Second, there are just so many awesome people that live in San Diego! I got to meet SOAS's Kebby and Reg (and re-meet Steph!) along with a lot of my SOAS teammates. I got to see lots of other great friends racing. I got to have my annual Noodles & Co date with Marit! It was so fun. Oceanside is one of those races where you sort of forget you are racing because you are too busy socializing. AND to top it all off, Oscar was able to come because the race fell over his Easter break from school. Really doesn't get much better than that!
|I feel like I grew up in the sport of triathlon with Marit. She has now moved onto bigger and better things but our friendship remains!|
And finally, the race itself. I first did Oceanside in 2009 as an AGer and absolutely loved it. I signed up for it the next year but hurt myself right before the race and didn't make the trip out. I *tried* to sign up for it in 2011 but it sold out before I did so. And then last year it was my very first pro race. It's an awesome, tough course and always has a competitive field. What more could you ask for?
Okay, I know the swim was short. DANG IT! I really want to legitimately swim under 28 minutes and one of these days I just might, but until then I'll have to rely on short courses. ;) Seriously though, this was one of THE best swims of my career. Why you ask? Well because I actually stuck with the main pack (I'm sure there were people off the front) for ~1/2 of the swim! Okay, 1/2 might be a bit generous. And I did eventually get dropped. BUT, but...this was such an improvement tactically over anything I did last year that I was seriously smiling from ear to ear for the entire rest of the race (okay, not really during the run, I was in too much pain to smile!). Now the key will be to keep myself in that pack because if I do, I swim so much faster! I swear if you lose focus for like 2 seconds, it's all over. Progress but certainly lots of room for improvement. Oh and by the way, through our very scientific research (ie: we guessed), Dirk and I concluded that the swim was roughly 2 minutes short. That still puts me under 29 minutes which would be a great improvement over the 31:30 I swam last year at this race!
|Mario caught a shot of me coming out of the water. I took my wetsuit off early on so as to not have to run the long transition in it.|
Although I got dropped in the swim, I was still in a MUCH better position than usual for the bike. This meant that I could actually see people to ride with! It also helped that the women's pro field was HUGE by comparison - close to 30 women. I passed a few women shortly after getting on the bike but then went through a dry spell of not being able to find another target for about 15 miles. Lucky for me (but not so much for her), when I rode past one of the penalty tents I saw Rinny it in. I knew this was going to help my cause because once she was released, she would likely catch me and she would be someone good to focus on. As such, that is how it played out. She caught me on the first BIG hill and shortly after I re-passed her. It was great to have a riding buddy and we reeled in a few more women on the way back to the pier.
At some point I should note that I was killing myself on the bike. And I knew I was doing it but that honestly never stops me. I'm just one of those people that throws caution to the wind and doesn't really think too much about the run that is to follow. This is probably why I'm not so good at Ironman. Anyway, not having ridden my TT bike outside since Ironman Arizona last November, I was *really* feeling the wind and hills in my legs. The trainer is a great tool but it is not like riding outside. Last year I spent 4 weeks through the winter in SC and then in CO riding my bike outside, up big mountains and in the coastal winds and I felt much more prepared for my first race. But what can you do? I know this sounds like an excuse and, well, it kind of is. Sorry for that, but it's the truth!
My bike split was actually faster than last year so my lack of outdoor riding didn't show up in my ride HOWEVER, it did indeed show up in my run. Dum-da-dum-dum!
|Okay, just a little 13.1 mile run now. (oh dear...)|
When I started the run I knew I was in trouble. You know the feeling - like the legs have already run 10 miles of the half marathon but really you are just on mile 1? Yikes. But I just tried to manage. And honestly, for the first loop, I managed pretty well. I stuck to my plan of running 6:30-6:35 pace and the Garmin kept beeping off in that range. The trouble is, I felt like I should have felt on the 2nd loop. Ouchies. As predicted the slow down was something fierce on the 2nd loop. My legs were begging for mercy. It was a good time to work on staying in the moment and just getting through 1 mile at a time. I managed to keep the miles in the 6:50-6:55 range, certainly not what I wanted but also not really as bad as I expected. It helped a ton that Oscar was all over the course urging me on. In the last 2 miles I got passed by 2 women. It was painful. With each pass I begged and tried to will my legs to quicken the pace to stay with the passer but I was literally running out of gas. The finish line could not come soon enough!
So yes, I am disappointed with a 1:28. BUT, it's a starting point and for the first race of the year, you can't get too down (or up!) about any one thing. I learned last year, it's a looooong year. I have lots of time to improve!
|Thanks to Sonja W's parents for the great shots!|
|Come on legs!|
Overall I had a 5 minute improvement over last year and I busted off some serious winter rust! It felt AWESOME to be out there again and it was really what I needed to get over my winter doldrums. I woke up this morning with a HUGE excitement and fire in my belly for the racing season to come. I just needed that first race to really get my competitive juices rolling!
Big thanks again to the Rideouts, a wonderful group of sponsors whose support means the world to me, all the cheers from friends and family and of course to my awesome husband who made the long trip to cheer me on! Next up, New Orleans 70.3. I CAN'T WAIT! :)