Monday, June 30, 2014

San Diego International Triathlon Race Report

I raced San Diego International Triathlon three years ago and finished a disappointing 4th on that day. I showed up this year prepared to throw down for a hard-fought win. I saw Michellie Jones before the start and realized my battle just got tougher, as I don't have a great track record beating the Olympian. My friend Rachel was also racing. Over the past five years Rachel and I have had more last-minute race passes with each other than anyone I know. Rachel is an awesome athlete and friend and I love racing with her.

The water was fairly warm, so I chose my Zoot sleeveless wetsuit. I lined up near a few fast friends and did my best to hold onto feet as long as possible (which honestly was about to the first buoy). 

I then proceeded to swim solo, pulling some straggler swimmers around the course. And as is common for me - arrived in transition and had no trouble locating my bike on the empty rack. I quickly put on my new Rudy Project aero helmet - and started my chase.

I somehow managed to rip my timing chip off my ankle along with my wetsuit. I was impressed that by the time I got to the mount line a volunteer was standing there with another chip to put on my ankle. 

The bike was a lot of chasing, not feeling like my legs were quite warmed up, and being unsure if I was riding really strong or semi-mediocre. I came off the bike in 5th over 2 minutes down on the lead. Honestly my first thought when I started the run was "Dammit I'm not even going to make it on the podium!" And my next thought was that I should just put my head down and try to PR my 10k since I've felt incredibly fit lately.

I moved into 4th within the first mile and could see 3rd, which was encouraging. At the first out-and-back I noticed Rachel had a good lead and Michellie was close behind. I felt very very far away from them at this point, but within another mile I could see Michellie off in the distance and actually thought I might be able to catch her if I could continue my current pace.

Just past mile three I moved into 3rd and could see Rachel and Michellie running together. This was the first time I thought there might be a very slim possibility I could catch them both and win. I wasn't sure if I would run out of 10k real estate first, but there was a 1% chance I wouldn't, so I put myself on the edge of complete uncomfortable-ness and ran as hard as I could.

The gap came down, and I felt as if I was flying. Right before I caught the girls I was completely in my favorite element of racing. The single thing I love most about racing are the scenarios race day presents. You can not plan them - they just evolve - and they allow you to push your body way beyond what many times you might have thought your limit was. Honestly whether I had won or finished 3rd in a sprint finish with these girls, I would have had a giant smile on my face in the end. Coming from over 2 minutes back to put myself in the mix of a real race for the win was thrilling.

About 1/4 mile from the finish I caught and passed both girls. I wanted to gap both of them and avoid a sprint finish, especially since I had spent the majority of the race chasing. Rachel hung on my heels and as we passed the 6 mile marker I remember thinking Easy Tiger!! 2000m is still a long way! Except I really, really, really wanted to win. So I put in a surge and thought I would rather throw up or blow up than be the steady-paced-smart racer. It worked.

I won by 5 seconds.

Rachel and Michellie are both top-notch, talented girls and I am honored to race with them. It was incredibly fun to win at home, with both my parents present.

Karl beat me once again in the swim (I am 0 for 4 this year!!). And I won my straight-up overall time bet with Lipke (who was behind me at the end of the run and got to watch the pass and close finish unfold.) I am grateful for the friends I have made through this sport. 

I got a giant fake check and borrowed a puppy to complete the experience.
A massive THANK YOU:
Elliot -  we won a race. Yay! Let's do it again!
Zoot - fast shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - helping me recover faster and race harder - even come from behind & win!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.
Tomorrow I travel to Canada to race Challenge St. Andrews Sunday.