Monday, March 27, 2006

Strawberry Fields Race Report

First let me say that I am very sorry I have been a bad blogger over the past week. We are remodeling our kitchen which means I have tried to be out of the house most of the day. In the evening I have been trying to study psychology and I told myself I could not blog again until I took my exam. My exam was online so I took it tonight and just got a 98%. Now, I am trying to block out those thoughts of "Damn, what could I have possibly missed?" by writing my first tri race report.

As you all know, I have been all about Wildflower Long Course since my training began. In fact, I have been so single minded in my focus that although I have long been planning to do the Strawberry Fields Triathlon, I never actually bothered to sign up. By the time I got around to it, online registration was closed. Thus Saturday morning I loaded my overly supportive family for the drive up to Oxnard to register. Maquest said it would take 1.5 hours, but due to traffic it was closer to 2.5. Then I had to wait in an incredibly long line while my family played on the beach. About forty five minutes into my wait it started to rain. UGH! Finally about twenty minutes later I was registered, so we piled back in the car for the drive home. That night I had just enough time to eat a good dinner and pack everything for the race. As I did this, I decided these were my race goals:

  1. .25 mi swim: survive, take it easy, just get through it and don't drink too much of the Pacific
  2. 11.5 mi Bike: Kick Butt!! I wanted this leg to be fast. I was even willing to sacrifice the run just to have a fast bike leg. I was hoping for 18mph.
  3. 3 mi run: Beat 30 minutes, but if possible work to be faster. 24 min was my ultimate goal

Race morning I was as nervous as can be. I kept thinking on the drive how I shouldn't be this nervous for this race. Afterall, this was definitely not an A race for me and it was all about learning. My husband kept reminding me I was doing this to have fun, but I wasn't so sure. All these awful self doubts kept creeping into my head.

Once we got to the race I was actually much more calm. Suddenly I had something to do, and focused on getting my transition area set, my wetsuit on and a warm up in. I met up with my camp friends which really helped calm my nerves. After a bit, we decided to head down to the water. Up until this point, I couldn't see the waves because they were over a sandy hill. However, I kept hearing about them and got a little nervous. Once I saw the waves I knew it would be a rough swim but I also knew I would make it. They were big and would be a challenge, but honestly the waves a week ago were worse. However, once I started to go in the water I realized the situation was pretty bad. The current was incredibly strong. Just by standing in place, I was getting dragged down the beach.

When the first wave, the young men, left we all watched to see how well they would make it to the buoy. Unfortunately only two ever made it and the rest were dragged off course by the strong current. This led to a very long conference with the directors and life guards as they tried to make a new plan. Finally, they decided we would go out past the first set of waves, swim parallel to the beach for 400 yards and then swim in. The young females were the guinea pigs for this plan. They didn't fare much better, so after further debate it was announced that the race would be duathalon.

For some reason, they decided that the first leg would be a run through knee deep water. At this point I removed my wetsuit knowing I could save transition time if I didn't have it. However, after searching in vain for my family I had no choice but to put the suit back on. -This was not fun! Finally my wave took off and we excitedly ran into the water. We all started the run in an eager and polite fashion. When waves bashed into us forcing us to bump into each other, we all apologized and then laughed about being so polite when we couldn't do anything about it. Running through the water proved tough and about halfway through many were walking. I continued to water-jog but didn't get too far.

Finally we were out of the water and running over the dunes to the transition area. I peeled off my wetsuit, for the second time, waved to my family and set off with Kanga. (Thanks for the name idea Fe-Lady, ironically it was the only one I thought of too!)

Once I was on my bike I was so happy. We had a head wind for much of the course, which made me all the more thankful I had my nice aero bars with the bar end shifters. I made it my goal to pass as many people as possible and was able to do just that. I felt strong the whole way, and although I was really pushing the speed I felt great. I suspected there weren't many people in my age group ahead of me, which was confirmed when I made it back to the transition and saw few bikes on my age-group's racks. My husband even said that he didn't expect to see me so soon and that hardly anyone else was back. I had definitely accomplished my bike goal and was all smiles at this point.

The run started off pretty badly. My legs ached and I just knew I was going slowly. Ironically, although I had done many marathons, and consider myself a runner, I am not fast. I am definitely the long-slow sort. I also knew I hadn't done enough brick workouts and made mental notes to amp those up a bit before May 6th. However, after a bit something wonderful happened and I could no longer feel my legs. I felt like I was on auto-pilot. Although I didn't feel fast, I knew I didn't need to walk and that I was doing the best I could. That's all I could ask at this point.

At the 2 mile mark we ran past the finish line. Although I am sure this would be just awful on a longer course, I didn't mind it then because my husband and boys were on the side cheering for me. It was really the only part of the race where they saw me racing and not just transitioning. It was fun to see them, and I love the action pic my husband took!
I was very happy when I finished. Although it wasn't the triathlon I had hoped for, I was very happy with my bike and run performance. Overall my times were better than expected.

Bike: 34:39 (19.9 mph!! Now I wish I had been just a tad faster), 5th in my agegroup!
Run: 24:27 (super fast for me!)

Overall: 1:09:11
11/51 in my age group
35 female overall

I am incredibly happy with how well I did. I know a sprint doesn't imply anything for long course, but I do have some confidence.


Blogger Flatman said...

Wow! You did awesome!!!! That new bike is really working out for you. You are a speed demon on that thing. Nice run too.

Thanks for the great report and great pictures...the smile on your face says it all!

6:10 AM  
Blogger Fe-lady said...

Wow! Thanks for the great race report and super pix! I can't believe you named your bike "Kanga"-but it makes me happy! And boy did she perform for you...even with the headwinds and all! Congratulations on your super mph ave. and run time (I am NOT riding with you ! EVER!) :-)
Super first race of the season! Yeah!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

such great pics! I totally want to do it. Next year. The length of the drive put me off since there are so many San Diego races to do. It looks so pretty though.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Keryn said...

What a fantastic race! Way to start the season right!

7:41 PM  
Blogger tarheeltri said...

Great race! I have been on the brink of breaking 20 mph on my shorter tri's as well... it's going to be awesome when we do it!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Comm's said...

hey that is great. Those are really respectable times, especially since you were not focusing on the race but the training. Very solid.

6:11 PM  
Blogger tri-mama said...

What a great race-especially in having to shift gears with the swim part. Wildflower is coming up-how exciting with a race like this under your belt.

9:51 AM  
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11:24 PM  
Blogger Fe-lady said...

I can't seem to get to your site from my link anymore...are you there??? Hope you are well and ready for Wildflower!

9:58 AM  
Blogger Wylee said...

Super race report! Great job! (BTW I'm a bad blogger too.)

9:20 AM  
Blogger Meagan said...

Wow! Congrats on the great race! I loved reading your report :)

4:59 AM  
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