Celebrating 5 years of Ironman participation

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Race Report: Monte Rio Triathlon

A quick last minute decision – race the Monte Rio Olympic Distance triathlon on June 2nd.  I signed up about two weeks before the race.  I figured, it would be good to get one race “practice” under my belt this season before Ironman, especially if I want to better at IMLP this year.  Plus, the race was a new addition from the team that runs Vineman – and lots of my friends from Golden Gate Triathlon Club (GGTC) were participating.

The race was sandwiched in between a perfect Northern California weekend.  On Saturday, my friends Ann, Heather, Rachel and I cycled near Monte Rio – tackling most of the Levi’s Grand Fondo Medio Route which includes a stretch of Highway 1 and a climb up Coleman Valley Road.  Post race on Sunday, we spent some time at a pool, then Stonestreet Winery and finished with dinner at Chalkboard – a new restaurant in Healdsburg (fresh crab and tater tots, yum!).

The race was great!  It was a perfect course for my strengths.  Here’s a quick recap.

Olympic Distance – Swim 1.1 miles, Bike 25 miles, and run 6.2 miles

Overall Time/Finish: 2:51/8th in age group

  • Swim – a bit uneventful.  It was longer than it should have been.  I’m glad I wore my wetsuit (it was the one thing I had been debating before the race).  And, I’m pretty sure that I hit my fellow GGTC member Erika several times – sorry Erika!  Time: 30 minutes
  • Bike: What a perfect course for my strengths!  Flat and fast!  From the moment I left the transition area to the time I returned, I felt like my goal of improving the bike was paying off!  Lots of bikes in transition when I left and not many when I returned.  I only recall a couple women passing me.  And yes, I do recall feeling a bit competitive!  Time: 1:17 (19 mph average)
  • Run: First, there was my rookie transition move – I had my shoelaces tied on my new shoes.  Oops.  It took the first mile to get into a groove on the run.  I felt confident running, but I definitely did not push myself.  I only seemed to remember to race when I was coming into the finisher’s chute and there was a woman in front of me struggling up the little steep hill before the finish line – “I’ve got this,” and passed her.  I think I spent most of the run looking for my GGTC teammates to say hi.  I almost feel like I forgot to run. Time: 55 minutes (8:53 pace)

The race definitely reinforced that my training is on track and I am getting stronger.  It helped me think about where to spend the next 5 weeks before IMLP too.  I’m excited to see if I can put a little more rigor into the run like I have on the bike.  The race also reminded me to push myself a little harder – if I’m swimming laps in the hotel pool after the race, I might not have pushed hard enough!



Santa Barbara Race Report

I should have been more suspect of this so-called Long Course triathlon – longer than an Olympic and shorter than a half.  I thought the Santa Barbara Triathlon would be an easy-breazy beach race.  With a 1 mile swim, 34 mile bike ride and 10 mile run, it wouldn’t matter that I barely trained.

Race Day:

I bumped into my friend Liza.  We knew each other in DC and she lives in Santa Monica now.  She mentioned that this is a hard course – coming from Liza (an amazing athlete), I realized I might be in for a little more than I planned.  The swim start was my least favorite kind – running in to the ocean Baywatch style.  Fog hung low over the choppy water and the race announcers described it as slightly better than pea soup.  My wave went off at 7:35 am.

It was my worst swim ever.  Ever.  Not only was my time horrible, but my mental state was also poor.  I just wanted out.  My arm was getting chafed by my wetsuit/tri top (I swim in a sleeveless suit).  The waves were relentless and I could barely see the buoys.  And, I was thirsty from guzzling salt water each time I attempted to breathe.

There was some slight relief when I took off on the bike ride.  Then the hills hit – false flats, a few long climbs, and more false flats.  My stomach was aching from the salt water and I could still hear the ocean swooshing in my ears.  Only the avocado trees distracted me from time to time.  I saw Don from GGTC at one point and Julia passed me at another.

When I got off the bike, I was not sure I would be able to run.  My stomach ache was terrible – I felt like a pumpkin having my insides cleaned out.  I debated walking vs. running vs. quitting.  I walked out of transition and started to jog lightly.  The fog was lifting and with a little sunshine, I started to perk up.  My stomach cramps faded and my pace picked up.  Suddenly, I liked running.  I even ran up the hill!  And, by the last 2 miles, I remembered I was racing, and started picking off each person in front of me.  I ended the race feeling strong and satisfied.

Post Race:

It was not the best race of my life by any means.  But, I’m happy I found joy in running and the willingness to keep going.  Best yet, I got to spend the weekend with friends from all my triathlon communities: DC Tri, Wheelworks, and GGTC!  And, we had a great time partying with the LA Tri Club on Saturday night.

Santa Barbara Triathlon

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Ironman Canada: Roll Call

This year’s Ironman Canada is just a week away (good luck to all the GGTC friends racing!)…which means it’s time to start planning for 2011!  The big question – who’s with me on Monday morning to sign up?

From East to West, I think the group house for race weekend is filling up fast! Here’s the rumored list of 2011 Ironman Canada racers:

  • Eric J
  • Tom C
  • Colin R
  • Jim R
  • Jim G
  • Heather S
  • Jamie W

C’mon, I know there are more of you who are thinking about it…add your name to the list!  Looking forward to a great training season with you.

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Wildflower Training Weekend

Golden Gate Tri Club held a training weekend down at Lake San Antonio the other weekend.  Sat was sunny and windy, and we braved the waters of the lake and the hills of the bike ride.  Great BBQ on Sat night, lots of beer, and a good run Sunday AM to round out the weekend.  Looking forward to the race in just a few weeks!

Wildflower Triathlon - Lake San Antonio

Lake San Antonio

Sign for Wildflower Triathlon

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Alpine DAMN!

Saturday – 60 miles – all hill.  That’s the Alpine Dam loop.  Or, as you climb up to Alpine Dam, then up again, then up over the 7 sisters of not so rolling hills, all you can say is “Damn! when will this be done!”

Check out the Alpine Dam route.

I love CK dearly, but a tri bike is definitely not the right type of bike for this ride.  Thankfully, the scenery is just right to quiet my screaming legs.  The climb through the woods was amazing, and the view of Stinson Beach – see for yourself!

Stinson Beach - Alpine Ride

View from Alpine Dam Loop

Alpine Dam Loop Thanks to my new GGTC teammate Tracy for showing me the route!  It was a great way to spend a Saturday morning.  I think I earned all the bacon at my cooking class on Saturday night.

I’m off to Lake San Antonio this coming weekend for Wildflower training.  Let’s hope the hills are a little easier there.

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i (heart) san francisco!

In honor of Valentine’s Day, and my recent move from Boston to San Francisco, below is my quick list of favorites as a triathlete new to the area:

  • Running the trails in the Presidio
  • Running to Ocean Beach (this weekend, I made it there 3 times – by foot, by Muni and by bicycle)
  • Having Golden Gate Park in my backyard
  • Swimming at the Presidio or Embarcadero Y
  • Swimming at Marin College – Indian Valley campus
  • Cycling through Golden Gate Park and along the Great Highway
  • The Golden Gate Triathlon Club

I’ve only been here for 2 weeks, so lots more to explore. Dare I admit, I have not gone across the GG Bridge into Marin since my visit in April. I’m looking forward to Wildflower Training weekend (and the race).

For all you SF triathletes, what do you love most about the area?