Tri Santa Cruz

Sunday morning I awoke at 5:30 excited for the day to begin.  I seriously was bouncing around.  Why?  Because Sunday was the day of my first triathlon (and 5th raceolution race!)– the Tri Santa Cruz International Triathlon and it was my 25th birthday!

Breakfast was gluten free tapioca bread + pb + banana.


And then, around 6:40, I headed down to Depot Park in Santa Cruz, the transition area.  With my wave not leaving until 8:40, I had TWO hours to kill.  Luckily, triathletes are super friendly, and I fast made a few friends who gave me amazing pointers on things to do/not to do during my first triathlon and first real ocean swim (in cold, cold water) – I will share all tips in a post soon – they definitely saved me a lot of pain and stress during/post race!

Soon enough we found our way down to the beach, and the pro-elite group was quickly in and out of the water – they were done with their swim in under 15 minutes!  THAT IS RIDICULOUS!  Then, the men’s wave went, and we all went down to splash in the water before lining up and suddenly we were swimming!

I thought the swim was going to be the worst part for me, I thought I was going to freak out, I thought I was going to be ridiculously slow and tired, and then…then all of a sudden the first loop was done, and I was running across the beach on my second loop.  And then, then I was out of the water and running to transition.  And I got there, and there were still a lot of bikes…I was confused.  Turns out I was the 5th woman out of the water, and I killed the swim:

Swim (1 mile): 27:33.1
(13 minutes faster than I hoped)

First transition was good, downed a gu, drank some water, wiped my feet, threw on my bike shoes, threw on my shirt, helmet and ran to exit transition.  My time was slow compared to others…but it was my first triathlon, I didn’t know what I was doing Smile :

Transition 1: 3:10.0

The bike for me was the hardest part.  It was four loops of about 6 miles, plus the .8 to get to the loop.  I knew going into the triathlon that I hadn’t properly prepared for the bike.  Since I’m training for the Half Moon Bay International Marathon in just a few weeks, most of my ‘longer’ training had been concentrated on the running.  Soon enough, women started passing me, but luckily for me my friends Kat (who raced on Saturday) and Curtis were on the course with smiles, cheering and amazing signs (seriously, check these out):

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254664_10150263960353525_565528524_7736731_1642023_n     262549_10150263960618525_565528524_7736737_5318953_n     294117_10150263960398525_565528524_7736732_3849259_n


(Yes the smile was permanently affixed to my face  – the volunteers loved it.)

Oh, and I had signs like this to keep me going…


(Elise = Harry Potter, Triathlon = Lord Voldemort; Neither can live while the other survives)


Thanks Kat & Curtis for enjoying your brunch on the side of the road and making me super sweet signs – people were jealous!

I did each loop in about 20 minutes, which I was thrilled with – especially since my legs were tight and I was struggling to keep moving as fast as I was.  Swimming a mile and then biking is NOT easy.  I had a gel halfway through the bike, and that really helped boost my energy for the last half  Also, I discovered a muscle in my left butt cheek that I would really rather not know was ever there – OW.  But I again finished the bike faster than anticipated, by about 25 minutes:

Bike (24.8 miles): 1:20:22.6

The second transition was easier (and faster) – I just had to swap out my shoes, grab my SPIBelt and waddle out of transition.

Transition 2: 2:12.14

When I say waddle, I mean waddle.  Biking and then running is NOT easy – note to self: practice this A LOT more often.

For the run, abiding by USAT rules we weren’t allowed mp3 players, so I forced myself to just get into a groove and run.  The run was a beautiful out and back course, and one of my favorite places to run in Santa Cruz – West Cliff from the Boardwalk to Natural Bridges.  Gorgeous – and the dolphins were out to play! So I zoned out and went for it.  I was doing great, and had another gel about 15 minutes into the run, and stopped to grab water at all three stations as it was starting to get HOTT out.

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I was doing great, and smiled almost the entire triathlon, until the last like 10 minutes of the run – and that was when I discovered that I wanted to die.  My body was tired, my butt hurt, it was hot, and I didn’t want to keep moving.  But I saw my friends, and this amazing sign:


Yup, my very own utility function.  Totally awesome.

And then I made my butt keep moving and soon enough, I was running around transition to the finishline!


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Run (6.2 miles): 52:27.1

And with that, I got my finisher’s medal (the coolest medal ever) and became an Olympic Triathlete.


Yes, a beer bottle opener – I told the race director that the only thing missing was a cold beer.  Maybe they’ll appear next year?!

After grabbing grub, I got a free massage, and then as I was headed into transition to gather my stuff, I heard them announce “And for the Women 25-29, in Third Place: x, in Second Place: y, and winning this division: Elise.”  And I stopped in my tracks, and went “what?”  They called my name again, and it took me about 10 seconds to move my body and walk up to the finishline, and the first thing that came out of my mouth was, “Really?  Are you sure?”

And yes, ladies and gentleman she was sure.

So, with a time of 2:45:45.2 (a PR!), I won the women’s 25-29 age division of the Tri Santa Cruz International Distance., and got to stand ontop of the podium.  (There were only three people in my division, but who the hell cares!)  Happy 25th birthday to me Smile

Have you done a triathlon before?  Did you enjoy it/hate it? I LOVED it.  And I loved every bit of this race.  Seriously, it was really well run, all the waves started on time, the volunteers were so cheerful and helpful, and the atmosphere was ‘serious’ but ‘lets have fun.’  I will be doing like 103498 more of these in the future, and I will DEFINITELY be doing Tri Santa Cruz again next year.  I’ve already started looking into westuit investment… I ❤ Tri.

*all race photos are courtesy of my friend Curtis.


11 thoughts on “Tri Santa Cruz

  1. Awesome!!! Congrats on the AG win! This kinda makes me want to overcome my fear of swimming in the ocean and do a triathlon…. kinda.
    PS Love the signs!

  2. Those are amazing times, especially for a first triathlon! And congrats on the podium win! I love that you are smiling so big in all the pictures, and your friends’ hilarious signs.

    • Thanks! It was seriously SO much fun. I loved the variety, and mixing up my workouts all the time — you should definitely do one! (I’m thinking about doing the Chicago Tri next summer…)

  3. Dude, you smoked it!! What an awesome was to celebrate 25 – congrats!

    (I got a bottle opener medal at a race this year, too – it’s already come in handy once :))

  4. You have some amazing friends! They took awesome photos of you and the signs are hilarious. Awesome job on 1st in your age group!!!!!!!! Your 10K time was actually pretty good, I know people who can’t run that time without swimming and biking before hand

  5. Awesome job, Elise! Congrats on totally NAILING your first Tri. Amazing! Loved the utility function.

    I saw a guy walking (waddling) down Pacific with a number on the back of his calf today, and I wondered what it was for; now I know! Way to go!

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