Women's Only Event
Have you ever heard that song by OneRepublic "All the right moves?"
"All the right moves in all the wrong faces"
Yeah, that was me this morning but more like "All the wrong nerves in all the wrong places"
My pre-race self was an emotional rollercoaster.
I was exhausted and still having problems bending down from an intense Crossfit workout I did on Thursday, 192 air squats and deadlifts does not do a body good.
I had to pick up my bib the morning of the race and was slightly confused at why I was being rushed around so much? I had almost an hour and a half until my wave hit the water..right?
Yes, I was right but it was a busy day for Santa Barbara, 3 races going on within 2 hours. My race just happened to be last.
"WAIT, WHY AM I THE GRANDMA HERE!"
I found my bike rack and quickly went to setting up my transition accordingly. The race email enforced no towels, seat, or buckets, so I packed minimally. Unfortunately too minimally, I forgot any sort of race belt. I fussed a little but then just made a last ditch effort to wear my race bib under my wet suit, a big novice move but, thankfully there was no tearing and it stayed on the whole race.
As I set up my stuff I overheard LOTS of nervous chatter.
" I've only swam in the ocean once....this is my first triathlon....i'm so nervous!"
I glanced around at the back of a few girls legs around me (to see their age) and I was surrounded by 19 and 20 year olds. I walked back up to the bike rack..."Am I in the right area?" I looked up and down at all the girls around me and I was staggered amongst all 20 year olds. The number system had my bib at that particular rack but, I still felt extremely out of place.
I remember yelling "I'm the grandma of this rack!"
I ended up giving some warm up advice to the girls across from me and told them there's no reason to worry, they'll be fine.
I went out of the transition area, found my husband, and hung out with him. I had about 30 minutes to kill before I needed to get into my seal suit.
Row Row Row your boat
The ocean felt great, there had been pool swims that felt colder than this water. I went in for my warmup, elevating my heart rate, and getting my head used to the idea of putting my face in the water. I gathered with my wave and was finally surrounded by blue caps and women in the 30-44 age group. The gun went off and I jumped in the water. For Ironman I kept my pace extremely calm and consistent. For this race I pushed harder and my heart rate stayed pretty elevated. I had women crisscrossing in front of me and got bonked by a few back stroking. As always, I was elated when I got to the last turn. If I can swim an Ironman, I can do this.
I had noticed the only palm tree in the lot was next to my bike rack. I used that as a landmark so finding my bright pink shoes and bike was quite easy. I was extremely out of breath and slightly dizzy from the sand run up to the lot and had a hard time not knocking over the person standing next to me putting on my bike shoes. Being an awful swimmer I knew I had some catching up to do.
I ran my bike to the mount line and hopped on strawberry.
BIKE 6 Miles 18:55
AVG Pace 18.9 250 Ft Elevation
The elevation doesn't look like much but, there were some hills on this course. They weren't long and slow but, quick and steep. Its a fun bike course, the longer course definitely being more scenic, maybe next year! It's funny because during the summer I did a Duathlon (run/bike/run) every other Tuesday. That races's distances were similar to the remainder of this race, a 6 mile Bike followed by a 2 mile run. I knew I could ride 6 miles, flat, around 19:30, but I thought I had a LOT of catching up to do so I pushed it. I dropped 1 girl I thought was in my age group but never saw another person in their 30's. All the women I saw were either 20's or 40's. I thought "WOW, I must REALLY be behind. "
It was so AMAZING to be back on my bike. My Ironman training really taught me to love my bike. Thankfully I toured the similar Olympic course previously with a friend, however I wasn't sure where some of the sprint turn around/out and backs were and almost followed another athlete making an off course turn.I knew we had to go back past a resort so I kept straight. I saw a few more athletes and thought to myself, WOW I have to do a down and back and catch up to them? man, I'll be going over 20 minutes! However, already at mile 5.3 on my watch I knew I had to be wrong. I kept peddling hard and saw I was coming back to the beach. Those ladies I saw were just beginning their ride.
T2- Shouldn't I get extra credit for this?!
I jumped off my bike and ran into the transition. This one I've mastered time and time again, it should be fast. I was running away from my bike a minute after I arrived, however the actual line to cross for the run was half a football field away from my bike. "Shouldn't I get extra credit for this!" lol I didn't start my run until right as I crossed the mat.
"I can stop sprinting now"
2 Miles : 16:11 7:48 Pace
The run, I always start out way too fast. I was aiming for a 7:50 pace and yet here I was at 7:35. I calmed myself down, got my breathing straight, and sat right at 7:50. My feet and legs felt funny, but again I was used to this sensation and knew my running legs were there, they just had to wake up. I saw multiple people on the turn around from the other races. I knew I couldn't let my competitive edge get the best of me. I kept my gaze down and focused on me. I focused on my form, my breathing, and doing everything I could to maintain my speed consistently. At the turn around I saw no one around me, so I stopped and walked the turn to regain some breathing then continued my run. I came up on 3 more women, 47, 44, and 17, each in passing I said "good Job, we've got this". I could hear a lady behind me, she was moving. I looked down at her leg and saw 47, I yelled out "you're a beast! great job!". She waved and ran off. I could see the finish in the distance and started doing some math.
12 minute swim, 2ish transition, 19 mile bike, 2ish transition, that's well under an hour, I can finish this!
So I sprinted towards the finish, I saw my husband as well as a triathlete club friend and smiled. I could stop sprinting. I was done. I bent down to grab some air and smiled. I thought to myself, I hate this, but love this.
I never saw another 30 year old on the course. I went into this race thinking Top 5 age group would be nice. I can do these distances all day for fun. It's the (good) competitiveness that makes me push harder .
I saw some amazing friends of mine out on the course and finish, I love that about local races. The end of races is always like a party, food, music, and friends. We all compared stories out on the course and high fived each other.
The announcer was doing a phenomenal job at getting the results posted and announced for the multiple races going on that day. I checked in with my local race sponsor (and employment) REI and chatted with my outreach program supervisor. It was great to see so many people at our booth, having fun and engaging with our opportunities. We saw a man with papers heading over to a poster board, "Follow that man!" lol he had the results. We all gathered around and waited patiently. My friend asked how old I was and then held up a number one! I jumped and ran to the board. They were right! What?! lol. I thought the reason I never saw anyone was because I was so far behind on the swim! I have no idea what my swim split placement was but, I guess it wasn't that bad.
I was so thankful to have my husband there with me. I crewed him for his 5th place overall finish at yesterday's Bulldog 50K and he was there for me today. The course was really fun and the organization was phenomenal! I always knew what was going on and the fact that they got 4 races completed, organized, and announced within 4-5 hours shows they know what they're doing. I'll definitely be back next year!
I'm passionate about running, fitness, nutrition and all things that make me and everyone else a better version of ourselves.