The impetus of our trip to Santa Cruz was a Memorial service for Scott’s Uncle Steve, a tremendous person in so many ways. He was also instrumental to California as a forester. So although the circumstance for our travels was grim, the trip was wonderful as it’s always great to spend time with family. Time was not only spent at the Memorial Service, but at family meals, hiking, horse back riding, swimming, at the Board Walk enjoying many rides, on the beach, and even a little training. Lots of great memories, lots of love to our family!
In a beautiful venue with some rolling hills, I was eager to race. It had been months and I was ready to see where my fitness was. I had no expectations and very little nerves, both a rarity for me. I trust my new coach and have followed his plan to a T so I knew if I didn’t do well, it was just a lack of fitness and not to worry. It’s early and I have ample time until my A race.
The swim was in a quarry, which was a balmy 65.5 degrees. It didn’t feel as cold as I anticipated, but my 10-minute warm-up certainly helped. I felt strong from the get-go, but once again, my sighting skills, or lack thereof, greatly failed me. The first turn buoy was directly in the sun and I couldn’t see a thing! Yes, I had on tinted goggles and all. I had even picked out a landmark to focus on prior to the start, but couldn’t find that either. Really, I don’t know how people can see in the sun! Anyway, I had to stop and when I did, I saw a woman about 50 yards to my left. I greatly hoped she was the one off course, but I knew otherwise. Grrr! I was way wide of the upcoming buoy! I’ve only raced in about 85+ triathlons; you’d think I’d be able to sight well by now.
I finally caught the woman about half way through the swim, but as I passed, she fought hard. I could feel her drafting off my feet most of the way in. Coming out of the water was fun as I heard cheers from Sarah, Court, Scott, Sandy, and Aunt Sudi. Hearing them was pretty easy as I was in the 2nd to last wave of the morning so there weren’t many spectators remaining by the swim exit. Transition was not so fun though. I clearly had cobwebs on as it took me, what seemed like, several minutes to get off my wetsuit. Finally I was off on my bike.
I stuck to my plan and started out comfortably, nothing hard. There were some rolling and hills and false flats and I didn’t want to burn up my quads right away. This was only my 2nd ride outside since last fall so I was pretty happy just to be out and in such beautiful scenery. About half way through, I got stuck going about 12mph behind a car. The 2 lane road was open to traffic and for some reason, cones were set right in the middle of the two every 50-100 yards. This made it really difficult for cars to pass cyclists especially with all the curves on the course. Fortunately this car turned off the course within a couple minutes, but about 15 minutes later, I got stuck behind another one…and this time for about 5 minutes. Getting really annoyed, I yelled at the cyclist in front of the car by shouting ‘car back.’ (This is a common phrase among cyclists to let them know there is a car approaching from behind. Upon hearing this, you’re supposed to get as close to the edge of the road as possible). Clearly this guy never heard me as I yelled several times and he remained riding in the middle of our lane. This definitely cost me a few minutes as there was much time spent pedaling little to none. Oh well.
My legs started burning with about 6 miles to go and these last miles had some rollers. It didn’t help that I had gone through all my fluids. I was so thirsty! Clearly I was eager to get off the bike so I did, with 1 mile to go. Yep, my chain fell off so I had to. I must have changed gears too quickly. Frustrating, but an easy fix and only cost me about 30 seconds.
After a quick T2, I was ready to roll. I had a good 8k race a few weeks ago so I was eager to see if I could run similar to that in a tri. The first mile or so I focused on getting my legs going and not pushing too hard. My heart rate was high anyway as I wasn’t used to the balmy 63 degrees. I took water at the first aid station then tried to get a good pace going. I did and felt great! I finally was able to zone out and just run. I didn’t think, I didn’t feel, I just existed. This was such a rarity and I didn’t even realize my Zen-nes until mile 4 when I started to enter the pain cave. Then my typical mental banter ensued: why am I doing this, go Mary go, this sucks, you’re almost there, my legs hurt, retirement sounds great, suck it up, just walk, you know you want to, etc. You get the gist. Luckily that only lasted 2 miles and then my mind cleared again. The last mile was tough, but I didn’t give in. And, it felt like one of my best sprints into a finish line. Scott even said I finished fast. (He usually asks why I don’t have any turnover at the end). 😉
All in all, it was a sound race. 1st overall female amateur, 2nd female overall. (I really believe the cars I was stuck behind plus the chain incident allowed me to be beat, but it happens). My run wasn’t what I wanted, but it wasn’t bad. Ok ok, so I’m rarely content with my races. I do recognize that though. 😉 Onward and upward!