Before the weekend, I caught word that "you know who" was signed up for this second round of double sprint days as well. That person, of course, being Macca.
|It's all about having fun! No.'s 1 & 2... bam!|
Leading up to the sprint weekend, I can't say I was the role model of health. Anytime I finish a big race like O-side I loosen the reigns a bit and indulge a little more than normal. That includes food, drink, training, etc.... it's important for the body and mind to chill. So how that would affect the sprints? Who knows. I didn't mind, though, because I sure felt happy and content! I will give you a hint on the results with this picture (if you haven't already seen my FB, IG, Twitter... hahaha)... that things worked out ok:
|Winner winner chicken dinner! :)|
So the full deets on the races.... Start off by saying these two races were so drastically different and so much fun in their own unique way. Sunday's race at Bonelli was one I am familiar with; I've raced the LA Tri Series events numerous times over the years and always have had positive, fun experiences. It's a lake swim, in a nice quiet lush park area 45 miles inland from the coast, and not flat. On the flip side, Saturday's race was brand-spakin' new in Surf City USA (HB), where it's been 2+ decades since they've held a tri. This new one was put on by the same crew as the Seal Beach Tri (which was part of our first double sprint weekend), so I had no doubt it'd be solid.
The Huntington Beach Sprint Triathlon - Race #1
I love a good ol' low-key, community race that's fun for anyone from a newbie kid to, well, Macca. No pressure, interesting people, lots of smiles (after you're done grimacing in pain of course).
|Everyone was family on Saturday. Macca's bike racked next to this silver trusty steed.|
|Macca and I discussing the gnarly swim ahead.|
|Warm head, happy head. Just don't mind the getting choked part ;)|
|Getting trashed. Not easy making it past those waves!|
|My all-time favorite race photo ever! Face says it all about that swim!|
|Macca's sand running form at the finish....|
I held on to first female, making the HB Triathlon my first-ever triathlon win. A special feeling, and I got lots of love from the folks at the race making it such a nice experience! Of course, Macca won as well, so it was fun sharing all the excitement with him around. There was a good turnout of people, including even Bob Babbitt who raced, making for a fun morning of sport.
|Macca, me, Bob Babbitt, Scott F., Llyod from Tri Lab.|
LA Tri Series Sprint Tri - Race #2
As mentioned, I'm familiar with this race series and love it. They put together great events no matter what your skill level in tri. The last time I did their sprint-distance race was in 2010, when I was in darn good shape and finished in 1:16 for 1st AG, 5th overall. I've won/podiumed in my AG in the series' other race distances too. So this time I decided to be adventurous and sign up in the elite division. We had our own "elite" row, instead of Saturday's "rack wherever" format.
I was extra happy Sunday morning because John decided to do this race as well. The mood around was light, fresh and 100% stress free; can't say that's the case before a "big" race. We were all hanging out in transition, and Macca and I were talking about HB -- even he was commenting on the aggressiveness of that swim. Meanwhile, numerous people were flocking to Macca asking for photos and autographs*. I even got a little taste of some fan love too... some Endurance Planet listeners introduced themselves (as was the case Saturday), and I was actually asked for my autograph on the back of the Wheaties box featuring Macca that super-fan Andy brought to get his signature. Classic.
Finally it was time to race. The terrain at Bonelli Park reminds me of a mini Vineman course. The lake has that eerie, steamy look just like the Russian River in the morning. The bike is a lot of rolling hills through trees and natural surroundings, complete with some sections of bad road conditions like Vineman (good practice!). The run is mostly flat with some hills/inclines but nowhere near as hot and brutal as Vineman :) I plan on doing their other two races in the LA Tri Series (both get longer in distance) in my leadup for Vineman this year.
|The lake. This was actually from 2010; this year it was foggy/misty.|
I was honestly very amped to race even if it was just 24 hours since the last one, and I was hoping for another good result on the day. I know this race attracts some faster ladies and I'd have to dig deep. My body felt generally ok, but my hips -- hip flexors especially -- were pretty tight and feeling locked up (that liftoff from the sand run the day prior did me in). But calves/quads/hammys felt decent surprisingly -- recovery tactic success!
All the women started together, and I think I went out too hard on the swim. I found myself gasping for air within the first few minutes and really had to work hard to calm myself down but still swim strong. I did the 500 in 8:50, good not great.
The bike was a blast! I knew I was not first out of the water, so I had some ladies to try and catch. One chick passed me and I was determined to get her, but she was off like a rocket. I'm pretty sure she was the eventual winner. So I just stuck with a goal of simply hammering it. Let's see what the Shiv could do for today me baby!!! This, again, is my kind of course with all the hills, decents, turns, varying road conditions, etc.... The Shiv and I bonded super well, and I had a great ride, going a full 2:00 faster than in 2010, and averaging over 21mph. My avg HR was mid-160s, too, rather high for me, which lets me know I did work :) Watts well north of 200 average. I did, however, "forget" to drink anything more than two sips Skratch. Oops. I was better with hydration the day prior. I think a little Skratch even for a sprint is good!
I was in and out of T2 in less than a minute and my hips still felt stiff, the right side especially where I've had issues, but I kept on keeping on. After you do a half-Ironman, running a 5k (almost) seems like nothing even after doing it the day prior as well. My pace wasn't stellar (it was low 7:00s, but I wanted sub-7:00s!) so I ignored it and just went as fast as the legs would carry me. By the second mile I think the stiffness in my hips was affecting my form and my knee starting bugging me a bit. I made the call to not push much harder with my efforts to avoid the risk of hurting something worse, as I know my history with my knees and doing too much in a race to the point of injury. Not worth it.
I was running up a long incline nearing a U-turn, and at that point saw three women running shoulder-to-shoulder back down. They were freakin hammering the run and probably 1/4mi in front of me, and probably way fresher than I? Obviously they were in their own little race together, and I know how that drives you to go even harder. Meanwhile I was running alone and on knee alert. My chances of catching them weren't good, nor was I going to best my 5k time in this tri. Meh, I didn't care, I was still pretty dang happy where I was and doing what I love!
I finished a couple minutes behind that group of ladies (all three of whom really duked it out to a close, fast finish), putting me 2nd elite and 4th overall, with ~1:00 course PR too (1:15). One more podium making it 3 for 3, over eight days :)
Sorry for the lack of photos. All we had on Sunday were racers, no sherpas!
|Men's podium. Second place was only 30 seconds behind Macca! Erik Nau, I believe.|
|As for my podium, the other girls bailed on awards so they let me sneak up to the top spot.|
A win by default! Hahaha... ;)
|Recovery in full swing Sunday afternoon. @110PlayHarder <3 td="">3>|
*Say what you will about Macca, but here is a guy who truly loves this sport. I've watched him quite a bit now interacting with the folks at these little races, and he is a very gracious dude and takes time to talk with everyone, sign everything, you name it. You know if someone is faking it vs. loving it, and I see him as someone who is loving it. I'm sure I haven't seen the last of him at these local races....
Case in point:
|Macca greeting in a young speedy dude at the LA Tri Series Sprint. Photo courtesy RaceGrader.com|
Thanks to Specialized, Skratch, Bonk Breakers, 110% Play Harder, Shimano, Lucho, family & friends for your support and understanding that I'm slightly crazy haha!