After months of training, I find myself on the eve of the Tri Santa Cruz Olympic Triathlon – my FIRST triathlon ever! (And the fifth race of my raceolution – yes, I realize I’m behind, but I already have three more scheduled before Thanksgiving is over – and that just leaves four to add in!)
I’ve been prepping all day, which started by waking up early and heading down to the Tri Santa Cruz Sprint Triathlon to cheer on my cohort member Kat, and get a feel for the course, and how transition area works. Kat did awesome and finished the sprint (her first triathlon as well) in about 2:05. Way to go, Kat!
Besides getting to cheer on a good friend, I’m glad that I checked out the course to get a feel for it, and understand how transition and the bike loops work. Crazy things I learned about the ‘elite’ triathletes today (of which I will be doing NONE):
1. They swim in 50 degree weather AND water in JUST their tri suits – they’re completely nuts.
2. They leave their bike shoes clipped to their bike, and when they run into transition a lot of times they don’t even put their feet in the shoes, they just bike with their feet ON TOP of their shoes.
3. To save time to the run, they are willing to run barefoot – OW.
4. Overall, they’re really friendly and good-natured people. And they love to support one another. This was key to me. Though I love the runner community, I sometimes think people don’t care about one another, or that the community can be too big to form strong relationships, but triathletes are a close-knit group, and very supportive or all participants – even newbies like Kat and I.
I also learned some things on the course that I think will help me be a better triathlete and just racer in the future:
1. If you’re going to be racing and are worried about time, you should really know the course before you race. I saw a number of athletes get really irritated with and yell at the volunteers when they weren’t sure where they were supposed to be biking/running. As a spectator I thought the course was very clearly marked, and that the volunteers were very good at giving instructions – and volunteers aren’t personal assistants, they’re there to help guide everyone and keep you safe. Don’t yell/get mad at them, they’re VOLUNTEERS.
2. If you get mad at people (other athletes or spectators) for crossing your path when you’re racing, don’t go do the same thing once you’ve finished to the athletes behind you. Just because you finished before them doesn’t mean you’re more important or entitled to walk around as you please – you’re all doing the same race. Have some respect for your fellow athletes.
One thing I do love about triathlons? The number of athletes who race with a disability. Triathlons are far more disability-friendly than running races (at least in my experience), and I loved the camaraderie around the men and women competing. It was inspiring. For example, this guy, he was cruising:
He biked with just one leg – he didn’t put his prosthetic on until the running portion – he was baller! If I can do half as well as him, I will be happy – and I have two working legs! Props – he was AMAZING!
So, as I get ready for tomorrow’s race, I’m keeping all of these things in mind, and hopefully it will help me be a better race participant tomorrow and perform to my best ability (though I’m definitely putting my bike shoes on the whole way – even if I don’t wear socks (which kind of grosses me out, but will save time).
I’ve also been prepping with delicious eats:
Mmmmm…sushi. It just sounded like a good pre-race-day lunch. And then I had vegan tacos w/ guacamole (perhaps a poor choice) for dinner. Hopefully these were good choices – I guess we’ll find out tomorrow
And speaking of tomorrow…my planned race outfit (with a wetsuit for the ocean swim!):
(excuse the mess on my floor….)
I can’t believe that tomorrow I will become a triathlete! I’m so excited and nervous – especially for the open water OCEAN swim – hello, great whites For now, its nap time – I need 100% focus/energy tomorrow!
If you’re in Santa Cruz and come out to the race tomorrow – look for me and and say ‘hello!,’ I’m #472, and for the run/bike portion I will be wearing the outfit above + this Bondi Band (that I got as an early birthday gift from my momma and pops):
I’m off to wind down for the night (perhaps get in an hour/two of studying – one month to prelim retake!), though that may be kind of difficult with all the pre-race jitters I have. With running races, I have started being able to control them, but since this is a new venture, I’m kind of freaking out (the whole open water ocean swim is particularly intimidating)!
Have you ever done a triathlon before? What was your first experience like? Do you fear the open water swim?
And on a more personal level…underwear or no underwear under trishorts/bike shorts?