Sunday, April 15, 2012

LA Championship Race Series 1

My goal for today's LA Championship Race Series #1 was to have a calm, fun swim and get out of my wetsuit fast.

I did that!

The water was freezzzing. Well, maybe not freezing, but really cold! I did all the things I've been taught by my coach.I got in the cold lake before the race and splashed water on my face. Then I dunked underwater. I tried to get my breath as the chilly water had somehow frozen it inside of my lungs. It took several minutes for me to get use to the water. I swam around amidst all the people standing in the water. When I thought I would be able to swim without freaking out about the cold water, I got out and lined up with all the other pink-capped women.

Dennis, another Triathlon Connection member, and myself before the cold, cold swim. How come he looks so happy? Maybe he hasn't warmed up, I mean, cooled down, in the water yet?

While waiting off to the right-hand side of the crowd for the horn to go off, I had a nice little conversation with myself.
"Do I really want to do this? After all, I am at this triathlon all by myself and no one will know if I just turn and go back to my car to put on my warm sweatpants and my Uggs and my parka. Nope, don't want to leave, so I am here for me because I really want to do this. Why? Well, I want to become a better swimmer and I do not want to be afraid of swimming in open water. I do NOT want to NOT do something because I am afraid."

And then the horn went off and there was a whoosh of women running by me.
I let almost EVERYONE run into the water as I calmly walked into the water and then gently lowered myself into the water to start my freestyle swim. About 5 strokes into the swim that darn water froze the air in my lungs again and I had to lift my head to get the icicles out of my mouth.  Then I went right back to swimming. From the shore to the first buoy, my sighting skills were lousy. I would lift my head and almost come to a dead stop.

By the time I rounded the second buoy I was starting to pull it together. I was so numb I didn't feel the cold water anymore. I told myself to enjoy the swim because it was going to be over before I knew it. I did enjoy swimming from the third buoy to the shore finish because I realized I was calm and I was having fun. I thought about high elbows and slicing my hand in and rotating and gliding and breathing and my sighting skills even improved to where I was just peeking my eyes out of the water to see where I was going as I continued to swim. I wish my coach had been there to film it. Uhm, maybe not.

In my age 50-54 age group I was 6th out of 11 in the swim. It took me 15:15 to swim that 500m, but I never once felt out of breath or afraid. I would even go so far as to say I was comfortable that last 125 meters.
I was comfortable until I was in transition and took off my wetsuit. QUICKLY! RAPIDLY! With SPEED! My wetsuit came off the smoothest and fastest it ever has. I think one reason it came off so easy was I did not wear a watch for my wetsuit to get stuck on. And I used LOTS ANDS AND LOTS of Glide.
My goals were accomplished, yet I still had a bike and run to go before I crossed that finish line.

I just stood there in T1 a freezing, shivering mess! You know how they say guys have "shrinkage" when they are in cold water? Well, darn if I didn't have "shrinkage." But my "shrinkage" was in my brain. No Joke! My brain was just not working because I was so cold. I looked down at all the gear I needed to put on and I just stared at it.
After what seemed like FOREVER I put on my sunglasses and my helmet, because I didn't want to forget to put on my helmet, and my helmet didn't fit was TOO BIG. Yes, my head had shrunk in the cold water. I had to tighten all the straps because every time I leaned over to pick up a sock or a shoe, my helmet would slide down over my eyes.

Results showed that my T1 time was 5:23...I was 10 out of 11 in my transition. Next time I swim when it is so cold, I am going to pack a heater.

 Finally, I was out of transition only to find that my bike was making a funny clicking noise. I stopped and the sensor for my Cateye was turned and catching on my wheel. I got that all worked out, but when I went to ride, my Cateye was not registering my speed or anything.
Should I stop again? Or should I just ride on and go. I decided that since I had already made my goals to have a calm, fun swim and get my wetsuit off quickly, and since I already was racing without a watch, I might as well just go with it.......

So I just pedaled as hard as I could, which was hard because I couldn't feel my feet.
They were frozen. I could feel my calves and my knees and my hips, so I just worked from there and kept my legs turning.

I have to be honest and tell you I need some work on hills. Bonelli Park in San Dimas has hills. I know I am better riding hills than I was a year ago, but I need more practice. I can't tell you how fast or how slow I was going on those up and downs, but I can tell you it was not as fast as I would have liked to have gone up hills nor as fast as I would have liked to allow myself to go downhills.

LOTS of men passed me, but I passed a lot of women. It was hard to judge where I was in the pack because the Championship and the Express races converged together on the bike route, with Championship riders doing two loops on the bike and Express riders doing only one. On my second loop, an official drove his 3-wheel motorcycle up to me and started asking me questions. "What race are you doing?" "What loop are you on?" "Are you having a nice day?"

"Why are you asking me these questions?"
"We are just trying to get an idea of who the last rider is?"
"What? You think I am the last rider?"
"No, just checking."

Okay, that really pissed me off, so I started riding harder, even though I still could not feel my feet.
I turned the corner and rode for the last time on the stupidest, ruddiest road ever and then I was riding by the beautiful horses who were running up and down the corral and whinnying at me as I rode by.

I had another conversation with myself - "I bet I could sell all my triathlon gear and have enough money to buy a horse."

 "If I had a horse right now I wouldn't have to be working so hard pedaling this darn bike up this hill. I could be sitting on that beautiful horse and he could be doing all the work."

I did some calculations in my brain and the cost of race entry fees, equipment, training and gym fees would about cover the cost of boarding and feeding a horse.

Then I made it up the hill and I was done cycling and the horse thought left what was left of my "shrinkaged" brain.

It took me 58:47 minutes to ride that 23.3k bike ride, coming in 6th on the bike, results show.

T2 - my feet were still frozen, but all the math I did on the bike must have defrosted my brain because I was out running in 2:30 minutes (8th out of 11).
I ran the entire 5k at a steady pace. I ran up and down the hills. I felt good, though I still could not feel my feet. On the way out on the run I passed a few people, and I saw a couple of women in the same orange-colored bib as mine going the other way. At the turn around I started to feel pins and needles in my feet and thought that must be a good sign blood was returning to my frozen appendages. On the back back I saw lots of other orange bids just starting their run.
I just kept to my pace and before I knew it, the run was over and the triathlon was over.

Results for run - 32.04 for 5k, with 10:20 pace. I was 5th in run.

Overall, I was 7th in my age group.

Next month, LA Tri Series 2 - 1000m swim/27k (16.77 mile) bike/8.8k (5.4) run.

My goals for Series 2? Have a calm, fun swim, get my wetsuit off fast, cut 1 minute off my T1 time, bike at a 15 mph rate, and still run the entire 5.4 miles at a 10.20 mile pace.

I better get back to train"ing"-n-tri"ing"....but not tomorrow. Tomorrow is haircut, manicure and pedicure day...priorities, you know!


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