Monthly Archives

August 2014

Santa Barbara Long Course 2014

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Last year, I wrote a race report on my experience at the Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon.  After the 2014 SBLC race weekend, I’ve decided to post a revised edition…

5 things that have stayed the same over the 4 years that I have participated in/cheered at this event:
  1. The venue:  Located on the beach in Santa Barbara, there is a gorgeous pre- and post-race view, challenging ocean swim, ample parking lot-transition area, nearby hills to challenge even seasoned cyclists, perfect waterfront run path, tons of weekend warriors out decorating the course and sometimes offering cheers.
  2. The wonderful sense of camaraderie: This race in particular seems to draw the most friendly racers.  Maybe it’s because of the coastal, casual, aura?  I wonder if it is because of the unusual distance (1mi swim/34mi bike/10mi run)?  Perhaps the fact that it is unique in its distance attracts athletes interested in the challenge rather than the outcome/finish time, since the times cannot very well be compared to results at other races.  Regardless, it makes me happy.
  3. The last 2 miles: Without fail (definitely still true in 2014), the last two miles of the run course, coming in to the finish, go on forever!  I haven’t officially clocked it yet, but I am pretty sure that the last “two miles” are actually at least 5 miles in distance…
  4. The support crew: My wonderful parents could not physically make it to the race this year, but I know they were there in spirit.  My beautiful sister-in-law, miss Bonny, accompanied me.  She is quite the cheerleader, support crew, photographer, and videographer, I must say!! I was so thankful to have her there with me 🙂
  5. The parking: There is really no parking lot to park in since the transition area takes up a large part of the parking availability.  Parking is available on the street immediately next to the transition area, and in surrounding side streets.  It’s definitely not impossible to find free parking all day, but be sure to arrive early if you want to snag a close spot.  Otherwise, jogging and/or biking to the start should not be a problem!  Just plan ahead.
And…

5 things that were new for me this year:
  1. Packet pickup pee-pee incident:  Surprisingly, this was the first year in which a young tot actually crawled under my table (at an eatery near the packet pickup area) and relieved herself inches from my unsuspecting feet.  
  2. Pre-race meal: Bonny and I enjoyed baked potatoes with lots of fresh toppings (avocado, tomatoes, salsa, cheese, greek yogurt, butter, and beans) and some figs (from our tree) stuffed with goats cheese and wrapped up in bacon blankets.  WOW.  We also had chocolate-peanut butter-cup and coconut gelato with coconut flakes and dark chocolate chips.  HOLY COW.
  3. Swim: This was my best swim on this course to date, despite the larger-than-usual swell and the rocky beach swim entry/exit.  While my swim training has not been very impressive this season, I do think that I have made some major improvements in my technique which have allowed me to be more efficient in the water.   These technical improvements initiated from Barb’s clinics during Monroe Triathlon weekend in June.
  4. Run/Finish– While I am still not quite at my best in the run (best split in 2009), I am getting closer every year.  The run felt smooth most of the way (with the exception of those blasted final 2 miles).  A day or so before the race, I set a goal to finish under 3 hours, 30 minutes, something that I had not been able to do since 2009 (when I went 3:23).  I felt it was doable.  I was happy to see the clock read 3:29:48 as I neared the finish, and I crossed in 3:29:52!  Not my best, but getting better!
  5. Transition area change: In previous years the “Elite” wave was positioned conveniently at the end of the transition area.  This meant that to enter/exit transition and get to/from your transition spot was extremely easy, quick, and smooth, with minimal (barefoot) running in and out between the swim, bike, and run disciplines.  However, this year, the “Elites” were sneakily moved to the very front of the transition area, requiring us to run the furthest of all participants to/from our area and the entrance/exit of transition.  Due to this change, my second transition (bike to run) was about a minute slower than last year.  My first transition (swim to bike) was comparable from 2013 to 2014, indicating that my first transition efficiency has probably improved quite a bit! (see 5 BrittFit Tips below)

5 BrittFit Tips for a faster T-1: 
  1. Cut a few inches off the ankles of your wetsuit for quicker removal in transition (if you’re tall, you may not have much excess at the bottom, but shorties like me tend to have unnecessary length at the ankles)
  2. Squirt some cheap hair conditioner in your wetsuit’s limbs while putting your suit on (slides right off in T1!)
  3. Practice starting with your shoes already on the bike (and practicing the flying bike mount).  It’s super smooth and cool-looking 😉
  4. Rehearse your transition (physically and mentally) ahead of time, even if only on the morning of the race.
  5. Keep it simple.  All you need is a helmet, sunglasses, your race number (if it’s not already pinned to you), and your bike (with water bottle and shoes on it, perhaps).  Just remove your swim gear, put your bike gear on, and GO!  No frills.
Finally…
5 things/people to be grateful for:
  1. Coach Gareth and Trio for the fabulous support and coaching
  2. Sean Logan, for the Fluid (bike fuel), Pearl tri suit, Pearl shoes, hat, and socks.
  3. My support crew- Bonny, and all of my fellow racers and great friends who cheered me on during the race (Matt & Judy, Greg, Christine, Mike, Molly, and Moose!!)
  4. Health and safety- The roads on the bike course were a bit wet from the misty air, and there are some shaky spots with the downhills and sharp turns.  Unfortunately, there were (and often are) some crashes/falls out there.  Prayers for quick recovery to those who were injured.
  5. Post-race refuel- homemade tacos with chips, salsa, and smoothies…and Trader Joe’s Speculoos Cookie Butter Ice Cream…and a glass of wine!



Donner Lake 2.7 Miler

By | Fitness, Fuel, Race Reports, Swimming | No Comments
Last Friday, Brice and I drove our new (used) Honda Element (which we love) up to Truckee to visit some most excellent friends.  When we finally arrived, after sitting in the car for a total of about 9 hours, it was so nice to be in the middle of beautifulness.  Jon and Jessica live on a mountain surrounded by tall trees, fresh air, and quietness.  Ahh.  Jessica and Jon eat well, so we basically ate whole, fresh, foods all day and night, when we weren’t off exploring the river or eating cupcake splits (more on that later).
Saturday morning, we woke up at 6(ish), had breakfast (oatmeal with granola, almonds, banana, and milk, plus an orange…and coffee, of course–yum!), and headed to Donner Lake.  The guys dropped us tough ladies off to pick up our packets, use the facilities, get our bodies marked (race numbers), and march to the beach for the race start.  I really enjoyed the relaxed vibes at this packet pickup.  Triathlon packet pickups (especially on race morning) typically carry with them a lot of rushing and nervousness (but maybe it’s just me).
Walking to the beach was calm as well.  No feet rushing by or hurriedly trying to pass us up.  We took our time, and so did everyone else, it seemed.  We waited around on the sand at the shaded start area, and then took a quick dip to let our bodies get acquainted with the cold(ish) water–but it was 68 degrees, which was actually a lot warmer than what I’d expected.  After our “warm” up, we found Jon and Brice…err…they found us.  We left our stuff in numbered plastic trash bags (which were carried to the other side of the lake by boat for us to pick up at the finish).  I slurped a Honey Stinger energy gel (so good!) 15 minutes before the start, and off we went.  The start signal was not highly distinguishable, but after a couple milliseconds of looking at each other confusedly, we all decided to start swimming.
Jessica and I, waiting on the beach for the start
There we go!

There were a few nudges against other swimmers, but the field spread out within a few minutes.  This spreading was made wider by the fact that there were no site buoys throughout the swim– we just charged straight (well, as straight as we could navigate on our own) to the opposite side of the lake.  While there were no site buoys, I could see the orange finish chute across the lake.  I tried to keep my eyes on this about every 10 strokes.  There’s no telling if it worked, or if perhaps I swam an extra half mile.  Things got a bit confusing about 30 minutes in, when I could clearly see packs and lines of swimmers a good 50 yards to my right and left.  I guess that most swimmers took to the outsides of the lake, while I seemed to be straight in the middle.  Was there some secret that I wasn’t let in on?  There were a few odd swimmers scattered throughout the middle, but most were off to the sides, and I was alone for about 90% of the race with at least a 25-yard radius of clear water around me.  Oh well, I just kept swimming.

After about 50 minutes of swimming (I wore my pink Soleus watch…good decision! It helped me keep tabs on how long I’d be going, and to estimate how much longer I’d have to go, approximately), and still feeling great at this point (thanks, Honey Stinger gel), I turned my head to the right to breathe and saw my hubs and his friend Jon in their canoe.  Apparently, the pink watch was about the only thing that distinguished me from the other 400 swimmers in black suits and green caps.  The guys were fist-pumping and yelling encouragements at me.  It made me smile (and spit some water at them).  After that, I decided to gun it in to the finish, assuming it was pretty close.  I kept turning up my tempo and kick, but the finish was not coming fast enough.  Finally, at a total time of 1-hour and 8-minutes, I reached the beach.  With wobbly legs, I stood up and jogged across the finish line.  Brice and John had just arrived on the shore, so they cheered Jess and I into the finish.

Post-race foods and drinks were superb!  Fruit, bagels, nutella, pb, hot cocoa, lemonade…and complementary lunch was served to finishers: bbq chicken sandwhiches, salad, and beer on tap!

I would definitely do this swim again.  Such a fun experience.  The environment after the race was just as relaxing and friendly (and even more fun!) as it was before the race start.  People hung out with their families and friends on the beach, in the warm sun, snacked, went Stand-Up-Paddling, kayaking, and cheered on finishers until the 2-hour and 30-minute cut-off time.

After the race, and nap time, Jess, Jon, Brice, Kenai (Jon and Jess’s amazingly entertaining and sweet Husky), and I played in the river (walking distance of their house), then went for ice cream.  The ice cream shop happened to also be a cupcake shop.  So, Brice and I shared a “cupcake split” which consisted of a chocolate cupcake, caramel pecan and strawberry ice creams, chocolate sauce, house made whipped cream, and crushed candy-cookie toppings.  So good!

Just Yum

It was a beautiful day for a swim in the lake, and a beautiful weekend with friends.  Plus, I got to take home a pretty “Donner Lake, 2014” embroidered towel for an age group win!  Fancy Swag.

BrittFit

By | Coaching, Fitness | No Comments

Hello out there.

I have some happy news!!

Did you notice the new blog tab to the far left, “BrittFit Coaching”??  Take a look…I have decided to officially start my own professional swim/tri/nutrition coaching and consulting business under the BrittFit name.  Because this is super exciting for me, I have been dedicating heaps of time coming up with cool packages that I believe will help me to help other athletes toward their goals– whether related to specific swim/tri skills, efficiency, competitive improvements, training, nutrition, strength, etc.

For some extra background on BrittFit, or just Britt, skip over to the “Just Britt” tab.

This whole “real business” thing is as scary to me as it is exciting.  But, I am passionate about helping athletes to fuel, perform, and feel at their best, and am looking forward to working with even more awesome people one-on-one through this new venture.

-Britt