For the first time in four years, Greg and I competed in the Santa Barbara Triathlon this year. While I can’t admit to being gung-ho about the race, I love Santa Barbara and we have a bunch of friends there so I knew it would be a fun weekend.
You’ll recall that we raced on June 16 and I pretty much stopped all tri training from there. I still worked out 5-6 days/week, and it felt so good to do what I felt like doing (which was never swim/bike/run at prescribed distances and speeds). Miles and I would go on runs together, I would still ride my bike home from work, but otherwise it was HIIT workouts, yoga, and other quick-hit things. I finally “got serious” about training after 4th of July. That left ~7 weeks to whip myself into shape for a 1 mile swim + 34 mile bike + 10 mile run.
Olympic distance race? No problem. But this was longer than that, and the 10-mile run was the obvious culprit. I spent a couple of weeks working myself back up to running 10 milers and then did 10 mile runs every weekend until the race. My right knee was giving me all kinds of trouble and I was contemplating signing up for the aquabike race instead. In the end, I gutted it out.
SWIM – 34:18
I was unpleasantly surprised at how cold the water was in sunny Santa Barbara! Greg and I swim in the San Francisco Bay and the water here is warmer than it was there. Not only that, the water was a bit choppy on race morning. I drank A LOT of salt water. <– Wait for it!!
Mostly, it would behoove me to swim in a straight line.
T1 – 3:02
They changed the transition area, making it so that you not only had to run uphill on the sandy beach, you had to run the length of the entire transition area before being allowed to enter the transition area to find your stuff. Everything there went off without a hitch. No better than my swim went, I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the bikes near me still there.
BIKE – 2:02:18
It was a lovely day for a bike ride. I kept telling myself that. If it had been *just* a bike ride, I would have been in heaven. If I had signed up for the aquabike and didn’t have a 10-mile run hanging over my head, I would have been pleased. If I could have stopped and collected every perfect avocado that I saw in the trees and along the street, I’d be smothering everything in guacamole until Christmas.
I think they changed the bike course a bit from the last time I did it, and the change included an extra hill. That certainly didn’t help matters. Regardless of an extra hill or not, my legs felt flat. I woke up with sore hip flexors on Saturday morning, which I’m pretty sure is because I led the Martz boys in some calisthenics on Friday. I didn’t want to push myself too hard on the bike, trying to leave myself enough to get through the run. I had hoped for a 17 mph average, but couldn’t pull it off in the end.
T2 – 3:04
Depending on where your stuff is in the transition area, T2 is either super short or super long. In my case, I had to run the entire length of a parking lot TWICE, just to get to the actual start of the run. I wanted to take my first walk break when I hit the timing mat signaling I could begin running.
RUN – 1:37:42
Actually, the run started off better than usual. I was chatting with a guy until we got past Shoreline Park, which is most of the way up the big hill. I saw Greg at my Mile 2 and he was on his way to a strong finish. I saw Kidder just before my Mile 4, and Joe Andrulaitis about a half mile after him. I took the opportunity to walk through the Mile 4 aid station to eat a GU and wash it down with water. I knew it would be all downhill at the turnaround. Ahhhh.
The saltwater had been plotting its revenge all this time and the GU was a catalyst in the revolution. The last half of the run was an exercise in contracting my sphincter while maintaining something of a run. This was neither fast nor efficient. I took several walk breaks to hold it all together. Of course, there were bathrooms along the way, but I’ve been in this situation before and with ~3 miles left, it was better to finish and go all at once than to try to go a little bit here and make it a few yards down the road and need to go again.
As I headed into the finisher’s chute, everyone was there cheering me on. I looked at Greg and said, “I’m about to shit my pants!” I crossed the finish line and Nancy snapped this picture of me:
I then asked her to kindly escort me to the nearest restroom. I made it!
Total race time of 4:20:24. Not my best work. Pffft!! I put the bare minimum of training into it and got through a tough course. When Greg and I were reunited, he had already been recovering for over an hour and was ready for his first beer.
I’m DONE FOR THE SEASON. Bring on the short workouts and leisurely runs with Miles!