I haven’t done a sprint triathlon since 2011. After missing
Oceanside with a broken foot, I was itching
to race. Solana holds a special place to
me. I did the duathlon back in 2009; it
was my first multi-sport event. I did
the triathlon in 2011, it was my second triathlon.
Since coming back from the broken foot, my swimming has been pretty good. The bike, not where I want it, but training is back in full force. Running is behind. And since running is by far my weakest of the three, the running is not good right now.
This race isn’t about crushing it, or a PR. I was itching to put a bib on, and use it as a test. Test one, was an epic failure. And I wasn’t even at transition yet.
I arrived and was in the parking area at the Solana transit station. I saw my friend Andrea, said hi, parked, and opened the van. When I opened the back gate, I looked at a big empty spot where my bike should be. My mouth agape, heart in throat. Yes, I left the house without my bike. Really? Are you kidding me? The bike is my favorite part of the day. How the heck did I forget my bike? Luckily at o-dark thirty; traffic is light and I was home in less than 15 minutes. Got the bike, back to Solana. The only issue was I lost my good parking place, and was on the street in a residential area, a good deal further away. Perhaps the next zip code.
Still got to transition with plenty of time. Set up, got body marked, used the bathroom. The first triathlon of the day, if you will.
The 40-49 year old men were the second to last wave of the day. An 8:20 start. Many would be done by the time we started. As locals know, our water temperature is very warm for us. 70-72 degrees. I’ve been ocean swimming without a wetsuit for the last month. I decided for a 400 meter swim, to forgo the wetsuit here too. One of the nice things about this race is a wide open area for swim warm up. And something to do watching wave after wave go off.
Finally it is time. This race exposes my biggest swim weakness. Not the swimming, but the entry from the beach. It feels like my feet sink deep into the sand, and pulling them back up with 20 pound weights on them, then enter the shallow water, splash, stumble, splash, shin deep, swim time? Forearms drag the sandy bottom, back up, three or four more strides, dive, now I can swim. Most of the wave is ahead of me. This means I’m catching them throughout the swim and in more traffic than I need to be. “On your left!” doesn’t work in the water. I really prefer water starts. This swim is short, and out of the water, back onto the sand for the slog to the ramp. Up the ramp, over the hill and through the woods to T1. Well, that is what it seems like. T1 is a long way from the ocean. In fact, I bet the run from the beach to T1 is longer than the swim itself. After that marathon run, okay, a wee bit of an exaggeration, my bike. Shoes on. Helmet on. Sunglasses on. Here we go!
Treating this as a bike test. In other words, GO! Breathing was high, heart rate up. Tried to get that to settle a bit, then aero, and hit it. I love the hum of the 85 mm deep section rim as I get into a rhythm tucked into the aero position. There were sections where I felt strong, but for the most part I felt so-so, and not as fast as I think I should be. The result confirmed this. Bike time was 27:00. A 20 MPH average. I’ve held that at Superfrog for the entire 56 miles; twice. Well, my fitness isn’t where I want it, and my bike fit feels off. This is why we test, now to take action.
Run time. I had no expectations here. Just getting my runs back up, and was hoping to run three 10:00 miles, without feeling like I killed it. At about ¾ of a mile, I was right on with pacing, and felt good. Then, ouch. The back of my knee hurt. I took a few walk steps. Honestly the walk was worse than running, so run I did. It was painful at times, and at times I felt okay. But it slowed me down. I didn’t care, I was just concerned with the level of the injury. After all, my goal is IMAZ, not this race.
Should I pull up and DNF? I’d probably have to walk back, so might as well finish. And running feels better than walking, so, keep going. The last ½ mile I actually felt much better and finished strong. It was pretty cool as I entered the finish area a big rolling thunder hit. Yes, I came “thundering” down the finish. My friend Andrea was there, I did a running high five, I crossed the line, gave up the timing chip and got my medal. Then, I could hardly walk. Reality time. What is wrong? I stopped at “medical” and got an ice bag. Limped to the food area, and ate. Ducked under the tent at Operation Greyhound as it started to pour, and, hey greyhounds are really cool. Met Jake and Carter the two greyhounds they had there. And watched an actual thunderstorm. At the beach, in
San Diego, in the
summer. A first for me in the 17 years
I’ve lived here.
Overall, not a great performance by me, but accomplished a big effort training day. Went to the orthopedic doctor on Monday. No tears! I have patellar arthritis, and my patella does not track properly. Already cleared to swim, bike, and elliptical. Just need some rest for running, and before I resume, will have my foot/gait analyzed and make any changes I need to with orthotic/shoes.
Had a bike fit on Tuesday with Nestor at Studeo DNA. The bike feels good in the trainer. We'll give it a good road test on Saturday and Sunday.
Credit to the volunteers, good enthusiasm from them, and my friends Ted and SugarMagnolia who were swim buddies for those that needed them. Andrea had a PR, so very good race for her!
race issued swim cap
TYR Rx goggles.
Williams 58/85 wheels
Giro Aero helmet
Mid-compact crank set 52-36 with 11-28 cassette
Nike Voomero 8 shoes
DeSoto 400 mile bib shorts
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