Yesterday I did the 2nd race of my season. I wasn't going to do this race at all until early last week when I noticed it wasn't a time trial and was in fact a triathlon. I wasn't feeling great both Friday and Saturday and my coach had suggested I skip it if I wasn't feeling better by Saturday night. I ended up feeling much better after taking those 2 days off - spent gluing tires for Soda's Collegiate National's bid in 2 weeks.
The best part about this race was that my whole family: Sada, Piper and Greta were all going to come with me to watch (as much as 2 kids under 4 will watch). I didn't know anything about the race except Courtenay and Symphony Boy were also going to be there and that it was on a pretty tight course with very few straights.
The swim was in Folsom Lake which is so low we had to walk about .3 miles or more to the water. The water temp was perfect and likely around 60 or so. We jumped into the water for a quick warm up and it felt pretty good - except my HRM died. This was slightly troubling because I have a terrible time racing without a heart rate. My RPE scale is off and when I think I'm going at a 7, I'm really about 2 beats away from my max OR I think 'this is really hard' and my HR is 173. So when I race, I go by HR on the bike and run. I try and bike at 175-180 and run 175-205. Not to mention I'd have no idea of my time and run pacing. Oh well....
The swim went fine - I went a bit harder than I've raced before and felt fine - stayed at the back of the pack until the first buoy where the water was so shallow, we all stood up, ran around the buoy and swam back to shore. On the way back I got a little off course for some dumb reason (like me refusing to site on the right thing) and lost the back of the pack. I eneded up making it to shore - my only goal was to not still be in the water where Courtenay could find me. I had lost Westie somewhere in the water - I figured he was in front.
Because of the long run - I dumped my suit in the water and carried it on the long run back to T1 where I ran in my sandals but 1/2 way up, I changed my mind and ran faster without them.
I got onto my bike where I figured I'd make up time and catch the front group as usual. I didn't know this course was a roller coaster ride with very little room to put your head down to hammer. Just when I got rolling, I'd hit a hill or corner so sharp I'd need to get on the binders to keep was washing out. Not to mention the road was a trail with riders coming the other way! It was narrow and 2 bikes could barely ride next to each other anywhere. I felt ok but not fast on lap 1 - even when I stood up to get over a short riser and managed to rip the back wheel out of my frame. I stopped (I had little choice) and got the wheel back in only losing 2 spots which I made up in the next 2 minutes. By the time I got into the 2nd lap, I felt better and spend the next 16 minutes saying 'left, left, left or move or c'mon man ride your bike!'. Having a few years of biking racing experience definitely helped on this course. It wasn't my ideal course and I'm not sure I'd do the race again for that reason alone.
I zipped into T2 where there was no dismount line - so T2 was fast. I got out onto the run and began picking guys off about 5 or more in the first mile. The run was on a sandy trail - which I figured would turn into a paved or dirt trail. It turns out this was a full-on Xterra course for the next 4 miles. Because I've run tons of trails it was nice to let it go on the downhills - but it was dangerous. There were steep and sandy downhills - most were gullies where water has washed out much of the best footing. I managed to get a side stitch around mile 1.5 and had to back off a little which was fine because I got jammed up behind 2 slower guys. There was a lot of up and downhill portions - so it was incredibly hard to get into a rhythm - so I kept pushing and ran the uphills where many folks were walking. I ended up letting 2 guys go who caught me around mile 3 but I was able to hold them at about 50 yards to the end.
I felt ok - happy about parts of the run and my T2. Not sure how I ended up, but I suspect those numbers will be posted soon. Courtenay finished 2nd overall in her 3rd triathlon and Chris (Symphony Boy) is officially a triathlete.
Other things: My Zoot Ultra Race flats definitely were better over the short distance. No blisters and they're fast to transition with. I will definitely use them again for any sub 10k race I do.
I'm really grateful for Greta and the girls coming out to watch. Poor Sada had strep throat which I spent the evening following the race with her chasing doctor appointments and 24 hour pharmacies until almost 9pm.
Congrats to Ben who finished 2nd to Chris Lieto at the Miami International - where he beat Chris McCormack. Ben had the fastest swim, lost a minute to super cyclist Lieto on the bike and had the fastest run of the day.