Pre-Race: This race was in San Diego, so Lilac and I drove out on Friday night and stayed with my Dad. It was a great weekend overall – perfect weather, lovely day at Balboa with my Dad, nice and relaxing overall.
It looked to be the best organized race that I have ever done. When we went for packet pick up on Saturday morning, the entire race area was already set up, so we could identify bike in/out and run in/out for transition, where the finish line would be etc. Race day morning came and that organization continued. We got there with about 20 minutes before transition closed, got set up, and left transition to watch the first waves of the swim. Not only did they start on time (shocking), but the waves were sent at exactly the right time. It was so precise and ordered. The sound system and mic-man were perfectly prepared for the day.
As the 40-49 year old wave prepared to go down the ramp, the true spirit of a women’s only event took hold, and we saw 25 middle aged women in yellow swim caps and wetsuits start dancing and clapping together as a big group to Cindy Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’. It was such a cool moment, and really got our “girlyness” going.
The Swim: Our race wave (#14) started on time, to the second. Unfortunately, they only gave us about 30 seconds to get into the frigid water, and ready to go. As I was getting into the water, I totally lost my breath from the cold, and as such, was still gasping and trying to breathe when the gun went off. Pictures taken during this time indicate that Lilac dove right in, and I did not. :) My plan was to stay in the rear, and try not to get kicked in the face and lose my goggles. This would have been a disaster because I absolutely cannot see without contacts and salt water and contacts do not mix. In reality however, the water was too cold for me to put my face in, even though I really tried. And not putting my head in the water meant I basically flailed along, rather than swam along. It also didn’t help that I don’t give myself enough credit for my swimming ability and I was caught in a mass of poorer swimmers that I could not get around throughout the entire race. Kicking was frequent, however, not really painful, and almost always followed with an “oh goodness, sorry!”, something I doubt happens when men are racing. The end result – Lilac finished almost a minute before I did – she said her experience was full of the same thrashing humanity that I experienced. Time: 12:04
T1: Luckily Lilac also needed to bring everything but her Mary Kay lady to the transition area, so she was busy using a mango and tea tree peal conditioning face scrub, as I came in wriggling out of my wetsuit. (I jest, she only put one moisturizer on). We took our sweet time in transition here, it wound up being 5-6 minutes, depending on whose time you’re tracking. We ran with our bikes out of transition, and took off. Time: 5:45
The Bike: I am soooo glad that we decided to ride our mountain bikes to this event. Not only was it so crowded that all USAT passing rules went completely out the window, but because it was at a beach, the road was somewhat sandy at times. Both of those issues would have led to a falling incident had I been on a road bike. I’m just so uncomfortable on that bike that I can’t relax. But you know what happens when you CAN relax? You ride two miles per hour faster in congested race conditions than you ever have at a race, and for the first time ever, you pass other people on bikes (even road bikes). Now granted, this isn’t about beating other people, but as the person who has only ever been passed, it felt good to at least pass a couple of people :)
Overall it was a pretty flat course, it was a gorgeous day, I was glad that I brought my jacket, and I couldn’t be happier with the bike segment. Though it was two minutes slower than last week’s time trial, my legs were in far better shape when I got off the bike. Time: 28:04
T2: This was much faster, even though we were still taking out time. We racked our bikes, deliberated and decided to take our jackets off, and then found our way out of the run exit. Time 2:11
The Run: The run was a nice course along the beach, but on the sidewalk on the way out, and the street on the way back. I felt pretty fresh, though Lilac clearly felt really fresh, because she seemed to want to take off. Generally this is the loneliest time during a tri for me, primarily because as a super slow biker and runner, most people have finished by the time I get on out on the course. However, because the race directors had the longer race start before ours, there were tons of women on the course with us, and it became a real cheering fest. We actually also passed some runners. It felt pretty cool!
On the way back I designated the run to the finish point in the distance, and even though the course wound up fooling me with an additional little loop around the parking lot, I didn’t give into the goon, and entered the finish shoot strong. As we were running in the shoot, people were cheering and hooting and hollering, and it felt great (people around the finish area is something I’m also not accustomed to!). Lilac actually turned to me and said “I have goose bumps!” We finished the race hand in hand, and strong! Time: 20:38 (two minutes faster than the time trial!)
Post-Race: As we left the finish area, and walked back to transition (trying to find my Dad, who had been furiously taking pictures with his super duper manual camera for us – and did an outstanding job of it!) the DJ started playing the Shake Shake Shake Senora song by Harry Belafonte, and the post race party started for me. We danced our way over to our bikes, and packed our stuff up. A wonderful glowing breakfast with Dad and our medals finished off a great morning!
Overall: 58/62 20-29 year olds, 251/303 women overall, 1:00:04 sans transition (our goal was an hour!) 1:08:40 total time. A great triathlon with your best friend? Priceless.