Thursday, August 18, 2011

Race Report: California International Triathlon

Oooooohhhh Blogger I want to KILL you!!!  Trying to get this post up has been a nightmare!!

Costa Rica was beyond amazing and I actually have a vacation series in the works.

Two (almost three) weeks ago now I completed my first Olympic Distance triathlon - the California International Triathlon and wrote my race report and planned to post it while I was on vacation.  Between my slow as molasses computer I took and my lack of access to internet while I was gone it never got up.  Then, while doing some formatting in blogger the layout got destroyed forcing me to just re-type the whole thing.  I swear, there must be a easier way.  I spend more time fighting with blogger than I do writing!

Anyway, enough about all that and on to more fun things!  The race was held at a local park called Shadow Cliffs.  This park is where I completed my first sprint tri in 2008 and have done a few tris as a part of relay team so I was fairly familiar with the layout of the park.


As with all races I do, I thought a lot about what I wanted to get out of this race - both time and personal goals.

Time Goal
  • To finish under 3 hours and 30 minutes with the following breakdown:
    • Swim: 35 minutes
    • T1: 5 minutes
    • Bike: 1 hour, 40 minutes/15 mph avg
    • T2: 5 minutes
    • Run: 1 hour, 5 minutes/10:30 pace avg
Personal Goal

To successfully finish the race pain free and still feel like I had energy to spare.  With my back being as finicky as it has been lately, really my only hope was that it would allow me to race - anything above and beyond that would be amazing.  I wanted to have fun too since this was my first time racing this distance.  This was my one and only official training race for Big Kahuna so I knew it would be a very important indicator of my ability to finish the distance.

Night Before

Triathlons have so much more gear than any other event so I worked all week to compile a complete and final list of everything I would need as not to forget anything.  I bagged it all up and set the alarm for 4:15 am.
Race Day

I am always amazed at how I can leap out of bed at an ungodly hour on race day and yet when my alarm goes off midweek I have to peel myself out from under the covers.

The transition area opened at 5:30 and since spots were first come, first serve I wanted to be there right when they opened to ensure a good spot.  I got everything set up in transition, body marked and choked down a banana (I am not a good morning eater) with about an hour to go before the first wave took off at 7:00 am.  I was in wave 4 so my start time was 7:12 (each wave was 4 minutes apart).

I was lucky to snag a spot on the end for extra room - a perk to being one of the first to arrive.

I took the time to stretch, bathroom 100x (glad for the two-piece tri outfit) and warm up for the swim.  .92 miles in a pool is not to daunting but to see the distance actually measured out in the lake freaked me out a bit (even though I have swam the distance 1000x).

Swim: .92 miles

In no time the first wave of men were off and the 12 minutes between their start time and my start time flew by.  One of the first things I noticed was I was only 1 of about 4 in my wave sans wetsuit.  I wasn't so much worried about temperature - the water was warm - but knowing a wetsuit can help you during the swim (buoyancy) I was starting to worry I would be dead last.

Unlike most triathletes, the swim is actually my strongest event but open water still freaks me out a bit.  It took me about 300 yards to settle into a comfortable groove but once I did I started moving and actually passing people.  My wave had orange swim caps and the wave before had light blue.  I was actually passing light blue caps - swimmers who had started a full 4 minutes before me.

Before I knew it I saw the finish in sight.  As I grabbed my Garmin from my dad he told me I was in in less than 30 minues and within the top 10 of the orange caps coming out of the water.

Time: 28:50 - under goal!


I knew I was going to be slow in transition, thus why I gave myself a full 5:00.  More importantly though, I didn't want to forget anything.  I was in and out in 4:39.  Definitely not great - but until I become a little more familiar with tris I am not to focused on my transition time - I just want to be comfortable and have everything I need.

Time: 4:39 - under goal!

Bike: 24.9 miles

When I woke up that morning I had this sinking feeling I was going to get a flat and since I am so slow changing one (like it could literally add 45 minutes to my time) I really did not want race day to be the day to practice that.  The whole ride I was overly cautious about hitting rocks, cracks, etc where usually I don't pay attention too much.  I was blessed by the tire gods that day.

I was hoping to hold an average of 15.0 mph for the entire 24.9 miles.  This is much speedier than I normally ride and knew there would be some hills but that was the goal.  Up until the first big climb, I was actually holding between a 15.0 and 17.0 mph avg.  Of course, once the climb started I slowed way down (and got passed by a bunch of people) but I was climbing faster than normal (around 11.0 mph) so that made me happy.  There was something very humbling about being passed by a woman twice your age - I only hope I get stronger with time.

The course was beautiful, cloudy and cool and after the climb, surprised at how effortless 15.0 mph felt at times.  My final average was 15.5 mph for 24.9 miles.

Time: 1:37:24/15.5mph avg - under goal!


T2 is so much easier than T1 - a simple change of shoes, shed the bike gear, grab a visor, water bottle and go.

Time: 3:56 - under goal!

Run: 6.2 miles

Oh, the run.  While my hope was under a 1:05, my real goal was not to die.  Even though my back has been so much better lately, my mileage is still lower than I would like as is my pace.

As I ran out of transition, I felt a bit of tightness and immediately thought my run was doomed.  I did run/walk the first mile - running 3 minutes and walking for 1.  I also ate my second Gu packet of the race.  Once my legs realized we were running and not walking they fell into a slow and steady pace which is all I could ask them for.

The course was an out and back with a portion of the course overlapping the sprint distance tri that also going on.  It was hard to see all the sprinters on their way back in while I was still on my way out.  By this point the sun had come out and the shade was few and far between.  Despite these, I was so pleased with how my running was going the pleasure overshadowed the pain.

The course was not super scenic but the volunteers were fantastic!!  While I stretched my calf and dumped water on my head at a water station a volunteer grabbed my empty bottle and filled it for me.

The spectators were very enthusiastic and I heard lots of "go runner" as I ran into the finish chute.

I looked at the race clock as I ran through and saw it was at 3:31!  Knowing I could deduct 12 minutes from that time (since I started 12 minutes after the race officially started) I was ecstatic!   I knew I beat my projected time.

Time: 1:06:24/10:47 avg - a tad over goal but not by much!

OVERALL: 3:21:13
Women: 67/104
Age Group 25-29: 10/17

Now I just have to psych myself up to swim the 1.2 miles of Big Kahuna . . . in the OCEAN!!  Damn you Shark week!!
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  1. Congratulations girl! The pictures are great. How good it must feel to crush your goal time. I'm happy for you. :)

  2. BALLER!!!!!!!!!! AWESOME JOB!!!!!!! (Wow, you look SO HAPPY in all your photos too -- what an accomplishment!) So proud of you -- congrats!!!!

  3. So awesome! I doubt I'll ever attempt a tri, but I LOVE reading other people's reports. Congratulations! :)

  4. Great job! You are going to do amazing at Big Kahuna!!

  5. Awesome job bestie! You look totally cute in that outfit too. LOVE IT, glad you found it as comfy as I did.

    I think you're well on your way to an amazing HIM!

  6. Congratulations Kristen! I enjoyed reading your race report, great photos too, and you look like you're really anjoying yourself in all of them! Just to let you know, we're having a contest on our website to win a Swimsmooth DVD (worth $60) and to enter you just have to do a race report - so if you're interested have a look:

  7. You rock girl! And you look awesome doing it. I love your outfit.

    Way to get er done!


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