LA Triathlon, 2013

By October 1, 2013Fitness, Fuel, Race Reports, Triathlon

Yikes!  It’s been a month since my last update.  I can’t say that I blame this on being busy, because I have had more “leisure time” than expected.  I’ve just felt uninspired to share my delicious meals, thoughts, etc, with the blogging world…Maybe writing a new post will revive my blogging spark.  Maybe.

This past weekend was a great end to my 2013 triathlon racing season.  As I’ve said before, I feel like writing a race report/blog post completes and fulfills the racing experience for me, so here it is, in a new race wrap-up format:

Los Angeles triathlon experience in trained female athlete

This is first-hand observational study on the Los Angeles olympic distance triathlon.  The researcher (me) is also the subject (me again).  This is a very scientific study with brilliant methodology and extremely accurate and reliable data.

Originally, I had intended to race the Carpinteria Olympic Triathlon this past weekend, and the LA Tri in a couple of weeks.  However, after registering for both, I found out that the LA Tri had been moved ahead two weeks due to conflicts with the city.  While I love the casual, friendly environment at Carp, I decided to head to LA to race against some top ladies and feel the adrenaline rush whilst running in the shade of skyscrapers lining the streets.  I wanted to finish out the season with a “big” race where I could test my limits among some of the best triathletes in the world.

Because this race is point-to-point, T1 and T2 are pretty well spaced out.  You actually are required to drop off your T2 bag (with run shoes, hat, etc) the day before the race, when you pick up your race packet near the race finish area in downtown.  The race start (and T1) are located at Venice Beach.

Finding a place to rack in T1 was entertaining, as the girl whose bike I planned to park mine next to seemed to feel entitled to two rack spaces.  She hesitantly moved her bag over so that I could fit on the rack. Thank you, lady, for making room in your heart, and on the rack, for me and my bike!

Finding a bathroom was equally full of grace…the lines for the “obvious” bathrooms (i.e. bathrooms in and immediately next to transition) were long and SLOW, so I jogged about .2 miles to the nearest public restroom on the promenade.  I always feel so stealthy when I can pull off a zero minute wait for a bathroom at a triathlon or running event. SCORE!

The race was smooth, except for almost missing my preferred start time (we also got to choose our own start time and our cap color!!), and almost losing my ankle timing chip on the bike (and stopping briefly to put it back on).  I felt relaxed on the swim, and probably swam a bit extra as I couldn’t see quite where I was going..the buoys were spaced out quite a bit.  The bike course was low key and felt relatively simple, with the main obstacles being the potholes and cracks in the roads.  The run course was just as I remembered, a challenging double loop including a good-sized hill.  I got to see my support crew (parents) a few times, as I looped around!

The post-race was typical: some okay food, ice (it felt heavenly and I took about a gallon of it!!), water that was cold until the sun came out, massage available (but I am never patient enough to wait in the long line), as many vacant bathrooms as anyone could ever want (the reverse of what you get before the race), and vendors.  I found my parents, and that is always a great feeling to be with them after a race.  They have always been there, and they make me feel so loved.

The biggest challenge of the day came when retrieving my T1 bag.  The busses were fashionably late to drop the bags off (about 2.5 hours after the top finishers had come in, and 2 hours after I had finished), and once they arrived, it was chaotic trying to get the volunteers to find and distribute the bags.  Props to the volunteers who put up with us smelly, hungry, impatient, athletes shouting our our race numbers and reaching for our bags like hungry cattle chasing a truck full of hay.

Saturday (pre-race) dinner: Steph’s homemade pesto, pasta, salad, grapes, and a chocolate nugget.
Sunday breakfast, 4:30am: “primeval” bar, almond butter, banana, and coffee.
10 minutes pre-race: sample size Cliff bar
On the bike: 400 kcal (in 36 oz water) Fluid Performance drink with caffeine.
On the run: 1 gu roctane, lots of water on the head and some in the mouth.
At the finish: some grapes, orange slice, sips of recovery drink, water
Lunch: The Counter salmon burger and sweet potato fries

The professional field was not as packed as I had remembered back in 2008 (my first year at the LA Tri), but there were some smokin’ women out nonetheless.  A foreign professional female won the race, and was followed close behind by Heather Jackson, who I most associate with her Wildflower champion title.  I was happy to get to see them jolting down the hills as I made my way up them, and it was fun to see where I could use major improvement–first the bike, then the run.

I came in first after the pro and elite women, at 2’22”, one minute faster than I had gone back in 2008, at the start of my UCLA triathlon racing days.  Praise God for helping me to train and race strong through the season and for a great last race of the year!


figure 1-a: post-race awards, with world’s best dad

figure 1-b: post-race awards, 1st place female collegiate and 2nd overall amateur

figure 2: post-race meal, salmon burger at The Counter, Santa Monica


Implications for the Future
I plan to take the next week or so fairly light, and all of October I will do whatever “workouts” I feel like–maybe some ocean swimming, or rock climbing, or yoga, or a ride/run here and there…While I am excited to not have structured, planned workouts or races for a while, I love staying fit and I enjoy working out, so I will probably keep swimming, biking, and running freely, up until the next training cycle starts.  I am hoping to continue in 2014, with the support of excellent sponsors, and will likely start the next tri season at Wildflower with the Olympic distance race.


The Folks whose names must be mentioned with gratitude:

Stephanie– for opening up her “modern”esque apartment; for making me pasta and homemade pesto, and fresh garden salad; for the catching up and good conversation; for the ride to the race; for the shouts and cheers.
Coach Gareth– for the expert coaching, lactate testing, and friendship; for being an inspiration, supporter, and longtime mentor in my triathlon world.
Sean Logan– for so much support in the forms of friendship, race gear, training gear, and time.
Pearl Izumi- for shoes, shoes, shoes, more shoes, race kits, hats, socks, training apparel, etc.
Fluid– for the performance and recovery drink mix, and for always backing me up in my adventures (kids triathlons, research, and whatnot)
Metal Mountain Cycles- for getting my bike race ready, and for just being awesome!
My Parents– for coming to literally EVERY race I’ve ever done and taking an interest in my adventures
Brice- for coming to the track to cheer me on and make me laugh, for keeping me accountable in my training and for supporting me in this silly triathlon stuff.
Terri- for being my long ride buddy and fellow foodie/coffee lover 🙂
The Fun Friday Ocean Swim Crew– for making early morning ocean swims FUN!

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