Monday, April 21, 2008

Battle of San Jacinto Triathlon

The water looks deceptively calm here.

Sunday was the Battle of San Jacinto triathlon, an Olympic distance 1500meter swim, 24 mile bike and 6.3 mile run. Jeff and I got up at 4:30 and I had a peanut butter banana smoothie for breakfast. We got to the beach at about 6:00 and I got everything set up. This race was different because it’s a point to point race. So you bike from the beach to the San Jacinto Monument and they have already taken your transition 2 stuff over there.

Everyone kept talking about how cold the water was, so I didn’t do a swim warm up. This was a small tri (only 30 girls total) so only 3 swim waves, they got the men under 40 going right at 7 and my wave started right at 7:10, the water wasn’t that cold, I was wearing my wetsuit and once I got going it was pretty comfortable. We were in the water waiting to start and I could see Jeff and Cherie and Cullen on the shore, I waved, but they didn’t see me. The waves didn’t look bad from shore, but swimming against them was tougher than I thought it would be, but I was doing ok. When I turned, I had to swim diagonally to swim a straight line, the waves really weren’t that bad, but they were annoying, felt like scuba diving in a surge, back and forth, back and forth, and it was making me dizzy. I had to stop a lot to get undizzy. I was really happy to make the second turn and have a short break from that! At this point I was noticing that there weren’t many people behind me, this was a small tri, and I was having some trouble, but still, I’m used to being in the middle of the swim pack, not near the end. The third turn put me back parallel to the shore and getting dizzy again. A few of the waves were breaking over my head when I tried to breathe and I swallowed some salt water, yuck! A couple times I stopped to get undizzy and I thought I was going to puke! I was really wishing for a regulator so I could get under the waves and breathe! This was the toughest swim I’ve done in a triathlon and I don’t think I’ve ever been happier to get out of the water and on to the bike! I still finished the swim in 41:14 my goal time was 40 minutes. I saw Jeff and Cherie and Cullen as I was finishing the swim, they ran over close to my transition area and Jeff was asking how I felt, I told him it was the toughest swim I’ve ever done. He seemed surprised when I said that. getting out of the water
volunteers helping me get my wetsuit off (you can't really see me)
In transition 1, getting ready to bike

Heading out on the bike
Heading out on the bike
Transition 1 was 3:04, a little long, but I was still feeling a little dizzy and sick when I got out of the water. Jeff said that everyone looked pretty beat up as they came out of the water. By the time I got my bike stuff on, I was feeling fine. I knew this would be a challenging bike ride. Somehow in a really flat area, they found all the bridges and exit ramps and had us bike on them. The race packet said “there are 8-9 miles of very challenging hills” I had ridden over the Hartman bridge once before so I knew how steep it was. We rode over the bridge then turned around and did it again! I felt good the entire bike ride, even on the bridge. It was a beautiful bike ride, you get a great view riding over the bridge. The last half of the bike was pretty flat and there was a little tail wind so that was fun too. A couple miles before the finish, I could see the San Jacinto Monument in the distance. I rode into the park and just past the monument and saw Jeff and Cherie and Cullen cheering for me! I gave my bike to the volunteers (I’ve never done that before) and got my transition 2 bag. Bike time was 1:37:04. I was hoping for 1:30 to 1:40 and had told Jeff it might be 1:45 or more depending on the hills and the wind. Another volunteer helped me get my run stuff out of the bag and put my bike stuff into the bag. He was really nice. T2 was 2:25.
The San Jacinto Monument
The run was 2 loops around the San Jacinto park, it was probably the prettiest run I’ve ever done. We ran over a boardwalk over a wetland with all kinds of cool wetland plants, and there were tons of trees and other plants in bloom. A lot of it was on trails and grass, which slows me down a little, but sometimes it makes my legs feel better when they’re tired. My legs were definitely tired from the hilly bike. I started off the first 2 miles at about an 11:45 pace, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep it up, my legs were getting really sore and tired! I was feeling good other than that. Mile 3 was closer to 12 minutes, and just after mile 3 I got to pass the monument and see Jeff and Cherie and Cullen cheering for me again. I passed the mile 4 marker at 47:00 so I was still doing fine, but man my legs were sore! I definitely slowed down on mile 5, I don’t remember what my time was, and not long after the mile 5 marker my stomach started to hurt and I really thought I was going to puke, so I walked for a few minutes, ran for a few minutes, started feeling sick again, walked again, pretty much kept that up for the last mile until about a ¼ mile from the finish when I ran in to the finish, run time was 1:19:16, goal was 1:15. Of course Jeff and Cherie and Cullen were there to cheer and congratulate me! My final time was 3:43:05 my goals was 3:45.

I'm not sure why, but this was a really fun race, I really enjoyed it, even though the swim was tough and I had a little trouble at the end of the run. The scenery was great through the entire race, and the point to point was different and really well organized. I also had an entire cheering section which was way fun! Thanks Jeff, Cherie and Cullen!

I was sure I was the very last finisher. I didn’t feel bad about it at all since I beat my goal time and I knew mostly fast people entered this tri. It was interesting because before my first couple of tris I really agonized about the possibility of finishing last and how horrible I’d feel, but now when I thought I finished last I didn’t feel even a little bad about it. Turns out there was one guy who finished after me, he was behind me on each leg so I never saw him.

We went over to Cherie and Cullen’s after the race, I took a shower and we went to Kemah for lunch at the Cadillac Mexican grill, we watched the sailboats heading out to the bay for awhile then headed home.

Cherie and I at the Cadillac Grill

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