Va-ca-tion: (noun) A period of time that a person spends away from home, school, or business usually in order to relax or travel. In our marital dictionary, the word “vacation” is nonexistent. Instead, the term has been replaced with “traincation” or “racecation,” neither of which includes relaxing. Whether it is a long training camp amidst the Kona lava fields or traveling to a race, the muscles and nerves are always firing at one hundred percent.
Leading up to race day the sleepy beach town was crammed with bikes, athletes, sherpas, families, surfers, surfers, and some more surfers. How these people manage to surf with an air temperature in the low 40s amazes me. If I knew the temperature was going to be 43 degrees two days before race day, I would have reconsidered this adventure! Fortunately I was armed with gloves, hand warmers, arm warmers, jackets, and a hat.
During the few days prior to the race I kept with my normal routine: a few training sessions, equipment organizations, nutrition preparation, realizing my heart rate monitor battery died so testing my husband’s patience (normal pre-race activity) and driving to 6 (literally) different stores to try to find a small screwdriver, and taking one last glance at the Pros on the start list. Next to Kona, I have never seen a Pro list as deep as the one for Oceanside. I knew it was going to be an amazing experience chasing some of the world’s fastest females from the back in the age group start.
Fortunately on race morning the temperate *warmed* up to a balmy 52 degrees. I was arguing that I could see my breath, but Andy kept telling me I was crazy. The nerves are definitely firing at full speed when you show up to transition with over 3,000 of your closest friends. I remind myself to harness my energy and stick to my plan because I will need that energy later. I set up my gear, loaded my bike with Infinit, and hustled myself to my swim wave. When you start nearly 40 minutes after the pros, you get to watch them exit the swim, which is always fun!
The seconds treading water just before the gun blast are the worst. Tensions are high, nerves are on edge, and the swimmers are all plotting their path to the front. The female age group swim start was not a friendly event. Let me just say I am pretty sure all of you ladies really wanted a boxing match! After swimming over piles of men the swim was over and on to the bike.
The bike course was a bit tricky navigating some of the tight spots while trying to get past people, but it eventually opened up. The weather ended up perfect and the course rolled through the hills of Camp Pendleton. The back half of the course was challenging just like everyone said it would be. Bike the first half correctly and you are fine. Anyone that over-biked the first half probably didn’t appreciate the second half of that course! I stuck very closely to the plan my coach and I agreed to and kept clipping off miles (and men who generally don’t like being passed by a female, sorry guys!).
Rolling into T2 I was still navigating my way around men, it was the name of the game. Get around as many guys as you can. Time to throw on the runners, grab a Redbull, and go.
The big question, did you bike smart? The answer was yes. I decided not to look down at my watch for several miles and just go. I realized that the way things shook out based on the Pro female start time I was literally going to be running my first lap in the middle of the girls on their second lap and then I realized nobody was passing me. "This is good, maybe I should look at my watch. No I'll wait. Ok, I'll look. No don't. Ok, look. Oh this is going well. Keep going. You will finish this out. You will NOT give in." Just a snapshot of my thoughts, if I share too many I'll scare people. My legs were ok so I just kept going.
They were almost ok the entire way and Andy was waiting for me at the finish. In typical fashion, I ran at him until he caught me which put me safely across the line. The cameras don't usually catch it but he is always there.
It wasn't a picture perfect race but it wasn't bad. There are lessons that I will carry forward into the rest of my races and the desire to race again is high. With the first 70.3 out of the way in early April, there is a lot of time to build and take on 2016 full force. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the starting line and a huge thank you to all of the volunteers. More thanks to Infinit Nutrition for supplying the best race nutrition, Waikiki Brewing Company for making race recovery ideal, Headsweats for keeping the sun out of my face, and Hawaii Sports Chiropractic for keeping me in one piece! Another huge thank you to the people who were feeding my brother information from the race, you know who you are!! The biggest thank you to my husband, for allowing me to chase my dreams!
Happy training and racing!!!