To kick off “One Tri a Month” lead-up to Silverman, I participated in the Camp Pendleton Sprint Triathlon earlier this month (first Saturday, August 7). My last triathlon was back in May (Fountain Valley Triathlon), which doesn’t completely count since it was a pool swim.
The CP Sprint Tri is slightly different than the typical sprint triathlon. I know that a “sprint” is any distance less than Olympic, but the format of this race was odd. The swim was “short”, only 500 meters (which does not translate into “easy”). The bike leg was “long”, at 30k (roughly 18 miles). And the run was not quite a 5k (I logged just under 3 miles on my Garmin). For the most part the race went smoothly, as most races go when organized by the U.S. Military.
The swim was absolutely brutal. You would think, “500 meters? Piece of cake.. 10 minutes tops.” Only.. you’d be totally wrong. This was my second race that was a true beach swim. I’m talking waves crashing at seemingly irregular intervals and getting seriously tossed around. My first was the L.A. Triathlon (which I didn’t even officially finish). I despise ocean swims that involve diving under waves (I’ll take a protected harbor any day of the week over having to dolphin into waves).. mostly because I’m just not comfortable with it. I get this overwhelming feeling like I’m going to drown (nearly did at the LA Tri). Baby waves I can handle, but large swells will be the death of me.
Watching the waves go ahead of us wasn’t that comforting either. Don’t think all us ladies didn’t notice the big, strong guys getting pulled out of the water and calling it quits. Also, don’t think we didn’t notice how LONG 500 meters took. I decided on the beach that the goal was to just get through the swim, no records need to be set. I’m not THAT strong of a swimmer, so to get pass the waves and back to shore safely was the main goal. I could make up time on the Bike.
I was happy that I was able to get pass the waves, although it took a lot of doggy-paddling and side-stroking. It was actually a bit easier than I had expected becuase the lifeguards were there letting us know when to duck down for waves and when to “get a move on.” It was difficult for me to get a rhythm at all during the entire swim leg, just because even once we got to the buoys, the water was still pretty choppy. The real difficult part was getting back to shore. I never properly learned the art of body surfing, so I couldn’t catch any of the waves that would pull me into shore. I would try to start swimming to catch them.. but they would just wash over me… and then toss me around a bit. I made it back to shore about 18 minutes or so later. Getting out of the water, I was a little disoriented, and had a hard time jogging back to transition, so I just took a slow walk to recover my breath as best as I could.
Spent a long time in transition chatting a bit with some of the other girls that came out of the water about the same time as me. Lots of the bikes around me were already gone, so I knew that some of those other girls in my wave handled the water much better than I did.
Took me a little while to get situated on the bike, catch my breath and take in some water, and get a good rhythm going. But the bike leg was relatively “easy” once I recovered from the swim. The bike leg consists of mostly rolling hills, with a couple longer climbs. I did make up a lot of time passing tons of girls in my AG, but I also got passed by a few ladies (mostly NOT in my AG). I just decided to keep my cadence and go my fastest, making sure to save a little for the run. Came into T2 in just over an hour.
Nothing to report here. Just threw on my running shoes and a hat and took off.
The run was good. Nice and flat. I ran/jog most of it, only slowing at the water stations enough to actually get the water in my mouth (running and open water cups do not mix well.. or do.. but end up all over my front side). Got passed by some ladies in my AG who came in on the bike after me, but just run faster. I came in on the run in just under half an hour, which is good for me. There was an older gentleman who was using me as a pacer at the end. He thanked me after the race because I pretty much pulled him to the finish (motivation-wise, not in the drafting-sense). I was happy with my finish time, but decided that I really need to work on my running speed. If I can get a bit faster, then I’ll definitely be more competitive (instead of losing all that time that I gain on the bike).
PLACE: 24/50 W25-29 AG; 602 Overall