Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon

So I attempted another long course triathlon and it finally came out in my favor. Although it was a bit shorter from a 70.3 (1 mile swim, 35 bike, 10 mile run) it still stretched me from my regular comfort zone of Sprint/Olympic distances and I came away with a good overall result. This is how it went down...

Since the race was on a Saturday, Amy and I headed up Friday (sans kids) and along the way we stopped at the Ronald Regan Library. We normally wouldn't have made the pit stop but they were having a Disney exhibit at the end of the tour and Amy was really excited to go. The Ronald Regan tour ended up being really cool. I highly recommend it. My favorite part was being able to go in Air Force One. It was the actual plane that hosted many presidents (including Regan) and was only retired in 2002. The Disney exhibit ended up being pretty cool too. I wasn't as excited about being on my feet for 3 1/2 hours, but all in all it was worth it.

After the tour we headed up the coast -spent a lot of time in traffic and finally got checked in at our home stay - which Kim and Kirk helped make happen. Thanks again! We then headed over to the EXPO and finally got our grub on at Whole Foods. When we lived in Boulder we ate and shopped there a lot and forgot how good the food is and the selection they have, good stuff! I tend to go pretty simple the night before a race. Chicken with rice and some veggies. Just clean - easy food. After dinner we just headed back to our home stay, relaxed a bit and turned in pretty early for what would be a 5am wake up call.

Pre race fuel; Sweet Potato, banana
Wake up, power down a banana and a sweet potato and start hydrating with some water and Zipfizz with caffeine (which I'll be doing a review shorly on). We headed down and bike check in was really easy and overall just a relaxed atmosphere. I ran into fellow Wattie teammate Dusty Nabor who gave me the run down of the course and ended up crushing the Aquabike himself getting 3rd overall! I put in a 10 minute run with some pick ups and my legs felt rested but yet just not quite the bounce they had at SD International. I put in some serious training blocks coming into this race, so I wasn't expecting to have million dollar legs. Soon enough it was time to get my Xterra Vortex wetsuit on and get in a solid warm up. The water had a little bit of chop to it, but it seemed glassy to me compared to the Vail Lake swims I've been doing lately. I got in about a 10 minute warm up with some decent efforts to get the blood flowing in the arms and I was ready to go!

Swim: 1 mile - 32:34 (1:50 pace) 35th in AG, 335 Overall

Knew I had a lot of work to do...
So the plan was to just be aggressive from start to finish in this race. I've had so many breakthrough weeks in the bike and run, I figured an all-out swim won't hurt me. So I lined up front and when the gun went off I just went after it. I went as hard as I could around that first buoy and the went all out for the next 800 meters or so. I was passing a lot of swimmers, hitched a few rides with some and overall I was in pretty good position. Then as we made the turn around to head back ~1000 meters in, the wheels fell off. I mean - I hit a serious wall. My legs started cramping a bit, my stroke slowed way down and I started getting passed by all the guys I worked so hard to pass earlier. I just ran out of gas and swam a little over my head. I just put myself in survival mode at this point and just went through he motions until I finally came out of the water. Dizzy and a little out of it, I felt like I was out there for an hour! This is hands down the worst swim I've ever had in a race - but I went for it, proved to myself that I can swim fast (just not very long...ha). So it really just comes down to swim fitness. I was only able to swim a few times during those two stressful work weeks I had, I felt like I really lost form during then. It's amazing how quickly swim fitness can disappear if you are not constantly "on it." There was one encouraging thing in the week leading up to the race. I had a local swim instructor (Carol) analyze my swim. I've never had anyone do it before - I am self taught through YouTube videos, swim smooth, what I read...etc. Carol is a masters certified coach, multi-year Kona qualifier and great swim coach. She gave me great news that my form is terrific. I only had one minor flaw in my stroke which was a "claw" hand in entry but other then that - she said I looked great! Good news. It really just comes down to putting in more solid/consistent work in the water. Excited.

Leaving T1
T1: 1:19 (5th in AG)

Part of this good T1 is that my rack (along with all of the other 30-34) was right next to the bike exit. So as much as I was out of it - I still managed a good transition.

Bike: 35 miles - 1:34:35 (22.2 mph) 2,324 ft of climbing - 3rd fastest in AG, 19th overall

Leaving out of T1 I was pretty gassed. I burned a lot of matches during the first part of the swim. Immediately after pedaling the first few strokes my legs felt loaded and energy levels were way down. I slammed down 1 of 3 caffeinated gels that I would consume over the next 90 minutes along with my 22oz's of FLUID Perform. The first 30 minutes I was in recovery/survival mode. I was averaging 18-19 mph and STRUGGLING. The thing is, I didn't let any of this get me down. I was so mentally strong that every single doubt, every single negative thought and "evil" that crept in my head I smashed it immediately.

Thanks to The Bike Shop for loaning me some Yellow Speed!
Just kept with my mantras, ignored the negativity and pushed more as the pain increased. I was prepared to hurt. I kept my KASK helmet's visor up the whole race. It was sprinkling pretty good the first 30 minutes of the bike which made the roads really slick and sketchy. Amy said she saw lots of carnage on the course. Blood everywhere! Including the dude that got second, props to him for getting back up and handling it. My legs eventually starting coming around although they just never had the power I'm used to day in and day out on the bike. That swim was a game changer for me in the bike/run. I'm starting to realize really quick that in order to have a good bike, you have to be a strong swimmer! Same goes with the bike/run. I pretty much did all passing on the bike, only a few passed me. Once we hit the last climb of the day I rolled up on a guy that looked pretty fast in my age group and I asked him if he had any idea how we stood in our age group. He just looked at me struggling/defeated and said we were waay back...This was a pivotal part of my race because I could have just thrown in the towel and chilled the rest of the race but instead it pissed me off - so I picked it up those last 10 miles and ended up passing a lot more riders heading into T2. I was 35th out of the water and looks like I rode myself into the top 10-15 after the bike. So overall, happy with the bike for how I was feeling. Toughed it out and didn't throw in the towel.

T2: 1:28 (10th in AG)

T2 was a little bit slower because I threw on socks. Anything over a 10k and I get blisters - so not worth the few seconds for the two weeks of pain (although this decision almost cost me a place!)

Bringin it in last 100 meters full blast!
Man in speedo pictured behind...
Dreams Crushed!
Run: 10 miles - 59:57 (5:59 pace) 1st in AG, 6th overall

So it was game time coming out of T2. Most of the bikes were already racked in my row so I knew I had a lot of work to do. I was telling James that usually within the first 1/2 mile you can tell what kind of run you were going to have and today was no different. My legs felt "crampy" if that makes any sense...ha

Cramp"y\ (kr[a^]mp"[y^]), 1. Affected with cramp. 2. Productive of, or abounding in, cramps.

Basically you just run that fine line where if you push a little too hard they start coming on real heavy. So I just flirted with that line throughout the 10 miles. And that "line" ended up being 6 minute pace which I was actually really bummed about. My running has been off the charts and running 5:45's should have been possible on an average day. Not this day though. The really enjoyed the run course. Easy out and back course along the coast. 2 miles flat, 2 miles uphill, 2 miles flat, 2 miles downhill, 2 miles flat. I nailed all of the flats and downhills sub 6 and uphills ~6:18. I was passing a ton of runners and the cool thing about the out and back is you could see where you stood overall. The elites and master elites started 5 minutes ahead of us, so I could pick out pretty well who they were. Then I started seeing a few guys about a mile from the turn around that looked about my age including Jacob Ford whom I raced at San Diego International (and barely beat him with about a mile to go). We gave each other a five in crossing paths and said good job. I wondered at that point if he was a. either having a great race b. I was having a crap race or c. He was in the elite division. Ended up being a little of a and b cause he ended up winning!Either way, I continued to press and never let up. Right around mile 9 - the wheels started to come off a bit. My cramping was getting worse and my face went from relaxed to a grimace. The only problem was I could see one other dude up the road in a speedo. From a distance he looked like he had gray hair so I hesitated just a bit at going after him because I was hurting pretty bad. But then I thought I'd never forgive myself if he was in my age group. Time to bring out the old school miler speed.... here weeee go.... My Garmin shows I hit 4:09 min/mile pace on that half mile so I probably put in about a 2:04-2:10 800. I sucked him up real fast with only a 100 meters to go and after I saw that the gray hair was actually a beanie and he wore a "32" on his leg so I picked it up even more so he wouldn't dream of coming with me. It worked and I even put 4 seconds on him in that last 100 meters. Yup, speed is still there. Why am I doing long course again??

Final results: 3:10:03 - 2nd in AG, 18th Overall - 13th Amateur

Upon finishing, Amy said she thought I was ~8th place coming in - but at least 2 relay teams came in so I figured I was around 6th place. Although my place held at SD International, not so much here. There were some old fast dudes behind me that ended up crushing me!!! I ended up 18th overall. I was stoked to do as well as I did with such a poor swim. Everyone in front of me swam between 21-27 mins. I swam 32. It's obvious what I need to work on. The good news is, if I had a weakness in the three sports - I want it to be the swim. Obviously it's the shortest distance of the three in triathlons but also you have less chance of injury - so I'm going to get my ass in the pool more and get fast. Simple as that. Afterwards Amy and I rushed back to the home stay, I showered and had a much deserved Sculpin and then we headed back to the awards ceremony. We chilled with Dusty while we waited for awards to start and he knew like every single person there, it was pretty funny. He introduced me to Coach Gerry of Tower 26 whom I've followed via his email blasts, Dusty's reports and Jesse Thomas/Reilly Smith reviews. Nothing but positive things and he was a really cool guy. I'm hoping to get out there for an ocean swim or two with that group.

That's a wrap. Another one in the books and now it's time to rest a bit before heading BACK to Santa Barbara for an epic weekend on the bike. Here's a few more shots from the weekend, thanks for reading!

The ride up - feet up, Skins Compression on
Wife with Mr. Regan

Me at the TRON exhibit

Amy at the Pirates exhibit (part of the "special" Disney Tour)
And finally my model is pictured with Air Force One...Pretty cool!
EXPO Check in - barely made it before it closed
The Swim
Lonely T2...notice all of the bikes already racked :(
Amy got a cool shot of part of the run course

Checking results...

Dusty and I waiting on awards

BBQ at my bro's
Kids riding with their cousins in the dune buggy!


Damie said...

Nice job!!!! And to think, if you have become negative after that guy telling you on the bike that you were way back in the AG- instead you let it fuel you, which makes you a competitor!!!!!! So, so awesome!!!! (ps, I love how you break down your ranking in transition. makes me smile!!! get obsessed, stay obsessed...per Simon Whitfield:)

jameson said...

keep ripping brotha! you definitely earned that sculpin.

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