The week prior to the race had been a really hard one which left me feeling beaten down by Friday night. Decided to do the cove swim for some salt water therapy. It felt awesome to do an easy swim out to the ¼ mile buoy and just float out there taking in the beautiful views… and watch a somersault competition!
Saturday would have been a great day to relax, but I had to work the expo; pimped myself out for that race entry! Too much sun… too much on the feet! Just drank as much water as possible. To make matters worse, I slept horribly on Saturday night. I think in total I slept 3 hours. I was really nervous. People kept telling me how good I was going to do, how I was going to podium, blah, blah…., which really played with my mind. I would so much rather race invisible. Just want to go out and do my best and not worry about how that places me, but I know others are watching!
Last year at this race my head was up my ass the entire time, so decided this year my only goal was to be focused on the race. To this end I had a theme/mantra for each portion.
Race Morning: “Prepare like a Pro” Up early to eat, and my new favorite thing, spin on the trainer at home. It is so much easier than trying to take the bike out at the race site. Ended up getting really stressed-out prior to the race due to parking issues (pretty much just made my own spot and hope I wouldn’t get towed!), and having to set-up my bike stuff in transition, as the bike had to be there over night. Luckily I had taken my bike down early Saturday so I had a prime transition spot. Got in my warm-up run with Darrell, who is so great to talk to pre-race; he always has such encouraging things to say! Diverged from Darrell and spent some time running alone to clear my mind and get focused on what I needed to do.
Then on with the wetsuit and down to check-out the course and get in my warm-up swim. Did a nice warm-up swim which I am now realizing is key to having a good swim. Keeps me from feeling like my wetsuit is too small. Timed it so that I finished my warm-up a few minutes prior to our wave start and then just swam over to the start.
Swim: “Swim like a Fish” Lined up front and center. All the fast girls were crammed over to the right along the buoy line, but I decided it would be worth the short extra distance to start the swim by swimming at a bit of an angle into the first buoy then taking it straight up and back along the buoys. This worked out wonderfully. Had a clear path from the horn to the end with the exception for a few stragglers from the waves in front of me. Still haven’t figured-out the drafting thing.
T1: “Get the Hell out of Transition”-Part 1 My biggest complaint about this race is the transition area situation. The women’s transition is terrible for the swim in, OK for the bike out and in, and sucks for the run out. I like running, but all that barefoot running on concrete is painful! Secondly they have VIP racking up front and center for teams and people who pay extra. There are honestly girls who beat me strictly due to their transitions. With that said, I had a pretty good transition. Trouble getting the wetsuit off my arms again. I’ll just keep telling myself that it is because my arms are getting so muscular from all the swimming…
Bike: “Try Harder” Hopped on my bike and settled in quickly. Have the advantage of knowing the course pretty well and loving hills. Started dropping people, especially lots of boys right away, which lit a fire in me. Kept in my mind to constantly be trying just a bit harder than I was at that moment. This was good to focus on as I found myself taking in the beautiful views from time to time. Had to remind myself I was racing. Sight-see another day!
Half way on my first trip out to Cabrillo I got passed by a girl in my AG with her name on her shorts. I figured if she was special enough to have her name on her ass, she was probably good enough to drop me.
My favorite moment was dropping some guy, who then started peddling really hard, got about ten feet in front of me and then totally blew-up. I had to refrain from making a “Got Chicked” comment as I passed him back.
T2: “Get the Hell out of Transition” -Part 2 Finally got the feet out of shoes/shoes still on bike without falling off the bike thing right today. Grabbed my run stuff and off I went.
Run: “Run like You Know How”
Legs felt awesome straight away off the bike. Maybe this means I should have been pushing it harder on the bike or else all the bricking is paying off... I’ll take the later. Settled into a nice pace right away and just tried to enjoy the ride.
I passed a bunch of people on the run, but unfortunately at about mile 4 a girl came flying past me. She made me look like I was standing still! I looked to see if she was in my AG but she had no body marking on. I could only figure she was in my AG due to her race number, but really the race induced stupidity had already set in.
I was hurting a bit so I decided to try to entertain myself. First I tried focusing on my form, but that got boring quick. Then I tried singing to myself, but could only think of really annoying songs, so I went to my gold standard; counting in multiple languages. That always works to get me to focus.
Once we entered Seaport Village I picked-up the pace. Unfortunately it was further to the end than I expected as the course was changed from last year and I failed to look at the course map. Running out of energy but pushed to the end; the cheering crowds helped.
All in all, I’m super happy with my race. Third place in my AG is great! More importantly I took over six minutes off my time from last year. Best of all I felt great the entire day, kept my head in the game for the whole race and had a blast hanging out with friends!