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UCLA IronBruin Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Los Angeles, California
United States
UCLA Triathlon Club
70F / 21C
Total Time = 1h 48m 14s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 40-49
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Stay warm and wait, wait, wait.

Got hungry.
Event warmup:

  • 10m 56s
  • 400 meters
  • 02m 44s / 100 meters

I did better than I thought.
What would you do differently?:

Go out a little slower.
Transition 1
  • 01m 30s

Not bad despite the fact we had to make sure to pack the T1 bag.
What would you do differently?:

Do everything faster.
  • 1h 05m 26s
  • 13.5 miles
  • 12.38 mile/hr

Wow. Was I prepared for that? NOPE.
What would you do differently?:

More hill training.
Transition 2
  • 02m 19s

  • 28m 3s
  • 2.75 miles
  • 10m 12s  min/mile

Felt great despite my leg problems after the bike.
Post race
Event comments:

UCLA Iron Bruin Race Report
March 2, 2008

“Triathlon will humble anybody.”

I was waiting for my wave to start when I overheard someone make the above statement while watching the race. I thought to myself, yes, that’s true. I don’t do Triathlon to compete against others. I don’t compete with my age group. I race to compete with myself - to overcome a challenge and to persevere.

And here we are waiting for our lowly “Sprint” to start. This is not even close to an IronMan distance; it’s a Sprint. So, how can this itsy bitsy teeny-weeny little race be humbling? Well, it is.

UCLA decided to change their course. I was mentally prepared for the 4 mile run, 10 mile bike, ½ mile Run and a 400 meter swim. It used to be more like a “Quadathlon” than a Triathlon but, although it was a challenge, I was looking forward to the ‘old’ setup.

A few days before the race I check out the course to prepare for race day. I am already mentally prepared for the race and I find out they change the course. I quickly looked at the map and thought, 4 laps around UCLA? This is going to be tough!

Instead of a reverse triathlon, it was a regular Swim/Bike/Run. It was still a 400 meter swim but the ride was 13.5 miles around the campus followed by a 2.75 mile run that has a pretty decent run up an incline.

They proudly announced, during the 6:45 AM orientation, that the bike course is now longer with more hills. [sarcasm]Great[/sarcasm].

How hard could it be though?

Okay, so here’s the biggest problem this new format has. First, the race started 10 minutes late: at 7:10AM. But due to the ‘circle swim’ in the pool, they had to start waves of 20 racers every 10 minutes which meant my start time was at 8:50 AM (originally 8:40AM). I was in wave 11 of a total of 12 waves. Waiting for that long for start times is horrible. It’s cold, you get hungry, you build up more and more apprehension and you get mentally fatigued.

I had to wait ONE HOUR AND FORTY MINUTES for my wave to start! It was cold out there waiting, but the worst part, an hour and forty minutes of waiting really got my hunger going. I was so hungry I didn’t know if I had the energy to even swim 400 meters! I ate 3 more SHOT BLOKS about 30 minutes before my wave and hoped for the best.

I got in the water about 5 minutes before start and got adjusted. I figured I’d take it easy and swim at my pace. My projected time was 12 minutes. Which is actually fast.

3-2-1 and I was off. Swimming your own pace is good when training, but when you are in a competitive atmosphere you tend to forget.

So there I was, trying to stay inside the group. I got kicked in the chest, I got kicked in the face, my left ear was nailed, it was a madhouse. I was fighting guys as I rounded the 2 first buoys and believe it or not, 125 meters I was still in the fray. But that was my downfall. I overexerted myself and decided to back off and find some space. Whew. I was tired with 275 meters to go. I took some deep breaths and finally found a comfortable, slow pace.

As I finished the 2nd lap I thought, that wasn’t so bad. One and a half more laps to go and I’m on the bike. Nine minutes into the swim I passed the next wave of swimmers in the pool waiting to start so I tried to push it to the finish before getting eaten up by their wave. I was about 20 meters away before they caught up and the next thing I know I’m out and happy to be on solid ground.

400 Meter Swim: 0:10:56

So 10min and 56seconds later I had finished a full minute faster than I projected.

Transition 1 was quick and easy. Again, it always could go faster but I had to pack my T1 bag with everything so that it could be transported down to T2 for after race pickup.

T1 time: 0:1:30

Down the hill I go, wet and freezing cold. My legs were fatigued which meant I used too much legs during my swim which was bad. But I managed to get down the hill and started to make my first climb up along Sunset blvd. I ripped open a ‘gel’ taped to my bike’s top bar and swallowed it down with a gulp of water.

Then disaster. Two miles into my trek, my chain popped out – and it was on a straight-away! I jumped off, fixed it, and then struggled, for some odd reason, to clip on to my pedals. I lost at least a minute struggling with the chain and wobbling on my bike before getting it going again.

But the first climb wasn’t bad and I decided to take the first 3.3 mile lap (of 4 laps) easy to see how it would be, then I’d put in more effort. The toughest part was mile 3 of each lap. This was a serious climb made for mountain bikes and not Triathlon bikes in my opinion. I passed up several riders who were walking their bikes up, but I wasn’t going to fall into that trap. I convinced myself to keep pedaling despite how hard it was. I still had to do it 3 more times and believe me, I was not looking forward to it. I was wishing for more gears on my 9-speed bike. I wonder if I can get a 10-speed on this thing.

The hills were tough and coming down them wasn’t even enough time to catch your breath or rest your muscles. The downhill was extremely fast and the next thing you know you were back on a climb.

Mile 3 of lap 2 a guy gets on my side and we hold a little conversation up the hill. “We have to do this 4 times right?” he asked. I was like, “Yup, number 2 for me. How about you?”

It was number 2 for him. I wished him well as he pedaled past me.

I caught him on up at North Campus and passed him up.

Again, the mile 3 of lap 3 he caught me on the climb and we gave each other encouragement and joked about coming into Transition 2 early and nobody would know.

I told him that for $75 entry fee, I’m not going to cheat myself out of the torture I paid for. He laughed and agreed. He pedaled past me once again.

I caught him a little further away this time and again, he came up to me on mile 3 of the last lap. I told him I couldn’t believe I made it and he said the same thing. I told him I’d see him at the finish line and he continued on past me.

Finally. Transition 2.

13.5 mile bike: 1:05:26

I walked my bike to the rack and reached down to put on my socks but couldn’t reach down to get it. My left hamstring was tighter than it ever has been and when I tried to sit down, pain shot through my whole left leg. I thought I was done. Over.

I noticed tightness with about 3 miles left in my ride and tried easier gears with a higher pedal cadence just to keep it warm and moving but it was sore and tight. My left side ached, my left calf was cramping, my whole upper chest cramped up and my hamstring was so stiff I couldn’t even bend down. I stretched out my chest, praying to get loose. I was thinking, oh my god, this is it: just lay down and get a DNF (Did Not Finish).

Believe me, the bike ride alone made me want to lay down and give up. But I kept pedaling - finding just enough to get me to the top of each hill. But this was physical pain that I wasn’t sure my mind and body could get past. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t bend down. I couldn’t even get my socks on!

Finally, through pain, torture and a helluva’ struggle, I slipped each sock on. And my pain was so bad I couldn’t get them on correctly. They were a little crooked on my right foot as I felt the crease of my sock inside my shoes. Thank goodness for “Yankz!” ( Instead of having to tie my shoes, I just slip them on and run.

T2 time: 0:2:19

Slipping my shoes and socks on was easy compared to the hard part - running. I walked as fast as I could to the exit of T2 and started to pick up my feet and my pace. It was tough and thank goodness we got to run around the Intramural Field for about ¼ of a mile because the next thing we had to do was run up where we biked down.

I kept thinking, in 3 miles I’ll be done. Over. No problem. It’s just a 3 mile run! I’ve done several of these with no problem. Just move your feet and run. So I did.

It took a mile for my legs to loosen up. And wow, mind over matter got me through the bike, and now it got me past all the pain and things were good to go.

This is the best part of Triathlon. Getting into the run after all the struggle of the two other parts. This is where you find out that if you put your mind to it, you can actually do it.

And there was that guy again; the guy who shared conversation with me up the hill. He kept looking behind at me and every time I got closer, he sped up.

I was going to catch him. No matter how hard it would be I made up my mind to catch him.

He kept looking back. And he kept speeding up. But every time he did that, he seemed to tire out a little bit more. I kept my pace. It was steady and strong. It was a half marathon pace so it was definitely not fast. But it was strong. I was at full capacity as far as breathing. My heart rate was skyrocketed. But it wasn’t affecting my run. I kept pounding and finally, he looked back over his left shoulder this time, and I was at his heels close to the 2 mile mark.

He gave me a pat on the back as I got next to me and I said, “we made it!” We actually shook each other’s hands and congratulated each other for making it this far. It’s nice to make these small connections while doing a race. It seems to happen every time I’m out there.

And then I was off to catch three more runners ahead of me.

Coming down the hill was such a relief. The finish line was not too far ahead; just a swing around the Wooden Center on a flat surface and a nice long look at the finish line that you could sprint to.

I gave it everything I could that last quarter mile or so.

I couldn’t feel the pain. In my head, there was no more pain.

Just heart.

I strode past the finish line knowing I gave it everything I had. I felt I could have run another mile if they asked, because I was in such a runners high, but I was glad it was over.

FINAL TIME: 1:48:14

My post race activities were to find a drink, pack up my stuff and leave. I still had Jacob’s baseball practice to attend and a dinner I was planning on making.

This was the toughest Triathlon I’ve ever done, I thought. And it was.

I look at the race: 400 meter swim, 13.5 mile bike, 2.75 mile run and think – that’s simple and short but:

“Triathlon will humble anybody.”

Yes, that’s what Triathlon does to a person. Experienced or beginner (like I still am). If you give it your all, Triathlon is no means an easy task despite the short distance traveled. It’s what you do during the short distance that matters.

And it’s not about the Triathlon. It’s about the distance traveled just to get to the starting line. And, for me, it’s the distance traveled after the finish line. I have a long way to go. And believe me, I am humbled by that fact and I’ve said it before – I’m not going to quit.

IronMan here I come!

Last updated: 2008-03-03 12:00 AM
00:10:56 | 400 meters | 02m 44s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Circle Swim around pool.
Start type: Inside Pool Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:30
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
01:05:26 | 13.5 miles | 12.38 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Wind: None
Course: Very Hilly!!!
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:19
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
00:28:03 | 02.75 miles | 10m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Course: Up a hill, a challenge but it felt GREAT!
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2008-03-03 10:50 PM

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Extreme Veteran
Los Angeles
Subject: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

2008-03-03 11:42 PM
in reply to: #1250563

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Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon
wow, I was nervous only having to wait until 7:40, I don't think I could have waited as long as you did. Props for stickin' it to those hills and staying on the bike, they definitely proved $75 worth of torture , still it was fun!
2008-03-04 2:47 AM
in reply to: #1250563

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon
What a beautifully written and inspiring race report!
Kudos for hanging on in the swim through the churn and even when you got tired.
For being determined to make the hills.
For pushing it in the run after all that. 
For getting every last penny's worth of $75.  
Super congratulations on being a TOUGH TRIATHLETE on a TOUGH COURSE!  
2008-03-04 9:38 AM
in reply to: #1250563

New user

Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon
Great effort man! A lot of other people would have quit after the swim brawl you had. Nice report.
2008-03-04 11:29 AM
in reply to: #1250563

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Long Beach, CA
Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

What a great race report! I got super lucky and was in heat 2, so I can't even imagine waiting that long. I once had to wait around about an hour in a wetsuit, but an hour fifty is insane!

Great job on toughing out those hills. I think saw you drop your chain on the Sunset hill. Did an athena on a rusty road bike ask you if you were okay? If so...that was me! If not...then nevermind! Wink

I also love the part where you and the other guy were talking so much. I've noticed that there is a lot more bonding with other athletes on the hard courses than on the easy ones. There is that cool feeling of a shared misery experience. And by the way..."triathlon will humble anybody" is now part of my signature. I love that!

2008-03-04 1:55 PM
in reply to: #1250563

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Carlsbad, California
Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon

Hey, great job out there Glen

This seems like it was a pretty scrappy race and you had to just roll with the hits to stay in the game.

Maybe we will catch up at a race this year. (Are you planning on doing IB Again?)

2008-03-06 1:33 AM
in reply to: #1250563

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: UCLA IronBruin Triathlon
Beautiful race report and an even more beautiful race. Great job toughing it out. Hope you are feeling better!

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