Sandman Triathlon 2012

Why hello!  Nice to see you again…

So with school ending, work starting, and a trip to the homeland for a few weeks, blogging kind of hit the fan and never really returned.  But, now that triathlon season has commenced, I’m back with a vengeance!  And a race report!

Yesterday was the Sandman Triathlon.  I had really been looking forward to this race, as a large portion of my team, Santa Cruz Endurance, was doing it either solo or as part of SCE/Switch Eyewear relay team.  I knew the support would be awesome, and that it would be great seeing some friendly faces out there.

I was excited for this one for many reasons, for one it was a good ‘intro’ back into triathlons since it had been almost a year since my last one, and because it was going to be ‘different’ for me — it ended with a 4 mile run on the beach.  Talk about working those calves and achilles!  Anyway, onto the race recap:

Race morning I was stoked, woke up at 4:45 to eat breakfast, and get ready for the day.  I packed up all my belongings (it always surprises me how much you need for a tri), and headed down to Seacliff State Beach in Aptos, CA.

I checked in, got marked up and got ready to race!  About 5 minutes before the race started I realized I was in wave 1, with everyone who was 34 and under and all the pros…meaning a lot of competitive souls.  I should have taken this cue to position myself at the back and inside of the pack, but I didn’t, and it resulted in a ROUGH swim.  I got kicked in the face within the first few minutes and thus took in a mouthful of salt water.  This triggered a panic that stayed with me the remainder of the swim.  For a few moments I contemplated DQing myself and going to a lifeguard, but I rolled onto my back and started backstroking.  I would then roll over and do a few front crawl strokes before my breathing would go out of control again and I would have to flip back over.  In all, I’m pretty sure I backstroked about 80% of the race…causing me to be SLOW — but I overcame my panic and finished it.  That’s what counts.

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I ran up into transition, and did a speedy change — though I almost put on my bike shoes to hop on the bike without taking off my wetsuit.  Now that would have been uncomfortable!

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I ran out of transition and headed out onto the bike ride!  It was a pretty hilly ride, but nothing I wasn’t expecting since I’ve ridden most of the course before.  It was beautiful, mostly through the woods and is a ride I would do again and again.  Definitely works those quads!  Very quickly, and after passing a lot of women in my age class (and getting passed by a lot of super speedy men and women not in my age class — which felt good), I found myself heading back into transition.

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Another speedy transition, and I was headed out onto the run…the run on the beach.  Let me tell you, running on the beach after a swim and hilly bike ride is like 13094810 times harder than a regular run.  Holy engagement of every muscle fiber in all your legs.  I adopted a steady pace, and continued my strong performance on the bike, gaining in my age class.  The benefits of being a runner, I guess?  Next year, I’m training on sand though.  Soon enough, I found myself coming into the finish line, and although I wasn’t where I wanted to be time wise (the swim killed me), I was still elated with my performance and the fact that I overcame such a potential race ending panic in the water.

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(apparently I had some problems with my bib)

Side note: They really need to make tri suits more flattering.

I finished with a time about 10-15 minutes slower than desired, with a 1:50:36, but I’ll take it.  Since the course wasn’t regulation “sprint” triathlon distance (.75 mile swim, 13.01 mile cycle, and 4 mile beach run), I’m taking this as a PR for Sandman — and I’m going to be back next year to improve!

As a race, for those living in NorCal, who want to get into triathlons — or an open water ocean triathlon — I feel like this is a good place to start.  My one recommendation though, is to place yourself at the back and inside of the pack if you’re uncomfortable in the water or if swimming isn’t your strong suit.  I believe they also have special colored caps for those who are apprehensive about the swim to be a notification to the lifeguards in the water that you may require more attention than others.  I think its a great option they have, and makes it more ‘beginner’ friendly.

The only thing I would change?  Have more waves — and start the pros and 34 and under men separately from the 34 and under women.  The competitiveness in the water was a bit too much for me to handle.  And knowing the pros were in there was daunting.

*Edit: I got 5/17 in women 25-29.  And you know what, I’m damn proud of my time.  I was  less than 16 minutes back from the 1st place in my age class (2nd overall), and less than 2 minutes back from 3rd in my age class.  Not too shabby after all.*

Have you done a triathlon?  Would you do one?  Why or why not?

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