We packed everything up for our weekend trip down to San Diego and got to bed early Friday night. We'd set the alarms for about 4:45 Saturday morning and were up and loaded and on the road by 5:45. First stop: starbucks!
We had a nice drive down, saw the sun come up over the central valley and only had minor traffic in LA (minor by LA standards, I guess). The whole trip took us about 7.5 hours.
We drove right to the Expo at Paradowski's Swim and Sport to pick up our numbers, timing chips, swim caps, etc. and listened to the pre-race info session.
After leaving the expo, we headed over the race site in Mission Bay. They had early bike check Saturday afternoon which paid off big time. Check out my end spot:
My mother in law met us at the race site, and gave us a quick course preview since she has competed in this race every year for about 8 years. This would be her first time sitting it out due to injuries, which sucks. She was so helpful though and it was great having a support crew for our first real tri. Here's a preview of the swim course- this shot shows the orange buoys that parallel the beach:
The next thing we did was go for a quick dip in the bay with our wetsuits. That went well- we noticed we are extra floaty in the salt water! Had one last practice of getting the wetsuits off and we felt prepared as we were going to get.
Zach's parents and their friends, several of whom were racing, put on a great pot-luck dinner Saturday night, so we ate (did I mention Zach's dad and his friend are chefs? mmmmm), drank (very little!) and visited for a couple of hours, then crashed pretty early.
Another super early wake-up call (4:45 again) which I'm getting used to (sick!) and we were out the door about 5:15. It was already getting busy at the race site, but we found a parking spot and got our stuff over to the transition area and got body marked. We walked back to the car, donned our wetsuits, and headed over to the swim start area. I would be starting in Wave 3, with a cute pink swim cap, and Zach would be 5 minutes behind me in Wave 4 wearing a yellow cap.
I love this shot of my wave before the start. However, if you could find me in there you would see I'm dealing with a sudden big problem. My nose clip wouldn't stay on. :( I don't know why I've stuck with the stupid silicone nose clip that tends to slip off, or why I don't at least practice swimming without a clip, but here I was, minutes before the gun and my nose clip was NOT staying on my greasy little nose. I'm one of very few that wear one of those geeky things, but I depend on it like people depend on their goggles. I was stressing. (great shot though!)
I would say I f-ed with my nose clip for the first 1/4 of the swim. I had to STOP twice to put it back on, and once I even tried swimming without it, but I got nose-fulls of sea water and was getting kinda freaked. Finally it stayed on, but the damage was done and I was completely thrown off. I think I did ok for the rest of the swim, but I was distracted and disappointed and stressed. I felt like I could have done really well on the swim since I've been working a lot on it, plus with my wetsuit I thought I'd go pretty fast. Oh well though, I kept my head and got through it.
(unofficial swim split 500 m: 10:20)
I ran a few yards then stopped on the grass and peeled off my wetsuit. No problems there. I ran over to my transition area and put on my socks and shoes and my helmet, took a swig of water, and ran my bike out of the transition area. (transition 1 split: 3:03, yikes)
My hands were very wet, and my handlebars were wet from sitting out overnight, so I was a little worried about that at first. I guess I settled into a groove but I felt like I was going so slow since I was being passed so often. I was in an early wave and all the fast people from later waves were flying by me. I was working hard but seemed like I was in slow motion. The highlight was when Zach passed me and we exchanged "great job!"s and that gave me a boost. There were lots of turns on the bike course, which slowed me down even further. Ugh. By most measurements the bike course was approximately 10.5 miles long, which is more than a mile over the advertised distance. Finally I was nearing the finish area and I was definitely ready to be done with the bike. (unofficial bike split 10.5 miles- 39:30- 16 MPH)
No problems in T2, just racked my bike, swapped my helmet for my visor, and took off. (transition 2 split: 20 seconds)
I started the run off real strong and felt great. There wasn't anyone around me right away, so I just got in a good rhythm and was cruising along. Finally came upon some people and started passing. I passed lots of girls in my age group (I love that the ages are written on everyone's calf!) and a few young guys (mens 20-24 was the wave ahead of me). I went through mile 1 in 7:30 or so. The second and third miles had more turns and a bit of loose dirt in one portion, in addition to a bridge crossing (that sucker was steep, especially the second time around!), so they were slower for me, about 8:00 for mile 2 and maybe 8:30 for the last 1.1 miles. I felt great though, working hard but not hurting. I thought about taking a drink at the aid station but just ran past it. Zach was a few minutes ahead of me- here's a shot of him finishing strong:
And here I come, just passed the girl on the left:
(unofficial run split 3.1 miles: 24:05- 7:46 average pace)
Unofficial finish time: 1:17:11
What a fun race. :) I'm proud of myself for overcoming the nose clip issue and pushing on the bike, however slowly. I felt good on the run and had a great time overall. I am absolutely hooked and can't wait to do it again and do better. Specifically, the nose clip thing (get a better one, practice swimming without it) because I know I could do so good on the swim. Get a fast bike and build my strength and skills. And continue to run like the wind! hehe.
After the finish we walked around, listened to the band and watched people finishing. I saw a stand with 9-time Ironman finisher and super hottie Lokelani McMichaels so I got to meet her and get her autograph. What a nice girl!
Next stop: BEER GARDEN! I was hoping to run into Paul who I knew was racing and probably beer-gardening, and sure enough there he was with the San Diego Tri Club. He had an awesome race, placing 1st in his AG and 5th overall. WOW! He and his tri club friends were super nice and welcoming. I love the tri community!
We finally picked up our bikes and stuff and headed over to another post-race party with Zach's parents and their friends. We had a good time there, eating and drinking and hearing about everyone's race. Several of the people there are nurses and doctors and race with the Sharp Triathlon Club. I can't wait to go back and see all these people again. They were all so nice and made us feel like part of a community. :)
Last shot: Salty!
We had a relaxing afternoon and got all of our things packed up for yet another early start Monday morning. The return trip took us about 8 hours and it was good to get home. Back to reality now and back to marathon training... 10 miles this afternoon.
I'll post as soon as official results are up- I was hitting my watch somewhat randomly so there will be a difference in the splits, but not in overall time. Thanks for reading! :)
total time 1:17:12
738/approx. 1500 Overall 45/119 in the 25-29 Age Group
Swim split: 11:11 (768 swim rank)
Bike split (includes transitions): 42:01 (968 bike rank)
Run split: 24:00 (410 run rank)