Saturday I did the second race in the LA Tri Series at Bonelli Park. I started doing these races in 2009, and have continued to make the drive up the 57 freeway whenever one of the races fits into my schedule. This year will be the first time I think I can get in all three races in the series, woo hoo!
I've said it before and will say it again, I love this series and I never get sick of the venue. They're tough little courses and there's always some fast folks who show up to make for some fun racing. In the first race last month, a sprint, I later found out the female winner is a San Diego stud triathlete, Katie Araujo, who's raced Kona and all that jazz. That first race also featured Macca, of course, who won but definitely had competition in Eric Nau who was only about 30 seconds back of the Aussie.
Loving our new kits! Thanks Betty Designs, Hincape and all my sponsors! We got lots of compliments.
Trying to do all I could to feel OK for this race. #beetloading
Race #2 in the series is an odd distance, something between a sprint and Oly, A ~1k swim, ~16.5-mile bike and ~5-mile run. For the bike/run I am going by my Garmin for the official distance, as it seems a little inconsistent on the results page, etc. That, however, is one of the things I love about the series at Bonelli: just go out and race hard and don't get too wrapped up in distances down to the 1/10th of a mile; it ain't Kona.
So my race? I'll be honest, I actually wasn't feeling too hot going into this race (IM training will do that I guess), but I was committed and am not one to bail unless I'm hugging the porcelain princess or something. We got to the race early, and found out I had a registration issue -- I wasn't registered. Oops! For a second I thought that was my perfect out, but I said screw that attitude dude, and I registered (thanks to Carolyn and the fine race organizers who made sure things were taken care of efficiently), toed the line, and got excited as I felt that first surge of race adrenaline...
My home lanes. Great spot to swim, but I prefer open water any day.
My swimming was hit and miss last week until a great ocean swim on Thursday with my crew. I love OWS so much more than pool swimming. Onto race day, and I just went steady and strong, and I paced by PE, making sure it hurt. A 1k is short enough where you need to swim hard but it's long enough where a swimmer like me can easily blow up. Thankfully I came up out of the water in ~17:30, and the course was true to 1k (even on my Garmin), so that put me at a ~1:37/100 yd pace. I can take that! It helped that the course was well-marked with adequate buoys, so I made it around without issue. However, I did get dunked big time as girls pulled themselves over me, so it was far from a smooth swim and a blow to the ego haha. Not to mention, I still never found those feet for drafting, either. Poo.
T1 All good except for a soaring HR and a timing chip that was literally hanging on by a thread and needed to be secured down with a safety pin. Note to self: do a better job with the safety pin before the race and don't be lazy with that!
Bike The bike course overall is no joke, and super fun for that reason. For 16.5 miles it was ~1,700ft elevation gain with nasty little climbs, longer gradual climbs, killer downhills (where it's easy to get to 40+ mph), technical turns, headwinds, etc. It's the kind of course that keeps you honest and will make you a better cyclist in racing.
It was two loops, but my bike legs only showed up on the second loop. A little too late. Crap. I still had a decent bike in comparison with the rest of the field, and, in fact, I had the second fastest female bike of the day only a hair behind the fastest girl. And the fastest girl and I pretty much started the bike together, and continued to trade spots throughout the whole ride, always within range of one another. She was a good carrot. I avg'd about 20.5 mph and put out some good watts overall, but I know I could have done better knowing me and how I can ride. Not to mention, by this point my HR was so jacked up and I could tell something was not normal in my body. But whatever, the race was relatively short. I could hang.
T2 Made up for lost time with a :52 transition.
Run Spoiler on the run: I got the fastest run split of the day, which is a first for me and something I am very proud to have earned. The run was my last chance to go big and prove to myself I could execute even if it wasn't "my day" so to speak. Even with the other girls out of the picture, it was a really good run for me and I was surprised to see the speed when speed is not something I've been doing in training lately.
And let's be honest, another reason I ran as hard as I did is because it turned into a race to move up the ranks, which was fun. My HR was still higher than I ever see even in a sprint, so I had to just suck it up and still hammer.
I was out of T2 before the aforementioned chick who I saw throughout the ride, but very soon she caught me on the run and passed, opening a gap of about 25 yd, and I refused to let that gap grow. By mile 3ish I caught her for good and we were told by some dudes that we were sitting 4th and 5th. At that point I could see 3rd-place chick ahead, and she was within catching distance, so that became my new carrot. It also meant digging deep to a 6-something mile pace, which, again, is kinda foreign in my overall training right now so it didn't feel good.
Meanwhile, the run course was hot and hilly, just like the bike. It was seriously getting close to 90 degrees at this point. I was carrying a bottle of Skratch. Don't leave home without it. The course starts on trail and then you get some asphalt, sidewalk, more trail, etc. Rarely is it ever just flat though.
Anyway, I finally passed my new friend who I'd been with pretty much from the beginning of the race and I couldn't let up or she'd catch me for sure. I was totally blowing up but closing the gap on 3rd place, and a couple spectators noticed my efforts, shouting some encouraging words to "catch her"... she was within reach but time was running out and we were getting close to the finish... then less than a 1/4 mile... I was giving it every ounce I had and I'm sure I was at my MAX HR. Annnnd it wasn't quite enough. I finished just 3 dang seconds behind 3rd place! But all good. I know the 3rd place girl, and she's beat me before. Plus, it turns out I was less than a minute behind the 1st & 2nd place women.
The result of sucking it up and digging deep when the body would rather sleep in. The mind is a powerful thing.
I negative split the run like crazy and at the finish my HR was SO high that I literally couldn't even stop moving... so I kept walking/jogging for a while to chill out. John tried to catch up with me, stop and chat but I waved him off as I went to do my thing alone. That never happens haha. Finish Lucky for me I got 1st AG, and 4th overall in a time that I can be proud of given the poopy feeling I had going into this race. The top 5 women all finished within a minute of one another, so it was definitely a close one.
And even better was that John had a freakin awesome race! He finished 4th in his AG (35-39), not an easy AG at all. And it was definitely a breakthorugh race for him. And check out how we finished in the overall standings....