We interrupt the regularly scheduled "Weekly Update" to present you with this race report! All is well, and not much new, other than my schedule is cinching up with the kids being back in school and all. And now: on to the race!
On Saturday, August 14, 2010, I finished my 3rd sprint triathlon: the 4th Annual Lompoc Sprint Triathlon! The race comprises a 500-yard pool swim at their amazing aquatic center, followed by an 11-mile bike ride out-and-back through the flower fields and a 5K run through the city of Lompoc. This year's race was a memorial for local business owner Hank Hudson, whose company sponsors many area recreational events.
Why the Lompoc Sprint Triathlon? I thought it would be a great way to combine my hobby and a parental visit! I also though it would be much fun for my mom and step-dad to see me race, but it didn't quite work out that way...as regular readers know, my husband had to make an unexpected trip back to Michigan for his aunt's funeral, so I was flying semi-solo on my tri weekend! I wasn't sure if they would feel up to watching the kids for me, so I had steeled myself to cancel the race if necessary, but silly me: of course they wanted some grandparent time! And Mr. Handsome-and-Handy lived up to his moniker, as usual: he packed the kids' suitcase and he made sure my bike and the van were ready for race and trip respectively. (That's the stuff he normally does before trips and races, but I was extra appreciative of him doing so this time!)
So the day before the race Things 1 & 2 and I did our SF Bay Area to Lompoc road trip! With kids, this usually takes about 6-6.5 hours...but we hit a lot of traffic during our trip, so it was more like 8 hours. Ugh! We did get there in time for the packet pickup, though. We had dinner at the restaurant Mi Amore, which The Things love for their arcade and their yummy pizza and onion rings! I enjoyed a nice trip to the salad bar, too. We did the arcade for awhile, then I was gently reminded that I had a race in the morning and we had no beds set up! So we went home, got everything ready, I got the kids off to sleep, and then I got to try and sleep before the race. I'm sure I was a little short on sleep, but oh well!
...was all-too early, as usual. But I got up in time to get in a couple of cups of coffee and a piece of frozen coffee cake with peanut butter. (This was the askGeorgie.com "Cinnamon Streusel Coffee Cake" I made, but with a little orange peel + extract - I froze some of the pieces I'd made without the streusel, and they were still great!)
Thing 2 awoke before I went and was a little anxious, so I held her and cheered her up a bit before I headed to my race. My parents enjoyed their nice grandkid time with Things 1 & 2 while I did my tri thing. (I have an AWESOME support crew, no?)
I drove over to the Lompoc Aquatic Center, and there it was! The triathlon transition area, all set up and ready for the big race! Racing day conditions weren't going to make for pretty pictures, but they were perfect: overcast, cool, light breeze.
It's a beautiful day! (For racing, that is!)
I got my gear set up-we had assigned spots, but they were tight and the bike next to mine was intimidatingly nice, so I used my kickstand instead of hanging the bike-and then headed inside for body marking. We had bibs, but there were no timing chips in this race; race results had only the total time. The swims were timed, but you had to show up in person to see the posting of the lap swim split. This race was also different than others by their categories, because the age group categories were based on gender + age range + road bike vs. mountain bike (tires had to be 2" or greater). Having a mountain-bike style hybrid, this was a great chance to race against similarly-equipped athletes!
I should have ditched my clothes outside and just gone indoors in my suit, but oh well. I made the all-important pre-race pit stop (thanks, body, for excellent pre-race timing!), then went on into the pool area.
The Swim: 500 yards, indoor pool
The swim was in three heats, and your heat was determined by your self-reported lap swim time on the entry form. So all the fast, intimidating people went earlier.
Here's Heat 1...
Here's me, wondering what I've gotten myself into...
I was in the third heat. Silly me: I though a pool swim would be easy. Comfort with lap swimming does not equal comfort with racing. One of these days I'm going to have to do a proper warm-up and not just fuss with my stuff and wander around before the race, and see if that makes a difference on the swim.
I shared a lane with two gals who were tri buddies who'd come down from Oceano for the race, one of whom had just learned to swim that summer! I'm in awe, because I think it would be really intimidating to do a triathlon as a new swimmer. We swam in a circle, with the one gal going first, me second, and the new swimmer third. She stayed right on my tail, though, so I had to push a bit more than I was used to, and then I started to feel a little breathless. I switched from front crawl to breast stroke to feel like I could get a little more air. I even did a couple of lengths with my side stroke. ( I'm actually a little faster on the breast stroke, but it's awkward when you're sharing a lane.) The nice part was that other people were counting the laps, so when they signaled that this was my last lap, I of course was finally feeling like the swim was going easier. My swim time ended up being what I expected: 20 minutes for 20 lengths of the pool, which was about my lap swim speed.
So for the record, I think my favorite tri swim was the See Jane Tri swim: it was open water in a lake with entry on the shore and warm enough to go without a wet suit. There was plenty of room to spread out, and no salt water and ocean creatures and scary waves & currents. Not to mention a little shorter...
The Bike: 11 mile, out & back, flat
I dried off, put on my clothes, and when I got to my bike, I slipped on socks + shoes (thanks to Thing 1 for showing me that tennis shoes CAN be slipped on without needing tying/untying) + water backpack. I packed the plain water with electrolytes. I also had my carton of coconut water while in transition and this time carried half of an Odwalla Super Protein bar, which I ate after the bike turn-around. (They were Thing 1's staple protein when he was a toddler - he refused to eat meat after he turned about a year and a half old, and that phase lasted for several years.)
I loved the bike! Even with my heavy old hybrid with mountain bike tires, I passed people, which is a novelty for me. (Granted, most people I passed were also on hybrids with mountain bike tires, or real mountain bikes...I got passed by a road bike or two.) The route was a little bit of residential, then mostly through flower and vegetable fields, so not much traffic. We had a slight headwind as we got closer to the ocean, but it gave a sweet tailwind on the trip back!
And like other bikes, on the way out, I saw again on several faces that triathlon sight I love the most: that awestruck, delighted, "I can't believe I'm doing this! Yeah baby! I so rock!" look. "Why yes, you DO rock! Isn't this a blast?" I grin back.
The Run: 3.1 mile, out & back, flat
Oddly enough, nothing fell off my bike this time. That "stickiness," however, extended to my bike helmet. I breezed in & out of transition, parking my bike and dropping my water back pack, and ran out again. I called my mom to let her know I was almost done. And I was nearly a quarter mile into the run before I realized that I had forgotten to remove my helmet! So I did the run wearing my bike helmet. It's always something ridiculous with me and triathlons, isn't it?
The run went smoothly. Some of the people I passed on the bike passed me back on the run. (Including one of the gals in my category; drat!) I ran at a comfortable pace, pushing but not overdoing. I felt like I gauged it pretty well. I ate a couple of ginger chews for energy during the run, but I didn't carry water. They had water at the turnaround, which worked fine, except I unwrapped a chew and kept the wrapper but ditched the chew during the cup-toss. Luckily I had a spare chew.
And it was back to the finish. I passed a happy group of spectators, who brandished the sign, "Your butt hurts, because YOU are kicking A**!" Loved it! I passed a gal on the final stretch across the parking lot, and as I approached the finish, the announcer did something I never had happen: she announced me! Coolness!!!
"Here comes #103," my_real_name ",all the way from" my_town"!"
And I did a little leap-with-heel-kick on hearing that, which got a "Wow!" and then I ran into the final stretch, with a hearty "Woo HOO!" on crossing the finish line. A couple of minutes later, I stopped the time on my watch at 1:25, which I'd started mid-T1. So I'd finished it in less than 2 hours, which was my goal for this race.
"She's once....Twice....Three tiiiimes a sprint triathleeeete..."
So I got a bystander to take my picture, and I headed over to transition to pack it up. There weren't a lot of bikes left. The first timer guy with the nice bike in the rack next to mine was long gone. I ran into the two gals from the swim, and they both had a great race and are rarin' to do more! (Me too!)
Mentally, this was a much easier race for me than the Treeathlon. I didn't have all those negative, inferiority thoughts trying to worm their way into my brain. The joy was back, in force! Maybe because the last race taught me that if I'm not going to approach this from a "just for fun" stance, it's not worth it. Maybe it was finally talking and writing about my frustrations about wanting to get faster and better and move up to the next level, the Olympic distance (2x a sprint distance), and maybe even beyond someday; letting it out sort of "freed" me to just enjoy where I'm at again...I'll keep gradually working toward getting there, and if I get there, I get there. If I don't, I'll have good health and fitness and some great stories, which are the real prizes.
Physically, I must be in better shape, because I was not totally laid out after this race. I'm not sure if it was post-race euphoria or more effective fueling during the race, but I had enough gas left in the tank to actively do the recreational swim with the kids for a couple of hours at the pool! And amazingly enough, I had NO post-race headache!!! (My last two triathlons, I had some real skull-splitters afterward.)
With Things 1 & 2 at the pool.
Thing 2 is happy I'm wearing a 2-piece like her (a post for another day...).
I was in the “MJ” category (female, 40-49, mountain bikes), and I placed 3rd of 6 in my category. I was within 5 minutes of the first place finisher in my category! Yes! (furious arm-pump) My total time was 1:39:06, which is my best time ever. It’s almost impossible to compare races, but my time was better than my “See Jane Tri” time, which had a shorter swim but a hillier bike and run. I noticed that of all finishers (only two people didn’t finish), everyone finished in under 2 hours, which is a pretty fast race overall. The top finisher finished in 56:27, to give you an idea of the time spread.
I have to give mad, mad props to the organizers and volunteers of the event and to the officers of the Lompoc Police and the California Highway Patrol who helped! Everyone was so nice. There were officers and staff at every intersection, stopping traffic and helping us to have a safe, enjoyable race. MMMMMMMMWAH!