Tuesday, July 6, 2010

San Diego International Triathlon Race Report...

My thoughts before the race: what was I thinking doing a triathlon when I had done zero open water swims, no brick workouts, minimal biking and I truly mean minimal?  Who was I to think I would be in "race shape," after traveling and training, but not training nearly where I used to.  Would I like racing shorter distances after the last few years of doing longer races?  Is it silly that I would even show up to race? 

I finally had a talk with myself the night before the race and answered my own questions.  Why does it matter how much i've trained, or would I like the distance or how much i've biked.  I signed up, and I love racing, so just go DO IT and have fun!  Such a difficult mentality from someone who while they were pregnant would get passed by a walker at the lake and try to mow them down!  Just "go have fun,"....easier said than done.  No matter how little training I do, I still want to mow the person down in front of me.  Doesn't matter if I haven't biked over 33 miles at one time this year (Vineman 70.3 will be painful i'm sure).....or that I can't remember the last time I practiced running off the bike, I need to go back to the reason why I started triathlon in the first place and that's because it is FUN.  I could still be competitive, but keep it realistic. 

Due to my travel and pending move, Amanda initially told me to scrap the race--I think she was more worried about me getting upset if I didn't have a good race, rather than finishing.  Hmm, she may know me really well =0.  BUT! I promised I wouldn't whine if my race didn't go as it should've/would've in the past.  I just really wanted to race. So, I did and here is how it went:

5:00-wake up, shoveled yogurt....literally that was it, a small yogurt.  I grabbed a granola bar thinking I would eat it later.
6:00-sitting in the car outside of Starbucks watching people warm up, as I sat in the car feeding Soren..hoping that they wouldn't really close the transition area (thankfully at this race they don't).
6:15-I run to transition (my warm up)--see a girl I had known from a while back, Stacy D. who had also been stuck in a car pumping since she has an 8 month old and we both laughed and we're like "those were the days when we had time to warm up!"....we ran to our spots and started unloading.
6:30-I realized my years of doing triathlon had paid off, I had virturally zero things to unpack as the girl next to me unloaded 5 gels, two towels, and multiple other chotchke's that I didn't know whether I should have some of those or be grateful that I figured out how to minimize my "stuff".
6:45-crap, I forgot to get bodymarked....
7:00-bathroom.....and standing by the water as people asked me "are you going to warm up?"......I saw Stacy Schlocker which was awesome, I didn't know she was racing so I was SO excited to see her!!!! Relief!!!
7:05-helped some poor girl in my age group who decided to SWIM BEFORE putting on her wetsuit which led itself to a rather difficult situation in wetsuit-putting-onning.  She was shaking and i'm like "it's ok, I promise, you'll be fine, we'll get there"-
7:10-in the water....treading...not warming up.....just treading....
7:20-I see Christine the Machine Gould in front with her fast goggles, I give her a high five she says "yayyy first race back!" I told her if she felt a slight tug it was me holding on to her ankles =0.

Swim: 15:36 (1,000m)
Well, my Amanda Lovato wetsuit was freaking amazing...seriously....I FLEW in the swim (my version of flying).....I know, you're not supposed to toot your own horn, but seriously people--with all my negative energy leading up to the race I have to be a little positive here, I was thrilled with my swim--the wetsuit was a little tight around my neck so I was super excited to have some TriSlide product to prevent any chafing, which it did...and FOGGLE which allowed me to have a race where I didn't stop constantly to wipe off my goggles!  Love TriSlide because it doesn't get clumpy or sticky like Body Glide.  TriSlide is a spray so you just spray it on and it doesn't get all gooey and yucky! Felt great in the swim, however, I forgot that "head pounding" feeling when you stop swimming and stand up. D'oh.  Made it through though!

Bike: 54:55 (30k)
This was anyone's guess. I had zero clue how fast I was going because my speedometer wasn't working, as in I looked down and it said "Sleep Mode".  So, not only did I know I hadn't been riding a lot, but I also didn't know HOW I was doing.  Ended up being the best thing ever--I went solely on feel.  I love this course. It's short and has some climbing, but has some fair rollers as well, just a beautiful, fun course.  My Kestrel Air Foil in it's race debut was SO SO SO much fun to ride, it handles really swift and I love riding 650's!!! I like it because I think it's easier to maneuver!  My amazing friend Marit has lended me her Zipp 404 race wheels so all my slowness was assisted with a fast machine and fast wheels!!  Helped me be "way less slow!" =0.  Thanks MARIT!!!  I went up and down and saw a few familiar faces, some I passed, some I got passed by!  No worries...just kept riding.....sipping my First Endurance powder and taking swigs of EFS....makes racing so easy..all my nutrition in one water bottle and one flask...no pesky tablets or gooey mess!  I'll be doing this again at Vineman, it worked awesome!  Nutrition in triathlon for me is simple, I don't like carrying a lot of extra "things!"  Hopped off bike and had no idea what to expect for the run....hmmm...

Run: 48:47 (10k)..
Holy smokes people.....my legs felt awesome as I hopped off the bike.  Now mind you, I didn't know how the run was going to go and I grabbed my inhaler because I figured i'd try everything I could to push through!  I continued with my "timeless" knowledge, didn't wear a watch and raced on feel.....again, best idea ever.  I didn't need to know that I wasn't really moving fast and to look down at my watch and feel disappointed....so, I didn't wear anything.  Ok, so I actually FORGOT my Garmin, but whatever, glad I did! =0  I decided to just push..not to a point where I would blow up, but just push hard and if I felt bad, back off.  I put on my Saucony Fast Twitch 4's and off I went!  First of all, these shoes are SUPER light.  Think running barefoot but with some cushion--I had been nervous to wear them because i'm used to more padding in my shoe, but they worked awesome and I swear I ran faster!! It's my blog and I can think that if I want to!  My legs felt good so I just went with it, stopped for water a few times, sipped my EFS gel and felt awesome!  Thrilled with my run!

The very cool part about this race though..were the people on my support crew: my MOM, Dave and Soren! As you guys know, my mom had major back surgery in December and it injured part of her leg in the process, so she's been rehabbing for months. Anyway, she was able to come out for a week to visit and she came to the race!  She was so excited to watch me race and sometimes, well, you just want to see your mom.  I loved seeing them out there-grabbing their cameras and shouting!

Crossing the finish line, I had nothing left, I felt like I did in my previous 5k and 10k races, like I had truly went as hard as I could--and I did.  I said hi to some people and finally found my little crew...and my eyes filled up with tears.  I almost didn't race.  I didn't think I had trained enough and I hadn't because of our crazy recent schedule, I thought maybe I wouldn't love racing the shorter stuff any more.....but, I did.  I raced and I had FUN and for one race, I finally stopped looking at my watch and worrying about nuances and just freaking knocked out a swim, bike, run with less analysis.

I said to my mom and Dave between tears that I had fun....I truly did....was so glad to have raced and I fell in love with triathlon all over again.  Sounds cheesy--how can one "love" a sport....when you take some time away from something that you love to do-and you find your way back.....you'll rediscover what made you love it in the first place.  I learned that I can do a race and be satisfied with my results, even if I couldn't train as much as I want, or it's not a longer distance---I love triathlon and I love racing and that's what was most important.

This season has been about learning all over again for me--learning to be patient with my progress in different sports with balancing life with a little guy.  It's all worth it. I wouldn't change a thing----I consciously train less to have more time with Soren.  He's only little once right-pretty soon he'll be wiping off my kisses and getting on the school bus.  His time is now----but i'm learning I can carve out some time for myself as well!

MAJOR thanks to some super super awesome sponsors:  Kestrel, Saucony, First Endurance, TriSwim products......I used ALL of you in this race and I like to think that you guys gave me some pep in my step!!  Super appreciative for all the support and honored to represent your brands! 

Amanda----thanks for believing in me and encouraging me to race ---even when I wasn't so sure I believed in myself!

Hugs to my mom, Dave and Soren-----always a shoulder and awesome shouting support!!! =0

Next up: Vineman 70.3....2 weeks...gulp!


Melissa said...

Ohhh....your post made me tear up! Congratulations on a great race AND your first tri back! I loved reading this.

Saucony Fast Twitch are rockin' shoes, that's what I race in too :-)

Marit C-L said...

YOU! You are just amazing Mer! A true inspiration and example of what we CAN accomplish. Thank you so much for sharing your story about being a new mom, family, and racing - and how to do it WELL. It is not easy - and I am so impressed with the Mer triathlete, Mer Mom, Mer friend - you have so many different hats and you wear them so well!

Keep up the GREAT work and don't doubt yourself before the start of a race - EVER. You are doing GREAT! You ARE GREAT! I can't tell you how proud of you I am - absolutely fantastic! :)

Shan said...

Favorite words of this post:



I am so happy for and proud of you, Mer!! Way to come back - push through those negative thoughts and truly race from the HEART. I love it!! Even if you have less time to train, you can still enjoy and make the most out of racing.

I hope my triathlon "comeback" (whenever that is...) will be just as awesome as yours :).

Big hugs!

GoBigGreen said...

Congrats on your first race back! I am sure vineman will be really fun. Thanks for taking care of Marit:) seriously you are awesome in so many ways.
I love all the products you are using. Too bad i am not a trakker, but i use em anyways but i use the saucony Kinvara.
Again, congrats!

jessithompson said...

You are amazing. Great post!

Trigirlpink said...

Hi Ya Chicka! excuse me..I'm BEHIND with the blog reading. Soon we will hear about Vineman, no? Anyway... there you have it. Proof that you can kick some BUTT while the rest of the tri world OVER TRAINS. eeeks.. I got some work to do if I think we can train together. :-) Congrats!!!