Monday, April 18, 2011

Race Report: Big Rock Olympic Distance Triathlon


Good morning! Another Monday again... someone please explain again to me why weekends aren't three days long.....? ;)

Well, I finished my first Olympic Distance Triathlon on Saturday!
And boy do I have a lot to learn and improve! Let's start from the top, shall we? This is gonna be a long one, I can feel it.

3:30 am wake up call, in the car by 4:15. I munched on some waffles and Clif Shot Blocks and drank a liter of low cal Gatorade in the car. It was still dark when I got to Lake Perris before 6 am. Parked my car and walked to the registration table, picked up my bibs, got body marked, etc.

The t-shirt was really disappointing. I don't have a photo of it, but it's just a plain white cotton tee with a grey logo on the front. Boring!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why don't more triathlons offer tech tees... or at least some cool cotton tshirts? meh.

Got my bike to transition, walked over to the lake to test out the water temps. Not bad at all!! A little chilly, but NOTHING compared to the ocean, or to the freezing temps of the Turkey Triathlon back in November. What a sigh of relief!

The wierdest thing was that I could NOT stop going to the bathroom all morning. TMI I know, but I had to pee more than any other time in my life. It was wierd...and it wasn't like I drank a lot of water... wierd.

I saw my friend Mike from the LB Tri Club and he gave me some pointers about the course, and to be ready for the one major hill. He made it seem like no big deal, like it was just this semi-challenging hill that wasn't very long. um... ok. yah, definitely the understatement of the century! But more on that later.

Around 7am I put on my wetsuit....and to my disappointment, it was tight as hell. I knew I had gained some weight since I bough it... but this was definitely the slap in the face that I needed to get my eating habits back on track!

Swim:
There were four wave starts for the swim, and I was in wave 4 with all the women. The waves started 3 minutes apart. The Sprint Triathlon athletes ran around the lake once, while the Olympic Distance swam it twice.

Let me tell you: 3 minutes apart for four waves IS NOT ENOUGH. Especially with some people doing two laps, by the time I got in the water, it was SUCH a cluster eff. My gosh, I'm used to a certain degree of crowding, pushing, and shoving, but this time, I literally could NOT go more than 6 strokes without being bumped into, or bumping into someone. The water had close to zero visibility, so bumping in was king of inevitable. I got kicked, shoved, got my goggles knocked off... it really threw off my breathing and swimming groove. I actually had to breast stroke for quite some time, just to let the crowds pass, and even then, it was still so crowded. This really slowed down my swim time. Grr. I wish the waves started 5 minutes apart. This would have REALLY helped. The second lap was a lot less crowded, but it was still hard to swim any length of distance without being crashed into.

Oh, and I had to pee SO BAD during the swim! I knew I had to go in the water, because once I was on land, it would take MUCH MUCH longer to run to the lady's room. So about 200 yards from the finish, I slowed down to breast stroke to go. I have never 'gone' in my wetsuit before.... it definitely was a strange feeling! lol

I was glad to get out of the water, let me tell you that much!

T1: Good Golly! Once you get out of the water, the road to transition area was all sand, all uphill, and about 0.4 miles long! gahh! my hamstrings were KILLING ME! Thus, my T1 Time is embarrasingly slow, since I had to walk up the sand hill. Oh well. Whatever.

Bike:
Two loops on a mostly flat course. There was one MAJOR downhill around mile 2 or 3, and it was so much fun to gain a TON of speed and just FLY down the hill. It felt awesome. Then until mile 10 or so was pretty flat and uneventful.

I was SUPER paranoid about getting a flat, so I spent a bit too much energy trying to dodge every little pebble and debris on the road.

And then.... the hill that Mike was telling me about. The hill is shaped like an "S", so you can't see the whole hill at once to guage its difficultness. The first curve was a moderate uphill. Challenging, but not awful. Then you come around the curve... and omg.... it looks like it's going straight up! So I'm grunting it out and I see the others around me struggling as well. Except for the one guy in his super fancy aero bike and helmet whizzing up the mountain. All is fine until you come around the final curve and see the hill gets even longer and steeper! My hamstrings were on fire! And let's not forget it's like, 85 degrees and super sunny by this point. I see at least 4 people walking their bikes. I said "eff it", got off my bike, and got a bottle of water from the aid station as I walked up the hill. If I'm doing this monster hill twice, no need to kill myself on the first round! Plus it was nice to drink a bunch of water. Got back on my bike, did the second loop.

I really realized that I need to get re-fitted on my bike. It just felt really off, my back was killing me, and my legs felt like it wasn't producing a lot of power per revolution. A bike fit is definitely on my to-do list! The second time around I tackled the monster hill and it was pretty awful. It was so hot, sublock was running into my eyes, and my hamstrings were killing me. But yay! No flat!

T2: A little slower than I would have liked, but went smoothly overall.

Run:
It was an out-and-back 10K course. It was a little hillier than I would have liked, and a LOT HOTTER than I would have liked. There was no wind, and temps were def in the high 80's by this point. My face and body were caked with salt.

There were NOT enough water stations. It was HOT! There were only two water stations on the course, and neither of them had Gatorade which I really wanted. I walked through the water stations to make sure I got enough fluids without choking on it!

I generally felt good though on the run, and I made friends with a 17 year old baller doing her first triathlon. She was kicking so much butt and I told her how amazing she was for doing something so challenging. I wish I were that cool back when I was a teenager! I passed quite a few people on the run, and though I couldn't run as fast as I would have liked, I felt strong right until after mile 5 when it got really hot and kind of hilly again. My sunglasses were chafing my cheeks and I could just feel my skin burning. I couldn't WAIT to cross the finish!
I finally crossed the finish line, and Mike was waiting there for me with a glass of Gatorade. Thank you so so so much for that! I was dehydrated! I immediately drank two cups of Gatorade and a bottle of water. I actually felt awesome after, not too tired or anything! I definitely still had a lot left in my tank... which I think is because I am really slow on the bike.
Here is Mike, who placed second in his division. Congrats!
They had a BBQ at the finish line, as well as the usual post-race fuel like oranges and bananas. Here is my plate... but I was most excited about the 7 Up. It was soooooo refreshing! I ended up only eating half the bun of the burger and the burger patty.

Mike and I recounted the experience, and I asked him how to improve on the bike. To me, improving on the bike is so hard, becasue there are so many elements involved. With swimming and running, it's just me and my muscles. But on the bike, it's me, the bike, the tires, the wheels, the helmet, and so many other things. And right now, I don't really have the ability to spend a lot of $$ on bike stuff. But my goal after this race is to really buckle down and improve on the bike.

Looking at my results was very interesting. My swim time was average, and given the fact my goggles were knocked off and stuff, I'm OK with my time. My T1 was is super slow, but again, given the fact that it was sand and uphill, I'm OK with it.

Here's what's interesting though;
I have the second fastest run split in my AG!!!!! but the second slowest Bike split...!!!!

That says a lot, in my opinion. Bike bike bike bike bike. Gah. Gotta get better on the bike. ANY tips for someone with limited budget for upgrades? I would REALLY appreciate any bike help!

Overall, I had a lot of fun at the event. It was a GREAT learning experience in preparing for the half ironman. I don't know if I'll be able to do another triathlon before the half ironman, but I kind of want to do another one, just as a tune up. There's another Olympic one in Ventura in June. We shall see.

I learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses, and where to concentrate my training on. Man, that's why I love this sport. You never stop learning!

The rest of the weekend looked like this:

Gettin my tan on! It was a GORGEOUS weekend here in southern CA.

Getting my tan on! And last night at my tri club mixer I won this cool little gift: Can't wait to test it out!
Well Phew! That was a long post. Between the race on Sat and hot yoga on Sun, I am kinda tired today! But today is just a strength sesh, Body Pump time!

PS congrats to all the Boston runners!

7 comments:

  1. Super cool to read your recap. Just completed my first Sprint on Sunday... we had similar experiences. My first Oly is Philly in June... eek!

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  2. Congratulations on your first Olympic tri! Great job on the quick run split. The bike is the part of the triathlon that I find most intimidating and difficult to figure out, too.

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  3. Awesome job with the 2nd fastest run! I'm in the same boat; I've got a fast swim and run, but the bike lags.

    With the "slow" bike split, the biggest thing is yourself. I've got tons of upgrades I'd love to do to my own bike, but I know that 95% of all the time I could cut down is going to come from training.

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  4. new to your blog but it looks like we have a lot in common! i'm training for vineman 70.3 (my first half iron!) this summer as well : ) looks like you did great on your first oly! i have yet to tackle that distance but have my first in june. i can totally relate to the bike thing...and right now i also need to really focus on my swimming!

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  5. Congrats on your first Oly!!!

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  6. Congrats on your first Oly, that's great!
    However, next time around ditch all that junk food (seriously Cheetos, hot-dog, soda and a burger??)
    Get some real and healthier food instead, you'll recover faster!
    By putting the right fuel in your body you'll improve dramatically your performances in triathlons.
    If you need any suggestion please do let me know, I'll be more than happy to help.

    Mike @TheIronYou

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