Apart from a 5K trail run for the opening night of Stellar Nites, Kendra’s Race was my first planned race for the 2013 season and my third triathlon ever. In fact, it came after a DNF in the 2011 Longhorn 70.3 and a 2012 full of health problems, getting a house ready for sale, moving from Texas, and my own personal hell of an Iceberg project. So, I had nerves in the days coming up to the race. For me this manifests itself like stress with poor digestion and sleep patterns.
What I did have going for me was 3 months of strength, core, and track workouts with Coach Z that had improved my fitness and confidence immensely. I also had a continued effort towards weight loss eating generally Keto. I’m down 15 pounds since getting back on the diet and starting the training .. 25 more to go to reach my goal weight.
I woke up way to early on Saturday morning (another side-effect of nerves) but it did give me extra time to straighten up my kit. I was reminded the night before and again that morning that things are looking pretty worn out. It’s time for some upgrading before the next race, including new cycling shoes and a transition backpack. There’s a lot to be said for having quality gear and looking and feeling the part. I ate a light breakfast: apple, whole wheat bagel with ham, coffee.
Minette, in her pajamas, drove me the 5 minutes from our house down to UCSB where things were starting to get busy. Nice and helpful race organizers got me marked and into transition but it took me awhile to figure out the whole “setup your stuff, don’t put your wetsuit on, walk around aimlessly until close to race time, go back to transition and suit up” thing. My mind was ready to go. Annnnnd I forgot some throwaway flip flops, which meant a bit of a walk down the rough pavement in bare feet. Call it cross-training. The water was calm once we all reached the beach and the tide was out. I took a few strokes in the water to try and acclimatize: it didn’t work.
After more standing around and enjoying the collegiate groups doing their pre-race cheers it was time to get going. About 75m of running through the shallows of low tide and then into the cold water and it was instantly panic time! Couldn’t catch my breath, heart rate pegged, face was cold, everything sucked. About 150m of that and then calmed down and tried to just focus on form. Sighting was easy with the overcast and flat water and the buoys looked like big pumpkins. I hadn’t been swimming much so it was really a matter of just working on Zack’s advice for me: head down, butt up, correct hand position, etc. I was pleased that I could generally keep up with the back of the pack and had some gas at the end where others were fading.
The run out of the shallows and then up the stairs on the cliff was wobbly and slow, and that’s all I have to say about that.
T1 was easy as I don’t really have issues getting out of my wetsuit. This was also my opportunity to start thanking every volunteer and police officer that I saw, a habit I like and that I managed to maintain for the remainder of the race. Starting the bike I was a little cold and needed to pee but otherwise OK. After a few miles of the bike trail I was looking for a place to make a pit stop but found none so it was 16 miles of a full bladder. I could hear Minette telling the kids to always go when they had the chance .. sigh.
My feet fell asleep after a few miles. My theory on that one was a combination of tying my shoes too tight and too fast in T1 and remaining as low as possible for the whole distance. The collegiate folks started blowing by me after about 5 miles and it’s always fun to watch the really killer athletes hitting it hard on the bike. I was reminded again of the camaraderie of the sport as I continue to hear ‘good job’ as I was passed.
This bike course was on my home turf so I was able to gauge when to push, knew when the hills were coming, and exactly how much further there was to go. With about 6mi to go I pushed harder and finished the bike feeling like I had done well. Ate a single gel during the bike along with about 2/3 of a bottle of water. I was in and out of T2 quickly, looking at the finishers as I left on the run.
It took the first mile of the run for my feet to wake up and things kind of went downhill after that. I didn’t know the course, it was a little hillier than I expected and I started to get quite a bit of pain in my lower legs, both sore calves and shin splints. That part was kind of disappointing because I really wanted to be able to push but just couldn’t. Aerobically I was fine and my last long run was over 8 miles so the distance wasn’t an issue, but this forced me to walk. And that was my reminder of how much of a penalty I pay for carrying extra weight around. I ran up the last hill and finished as strongly as possible. It was fun to watch a 9-year old cross the finish line a few minutes later, beating his dad by a few strides.
151 16/19 134 Brad Dobson Goleta CA 45 M 21:55 2:06 1:02:20 0:58 34:24 2:01:43 Open Men 40-49
Next up: possibly the Chardonnay 10-miler later in April, definitely Breath of Life Ventura Triathlon Olympic distance in June five pounds lighter.