The Encinitas Sprint Triathlon is one of my absolute favorites! It was the first tri I did just a few years ago and memories from that race include racing with Jen, meeting Tim for the first time, being super happy just crossing the finish-line and not understanding the USAT age rules and starting in the wrong wave, so it looked like I was super fast. Things have changed just a bit for me as far as triathlon goes...
Leading up to this morning, I was just not feeling it. I had a tough week and was super tired by Friday. By Saturday I had to decide if I was gonna take it easy in prep for the race Sunday or do some hard training and either not race or go slow. As I was not committed 100% to the race, I decided on the later. After a tough am on the bike and a solid transition run, I headed to the race Expo just in case. Just being at the Expo got me more and more excited, so I decided the race would be a go!
Sunday was an early wake-up call and off to the race. There were no assigned racks, and the signs for where we were supposed to rack were non-existent. I wandered around a bit and then picked out a spot that looked like it would be good for a quick transition and had a bunch of ladies who looked about my age at it. I began going about my pre-race set-up, music on and doing my thing. I then noticed that my rackmates were standing around in their fancy, sponsor-laden racekits chatting, but staring me down. Not too sure what their issue was... My awesome new (OK slightly used, but new to me) Skinfit suit, or my super cool bike, or maybe I just look fast and they were scared. Honestly I felt like I was in high school again and the "cool" girls click were my rackmates. Little did they know, all they were doing was firing me up for a great race. I really don't understand why people have to be like that. Whenever people ask me why I love triathlon, I always say it's because the people are so nice and supportive. Well let me tell you I was not feeling the love from these ladies. All I have to say is "Grow-Up!"
Wandered down to the water for a good warm-up swim. The water temp was higher than the air temp, which made it feel nice and warm. But as soon as I got in I figured-out the problem. Strong current and rough surf! Now I'm pretty confident in the ocean from growing up in So. Cal, but racing is another story. I just don't have that much experience racing in rough surf.
Lined up as far south as possible, knowing that the current would pull us North. I got a good running start at the swim and after a couple of good dolphin dives (and managing not to fall flat on my face this year!) I took off swimming. It felt like swimming in one of those endless pools. As hard as I tried I could not make forward progress. Waves were coming crashing in at a quick rate. All of a sudden a huge wave came in, I tried to dive under it, but before I knew it I was tumbled upside down and looking at the sky. Stood up to try to get my bearings again, and noticed most everyone else was still running in the surf. So I did a few more dives and then took off swimming again. Finally able to make some forward progress and see the turn-around buoy coming closer to me. The way in was less eventful, except for swimming into numerous people heading the other way... Did I say the current was strong?
Like always I got my wetsuit off ASAP, and even had a little help from a volunteer. This made for a much easier run up the steep ramp to transition. I was on Speed Racer in a flash and down in aero, hammering it for the duration. A much as I love hills, sometimes it is nice to be able to just hammer on the flats. I was super stoked with my ride this year. Took more than 2 minutes off from last year! The 12.4 miles pass so quickly that I totally forgot to take my feet out of my shoes before I hit the dismount line. Had to clip-clop through transition to my rack. Don't think it slowed me too much though.
The run was awesome too. Except for a little blip of a hill at the turn-around, it is pretty flat. I put my legs on auto-pilot and my mind on going hard. Don't remember too much of the run, except my heart rate being really high. I was happy with the way the legs were responding after a hard effort the day before. Sprinted to the finish, racing no-one but myself.
After not really feeling up to racing the days before, I am super happy with the way the race played out. Reaffirms that all of the training is paying off. Oh yeah... and I beat each and every one of the snobby tri girls. Ha!