I feel sad every time I think about the extreme drought California is experiencing. I don’t want to get preachy, but seriously, if you live in CA, it is time to start thinking about water usage. I know livestock, almonds, golf courses, whatever, take up a lot of water, but every bit counts. You can check out my friend Melissa’s blog for some ideas about home water-saving solutions. She’s done an amazing job installing a rain catchment system, targeted watering for fruit trees, etc. I wish I had a yard to do the same. Public service announcement over. On to more fun topics like racing!
About 10 days ago I did a triathlon (the Ice Breaker) in a very dry Folsom Lake. I’ve never done this race before but was not really prepared for the half mile barefoot run to transition. Ok, so I really wasn’t prepared for the race period. I’d been on my bike maybe three times prior. And did not bother to pre-ride or even check the rather technical course (windy bike course, moderately hilly trail run). None of this really mattered because I just needed to just start triathlon season with any race to motivate me to identify weaknesses and train harder. Spoiler alert. I suck at biking, shocking I know given the amount of times I’ve been on my bike in the past six months! I had zero expectation going into the race and kind of just wanted to see what happened.
I arrived at the race about an hour before the race start and proceeded to pick up my number, get body marked, and lay out all my things. One of my favorite race morning activities is to check out how fit the participants look (very) and psych myself out. I guess it is good to start panicking on race morning and not the night before? Since I am rather quick when it comes to set-up, I had a lot of time to do this. I might have changed into my wetsuit a bit early and was roasting (way too hot for April…) while hanging around. Despite having a lot of time on my hands I made it down to the water with only about eight minutes to spare.
A friend of a friend did a triathlon back in March and went on and on about how important it is to splash water on your face for cold water acclimatization. She likes to do this in the days leading up to the race. Since I am not a big fan of cold in general, I saved this particular activity for race morning. As soon as I got down to the water I made sure to submerge my face. I also swam around a bit to ‘warm-up’ a bit. But it didn’t help (not enough time). I often position myself at the back of the swimming pack because I am not very confident in my swimming abilities. However, I decided that I am over getting kicked in the face and positioned myself at front this time around. This worked out quite well as I did not get kicked (or passed?) once. The 800m swim was uneventful and I was probably in the water for a little over 16 minutes plus a few minutes to get back to the parking lot. My wetsuit was comfortable (thanks XTERRA!). My goggles didn’t leak. All good.
Up until this point in the race I had been thinking ‘this might not be so bad’. And then I got on my bike and started regretting signing up in the first place. First, everyone I had kept ahead of in the swim started passing me. Second, I am not a very confident cyclist and the windy, narrow roads with downhills were rather scary for me. The only saving grace of ride was going back up again. I was ranked 36th on the swim and 83rd on the bike. I think that just about summarizes how the ride went.
Yay for running! This is the part where I actually get to pass people who dropped me on the bike. I usually look for ladies in my age group to pick off, but funny enough I only saw men. I was also excited by the trail aspect. While I do not actually train on trails, I tend to be slightly better when there are hills involved. Also it is fun to have a change in scenery.
Unfortunately the run was less than fun. I was physically (or maybe just mentally) exhausted after about 1.3 miles. My average moving pace was between 7-8min/mile, which is not bad for trail running, but there were also four breaks thrown in the mix. These were not walking breaks. I actually stopped and stood by the trail for a while. That said I managed to run four miles in 31 minutes which is nothing to complain about. It was a fun run course though. Lot of shade, nice trail, views of the lake.
I crossed the finish line just under 1:40. I wandered around a bit complaining how awful it was, but after some pasta, I was feeling better. (As an aside, why does race pasta sauce stain mouth an unfortunate orange color? No love for this.) There were also cute dresses at the finish, which helped keep my mind off the race. Thanks to M for waiting around while I tried a bunch of them on and eventually bought one as a post-race present to myself. Despite my complaints of poor race performance, I managed 2nd in my age group. This was a bit of a surprise. But I’ll take it.
Things I liked about the race:
-9am race start.
-Cute clothes for sale at the finish.
-Decent swim in not too dirty or cold lake.
-Trail running is nice change of pace. Extra points for shade on the course.
-Racing with friends. Who thought it was a good idea to take this picture?
Things I did not like:
-Running up to transition. Next time I’ll wear booties or bring sandals.
-Biking. Ug. I am seriously thinking about quitting cycling because I am so bad at it.
Overall it was a fun race. This was made even more fun by the company. I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next year.