Saturday, January 10, 2015

Citrus Heritage Run - I didn't run, but I did sweat bullets!!!!

The Citrus Heritage 5k and Half Marathon run were held today in my city.

For the second year in a row, I signed up to have a booth for my Train-n-Tri triathlon training company and to hand out SunRype bars, since I am one of their sponsored athletes.

I had a lot of fun last year hanging out and talking to my athlete friends. Last year, my guy rode his mountain bike as the bike lead-out for the half marathon. He was working this year so he couldn't do it, but other people stepped in and took over the job. One of the people who signed up to ride the bike lead-out was one of my athletes. Then yesterday he had to have some dental work done and just wasn't up to riding his bike.

He asked me if I would take over for him and he would man my booth while I was out riding my bike.

Sure, no problem. I knew that part of the 13.1 miles was trail, but no biggie. I have a mountain bike. I haven't really been mountain bike riding for a while, but I thought, how hard could the course be?

So at 7 a.m. I left my booth (and the warmth of the Big Buddy heater) and went to the start line.

It was about 40 degrees at this picture, but we all look warm because I had the Big Buddy heater kept the booth toasty warm for several hours....some of which I missed because I was out riding my bike.

The start line...where the real adventure began.

Eric Lewis and me at the start line. We were joined by a couple of other cyclists who were also bike lead outs.

The runners are ready!!!

And they are off and running. Take special note of runner 191 and runner 200.

The four of us pedaled in front of the fast runners, but it was soon obvious that runner 200 was going way faster than anyone else. He had a big lead so the two other cyclists led him on, while Eric and I dropped back and pace runner 191.

It just so happens that I know runner 191, so for the rest of my saga, I'm calling him Jake.
Jake has ridden at one of my Tuesday night bike rides and came out for a Triathlon Swim session I coached last year.

But today it was my and Eric's job to get him through the course and to the finish line.

For a while we could still see the two front lead-out cyclists and the front runner.

Then we couldn't.

I didn't have a map of the route, but I had been told that I wouldn't need one because the route was well-marked and there was no way I could get lost.

Eric had a map on his phone.

Since I did not know I was bike lead out until last night, I had not attended the pre-ride the weekend before. Eric hadn't either.

No map.
No pre-ride.
None of it made a bit of difference.

We were going along pretty well, and Eric and I even talked about how the "off-trail" part of the course through the Citrus Heritage State Park would make a good cyclocross course. 

The run went through lots of orange groves and had uphills and downhills and sand and dirt and mud and water.

At one point I let Eric lead and I dropped back behind Jake because the hill we were going down was pretty steep and it had lots of different terrain mixed in (dirt/ruts/mud) and I didn't want to accidentally crash in front of Jake and slow him down.

Every once in a while we would see an orange cone or an orange painted arrow, but pretty much we were just flying blind through the orange groves. 
We didn't see anyone in front of us or behind us.

As we came off one dirt road onto a paved road the arrow pointed left and there were cones that curved to the left.
We went left.

We went down a little ways and there were a couple of police explorers on the side of the road. There were cones set up in the road and it appeared that we should turn left onto a dirt road. When we asked the explorers which way we should go, their response was, "uh, left?"
Oh gee, thanks, guys.
I have this really fast guy running up my ass and he is counting on me to get him to the finish line and this course is NOT well-marked and I DON'T have a flipping map.

We turned left and led Jake through another muddy orange grove road.  At the end of the orange grove road we came out on a paved road and we turned left and it was then that I knew something was wrong.
Eric knows something is wrong.
Jake knows something is wrong.

In front of me I could see runners running across the street. The were running from a dirt road on the right, crossing the paved road and continuing onto the dirt road on the left....all of which we had already done. 

There is no way, I was thinking, that the race planners would have the runners intersecting with other runners (though once I did do a triathlon open water swim that had that problem because of poor planning).

"Did they change the route?" Jake asked.
Since I had never run, walked, rode or even looked at a map of the route I didn't have a clue.

I rode up ahead and eventually found a cone and an arrow, though the arrow was coming out of a dirt road and made a left onto the road we were on.

I know that all sounds confusing and crazy, but it was confusing and crazy...AND A RACE!!!!

Jake kept following us and when we got to the next intersection there were a couple of volunteers sitting on the ground and they said turn right and we did and we went up to an aid station where you had to turn around and go right back down.....down to the two volunteers we had just seen.
"Which way?" we asked them. And they didn't really seem to know and they indicated that we should turn left and go back the way we came, but Eric and I were smarter than that and we continued on straight. 

Every time we saw a volunteer (which was not very often) I would ask if anyone else had been by, and most said no, while a couple of volunteers would say they had seen one person. 

Finally, I saw a motorcycle police officer and I rode up to him and asked him if he had a map.
He said yes, but it wouldn't do me any good because the course the runners were running was not the course on the map.


By now, Eric and I are a little worried. 
We want to get Jake to the finish line, but we also want to get him there by running the correct course.
We finally come up on some course mile markers and we breathe a sign of relief.

Eric checks his STRAVA for the mileage against the course mile marker and it looks as if we had Jake run an extra half mile.
I told Jake I was sorry that we had added mileage onto his race. He was so nice about the confusion. He said the race was a training run for him for the Boston Marathon.

The last 3 miles of the run were a straight shot down Victoria Avenue right to the finish line.

And we did get Jake to the finish line.

But he wasn't the first one there. Runner 200 had crossed the line first. We heard that Runner 200 had crossed the finish line in an hour, but had only ran 10 miles.

I was a little sick to my stomach waiting for results to be announced.

Hanging out with my athletes and friends helped pass the time.

Sandy, me, Barbara and Orietta.

Finally, they had awards.
It seems that somewhere along the way the course was changed or it wasn't changed, but it was mis-marked, so it was changed because some orange grove gates were not opened, or it wasn't changed, or ????
The announcer kind of joked that some people ran more than the 13.1 and some ran less and the people who ran more could go to registration and pay their extra money.

End results?
Runner 200 was disqualifed..I can only guess that it was because he did not run enough miles. He was near my booth talking to the other lead-out cyclist and he looked kind of upset. And who could blame him. Runner 200 is a damn fast runner. 
Look, I like Jake, but if he and Runner 200 both had ran a well-marked course, say, like up and down Victoria Avenue without depending on cones, orange ground arrows, a map, and a bike lead-out, I think Runner 200 would have crossed the finish line first.

Both Runner 200 and Jake will be running the Boston Marathon so they can go up against each other there. I am sure that course will be marked correctly.

Truth is, though, I am relieved that Jake won Overall Male because if he hadn't I would have felt guilty about my hand in his race.

Another truth - Eric and I did the best we could with what was put before us and I think we did a pretty good job.

And one more truth - there were a lot of other runners out there running up and down the orange groves off course and putting in extra paces and they didn't have a bike lead out worry about getting them to the finish line.

When it all shakes out, it wasn't the best RACE for anyone. But it sure was a pretty run.
Or in my case, ride.

But next year, I think I'll just hang out in my booth and pass out SunRype bars and answer questions about triathlons and training.

And next year, if they want runners to sign up for the Citrus Heritage race they better offer it dirt cheap because people expect to get what they pay for.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

First Triathlon of 2015 - INDOORS!!!!

I competed in my first 2015 triathlon this morning.
I swam.
I biked.
I ran.
All inside a gym....okay, the swim was outside, but it was at the gym.

I shouldn't really even call this place a gym. It is a gorgeous health center and if I lived in Laguna Niguel I would be a member of this place.
I may not be a member, but for today I was allowed inside to "compete" at the Indoor Triathlon Hour sponsored by Life Time Tri and Ironman.

I was curious what an indoor triathlon was like and I emailed the guy in charge and asked if he needed a volunteer.
He said no.

I was still curious, so I signed up and gave my $25 to compete.

Why did they hold this event?
According to the Life Time info, they wanted to "inspire Life Time members and the greater community to consider and commit to racing triathlon in 2015. The inaugural Indoor Triathlon Hour powered by Life Time Tri and Ironman, is designed to offer an inspirational charged, safe and simulated environment for athletes of all fitness levels to experience the nation's fastest growing sport of triathlon."

I should be committed.....I mean, I am already committed to triathlon, so all this was a win-win for me. Especially since, being in the event gave me a lot of opportunities to win....a slot at Kona 2015, an entry to a Life Time Tri, or an entry to the 2015 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Austria.

I'd love to win all of that.
But no matter what, this morning's indoor tri was a great workout.


My transition area was all set up.....inside a locker in the prettiest locker room I have EVER been in. I was kind of scared about my locker because you don't use your own lock. They give you a card and you put it on the inside of the door and you set your own number and then you shut the door and scramble up the numbers. My locker was numbered to make it easy for myself I made the locker number code 2851. I wasn't too worried about anyone trying to steal my stuff. Did I mention that there were about 30 Range Rovers and 70 Porsche parked in the "gym" parking lot. Which, by the way, had VALET parking.

Okay, so back to my transition area. 

I had my stuff ready for my "quick" transitions and I headed out to the pool area.

The tri started with a 10 minute swim. I was in Wave 4. 
Which meant that 30 people had gone before me as they had 10 people in each wave. I shared a lane with a younger guy (probably in his 20's). I told him my plan was to draft off of him. He looked at me and said he wasn't that great of a swimmer and then he looked at me again and I guess he figured he was going to drop me quick-like.

I'm in lane 2 from the left, sharing with the board-short swimmer guy. The water was CHILLY!!!! 
I am glad to report that I hung onto the feet of the board-short swimmer guy for about 5 minutes and then he dropped me....but I just kept swimming my swim and toward the end (after he had blown himself up) I passed him and had a good lap on him at the end.

I jumped out the water and had 10 minutes to transition from swim to bike. Yes, 10 minutes does seem like a lot of time, but I had to go into the locker room and change out of a wet swimsuit into my tri-shorts and sports bra and shirt. They didn't want any wet clothes in the gym. Most of my time was taken up putting on my sports bra. It is very (VERY!!!!) difficult to put on a sports bra when your skin is wet. I had to force myself NOT to stop at the coffee bar on my way out of the locker think I am joking?
Then I ran up two flights of stairs to the spin bike room on the 3rd floor. I did get the spin bike adjusted and my bike shoes on and clipped into the bike with about 45 seconds to spare....and I ate a SunRype bar during this time also.

I have never ridden a spin bike like these. They were WAY different than the ones at LA Fitness. As I was riding I had to ask one of the guys...yeah, the one leaning against the bike in the picture, how you adjust the tension and he pointed to the red "stop" button....I tried turning it, but it never seems to make much of a difference. And here is the funny (as in weird) matter how fast or slow I peddled, it always said I was going 9.9 miles an hour and had WATTS of 29. 
I could not get that computer reading to change whatsoever.
When the 30 minute time was up the "officials" said to soft pedal just to keep the computers on while they walked around and wrote down our numbers. They women next to me kept on barreling away. I asked the official, "Aren't we suppose to back off now?" He said yes. And I said, "Well, maybe she didn't hear you," and pointed to the woman. He walked over and told her to take it easy and she just said something about being in a race.

That's when I reminded myself that this was for fun and observation.....oh, and winning that Kona slot.

I put on my running shoes and made it down a flight of stairs to the treadmills.

I had 5 minutes for transition and I must have been speedy because I was standing on the treadmill waiting for about 2 minutes for the officials to start us.
So, I stood there on a non-moving treadmill for 2 minutes.
Running on a treadmill for two minutes is boring, but standing on one that is not doing anything for two minutes is BORING!!
Finally, the officials blew a whistle and we were allowed to start our treadmills.

I ran Sycamore Canyon yesterday, so my legs were screaming at me the first couple of minutes, but then I changed the incline to a 3 and it was a little easier to run. I was probably running slower, but running uphill always seems easier to me than running flat or downhill.

20 minutes on the dreadmill, I mean treadmill and I was done.

The Life Time "officials" said congratulations, took my picture and gave me a tshirt.

Thanks to my guy Robert, and my son Darin, who patiently waited for me (and took pictures)...and then let me take them to Crystal Cove for a nice 3 mile uphill/downhill hike.

Happy New Year!!!
Tomorrow is a NO legs day!!!