Start of my wave.
The San Diego International Triathlon - I've been waiting for this one. I registered for it Superbowl Sunday, and have been looking forward to it ever since. I'm doing a bunch of races this year, but this one was a highlight. Mary, Ian and I planned a little weekend getaway around it. I trained pretty hard for it. So you think I'd make sure that every "i" was dotted and "t" was crossed and then triple check them, right?
Wrong. The Dip-Shit Of The Day Award was earned early, as in before I even got to the race. I forgot my water bottles at the hotel. And of course this is the one race where nobody at the race expo was swagging out free bottles. I had an empty 1.5 liter Aquafina bottle in the car (which I could fill), but there was no way that was fitting on the bike. So I had to do the bike without fluid. This was not really the way I wanted to start the day.
Luckily it got better from there.
Between the International and the Sprint races, there where at least 1500 participants. The transition area was huge, but by some sort of karmic luck, the spot for my wave couldn't have been in a better place - 10 feet from the swim entrance/run exit and 100 feet from the bike mount/dismount line.
My wave start was early - 6:55. It was a deep water start, so I got in the water well behind the start line at about 6:35 to warm up. This could have been 5 minutes earlier, but the bottom was at least 5 inches of disgusting muddy silt. I stood at the shore with my feet sunk into the muck whining to myself about how gross it was. Eventually I made 3 of the nastiest steps I have ever taken in my life to get into deep enough water to dive in.
At about 6:50, everyone in my heat moved up to the start line. I posted up about 3 rows back on the inside, waited, and then the horn went off.
Traffic wasn't too bad, and I sensed right away that this swim was going to go pretty well for me. I remember thinking to myself "Great. The faster I get the swim done, the faster I can get onto the bike and die of thirst." But then I realized that at least I would die with a new PR swim in the record books, so I kept moving forward.
1000 meters, one big rectangle. When I crossed the timing mat, I forgot to hit the split button on my watch, but remembered about 30 seconds later. I only mention this because the official split times have been mysteriously delayed until Wednesday. The cumulative times where posted however, and they matched my watch. So I am pretty sure that the times I have are close to accurate. Anyway, my swim time was 21:29. Not fast by any means, but the first time I have managed under 2 minutes per 100 yards.
Coming out of the water, and yes there is someone from my wave behind me and even more thrilling some still in the water!
SWIM - 1000 Meters (1093 Yards) - 21:29; 1:57 per 100 yards
Except for having to suck down as much water as I thought I could handle, the transition went well. I grabbed my bike and ran to the mount line. I got on the bike, clipped in, and took off.
Here's how the bike course ended up - the first 4 miles was a slow but steady climb with I would guess about 400 or 500 feet of elevation gain. Then it was two five mile rolling loops to the tip of the peninsula, and then 4 miles downhill.
This was a fantastic bike course. Closed roads, good surface and good views to the extent you could enjoy them while riding in a race. I'm not the greatest climber, but am fine on the rolling terrain. And the downhill was a blast.
At one point I got passed. And when I say "passed", I mean passed. This guy blew by me like he was on Fabian Cancellera's bike. I looked at the guy's leg markings, and saw that he is 56 years old. This made me happy.
You may ask why this made me happy. I have a new rule I follow. Basically, when anyone my age or younger passes me, I get competitive. When anyone older passes me, I get happy. Because it serves as a reminder that I can still get faster and enjoy this sport for a long time. Make sense?
Anyhow, I finished in 56:53, parched but alive.
Top of the bike course on Point Loma.
BIKE - 30 Kilometers (18.64 Miles) - 56:53; 19.66 MPH
Back in transition, I again sucked down as much water as I thought I could handle. This was a bit of a mistake, as binge drinking before running is probably not a good idea. So I had to burp my way through the first 2 miles before I settled into comfortable running.
The run course was point to point. I'm not sure why they did this as they had to provide shuttle buses to get everyone back to the transition area. But it was what it was, and to be fair it actually made the run course more interesting.
The last 4 miles felt really good, but I had lost a bunch of time in the first 2 miles. What was also strange was that it almost felt like I had the course to myself. There where people around, but it was no where near as crowded as the bike course was. So being that I had some time on my hands, I started to obsess about whether this was a good thing or a bad thing. Not being able to make a solid argument either way, I decided that it was just simply a "thing". I had a mile to go.
I finished in 2:13:30. Except for the run, I was pretty happy. But it was only good enough for 54th out of 81 in my age group. San Diego is a tough town.
RUN - 10 Kilometers (6.2 Miles) 50:08; 8:05 minutes per mile
End of the race. Not to self - don't try to pull off the unzipped tri suit look ever again. Also I need to break down and get a full sleeve to cover up the lame 1994 German punk rock tattoos. Story for a different day.
After the race, we jumped on the shuttle bus back to the transition area. I got my stuff together, we went back to the hotel, cleaned up and headed off to Legoland. Except for watching a Hell's Angel looking dude who was sitting at the "roll the ball into the hole to make your camel move forward" (or whatever it's called) carnival game and stealing stuffed animals from every poor kid who threw down $3 to play against him, it was a great time.