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OC Tri RR: Fueling the 2010 Fire

Posted Sep 28 2009 10:57pm
Got to start off with this, too cute: Our neighbors and their two little boys came out to cheer along the run portion of the OCTri yesterday, and the boys drew this picture after, doing good justice to the hilly run course: Check out that uphill grade! I'm at the top, my mom is following close behind, and according to the boys the brown guys are getting sick and/or are walking.... pretty accurate :)

Sooo, another race in the books: OC International Triathlon. Good times for sure, but I'd be lying if I said I was completely content with my performance. Nope. I know I have it in me to do better. My mental game was lacking. I've been preoccupied with school, work, etc lately, and it showed; I didn't race to my potential. Need to focus! (Maybe I should be more like Peter Reid.) Still, don't get me wrong, the day was a blast and great things happened....
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My mom raced in the OC Tri, too, and got 1st in her AG!!!!!!!! A first for her. As her live-in coach, I'll take the credit for that amazing achievement :) But really, she killed it out there and I'm super proud because she did race to her potential, she was in the zone and the hard work she's put in showed out there. She can really get a crowd fired up in her award-acceptance jumping-for-joy routine, love it:
Plus, during awards it was announced that I got 2 nd overall in the '09 Orange County Tri Race Series for Women 39 & Under. Yes, for once I was thrown into a bigger age-group pool and got a podium! The award was a complete surprise, and I was stoked, as you can see on my face here (Ian's apparently stoked for me too):

A big highlight of the day was seeing so many familiar faces. Yea, I'm not the biggest fan of where I live (need the beach!), but we do have some nice trails and bike routes, and lots of tri peeps I know showed up to dominate... like tri superstars Charisa & Ian who were 1st overall amateur male & female:
BFF Sara Davis did the relay; local friends from my swim class, bike shops, etc, were there racing; my aunt, uncle and cutie cousin came; saw Beth and met people I "know" from Internet land--like Maggs, Kristin Mayer, Chris Berg. Makes triathlon a lot more enjoyable when you have friends, family and FAST people around.
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So, here's how my race went down...
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Swim
NO wetsuit; water was in the 80s. That was a first for me, but I managed just fine. I was expecting it, plus my confidence in my swim has grown as my weekly yardage has increased and times have dropped. Although, after my warmup swim I was FREEZING on the beach before our start, see below. I was ready to hug people for body warmth. The first half went spectacular minus the extra rough thrashing (big wave w/ men and women). The water was so clear that I glanced at my watch at the turnaround buoy & it was :12.30 setting me up for ~:25 swim for 1.5k. Ideal for me. Except on the way back I got way off track, realized I was by myself and ended up in the middle of the dang lake alone. No doubt I probably added an extra 300+ yds to my swim, which including dead time stopping and trying to see where to go while the rising sun blinded me. Bonehead mistake! That was so frustrating, and very devastating because I was on track to possibly PR that swim. Ahhhh!!!!

Bike
I know Santiago Canyon like the back of my hand... every little bump, every hill and turn; therefore, I am confident to go fast out there. But I tried to find a happy balance between playing catch-up from the swim while still pacing myself on the the conservative side. I didn't want to go all out TT style for the 40k for two reasons: 1) I've had a nagging R hamstring issue that's left me less than 100% and I didn't want to blow it; 2) The run is killer hard and I wanted to leave something in my legs for it.Overall, the bike went fine, passed one girl in my AG. In retrospect, I should have laid the hammer down a little bit more.

Run
Had a great T2 spot and was in & out in no time. The first 2.5 miles of the run are slight downhill on solid ground, nice for finding a smokin' pace. But I didn't start off like a bat outta hell because everything changes. Gnarly uphills, dirt/ woodchip trails... terrain that can slow you down. Vista Del Lago aka "the hill of death" is truly an insane climb. A huge chunk of racers walk up; it's by far the hardest uphill I've experienced in a triathlon. This is the start of "the hill" (pic doesn't do it justice at all):
I was passed on the run by that same girl in my ag who I passed on the bike, and she got a decent, but not insane, lead on me. I didn't think I had that "extra gear" to get her and hold it for the entire 10k, but I'm sure I could have dug deeper, ignored hamstring pain and charged. Especially looking at the results: She finished only seconds ahead of me, leaving me in 2nd place, again.
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Perhaps I raced too conservatively for the day? I haven't really found my Olympic-distance pace yet. This was only my second real attempt at an Oly.
Losing the next spot up in the rankings by seconds has happened to me quite a few times this year. It's one thing when you're beaten by a significant margin (like Tatiana beat me in SB), but when it's seconds, that hurts.

It also fuels my fire.

So, bottom line: It's 2010 planning time, and I'm setting some big goals for myself. Although looking at my competition is important, it's not the other guy (or gal, in my case) that concerns me so much, as long as I can walk away from a race saying, "I gave that my all and I'm content." Part of that means, I'll be a lot more picky with my race schedule and prioritizing races, as well as strategically planning out my year.

If you haven't noticed, I'm hard on myself, but I still enjoy a nice well-deserved post-race indulgence (mom's idea):

Lastely, a few more more fun shots from the day.....
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The top Best of the US men & women:

Sara and I devising our "master plan" hahaha:

Hanging with super moms ( Mikelson & Prazak ):
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