Woo Hoo!

I did it! Granted, very slowly, but I finished (and thankfully wasn’t last). I don’t even know my times — I didn’t check afterwards on the printout and it’s not yet posted on line. Trust me, I’ve lots of room for improvement. (NOTE: I started writing this June 27th but am finishing up June 28th — our times are now posted. I was slower than I thought on the bike and a little faster than I actually thought I was going on the run (still plenty slow, though). And we won’t even mention the swim time. They don’t have transition times posted yet. I don’t know if those are just included in the times posted or need to be added in.)

I picked up my packet (bright orange cap, last wave), timing chip, goody bag, and bib and bike numbers Saturday afternoon. Dave put up with me as I nervously paced around, checked out the maps, and decided against doing the swim clinic (a bystander mentioned she’d done one and she was sore the next day — I decided I prefered to be rested).

I slept poorly Saturday night, getting up multiple times (I’d been working on hydration) and dreaming of having missed the swim, lost my bike, etc.

I’d set my watch (at Dave’s insistence) for 5:30 a.m. I’m one of those morning people who can basically tell themselves to wake up at a certain time and be able to do so. When I got up for the last time & checked my watch, sure enough, it was 5:28 a.m.

I’d set everything up the night before (number on bike, all my stuff in a bag, bib attached to race belt, water bottle filled) so it was just a matter of putting in my contacts, getting dressed, loading the bike in the car (Dave did that!) and grabbing a little coffee.

We got to the site and there were already a ton of people. Dave helped with the bike, pumping up the tires and lubing the chain. It didn’t take too long to get set up in the transition area and get body marked (forearm, hand, thigh and calf — #679). Got in line for the bathroom. Listened to the race brief. Grabbed the wetsuit (Dave’s shorty that I was borrowing), one more time in line for the bathroom, then headed down to the beach.

I joined the other people testing the water. It was nice and glassy, little surf to begin with. However, it was freaking COLD. Much colder than the beach near us — the type of iciness that just hurts and aches til your skin goes numb. I was already a nervous wreck and the water temp didn’t help any. I chatted with a few other women while waiting (Omigod! it is fucking cold!).

The Olympic distance triathletes started first. I was in wave 12, the last wave, women 35 and older I believe, scheduled to go about an hour after the first wave started. Yep, more time for me to fret!

Then the race officials and lifeguards decided they’d have to move our southern buoy, because it was in the way of the Olympic distance swimmers. They ended up moving it about 25-50 m north, thereby cutting off that much distance of our advertised 400 m swim. By that time, I was happy about that — the less time in the freezing water the better.

By the time the sprint waves actually started the surf was coming in harder. Wave 10, older guys I believe, got smacked by a couple big waves. Luckily, our wave started between sets.

Ack! Ack! Ack! I positioned myself to the right and rear in hopes of not gettting swum over, kicked, hit, etc. Worked fairly well. I did a lovely combination of pseudo-freestyle, backstroke, and sidestroke and wasn’t quite the last getting out of the water. One woman was about even with me, but she kept taking breaks, resting on the lifeguards’ boards, then would catch up again. I felt like saying ‘just keep swimming!’ to her — she was obviously looking a lot stronger than me.

I got out, yanked off my cap and goggles, pulled down the top of my wetsuit, and trudged up the beach. Sorry, no running through the sand — I was just catching my breath. Got a drink of water right before getting off the sand, then started jogging on the paved path to the transition area.

Got to my site no problem, yanked off the wetsuit the rest of the way, threw on my white Nike dryfit t-shirt, put on my sunglasses. Had a little of my mmmmmChocolate Clif Shot.

Why oh why didn’t I just bring a bucket to rinse my feet?! I’d read about it, and decided, no, I’ll just bring an extra towel and brush off my feet. Trust me, the rinse basin THEN the towel would’ve worked a lot better! Anyway, got most of the sand off one foot, sock on, bike shoe on, same for the other foot, get up, put on my helmet, and started out of the transition area.

Got to the point where I could start riding, futzed with clipping in, and I was off! Dave took my pic as I pedaled off.

The bike ride was great — it was during the bike that I actually said to myself, ‘Wow, this is FUN’. At that point I knew I would finish. I actually passed some people — no stopping Rocket Bike! (Actually, a lot more people passed me, but they were all really fast Olympic distance people. No one from the sprint passed me.) I felt good, I was cranking along faster than normal but wasn’t feeling exhausted like I do training. (Less headwind, I believe, plus adrenaline.) Dave was waiting to get a pic of me near the end of the bike course, yay!

Dismounted without falling off, before the line, so the volunteers didn’t have to yell at me. Made it to the transition area, more of the Clif Shot, switch out shoes, put on my race belt with number, and I was ….. sorta off.

Yeah, the run sucked. It was hot and when I finally reached the mile marker I wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe how long that mile was! I trudged on, partaking at each water station (thank you, volunteers!), trying to keep up my run/walk times. Coming back wasn’t as bad since I knew the landmarks. And I actually picked up my shuffle to a dog trot in the last .1 mile.

Dave was there waving before I did my final ‘rush’ to the finish. Yay! I heard my number announced, but Dave heard the whole thing — now a triathlete!

I was so happy. I had met my modest goals: finish, and not finish last. I wanted to just ‘tri’ a tri, get a feel for what goes on, and it was great. I have lots of room for improvement but that’s fine — lots of babystep goals can be set.

And even better — they had free beer! BJ’s Brewery had free beer and pizza for the triathletes. I had about half of my amber, very tasty, but I was getting too buzzed (and you could have two big beers if you wanted!). The family of Dina La Vigna (the triathlon is a fundraiser in her memory) had burgers, hotdogs, and chips for racers. Dole had fruit cups, jello and bananas. The LA Tri Club had goodies too from PowerBar. I hung out, struck up conversations with various people (wasn’t the water fucking cold? this was my first triathlon! etc), and had a good time.

Woo hoo!