Last Sunday I did the Bonelli Sprint Triathlon (500m/24k/5k). Talk about a cool race with a great laid-back vibe. The day before I was super busy and freaked out for a second - holy crap, was there a race packet pickup I was supposed to go to? I was going from a morning workout to SD to LA with no time to drive to the race site! Thankfully, the Bonelli race (part of the LA Tri Series) is way mellow, and all pre-race stuff is handled morning of. In fact, there wasn't even any body marking, no # stickers, no assigned racks.... Just show up and have fun!
I went into the race thoroughly thrashed. My training hours since Monday were in the double digits, including some key high-intensity sessions that tend to leave me more thrashed than a 4-hour weekend ride/run. My body was feelin it. I'd been bad in the rest department too (Galaxy Soccer game Sat night / up past midnight / so worth it). Come race day, I just figured, what's another hour+ of hurt?! I wanted to see what I am capable of when tired but still healthy.
Race day was gorgeous. I almost wish the race had been longer to enjoy the sunny, warm weather and beautiful course.... Bonelli Park is in San Dimas, and the course is very scenic and hidden from any main roads. It reminds me of a mini Vineman in terms of the rolling hills on the bike/run with green natural surroundings the whole time.
I didn't wear my HR monitor for the race (nor do I for most races) because frankly I don't want to know the bpms. I like to race by RPE and time. I like thinking about numbers while I race and doing math - weird, because I hate math normally. Meanwhile, I love training my HR but hate racing with it.
Feeling relaxed pre-race, the way it should always be...
The swim start was mellow; there was one wave with women 39 & under, so I'd have a good idea of my standings throughout the race. Steam was coming off the lake so I wasn't afraid of frigid temps. The 500 was heart-attack-inducing intense but went by in a flash, and as I stood up my watch read just over 8 min. Not bad for me. Stumbled a little up the long hill into T1 while catching my breath.
As always, after T1 I was ready to hammer on the bike. There were two loops, each just over 7 miles. I'd ridden the course so knew what to expect. Being in the right gear at the right time is crucial on this course, as there are a lot of ups & downs & sharp turns. I passed about 3-4 girls right away and traded spots with another lady for quite a while. I was averaging in the low 20s, and figured any other girl ahead of me was probably out of my reach. The two loops were a blast. All smiles except for an oddly strong headwind during one 2-mile straightaway. Ouch.
Side note #1: No joke - my rear brake pad was rubbing on my wheel the entire ride. It was audibly noticeable, but there was no way I was going to stop. Must have been from throwing my bike in the back of my car that morning because it wasn't rubbing when we put the Zipps on, we checked!
Side note #2: I had my aerodrink for the bike but forgot the straw. I remembered Ian telling me a similar story of doing this, and how he hit up a 7-eleven or something in the wee hours pre-race. I followed suit, and taped 2 slurpee straws together. Perfect!
One thing I noticed during the bike was the good manners of racers, even if some were lacking in their bike-handling skills. Whenever I yelled "on your left" everyone--even "macho" men--always replied with "you got it;" "sorry, don't mean to be in your way;" "looking good;" etc, etc. Wow.
Smiling coming up one of the climbs...
Pretty sure I got off the bike in 4th place. Averaged just about 21 mph. Looking at others' results, that was good. And considering the leg burn I was trying to ignore the whole time, I was happy with that effort.
I started the run with a goal of holding a sub-7 pace for the 5k. That is something I've never done in an open 5k or in a sprint tri, so who knew! And silly me, I had never tested out the run course so didn't know if it was going to be flat, hilly or what. Turns out it was 75% hilly but still short enough for me to get my goal and hold a 6:50 pace (according to the garmin; it was 6:59 on results... but also about 3.4 miles long). I felt decent on the run and think I could have held onto a 7-min pace had it been a 10k. Progress!
Only one girl passed me on the run, Christine Gould from SD. I tried to hang on to her, but she had about a minute on me. I finished in 1:16... later found out that was about 4 min slower than first. Nice. It always makes me wonder how much better I would have done had I tapered (not that I would have changed anything), and if the other ladies were tapered and fresh.
Turns out I was 1st AG. Whaaat?! In 25-59?! Totally unexpected!! Not to mention, I was 5th female overall, and all the women who beat me were those crazy 30-somethings... I thought 25-29 was going to be tough (and I still do!) but entering that 30s decade is going to be insanely hard! Hopefully I can hang by then.
With one of the athletes I coach, Marta, she rocked with a 2nd place AG!...With another athlete I coach, Benoit, who got his first taste of watching a triathlon at this race....
We waited around for awards, which dragged on way too long. Can't stand drawn-out award ceremonies. Bleh! Maybe I need to learn more patience because it was nice just chillin on the grassy field with nothing to do. But then there's me - itching to get onto to the next activity of the day! Still, overall, I love how this race is run and the vibe it gives off! Way mellow. Very grassroots, back-to-the-basics sort of triathlon. I'll be back for #2 in the series, but will miss #3 for Boise 70.3.
Check out my straw....
After awards we cooked up a big lunch (salad and steak tacos) with anticipation of an afternoon workout on the sched. Ummm... after eating, we fell into a food coma, took a nap and laziness ruled the rest of the day. Oh well, it was still a solid training week with more intensity than I usually have with the sort of volume I put in, and I was spent. Yes, a 1:16 sprint can leave you tired, especially going off 4 hours of sleep!
Sunday night I headed to San Diego because bright and early Monday morning I was scheduled to be in North Park for a photo shoot with Zoot and John Segesta for Zoot's spring '11 catalog. That basically ruled my monday/tuesday, and it will rule my friday/next monday. It's been quite an experience, and truthfully, modeling is hard! It's not "me" and it takes getting used to... i.e. I felt super awkward at first. But the story deserves its own blog, so more to come next week. Here are a couple inside pics in the meantime.
The room with all the 2011 Zoot goodies...
John Segesta behind the camera doing what he does best....Model Carly on the set. We've spent who knows how many hours there in the past two days...
Last but not least, I'm signed up to do the Xterra Crystal Cover 17k on Sunday as long as the weather holds. If that race gets canceled for a 4th time due to rain, I swear, I think it isn't meant to be.