The race was held at Shadow Cliffs in Pleasanton. I have done two official triathlons here as well as a few "tri for funs" in grad school so I am very familiar with the course.
The race happened to fall on a weekend the bay area was experiencing HOT weather (for us) which was nice since that meant the water wasn't too cold, however, I knew the run course, which was completely unshaded, was going to be hot.
I didn't have any huge goals for the race except to 1) come in under 1:30, and 2) try to keep at least a 17 mph avg on my bike.
We got there, set up and then it was just time to wait until our wave started. Being my first tri of the year I forgot how much stuff you need to bring.
Swim: .5 miles
The water was usually clean for Shadow Cliffs which was nice. Given the short distance I opted to swim sans wetsuit as I figured I would spend more time getting the thing on and off than actually swimming in it.
Not much to say about the swim except it went well. I am finding my rhythm much quicker now in open water and I think my sighting has improved a lot. I have found the key to a good swim is to try and stay as close to the inside as possible. People tend to veer towards the outside. Not only does this help avoid getting kicked in the face but decreases the extra distance you end up swimming.
As I was exiting the water K yelled to me I was the 6th "orange cap" out of the water. Orange caps were all women under 34 so I figured some were in my age group (30-34) but some had to be in other age groups as well. I think this helped fuel my fast transition - I didn't want to loose my place.
Bike: 13 miles
The main goal of this tri was to work on my bike speed. I have mentioned numerous times I know how to "ride" my bike but not how to "race" it. I want to avg at least 17 mph at Big Kahuna so that was my goal for the next 13 miles.
I rode my heart out. About half way through I started to worry about the effect riding so hard would have on my run but figured this was the time and place to figure it out. If my legs crashed on the run I would know and it would give me something to work on in training.
The course was flat which was both a blessing and a curse. I like climbing and the variation it gives my legs but hills obviously slow my pace down.
I ended up smashing my goal with an overall average of 19.5 mph over the 13 miles.
No women had passed me on the bike, in fact, I had passed one woman in my age group. I had no idea what place I was in (and I found myself asking myself why I was even so focused on it - I don't "place" at races) but I guess it kept my mind off my fatigues legs and the fact I was about to embark on a hot run.
Run: 3.1 miles
By now it was hot, so hot and my legs were pretty dead. I just kept telling myself "only a 5k, only a 5k - you can push through a 5k."
My first mile was a 9:20 - definitely NOT the pace I should be at for a 5k. By mile 2, despite the heat, my skin started to get a little clammy so I stopped to walk through the next aid station to make sure I got enough water. While people were started to pass still no women in the 30-34 age group. Finally, with about a mile to go a girl passed me. Determined that she was going to be the only one I picked it up (as much as I felt I could) for the last 1.10 to the finish.
As I passed mile 3 I looked back and didn't see anyone behind me. Despite my run not being what I hoped I was happy I managed to hold my place in my age group - no matter what that place was. As I saw K at the finish I heard him yelling "go, go - she is right behind you" but by that point a girl blew past me through the finish chute by the time I registered what was going on. I immedately looked for her age but she didn't have it written on her leg.
As I crossed the finish line I was excited to see I met my goal of coming in under 1:30!
Total Time: 1:28:52
I was greeted at the finish with a towel that had been soaking in ice - GENIUS!! That cold towel was a lifesaver after that hot run.
While we were waiting for my friend to cross (who by the way rocked her second triathlon ever!!) they posted the official results . . . 4th PLACE by 3 seconds!!! That girl who had blown past me was in my age group!!! Ugh!!! And 2nd place was only ahead of me by 29 seconds!!! Why did I stop to walk? If I had just pushed a little faster at the end . . . my competitive self was very annoyed. BUT at the end of the day I met my personal goals which was all I can hope for.
Despite the 4th place, this race was a lot of fun. I enjoyed racing the shorter distances. I also learned I need a lot more bike/run transition work before Big Kahuna but I still have 7 weeks to get there.
Age Group (Women 30-34): 4/26