chick in my age group who was in front of me the majority of the ride. For some reason, I got uber competitive against this one chick and decided I MUST BEAT HER! I have no idea why. But I just HAD to. So at the very end, I sprinted, and achieved my secret goal. Still dont know why I had to beat her, haha, laughing about it now.

T2; took off my bike jersey (I was wearing a wife beater under the jersey), put on my sneaks, and walked to the run start as I redid my pony tail. As I started running, my legs felt unusually good. I saw how many people were infront of me though.... And started getting competitive again. I didn't have my Garmin, (it crapped out on me. It WOULD crap out race morning. UGH) so I had no way of gauging my speed except counting how many people I passed.

I seriously felt unusually good on the run. I just started passing and passing people, and I didn't even feel like I was running. It was one of those magical runs where everything just clicks, and you feel like you're flying. I was just having so much fun! There were spectators cheering us on, guys dressed as bananas, the ocean to look at, people's tri outfits to look at.... I was just getting lost in the moment, and just generally LOVING the experience. It really felt effortless.... and pretty soon I was running towards the finish line.

Out of nowhere, this older gentleman pops out from the sidelines and yells "It's only 100 meters to the finish line! Now's the time to sprint! Now's the time to go fast!" I looked at him, smiled, and BOOKED it to the finish line.
Official Time:1:26:10, 13th in age group
Swim 16:22 (though I was told I can easily take 1.5-2 minutes off the swim time because of the quarter mile run into T1)
Bike 41:41
Run 22:13!!!!!!!!!!

It was probably a blessing in disguise that I didn't have my Garmin. I felt no pressure to speed up, no pressure to slow down. I just listened to my body. And it felt good. The whole triathlon felt good. I was beaming from ear to ear.
I seriously had SOOOOOO much fun. It was incredible. The whole time, I was just having a blast! The swim was good. The bike was good. The run was spectacular. AHHH! SO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!
Though I was disappointed that no medals were provided for the finishers, I was still just so incredibly happy. My mood was elevated further when I discovered chocolate cookies and chocolate covered Red Vines at the Long Beach Tri Club Tent. HOLY COW! These chocolate covered Red Vines are to DIE FOR. so so so incredibly good.

Oh man, and the Long Beach Tri Club. Wow. What an amazing group of people! They invited me to their post-race potluck party, and I had SUCH a blast. I met some incredible people and at some phenomenal food. I must join!

All in all, I LOVED the tri experience, and I can't wait to do more. But what I am most proud about is not the fact that I finished a triathlon. I knew that physically, I could handle the distances. In fact, the physical aspect of it was the least of my concerns. I was really proud of myself for actually DOING it. Doing it alone in a new city without knowing what on earth to do. Proud of myself for meeting new people, stepping out of my comfort zone to do something I wanted to do for so long. For not whimping out at the thought of the cold water. For making new friends. For going out there and just doing it. WAAAAAYYYY out of my usual comfort zone. But I did it. And I loved it. LOVED IT. And I can cherish this little personal victory forever. :)

Thanks for reading this behemoth post. I am headed off to return the wetsuit now and go on a loooong bike ride :)

Hermosa Triathlon, anyone?


  1. awesome job!! You totally rocked the first Tri!! Way to book it on the run:)

  2. Wow!! You are amazing!! You killed that run!! Welcome to the world of triathlon!

  3. Congratulations! I really enjoyed reading your race report. It was so encouraging to hear that you had a great experience that you want to repeat AND that everyone around you was encouraging and helpful!

    Also, what goes into your oatmeal exactly? I'm getting kind of tired of all the same recipes...

  4. Sounds amazing!!! fabulous fabulous job! i'm such a list maker too!! :)

  5. congrats -- you look fabulous!!!! love your list -- i'm a list maker, too!



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