I went into the race with a goal finish time of 3 hours and 30 minutes. Here’s how that was supposed to break down: 45 minutes for the swim. 1 hour 30 minutes for the bike. 1 hour for the run. 15 minutes for transition and allowing for any technical/mechanical difficulties (potty breaks, flats, dropped chains, bonking,etc.. ). I thought that was a pretty good goal to hit – easily attainable with effort but not to far-fetched that I would get disheartened.
Race Morning – Setting Up
We got up at the not-so-early hour of 5AM. Since the hotel was right next to the race venue, we figured we didn’t need to get up TOO early. Transition was about half full by the time I got there. I headed in to get my area set up (sans bike), and found a good spot in the middle of the rack. Transition was awesome. The racks were super tall (taller than usual) which made it a bit hard to rack the bike, but made it super easy to duck under the rack (which is something that I’ve done in pretty much every race). The racks were also super spread apart, so there was plenty of room between racks to run through and not bump into anyone else.
Minh had just put new brakes on my bike and did some adjustments before the race. I didn’t have a chance to ride it before heading out on Friday, so I had to take it out for a quick ride before the race started. Everything worked beautifully, so I took it into transition to rack. To my surprise, someone racked her bike right on top of my transition area (where I had set up the rest of my stuff). Luckily, there was barely enough room to squeeze my bike in (facing the opposite direction and sandwiched between two other bikes). It wasn’t a huge problem, but a little annoying.
They cleared out transition at 6:15AM, so everyone was out near the water to watch the pro men start. Water temperature was supposedly 68°, but felt cooler than that. Water visibility was low (very murky, but also very shallow). They had given us a warning flyer at the expo that there are chemicals and PCBs in the water, but that the levels are low enough to be not harmful, or something like that. It was hard to understand because the notice used lots of double negatives. Maybe it said “not unharmful.”
The swim was ok. I just told myself to keep a good, steady pace and not get psyched out. I got passed by a bunch of girls (but mostly because I started near the front.. don’t want to add extra distance by starting inthe back), but I also passed a bunch of girls later on who must’ve started fast, but slowed down later. I got passed by a bunch of people starting in the wave behind. That as both exhilerating (because I could catch a draft for a few seconds as they were passing) and terrifying (because I got kicked in the face a couple of times). The swim seemed to go on FOREVER (seemed much longer than the IM 70.3), but maybe because I had difficulty sighting (ended up sighting mostly off of other swimmers in front of me) and kept zigzagging. I had some good energy out of the water though, and was able to jog to transition.
T1 always takes FOREVER for me. I have the hardest time getting my wetsuit off. And then takes forever to get my socks on with wet feet. Yes.. I wear socks on the bike. I can’t bike without socks. I can’t run without socks. I like my feet to be blister free and snug in my socks.
The bike ride was.. unexpected. Since most of the bike course was on the Point Loma Naval Base, we weren’t able to pre-ride and do course recon. I had heard that there was a big hill, but didn’t know really what to expect. I also was hoping that there would be port-o-potties on the course, because I really needed to go. Unfortunately for me, the hill was LONG and STEEP (at least at the beginning) and there were no port-o-potties, so I had to hold it. Actually, the hill was not as bad as I had thought it would be. It looked intimidating, but I just found a good gear (i.e. granny) and kept cranking till I got to the top. My quads were burning, but I made it unscathed, and passed a bunch of people on the way up. The rest of the lap (we had to do two laps) was pretty “easy” with a super fast downhill back to the beginning of the lap. I maxed out at 33.4 mph!!! (in contrast to the 6.2 mph I was cranking going uphill).
T2 was much faster than T1, as expected. I just swapped shoes and headed out. Almost forgot to take off my helmet (that would have been embarassing).. but totally forgot to take off my cycling gloves (yes, I wear those too). Ended up having to take them off and stuff them in my pocket for the rest of the run.
The run was good. My legs felt a little off after the bike leg, but my main focus was finding a port-o-pottie. I still had to go, and now I REALLY had to go. I knew there were port-o-potties outside transition, but they weren’t on the run course (and I wasn’t about to add extra distance to my run). So I ended up holding it… for about a mile. Then the course FINALLY meets up with a bathroom.. took longer than expected because I actually had to WAIT for a stall. But, I was happy to be relieved, and continued on my run.
My right shin was acting up (shin splints??? I hope not), but eventually it went away. I was able to find a good groove for the run, stopping to walk for a few seconds here and there when I would get a side stitch or hunger pang (I didn’t take any gels in transition like I was supposed to, and ended up only taking 2 GUs during the entire race). The run was a nice flat course through NTC Park, with half of it on dirt/grass, and the other half on asphalt/sidewalks. It consisted of two 5k loops, which felt like forever, but ended up going by pretty quickly. I finished just under and hour, and when I look back I think I could have pushed myself a little harder on the run and gotten an even better time (break 3 hours maybe??). Overall, though, I was really happy with my run leg.
I pretty much smashed my goal time of 3 hours and 30 minutes. Even though I finished in the middle of my age group (19 out of 41), I finished 25 minutes ahead of my planned goal… 3 hours and 5 minutes!!! Here are the stats:
Swim Leg – 1500m – 0:39:47
T1 – 0:04:18
Bike Leg – 40k – 1:20:58
T2 – 0:01:43
Run Leg – 10k – 0:58:45
Total Time: 3:05:31
F25-29 AG Rank: 19 out of 41
Gender Rank: 129 out of 255
Overall Rank: 504 out of 771
The folks organizing the San Diego Triathlon Classic really know how to take care of their racers. They had pizza and drinks and fruit and snacks… but most importantly.. they had BEER AND WINE!!! They also had a really cool “home-made” trophy for top 5 finishers in each age group, and a sweet raffle for some Zipp wheels. Overall, it was a great experience. .. and I got to see Chris McCormack (not during the race, but after). I should have tried to get my picture taken with him, but I didn’t think about it till after the fact. He won, of course.
I used to not be able to relax enough to go to the bathroom during the race, but I’ve learned to just go. Yes, I end up with wet socks, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get a PR.
By the way, great bike time!
Nice job on breaking your target time!
That paper mâché aero helmet is pretty cool!
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