Been a while since I’ve done a race report. Mostly because I think I feel they’ve gotten somewhat repetitive. I used to use them as a way to reflect on the race for myself. It really forces you to rethink what happened and then convey it in story form. But now, I don’t think I get as much benefit from it as I did when I first started doing this. Plus, to be honest, I don’t really care all that much. I know how to race. I think that’s something I need to realize and not constantly analyze. The racing part really is the easy part. The preparation is the hard part…..and I prepare to do well….or at least as well as I can. So this race report won’t look like the analytical ones of the past. It will be far less structured and just written for fun to convey some knowledge that you might be able to use and also to just tell some fun stories from the day.
Before I get into the race, I wanted to briefly talk about “lead up”. Lead up is the time before a race. It can be any amount of time you want to look at and concentrate on really. It can be 5 minutes, 1 day, 1 week, a month, a year….doesn’t matter…it’s all leading up to your race. It’s just the focus of the discussion would be different depending on the time frame you’re looking at. For this particular discussion, I’m going to be talking in the one month range and then bringing it into the week’s lead in.
The reason I’m bringing this up is because I had a less than optimal lead up and still had a fantastic race. The month prior to the race I knew things were not going to be good. External stresses were going to be very high at work and my time in general wasn’t going to be as predictable as it usually is. 101 Pipe had a couple big things happening during the week before the race. We were moving our offices and had a bank audit which requires me to be at our Fontana facility two days in a row. By far and away, the move was the more substantial of the two but one on top of the other was not good, to say the least. I don’t need to go into specifics as to how thin I was spread over the week prior but suffice to say it was a really tough week. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is this….”who gives a shit?” It really comes down to this. Does it really matter? Of course everyone wants to do well. Of course everyone wants to PR or beat their buddy or in my case be top female amateur 🙂 but it’s not life or death. It’s just a friggin race. If it goes well, awesome, if not, so what? There’s only so much we can do as people with lives outside the sport and responsibilities far beyond a triathlon race. I have lots of people counting on me for their livelihoods. To me, that’s far more important. So what do you do? I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of what I’m saying….what you do is simple…you do your best.
Heather Wurtele wrote a blog about this same race and touched on the fact that everyone has problems. Everyone has issues that are never perfect for a perfect race. That’s life. It is what it is. So, rather than dwell on how shitty you have it, make some damn lemonade. Make the best of what you do have. Make the best of the training you do. That’s the attitude I’ve adopted after perfect lead ins lead to crap races and crazy unorthodox lead ins lead to wonderful races. Vineman last year was probably my best half ironman to date and the weekend before I was in Vegas for three days with alcohol sweating out of my eyeballs and no sleep.
This go around at Oceanside I knew better. I knew that my training was consistent and solid. I’m running better than I ever have and my swim bike combo are still solid. There’s no real reason I shouldn’t have a great race. If the strain on my body from moving boxes and filing cabinets ruins it, so be it. If missing a couple taper workouts destroys me…oh well. I’m just going to do the best I can with what I have and let the chips fall where they may. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try or just give up because I didn’t get that last swim in. It means I’m going to brush it off and still go out there and give it hell and see what happens.
What happened was a great race…..
The swim was the absolute best swim I could have hoped for. I found Adam Zucco at the start and chatted with him for just a bit before we took off. Since I had found him at the line and knew he was a slightly better swimmer than me, my plan was to stay close off the start and get pulled along for as long as I could handle. Gun/horn went off and we took off. I was along side him for maybe 50 yards when I noticed I was swimming well. With no warm up, you never really know how the arms will feel. So, I decided quickly to drop back and tuck in. As I was doing that, Justin Shakespeare was taking the lead. So it was 1,2,3…Justin, Adam and me….and it stayed that way to the boat ramp. Justin did such a fantastic job navigating that all I had to do was stay on Adam’s feet and enjoy the ride. I knew because of the swimmers that our time would be fine so the fact that the effort was so low was perfectly ok. Also, from experience, I knew that had I pulled out of the draft to try and swim “faster” on my own, I would expend WAY more energy and probably not go any faster. This was the perfect scenario and I wasn’t going to mess it up. Came out of the water in a great time of 27:16 with very minimal energy expenditure. Exactly what you want on the swim leg. Coming up the boat ramp I took a look at my watch and then looked back up and almost slammed into the back of a previous wave female swimmer which made for the best photo in the history of triathlon……
After coming out of the swim feeling great, I knew I should probably give the bike a go. I definitely had a power plan but decided to ride a lot more by feel. I felt great and really concentrated on riding “fast” and not hard. Cornering fast, braking late, passing smart, taking good lines etc etc. I stayed on top of my nutrition and had a great ride. Although the course was shortened a bit, I still came in with a 5 min PR over two years ago and on less watts. So that’s awesome. I passed Buns about halfway through the ride right before that big steep uphill. She was also doing great and on her way to a 2nd Place AG finish. Bike time was 2:30:34
After a solid swim bike, I was hoping my run would be there as well. It was….or, I shouldn’t sound so cocky, it was good for me…which isn’t all that good. Plan was to come out and sit on 7:00 Miles for as long as I could. Of course I came out at like 6:30 pace like an asshat. But I caught it and slowed quickly. The conditions were just awesome on the run. Super cool temps and great energy from the fans and friends spectating. I settled in at my goal pace, well actually just above. I was clicking off 7:05-7:10’s most of the way. I ended up with a 1:33:55 run which I was really happy about. My run has slowly been improving over the last couple years. I ran 1:35:55 at this race two years ago on a massively short course (about 12.5 miles) and then 1:34:46 on a dead nuts on 13.1 at Vineman last year and then this 1:33:55 on a slightly long 13.16. All good progress. I feel like I could have a run break through soon. I’ve been very consistent in my training since my stress fracture and lay off three years ago and I just have that feeling that I’m getting close to clipping off something respectable soon. We’ll see if my body and mind come together and produce something good. Maybe in the next couple years.
So that’s it….I finished 4:37 and in 7th place in my new 40-44 age group. I was also first amateur female by a long shot. 6 Minutes of transition make that time look a little slower than it actually was and I had quick transitions….OH, except one stupid move. This is the last lesson I’ll throw out there. Make sure you have a plan and you follow it. Even the simple things as to whether or not you’re gonna wear a stupid visor on the run. When I came in off the bike, I put my shoes on and my run glasses and looked at my visor…..and looked at it….and looked at it. I was frozen. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear it or not. It was the STUPIDEST 10 seconds lost ever! I was standing there LOOKING AT MY VISOR going ..uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh….ummmmmm…..uhhhhh…WHAT THE HELL! I finally grabbed it and left and shook my head. Total idiot move. Figure out what you need before the race and stick with it.
Thanks to all my great sponsors especially Wattie Ink who’s new kit is so sick. Never once even thought about it which is what you want in a kit. A second skin. I also used Herbalife24 Prolong for the first time and really liked it. I haven’t liked the taste in the past but I mixed in a little Hydrate and it made it much much better. Other partners include: ISM, Speedfil, diamondback (which I’ll be on at Wildflower), Power Bar, blueseventy, Rudy Project and Reynolds Wheels
Next up Karin and I will be at Wildflower which is always such a special race. Really looking forward to a solid performance there. Thanks for taking the time to read!