Tri Santa Cruz Weekend

This past weekend, was the Tri Santa Cruz event. It was quite the whirlwind of a weekend — filled with racing, new friends and a whole lot of ‘firsts.’ But before I get ahead of myself, lets back up to the start of the madness.

A few months ago, when I first signed up for Big Kahuna on September, 9, I was trying to figure out what would be a good way to train, and what would be a good way for me to gain confidence that I could actually complete a whole HIM. I couldn’t figure anything out. A little over a month ago, I saw an advertisement for Tri Santa Cruz, the first tri I ever did last year, and an idea popped into my head: I could do BOTH days, and if I could complete the second day on a tired body, I could probably do a HIM. So I signed up, and didn’t really think about what I was getting myself into, until Saturday morning when I woke up…at 3:10am, afraid I had missed the whole event. Luckily, I didn’t, and this is how it went down:

Saturday’s Tri Santa Cruz Sprint Triathlon

I woke up at 3:10, realized I was early (not late), and went back to sleep til 4:45, when I awoke again before convincing myself if I slept til 6am, I’d be better prepared — apparently the adrenaline had kicked in early!

I had my staple pre-race breakfast of gluten-free bread and almond butter, and brought a banana with me to eat an hour before start time. I choose gf bread for pre-race just because the chances of it messing with my system, I have found, are a lot lower than regular bread. And if you’ve ever raced, you know that once you find something that works, you never stray until it stops working or circumstances force a change. Old habits die hard.

I left around 6:45am to head down to the start line on my bike. It was a 2.25 mile ride downhill to the start line — I love that I live so close to so many races. (Yes, I’m spoiled rotten.) And by 7am, I was set up in transition. My team had a special rack at the front on transition (so spoiled!), so I probably could’ve gotten there at 7:30am and still been fine, but better safe than sorry. I saw a couple folk from my team, made a new friend (hey Amanda!), and found my friend Maggie who was doing her first tri — and (SPOILER ALERT) rocked it!

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At 8am, we headed down to the beach front for the athlete’s talk, and then we had a 45 min wait until the Women 39 and under wave. They started us immediately after the friends and family fun wave, which still baffles me. We overtook them in a matter of minutes… I would have some better strategic planning for that wave group next year: don’t put them directly in front of competitive waves, for their safety, and our sanity.

Anyway, all too soon (well, 2 bathroom trips later — better safe than sorry, right?), and we were off to the races! I hit the 1/2 mile swim strong, and was out of there and done with the 1/4 mile trek to the transition area in 15:45.4. My confidence in ocean water swimming after my panic at Sandman has been restored! I am a strong swimmer, I just needed a little reminder.

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I felt strong, trust me…even if this says otherwise. And if you want to be ensured to have the world’s worst race photos, do a tri.

My transition from swim to bike was relatively fast for me, 1:41.7 (still don’t know how people do transitions faster – its ridic), and I then I was out for the bike. I ate a half pack of sports beans, threw on my bike shoes, helmet, tank, grabbed my garmin and was out of there — speed demon.

The bike ride is a little short of the 12.4 mile distance it claims to be, but no complaints here. Its a 2-loop course for the Sprint Tri, and while cycling up Delaware is boring, once you hit the turnaround and head down West Cliff, its one of my favorite places to run, and ride — and its fast on the road, so I can’t complain.

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Again, before I knew it, the cycle was over — 37:58.6. A whole 3 minutes faster than the pace I had last year at the Olympic Tri — woot! Apparently actually spending time on the bike makes a world of a difference. Who would’ve thunk.

Another quick transition in 1:21.8 (I skipped the socks) with another 1/2 bag sports beans, and I was back out for the run! There is little straight away and then a seemingly HUGE hill up beach street to start off the run. While I took it slow up the hill, once I hit flat ground, I levels out…running the 3.1 mile run in 7:40, 7:34, 7:27 (negative splits), for a total time of 23:16. Just 31 seconds off my 5k PR — what? (Now I want to run a 5k because I believe I can run faster on fresh legs). I was in awe.

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My total time was 1:20:04 – an automatic PR for me as it was my first Sprint Tri, and I was only 26 minutes off the winning elite male, 21 minutes off the winning elite female, and I had held back, knowing I had to compete again the next day at twice the distance. I was stoked with my time, and happy with my AG placement (6/12), as it was a fast, competitive field — the winning woman was 1:09 (holy fast!), and then a 1:12, and the next 3 ladies were at 1:18:xx-1:19:xx — definitely within my reach.

I refueled with brunch with friends, and then just had a relaxing day of TV, trader joe’s, cargo loading, and the goal of heading to sleep early — but really it was like 11 o’clock with a 30 min nap at 7.

Perfect Day 1 of Triathlon Weekend.

Sunday’s Tri Santa Cruz Olympic Triathlon

Sunday, the same thing happened to me. I woke up at 3-something afraid I had missed the race and rearing to go. Luckily, I coaxed myself back asleep again, and woke up at 6am, a little groggy, but knowing I had to get up for the day in front of me. I had the same breakfast as Saturday (GF toast w/ almond butter, and a banana 45 min before the start), and packed up my gear, and headed to transition.

My wave was first up after the elites, so I did my warmup run, set up in transition and headed down to the beach, ready to rock-n-roll. We hit the water at exactly 8:30am, and with a time of 28:44.0, my one mile swim and 1/4 mile run to transition was done and over. Oh, and if you thought my above swim photo was bad…

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Oh yeah, they get better and better…

Anyway, I had a decent transition with 1:44.6, and headed out onto the bike with a bag of sports beans in my mouth, my tank only halfway on, and my garmin barely tied around my wrist –I was a mess. But mess or not, I managed to finish the bike (4 loops) in 1:14:52.0, and only had two women pass me in my age group. Only minor setback? I got a penalty.

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A few things to note: need to get shorts with more pockets, and parents shouldn’t let their children have bouncy balls when they’re spectating at a triathlon…that almost caused an accident. Oh, and the guy in the background? I’m pretty sure he was the guy who caused me to have a penalty.

Penalty, you ask? What could I have done? I mean I’m an angel…completely devoid of the possibility of doing anything wrong. Hah.

So this older chap passed me on the bike, and I fell back, but then he slowed down. Frustrated, I waited a few moments, and then opted to pass him back since I could clearly go faster than him. So, I started my pass. For those of you who don’t do triathlons, according to USAT rules, you have fifteen seconds to enter and finish a pass — which means getting within 3 bike lengths of someone and completely passing them. So, I started my pass, and was moving up on the guy. All was going well. Then he looked over his left shoulder at me, realized I was the woman he had just passed, and sped up. He didn’t want to get chicked (especially not by someone he had just passed!). So, I was unable to complete the pass in less than 15 seconds, the officials were right there, and low-and-behold, I got a penalty for illegal passing and drafting. Wah way. 2 minutes added to my time.

[I did in fact pass him, and then he passed me again, and I finally passed him on a downhill, and kept it that way. I saw him later on my run and he was still biking. That felt good.]

When I entered transition after the bike I had no idea where I was in the standings or my overall time, but I figured that I had a chance at passing the two women in my age group that had passed me on the bike. So after my kind of lengthy transition (1:57.4), I headed out on the run. And did I ever run.

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My totally awesome bib comes from the fact that I left my number on my desk at home…so I made an impromptu one morning of. Come to find out at the finish line, it wasn’t my number anyways. Someone at the expo had given me a guys’ bib number, and everything was all out of sorts. Whoops!

I completed the 6.2 mile run in 47:42 – just 6 seconds off my 10k PR!!! I also ran fairly steady: and tried to keep myself well below 8 min miles. I believe, that I was pretty successful, as only my first mile was anywhere near 8 min miles: 7:50, 7:45, 7:43, 7:28, 7:44, 7:41. I’m pretty damn proud of those times, especially on such tired legs, on a second day of running. Oh, and those women? Well, I passed them both in the first 1.5 miles. And I was actually able to build a 4 min margin between me and the girl behind me (who now happens to be one of my friends – hey April! Congrats on that PR! – I LOVE tri folk!), which was enough to make my penalty not affect my rankings. I mean, if it had, I would’ve been disappointed, but I would’ve gotten over it. I just need to be more careful next time.

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And the icing on the cake?! Oh yeah…3rd place in AG!

Was so happy to be reppin’ SCE and Switch Eyewear on the podium!

My total time for the Olympic Tri was 2:35:00, a whole 10 minutes faster than last year’s race!  Of course with my two minute penalty it was bumped to a 2:37:00, but c’est la view.  I’m still counting it as a 10 min PR in my own book, even if its not that on record.

It was such a great weekend and a great way to coast into my 26th year! I haven’t been able to wipe the smile off my face from the triathlons and birthday celebrations in days. So happy, and so ready for a half ironman. This is going to be the Year of Elise.



4 thoughts on “Tri Santa Cruz Weekend

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