Just a couple years ago in 2008, this was my first triathlon. It was the most miserable yet exciting experience I'd ever had and it absolutely changed my life. Last year's race wasn't quite the awesome experience I had the first time around but I only had myself to blame. I was in the midst of a lot of personal upheaval at that time and my training definitely suffered.
This year, I had very mixed feelings about participating. Part of me really wanted to do the race for a number of different reasons; it's a good event, it was close to home so there are a lot of friendly faces, a good friend was making her triathlon debut and at the very least it would have been my 3rd year in a row participating. But another part of me remembers the awful rocky swim from last year and the unusually crowded bike course, this year the swim waves were co-ed which I was not looking forward to plus my shoulder was killing me. But (there's always a but) since I had already signed up, I figured I would go and make the most of it. I have to say, though, this was the first race morning that I woke up feeling completely indifferent. It was weird. I was pretty much just going through the motions.
I got to the race site early, early and was ushered with all the other early birds to a parking lot far, far away from transition. Then we had to walk in the dark, around the pavement, down a sandy trail (I carried my bike, by the way), past the transition area and finally to body marking and chip pick up. Did I mention it was in the pitch darkness? Anyway, by the time I got to the chip table, I was less than thrilled to be there and was really thinking I should have cut my losses and stayed home. I finally headed into transition and whaddya know, I got the much coveted isle spot. Hmm, maybe this isn't going to be so bad after all. Before long, some friendly faces were starting to filter in and the race morning excitement was working it's magic on me.
Swim: 1.4 mile
Time: 7:19 (6 out of 28 AG)
Fortunately, the swim course was located about a half mile down the shore in a rock-free area of the beach this year. UNfortunately, that meant there would be a good portion of sandy run to TI following the swim. Sandy runs are totally my favorite *rolls eyes* This tri is notorious for a shallow swim and this year was no exception. There were two instances during the swim I actually stood up and walked while I tried to fix my goggles. It's like a nice little safety net which makes it great for folks out there for the first time or for the people who just flat out don't like the swim. In the photo, you can see how shallow the water was as well as the little bit of chop that was out there. It wasn't a horrible swim but I did get a little dizzy from all the commotion. Before I knew it, the swim was over. I had no idea how I finished in my wave. With my bad shoulder and goggle issues, I assumed I was in the back of the pack. It wasn't until I got home and saw the results that I realized I had done better than I thought. Oh, and I was so excited for my first-timer friend that I almost missed my wave! Thanks to a couple who walked by me and told me my wave was going off, I managed to make it to the line within 30 seconds of the start!
T1: 3:28 (2/28)
Bike: 12 miles
Time: 35:41 (1/28)
Speed: 20.2 mph
The bike is a two loop course along the causeway to the beach. There are two small bridges and a tight turnaround inside the park. It's not the fastest course but it short, flat and closed to traffic. The first few minutes on the bike were really difficult. My legs were fatigued from a 6 mile run the day before and the beach run to T1 didn't help matters. It took me at least 2 miles to warm up and then I found my rhythm. The highlight of the race for me happened as I was coming in to T2. I heard the announcer call my name and say something along the lines of I'm no stranger to the sport and I coming into T2 with a lot of men. For a split second I panicked when I heard my name but then I realized it was a compliment and that little shout out had me beaming the rest of the day! I'm really proud of my bike split - with a bum shoulder and slow run, it's the only thing I've got going for me LOL
T2: 0:41 (2/28)
Run: 3.1 miles
Well per usual, my run was super slow compared to everyone else but I did my best. The run goes through the trails of the park and there are some sandy parts that seem to kill my momentum. It's also protected from the nice ocean breeze but at least there's a lot of shade. I felt like I ran strong and I was happy with me performance. Well, mostly happy. I held first place in my age group until the last 400 meters. I saw the girl go by me and I saw the age on her calf. She was running with a guy and passed me just as we got to a single file section of the run course. She went first so I was behind the guy and by the time the course opened up, I couldn't get passed her. She beat me by FOUR seconds! I know I should be happy that I placed second for having a hurt shoulder but in all honestly, it felt like I lost first place. It took a few days for the sting to go away. Oh and get this, the third place girl beat me in T1 and T2 by one second each. I thought that was a funny little stat.
All in all, it was a great day. I was there to cheer on my friends and it was an awesome way to spend a Sunday morning. I'm already looking forward to next year!