Monday, March 7, 2011

Desert Triathlon RR :)

Well, I survived! My first triathlon since May 2010 went great! I couldn't have asked for a better weekend on all levels -- amazing company, great weather, a spectacular race and a podium finish. In short my RR goes like this: a crappy swim, stellar bike and pretty good run. But read on for the whole sha-bang...

I was traveling and doing the race with three of the athletes I coach, so the weekend was beyond special to me. Plus there was a big 3-0 birthday in the house on race day, so even more reason to have a blast and race hard. We got to Palm Desert Saturday afternoon and were lucky enough to have a huge five-bedroom house to stay in thanks to my athlete's gracious family. The weather was in the 80s... a tease of summertime conditions.

Saturday night we cooked up a great dinner of brown rice, quinoa, baked sweet potatoes, grilled chicken breast, teriyaki veggies and salad. Perfection. Tatiana joined us, forcing us to consume wine... lol jk. And of course, I spilled on my brand-new Ignis tank.
Marta and I cooking up a storm to fuel the crew. Her hubby knows how to grill some good chicken, too :)

There were lots of laughs that night, and personally I think I was the most calm I've ever been going into a race. Stress-free is the way to be :) Among the good convos, we made sure to have the all-important talk with Marta's husband on his important role as sherpa; he was the only one not racing in the house so he had to take care of four of us! (He succeeded... with flying colors.)

Before we knew it, time for lights out at 9:30 ish only to hear that oh-so lovely 4 a.m. alarm in what felt like just minutes. The troops rallied for coffee, brekkie and typical race-morning chatter. I made sure to add chia seeds into my bowl of oatmeal, along with vanilla whey and almond milk... mmm.

Next thing I know we're at the lake and it's gorgeous outside! By 7 a.m. it was probably in the mid-60s and clear sunny skies. We got in a little warmup swim, and it felt like a bath tub compared to the lake we swim at by my house.

So onto the race...

The Desert Triathlon is somewhere between an international and Olympic distance so long enough to get in a good beating, but short enough to not feel like death after.

Gorgeous start to the morning...
Marta and I trying to spot the far-away buoy, blinded by the light!With my peeps... happy coach!!!!
My race:

SWIM -- 24:xx, darn it
Knowing this is my Achilles' Heel, I lined up around the back of my wave, which is fine with me despite the "competitor" in me wanting otherwise lol. We ran into the water and got going. Right away I tried to get into rhythm and not get trampled. All seemed to be going well. I wasn't over-exerting myself and I felt good. The buoy was impossible to see heading out due to the sun, so we used some palm trees for sighting. I was really happy with how well I held a line the whole time. The only hiccup I had was with my goggles. I borrowed my mom's of the same brand but different model and they ended up leaking like crazy, causing me to lose some time, but not significantly (a minute or so?). During the second half of the swim back to transition I felt like it was taking a long time so I picked it up more, but it wasn't enough to make a big improvement time-wise. Oh well. The fact is I got out feeling fresh and not depleted/drained, so that's good. We think the course was longer than before because all the times seem to be slower than last year's--the elites and everyone. Not to mention, we did 1200 open-water TT the previous week (same as projected race distance) and finished in 20:xx, so who knows.

Finished the swim in 24:xx and felt fresh but a tad annoyed with my time. Brushed it off quickly... slow swims mean one thing to me: time to hammer on the bike baby!!!

Let's just say I need some practice with my transitions... it's been a while :)

BIKE -- 1:04:xx, 22.2 mph average for 24 miles
Of course my SRM chose not to work this one time despite having charged it the night before, so I don't have any of my power data or anything, which really bums me out because I had an amazing bike! I felt so damn good the whole time and had a blast. Only gnarly part was almost getting hit by a huge truck that was hauling a load of horses--he was seconds from making a turn right in front of me, and I would have T-boned him had I not screamed my brains out. That was quite scary.
Anyways, I just love riding. Plain and simple. Knowing that this course was "flat and fast" my goal was to just hammer the whole time. I did that. Passed lots of people and got some comments like, "You're flying girl!" Not gonna lie, that felt good. The course heads out a mile or so then you do two big loops, the scenery was really nice and it reminded me how thankful I am to do a sport that lets me see more of the world without a motor to get me around. The second loop was more crowded, but in a way I think that helped me because I had to work HARD to make some big passes and keep them legal. Seriously, I wish I had the SRM data. rats.

Ooh yea, can't forget to mention the good nutrition on the bike: Vanilla Orange GU Roctane gels and my new obsession, GU Tabs, in my bottle. Not overwhelmingly sweet, just perfect. YUM!

I was keeping track of time on my watch and noticed that for the 24 miles I was set to finish in just over an hour. Bueno. I hit transition area not knowing my exact time, but later found out my bike split was 1:04:xx, an average of over 22 mph and the fastest bike split in my AG. To put it in perspective, Heather Jackson (pro) did the bike in 59:xx (24 mph avg), so I was happy to finish how I did.

Marta on the bike... how gorgeous, right?!

This was probably the funniest part of the race, but also shitty for the time I lost. I bent over to put on my run shoes and my abs cramped up like I've never experienced before. They were seized up to the max and literally sticking out of my stomach. I'm not joking when I say it looked like it was straight from the movie Aliens--a creature wanting to burst out. I was trying so hard not to laugh because it made it worse, but it was freakin funny. I had to lay on my back for a while and take deep breaths to get it to subside, all while still trying to get the damn running shoes on. Ugh! Wish I had a video of that one lol.

RUN -- 41:xx, 6:53 avg pace for 6 miles
Finally made it onto the course and was happy as could be. Smile from ear to ear. I saw Nytro Women's Kristin Mayer just in front of me; I had passed her on the bike, so she must have got me during my T2 episode. Knowing she's a great runner, it was my goal to keep her right in front of me, about 5-10 yards or so. My legs felt great and I felt like I was in good form, but I could tell my HR was a lot higher than it had been on the bike so I was going to have to dig deep to sustain the pace I was running, 7:00+/- a few seconds.

Think this pic was toward the end...
The course goes around the lake twice, and it's all flat with a good chunk of it on dirt and sand. I loved that... I hate running on concrete and avoid it whenever I can. I noticed I passed a few more girls in my AG during the run, and by the second loop, I felt like I was pushing hard, maybe too much, but I just kept saying "only a few more miles, that's nothing! suck it up!" I finally caught Kristin and we chatted a bit about Oceanside 70.3 and how this was my first tri back... she could tell I was beaming with excitement to be racing again and said something like, "You're so stoked girl." It was true. I passed her and then it was just about holding on for the last couple. Oh yea, I almost got hit by another vehicle in motion during the run too. Sheesh.

I finished the run in 41:xx, a 6:53 average pace, feeling like I had given me all. However, I think the course was a bit short according to my Garmin, so my pace might have been a tad slower. Still, I'll take it, especially having hammered on the bike.

FINISH -- 2:14:xx, 3rd AG
I hadn't set a goal time for this race, just loosely said I wanted to go between 2:00 to 2:30. When I was on the bike I realized 2:13-2:15 was possible, so going sub-2:15 became the goal. I think that helped push me on the run because I just made it with my 2:14.

Podiums were not really on my mind being that this race truly was about "dusting off the cobwebs," but as luck would have it I squeezed into 3rd place in the 25-29 AG. Great way to get back to it I suppose :) Not to mention I missed 2nd by like 10 seconds. Crap... had I only known she was so close... but you can't think like that, right? Btw, Kristin still beat me because she had started in a later wave, so I don't want to give the impression that I'm faster than her haha.

My three athletes who raced all did fabulous as well! I couldn't be more proud to be their coach. Everyone had great experiences and great times. I'd like to think that us being together really helped to motivate and inspire each of us to race hard and have fun rather than get overly nervous, stressed and anxiety-filled. After all, we do this for the love of it and escape life's stressors.

Happiness... love the triathlon lifestyle and environment!!

Chillin with our amazing sherpa post-race. Hanging out...Ray spoiled us with Girl Scout cookies, mmm.

After the race we had to high-tail it back to the house, shower up and head home. The fabulous sherpa was throwing a surprise 30th birthday party for the b-day girl, Marta, and we were all invited. It turned out to be a fabulous day overall... and man did I splurge all day... love it. Samoas, muffins made by my mom, REAL lasagna and meatballs (the gluten-filled authentic kind haha), chocolate covered strawberries, birthday cake and, of course, some celebratory drinks :) How I stayed up until 11 p.m. I have no idea.... time flies when you're having fun!


  1. Great job!! I probably would have been laughing at myself during T2 as well. I bet people where like, WTF? haha. I think this is going to be a great season for you if you placed your first tri this year!

  2. oh I am so excited for the season. Great race! Gotta love those transition times, they'll get better.
    I'm off to go buy som GU octane now!

  3. Great job this weekend! I've had that problem with my abs. What people have told me is that it's from being in Aero for so long. It was the worst when I did SF Triathlon on Treasure Island. No hills and just hammering for an hour. Congrats on the podium!

  4. Nice job! This makes me so excited to do a race soon....

  5. Congratulations to you and your team members!

  6. Congratulations on a great race!

  7. Wow, great race.
    Good job to your 3 athletes also.
    I love Ray's hair. It just looks fast.

  8. Nice work Tawnee! I believe this was your firt tri as F2529, right? If so, not a bad start to introducing yourself. I'm sure you'll be hitting better spots on the podium in no time!

    ps: Ray's hair easily cost him time on the bike and run!

  9. Great race. Nice way to start things in 2011.

  10. Denner,

    No this is year #2 in 25-29... my 26th b-day is coming up this month!

    And, funny, yes Ray's hair is something, huh! Thankfully the bike helmet flattens it out (still flat on the run too) so I don't he loses precious time lol.

  11. congrats girl! smokin bike split! way to start off the season right!

  12. Congrats to all! What a great race report. Happy to read the news!!

  13. amazing job out there tawnee! way to get the 2011 season started right!

  14. whahoo!! great job on the race! looks like a beautiful day out there! ill ride with you anytime you are down in SD-let me know!

  15. Welcome back to racing, looks like you ain't too rusty from all that time off. Hey, we're both doing IM Canada!

  16. Sounds like you all had an awesome race! And doesn't it feel GREAT to be back into racing?! Unfortunately, the northeast is a bit delayed, but I'll be there soon.

    Congrats to you both as a coach AND a racer! Looking forward to seeing plenty of more race blogs.

  17. My Garmin read 5.8 miles for the run. What did yours read??

  18. Great Race T! Inspires me for my first race of the season. Bike and run you seem to have nailed down which is awesome this early in the year. DS

  19. Matt,

    I stupidly forgot to turn off my Garmin at the finish line, so I don't know the exact distance. However, it was on track to be close to 5.8 or 5.9 miles from what I recall...about the same as yours.