The Solana Beach Triathlon is a fun race. It's short, fast and mostly flat. As far as atmosphere, the whole area between Ocanside and San Diego is incredible: Carlsbad, Encinatis, Solana Beach and Del Mar are all cool beach towns with beautiful coastline. I love coming down here to race and Mary and I both agree that if we didn't have things keeping us in Orange County, we would move there in a second if we could.
My night in the hotel ended up being quiet enough (thanks for your concern, Barbie), and I was asleep by 11:00. I was out the door at 6:00 this morning. By 6:30 I was at the race and by 7:00 I was all set up. I had over an hour to kill until my wave start, so I headed down to the beach for a long swim warm-up.
But as nice and relaxing as the pre-race routine was, today's "Dipshit of the Day Award" needs to be presented early. This time I'm awarding it as a result of a technical foul - me believing my own Bulls**t.
I know I said that I theoretically could have done this race in under an hour but with (and I quote) "the right conditions", would probably finish in about 1:04. Therein lies my mistake - I made the fatal flaw in forgetting that theory has nothing to do with race day. And what the hell are "the right conditions", anyway?
Smug look = now off the face
I ended up with an aggregate finishing time of 1:07:41, which is 13 minutes faster than last year. I'm happy with this, but it took me most of the afternoon to get there. It wasn't until I saw my results, 27/74 AG and 364/1102 overall, that I finally stopped whining and felt good about the race. I've said I wanted to start finishing in the top third this season, and this race pretty much put me there. But I shouldn't have needed to see the rankings to appreciate the time improvement. My bad.
THE SWIM - 1/4 MILE
I thought the swim was going well until I glanced at my watch as I exited the water and saw that I had been in the water for twelve and a half minutes. Granted, the start gun went off as a big set of waves was rolling in and so we had a pretty confusing and physical start. But I thought I got past the shore break quickly and was swimming stronger than I have in the past. I did get completely and utterly rolled by a wave on the way in, but this probably helped my time as I tumbled head over heels towards the shoreline. I was really hoping for a ten minute swim. That said, I came out of the water in a group, which rarely happens. So either there was a larger than normal number of slow swimmers in my wave, or the course was actually longer than 1/4 mile. I dunno which.
There was a run of maybe 400 yard steep uphill from the beach to transition. So by the time I got through transition and on to the bike, my watch was showing 17:34. Not really the start I was looking for.
Solana Beach about an hour after the race
THE BIKE AND RUN - 9 MILES AND 3 MILES
This would be a good time to mention that after I hit the split button on my watch when I started the bike, I forgot to do it again until the finish. And since they will not be posting split times until Wednesday, all I know is that it took me 50:08 to bike 9 miles, transition and run 3. My guess is that since I turned went to the wrong bike rack at first (again), that my T2 time was at least 2 minutes. So that leaves 48 minutes of moving time. Since I feel like I made a great effort on the bike but probably left a little on the table during the run, I'm betting my final times will be in the 25 minutes/21.6 MPH bike and 23 minutes/7:40 pace run range. But regardless of how the times split up, my entire 13 minute improvement came from the bike and run. I was definitely passing a lot of people. It will be interesting to see how I rank in the bike and swim as compared to the overall. I think I may end up being pretty happy there.
So now I have a benchmark for my first year of racing. Who knows? If I get my swim together I might be on fire and everyone will have to start calling me "White Lightning" or something similarly as cool. So I suggest this - If I ever break 1:50 per 100 yards in a race, then I promise to wear a super-hero costume at the next race. You guys can vote on which costume, it will be fun.