Thursday, September 29, 2005

I had a really good run/walk with Melanie this morning. (Tuesday I was pretty much a slug with really sore calves.) We're gearing up for the Tri this Sunday in San Diego.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Malibu Tri Race Report

The surf was pretty bad, with some waves easily 7+ feet, and of course, since you start with your wave/group, you don't get to pick when you go into the water (like you would sensibly if you were on your own). Oh yeah, and it was cold. 62 or 63 degrees.

Dave's wave (with the pretty purple caps) went, then the women's waves started.

So, we're all standing around in our group of Athenas and 40+ and mountain bikers (and please tell me again why do we have to go last? I know, we're all supposed to be the slowest, but I've looked at the finishing times, and the top people in these classes did pretty darn well), commenting how we are PROTECTED by our lovely condom-colored swim caps (really -- they're this nasty yellowish semi-translucent plasticky color), watching the surf with trepidition, sagely noting that well, we can always WAIT 30 seconds or so for the set to go by....Yeah, like that ever happens.

The gun goes off and we all charge like wild women into the surf!

That was the longest .5 mile ocean swim I've ever done...duh...the longest I've ever done straight inthe ocean is more like .25 miles! 20 odd minutes of feeling like I'm going to drown except I'll freeze first. The biggest waves were actually cresting nearly as far out as the first buoy (150 m out from the shore) and you could feel the swell as you swam lateral to the beach. Luckily the course had us going with the northerly current. A little before I reached the middle buoy I decided to SWIM, not the half-assed crawl I was doing, and I was able to pick it up a little. As I turned the last buoy I tried to aim directly for shore but was still pushed a little north. I could feel the swells start to turn into cresting waves -- asked the life guard when I could start bodysurfing -- he said catch one and go! I tried, failed, then saw the monster wave bearing down on me. Gotta admit, I faced it and dove under it, then turned back around and let the waves push me in.

I'm still not at the point where I feel good enough to actually RUN through the sand to the transition area. Smiled for the cameras as I trudged across the sand, yanking off my wetsuit, finally breaking into a dog trot as I neared the transition area.

Find my bike (not too hard, there were only a few bikes left in the area anyway), rinse and dry my feet, eat a gel, put on socks, shoes, sunglasses, helmet, head out to the exit....and oh my god, what do I have in my right shoe?! a Clif shot? No time to stop and check, I'm almost out of the transition area....on my bike, clip in and go!

Go! Go! yeah, I'm revved up. The bike is my favorite leg. Bring on those hills I wussed out on when Dave and I rode this route a month or two ago! Bring on the water obstacles! Bring on the construction zone! Woooo hooo! I'm actually on the leg I know I'll be able to pass people on!

The water obstacle wasn't so bad....I don't know if anybody wiped out but everyone around me was okay. Apparently there's a constant source of water from somewhere flowing under this bridge, because it was pretty slimy with algae.

Up the hill past the Trancas market, through the construction area (thank you Malibu policemen for stopping traffic!), up the various hills slowly, two downhills screaming along at 30 mph, what a blast! Slowing down the last hill to Leo Carrillo, around the parking area, under the bridge, back up to PCH and halfway done....up the evil hill at Leo Carrillo, actually passing someone, back to Zuma, then PAST the transition area etc. because you have to bike to the end of the parking lot then backtrack north to the transition area. Good thing I like the bike, because it was my longest leg at about 1:17.

Unclip, dismount, find my rack again (harder this time because all the bikes are back), get those blasted bike shoes's a Goody rubberband, an extra I brought, that was in my shoe. Switch to my Brooks, put on my race belt with number, grab my runner girl hat, down a gel and some Power C spiked water, and off!

Sort of.

By now it's hotter (still not HOT, but you can tell the difference) and my calves are absolutely killing me. I started by alternating about a minute of walking with a minute of jogging/staggering. That lasted about 1.75 miles, when finally my calves gave in (realizing I wasn't going to) and relaxed and I could actually RUN. I'm sure I had a negative split for the run; I was keeping about the same walk/run ratio but getting further on the running parts. Water was available at the transition area and at each mile.

The running course had a small water obstacle as well -- runoff from the bike water obstacle. May I point out that my Brooks, that I just bought this summer, had touched nothing dirtier than treadmills and concrete (and that unfortunate interaction with a pile of dog poo but that's a different story)? They are now well and surely broken in.

The last run segment was awesome -- closing in on the finish, getting beaten by cheering spectators with these white blow up Arrowhead balloon things, picking it up at the end, hearing my name announced.

After-race goodies included pasta with feta cheese, Oreo's (which I ACTUALLY FORGOT to grab), bananas, oranges, and plenty of water. I had a little bit of pasta and an orange segment.

Total time was 2:46:40 (Dave beat me by about 20 min, most of that on the bike). Slow! but plenty of room for improvement, and I did better than in Breath of Life, over a longer, harder course.

Next week: Mission Bay/ Jamba!

Malibu Tri Pre-Race Report

If you want the knitty-gritty of the actual race, skip to the Race Report. This part includes everything up to actually getting lined up at the swim start.

I had bizarre triathlon related dreams Friday night -- i.e., I was so slow that, by the time I was done with the bike they'd closed the course so I couldn't do the run.

Saturday we went to pick up our race packets. Goodies included a nice albeit plain designed grey t-shirt that I'll actually wear (like now, as I type), a very nice navy baseball cap, a copy of Men's Health magazine (Cosmo for guys?), some Herbal Life fizzy tablets for energy drinks, a coupon for a free liter bottle of Arrowhead water, some Goody 'grip' hair rubberbands, free white transition towels from Toyota with your name embroidered (cheap towels, but hey! they actually SPELLED MY NAME CORRECTLY -- many kudos! -- and they're fine for laying out your stuff on the ground), blinking bike reflectors from Men's Health, some shampoo etc samples from Paul Mitchell, and, of course, your swim cap (colored depending on your wave; Dave's a lovely pale purple, mine 'condom gold' -- more on that later). And the goody bag itself was a yellow nylon backpack/bag from Nautica.

We also stared at the surf for awhile and realized that, most likely, the swim entry was really going to suck.

Dave and I had basically rode the bike course already, and we were pretty familiar with where the run was going to go (we've done the Zuma Dolphin Run/ 10k before, and the tri run covered some of the same route), so felt we were as prepared as we were going to be at this late date.

We relaxed the rest of the day and tried to go to sleep early.

I didn't have dreams that I can recall Saturday night because I kept waking up.

GAH. I foolishly thought that since this was my SECOND tri, I wouldn't be nervous.

Anyway, Sunday a.m. we dragged ourselves out of bed a little before 4 a.m., with Dave asking me 'just WHY are we doing this?' and 'this is supposed to be fun?'. I showered (yes, I know I was just going to get dirty, but it felt good, was quick, and helped wake me up), he drank coffee and had a yogurt, and I got down about a bite of banana before gagging. I insisted we dress warmly (me: polartec fleece top & bottoms over my LA Tri Club top and black tri shorts, him: sweatshirt over his LA Tri Club cycling top and his cotton baggies over black tri shorts. And hiking socks with Tevas. Oh yeah, we were making a fashion statement!).

We'd loaded the XTerra (well, Dave loaded it) the night before with everything except our bottled drinks, so we just had to get those and go. On the road by 4:30.

The parking lot was supposed to open at 5:15 a.m., and by the time we arrived at 5:20 already a ton of people were there. We parked about 3/4 mile from the transition area (as close as we could). The parking lot was pitch black which made it fun getting our stuff out, numbers attached to the bike, etc (note to self: attach those things the day before!) (and bring a flashlight next time!). Some idiot was absolutely blasting some hideous rap music -- really offensive, especially at 5:30 in the morning. Wear headphones, jerk.

We made it to the transition area with plenty of time to mess with our stuff, get set up, and make a bathroom stop before they closed the transition area. The transition area was arranged by your number, i.e., find the rack that had the tag with the range of race numbers that included yours, and pick a spot on it. Volunteers bodymarking were in the transition area which made that easy.

Regarding bathrooms: they had a fair number of port-a-potties available. The public restrooms didn't open til at least 6:20ish. Plenty of toilet paper, cleanliness about what you'd expect.

The transition area was set to close at 6:55, so after the pit stop I went to get out of my warm fuzzy clothes (and it was really chilly (speaking as a Southern California gal)) and into my wetsuit.

I figured it would take about 10 minutes for me to shimmy into that thing. It's a Body Glove sleeveless 'Triad' wetsuit. I wanted to get a wetsuit with long sleeves but unfortunately Triathlon Lab was sold out of my size (apparently they sold out of a lot of their inventory at the LA Triathlon expo) so was stuck with what I got. BTW I do resemble a sleek stuffed sausage in it.

Because the event has a fair number of celebrities (David Duchovny, etc) there were a lot of cameramen around. So there I was, yanking on my wetsuit, and there was a camera guy with his camera pointed in my direction. "Please don't film me getting on my wetsuit," I pleaded, and turned around, and SNAP! the nice LA Tri Club guy took my picture. Yeah, he laughed as he did so. Can't wait for that one to go up on the website.

Downed a Clif shot (mocha mocha) and some water. Breakfast of champions.

Anyhow, wetsuit on, swim goggles and cap in hand, and cold bare feet, I met up with Dave and we headed over for the Mandatory Pre-Race Meeting. For five or ten minutes this guy alternated between thanking us standing on the cold sand and yelling for the other (majority) to get over by the stage for the briefing.

Eventually the meeting started, and we learned a new rule: the 'No Wake' rule.

I'd already heard that one part of the bike course, where you ride through a tunnel crossing under PCH, was flooded and slick with algae.

The 'No Wake' rule was just that: slow down to 5mph or less through the water or get DQ'd.

Not a big deal, it was a safety thing. But kinda cute anyway.

The Star Spangled Banner followed, sung by a kid in sunglasses, black leather jacket (?) and black jeans. Apparently he's a finalist on some audition/TV show a la American Idol for becoming the lead singer for INXS. Regardless, he did a good job, but it seemed silly to be wearing sunglasses with the sun barely up. Oh well -- guess it's an image thing.

Then we all trudged south to the swim start. Dave and I walked through the surf a little -- damn it was COLD.

Triathlons generally are chip timed -- i.e. you wear this chip on a velcro band around your ankle, and when you cross the strategically placed matts that register your chip your own time is noted. So it really doesn't matter so much where you are in regards to other people -- what matters is your chip time.

So I tell myself when I'm in the last swim wave to start.

So I had plenty of time for one last necessary pit stop, and even made it back in time to wish Dave luck -- his wave was the last men's.

Then it was a matter of waiting, with my heartrate up to what it get's when I'm working out anyway, just from pre-race jitters -- especially as we watched wave after wave of triathletes get pounded by wave after wave of ocean energy.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I met up twice with my new training buddy and fellow LA Tri Club-ber Melanie this past week, and we have 2 runs scheduled for this next week. She is so awesome! Not only is she funny and vibrant (especially key at 6 a.m.) she is RELIABLE and PUNCTUAL. We've also inspired each other to do the Mission Bay/ Jamba Tri Oct 2nd in San Diego. It'll be her first, and, assuming all goes well with Malibu, my third.

So, for the next four weekends, I will be attending my 'catered workouts': Malibu this coming weekend, then Jamba, then Hermosa, then the Long Beach 1/2. Lest you scream I'm overdoing it, keep in mind I am slow, the tri's are sprint distances, and it's all working up to the half.

Dave and I biked today -- Sunday mornings are a good time because the Strand usually isn't crowded yet.

We had to switch from the November 12th Solvang ride to a 50 miler, the Solvang Prelude, November 5th. Melanie will also be riding. Of course, we've already started to talk about hitting wineries that afternoon...

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Back in the Saddle

We did a short bike ride today (15 miles?) -- first time back on the bike since our August SCUBA trip. Felt good -- we went from Gould to the Strand to the bridge at Marina del Rey and back. Tried out my LA Tri Club tri top -- it was comfortable. We got a wave from a fellow LA Tri Clubber and a snarky comment from some roadies -- 'the triathlon's the other direction' -- LA Triathlon is today.

I think I'm going to primarily post cycling and swimming news on this and post running stuff on Fit to Knit.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

I'm posting to Fit To Knit as well -- I'll try to keep up with both this and that!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Competitor magazine editor BOB Babbitt had a great comment in his editorial, basically amounting to:

Don't consider it a race, consider it a catered workout.

Love it!

Malibu's coming up quickly. I still need to sign up for Hermosa. I've registered for the Long Beach 1/2 and Dave and I are registered for the Solvang's Finest metric century. I decided to skip doing a tri Sept. 11th because of a) too much money spent on vacation and b) too much money spent on other events. (Also it was a matter of traveling.) However, Dave & I will be going to the first meeting for the LA Roadrunners fo next year's LA Marathon instead on Sept 10th.