May 1st was the Koz Spring Sprint triathlon, my first race of the 2016 season and my first triathlon in a couple of years. It reminded me why and how much I love this sport! It was a sprint distance (1/4 mile swim, 10 mile bike, and 3 mile run) at San Diego’s Mission Bay so a perfect way to ease back into racing…and also a good thing because my swim and bike training has been non-existent with my upcoming marathon. Since it was a sprint distance, I was approaching it more like an intensity workout session for the week and an opportunity to experiment with a new wetsuit. Therefore, I mostly maintained my weekly training schedule but took two rest days prior to race day.
The transition area opened at 5:40am and closed at 6:45am so I planned to leave our house a little before 6:00am because the race site was only 20 minutes away. I was up at 5:15am, made myself a fatty coffee with butter and coconut oil, grabbed my pre-packed gear bag, loaded my bike in the car, and was on the road jamming out to my pre-race playlist on schedule to be at the race site just after 6…
…and then I hit the race traffic. I expected we could use the parking lot at the race site but that turned out to be closed for the event so everyone was getting detoured to park on a side road. So what I thought was going to be a short walk to the transition area with ample time to check-in and setup turned out to be a short bike ride and a stressful and hurried check-in and setup before the transition area closed. Not how I wanted my pre-race to go. Lessons learned:
- Pay close attention to race morning logistics
- Always get to the event early
- Bring a sharpie to do my own body marking
I got out of the transition area with about 5 minutes to spare and headed to the swim start. I quickly realized I hadn’t considered that my vision has gotten a bit worse since my last race and I had to leave my glasses in transition. I was able to manage but…duly noted…time to look into getting a pair of prescription goggles.
As I was floating in the water waiting for my wave to start all the chaos from the morning washed away and I was getting stoked. It was Go Time!
I love swimming but I will always dread triathlon swim starts. When everyone goes from vertically treading water to horizontal it becomes chaos and full-contact swimming. My swim was pretty disastrous. My goggles fogged up and leaked, I expended a ton of energy finding a position in the pack, and I was fighting against my wetsuit sleeves the entire time. This was the first time I’ve swam with a full arm wetsuit and it felt like I was pulling against elastic bands with each stroke. I got tired pretty quickly with next to no swim training leading up to this race. I never found a good rhythm and just couldn’t wait until I got back to shore.
The bike course was two loops with three 180 degree turnarounds on each loop, which was a bit annoying, but the terrain was slightly rolling, which I absolutely loved. I went down to my aero bars, found a rhythm, and just tried to hammer. These SoCal athletes don’t mess around with their equipment. My circa 2004 tri bike felt like a knife at a gun fight against some of the machines that were on the course. I had more than a few moments of bike envy. Despite not having done much biking to date, I thought I had a pretty solid performance. My run fitness definitely carried over to my bike but I know I have a lot more potential in this event.
A two lap course that was pretty flat. Running after biking normally feels awkward but I didn’t notice it so much this time. Unfortunately, marathon training did not translate well to the run leg of a sprint triathlon. Most of my runs have been at a MAF heart-rate with the intent of building aerobic speed over a long distance. However, the run portion of a sprint triathlon is an anaerobic pain cave that I hadn’t prepared for. Either way, I was determined to chase down a guy that had passed me right at the end of the bike so I just tried to turn my mind off and get after him (I did manage to catch him about halfway through the 2nd loop). I actually wished the run was a bit longer because by the time I started to loosen up and turn up the pace the run was nearly over.
Overall, I was pretty pleased with my result because I know there is still a ton of room for improvement.
30-34 Division Place: 12/55