Triathlon at the Pacific Grove Race Report, by Britt
- First Olympic Distance Draft-Legal race.
- First time swimming through lots of kelp during a race. It was a lot harder than I expected! My muscles almost cramped everytime I yanked on the kelp.
- First time I was able to draft on the bike right out of T-1 (at least until I got dropped halfway through lap 2 of 4).
- First time winning prize monies.
- First time being granted a homestay. Thanks again to Tri California for finding us a homestay, and huge thanks to Steve for hosting us!
- First time getting to watch my sister compete in a 10k run at the same venue the day after my race.
- Best swim/T1/bike in an all-elite field, so far. I have a long ways to go before I can feel confident about getting into a lead pack. I got out with the leaders, but fell behind after turning the first buoy. I got very stuck in some kelp and I let that turn into “stinking thinking”. I slowed my pace and dropped back into 6th/8 on lap one, with #5 (Amanda Felder) within sight. I started to feel negative thoughts creep in like “just slow down and let the others catch you. You can ride with them on the bike.” But then found my rhythm on lap two, and–with the help of a speedier transition–was able to exit T-1 with Amanda. We (Amanda doing most of the work, admittedly) caught #4, Marissa, midway through lap 1 and the three of us worked together for a bit, until Amanda’s strength got the better of me halfway through lap 2. Marissa pulled ahead of me, trying to bridge the gap, and put up quite the fight, but Amanda was just too far ahead. Marissa then pulled ahead of me, and the three of us rode solo for the remaining 2.5 laps on the windy course. The rest of the bike course was spent convincing myself not to quit. “Just finish the race and you’ll get a check!” I told myself. More importantly, it wouldn’t be fair to my uber-supportive husband, family and friends, if I had just thrown in the towel because “it was hard.” Things got a bit better on my own, though. I found my own rhythm again (it is hard to find a rhythm in a small pack, when you are constantly rotating and accelerating/decelerating/trying to find a few seconds to drink your water).
- Best 10k split (42:21) since my best days at UCLA. This was far off of where I wanted to be (under 40 minutes) and farther still from where I’d like to be in the coming season/s, BUT it is 2-3 minutes faster than my splits in O-D races last season!
- Best post-race dinner with Brice, my parents, and Tiff. We had amazing seafood at Scales on Fisherman’s Wharf and then stopped for chocolate/ice cream at Ghirardelli.
- Best post-race drive home along Highway 1. Brice and I enjoyed the beautiful coastline, stopped at Big Sur Bakery (YUM! We had eggs with brisket and a cast iron griddle cake with berry compote). Brice got in a surf session in Morro Bay, too.
- Best race elite treatment. Prize money and a homestay and free food–can’t beat that.
- Best during race mantras. I had a good amount of time race morning to sit and contemplate what to write on my hands. I chose two phrases: 1. “I will be full of courage” and 2. “I will sustain you.” These both came in handy on the run, when I needed to dig deep and choose to continue with courage, and I needed the reminder that God is stronger than me. He sustained me to the finish.
- Get back to work. If you want to have the confidence that you will be in a lead pack and have a strong run, you have to earn it by putting in the time and work. Otherwise, worry and wishing are all that you have.
- If you regularly run (and sweat) in shoes without socks, please wash them out with some Dr. Bronner’s soap and then air dry them completely. Your nose and your spouse will thank you.
- There is a T-3: Finish line to Food line. If you dilly dally, you will get the least appealing fare (e.g. cheese sandwiches vs. meat subs, regular milk vs. chocolate milk, etc).
- Don’t open your chocolate gel packet before the race thinking that you will save time during the race, and then pick it up in your mad rush out of T-2 and promptly squeeze its contents all over your hands. Having chocolate gel all over your hands is inconvenient because you then have to grab all of the water cups at aid stations as you scramble to get the gunk off your hands, and it’s just gross.
- Swim in your wetsuit at least a week before your competition so that any ridiculous chaffing has a chance to heal before your race.
- When swimming through kelp, be prepared for a strength workout.
- Don’t quit unless you are risking serious injury or illness. It will always be hard, so learn to anticipate the hurt and practice resilience.
- Becoming a mom does not have to slow you down. The winner of the elite race, former Olympian Julie Ertel, is a mother, and so was another elite competitor.