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Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri - TriathlonSprint

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Los Alamitos, California
United States
City of Los Alamitos and Renegade Racing
67F / 19C
Total Time = 2h 02m 44s
Overall Rank = 567/571
Age Group = F35-40
Age Group Rank = 35/35
Pre-race routine:

My pre-race routine started yesterday with packet pick up. I headed over to the training base and it was a funny scene. Usually packet pick ups for other races have been on Saturdays. Everyone is there in their workout clothes, running shoes, and race shirts. This packet pick up had people in suits, ties, and business wear! Funny! No one much looked like triathletes!

One of the best things about this race was the start time of 10am. I was able to set my alarm for 7 am, which is usually the time that other races start! Love that! I ended up getting up a little early, got dressed, then went up to have breakfast. Strange to be doing the pre-race routine in the light and with the rest of the family up! I had my usual pre-race breakfast: bagel with peanut butter (no E. choli!), lime yogurt, a banana and a couple of Gu espresso gels. The bad MTV shows were particularly bad, so I opted to watch part of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" I stretched then left.

It was a short 15-minute drive to Los Alamitos. I love close races! The base was already super crowded at 8:15, since the running events had already started. Now, I have a cold right now. I had considered not racing, but figured I'd go down and at least try the race. After all...DFL>DNF>DNS. I knew that a DNF or DFL were possible, but I wasn't about to settle for a DNS. So, I headed to this race very congested, coughing up lung cookies, and feeling very off kilter. I was promising myself that I'd start the race, but at the first sign of trouble, I'd stop and DNF.

As I'm driving on to the base, I see a runner laying on the sidewalk. There are people all around her including cops and medics. Not a sight you want to see as you're about to race a race that you may not be healthy enough for. Dang. I hope she's okay.

I found parking and started walking to the transition area. Lori (TriBabe2006) yelled and waved as she drove by. I got to the transition area and scoped out a spot on the end near someone else's balloon. I set up my transition area, which took some extra thought, since I've never done a reverse tri before.

I decided to go scope out the entrances and exits and saw Rob (Omega) and talked to him for a few minutes. Lori was now there so we talked a bit as well. I headed over to see the pool and the logistics of getting in and out of it. After figuring everything out, I was surprised to see Nicole, a college aide that worked in my department for several months, working the race as a lifeguard! Too cool! I went up to talk to her for a little bit.

Then it was back outside for some stretching and hydration. I went back into the pool area hoping there was a restroom. It was kind of hidden, but was super nice and there was no line. I had to laugh a few minutes later when I saw the porta potties and a ton of people in line for those. I wasn't about to let them in on the secret that only a handful of us had figured out! I spent enough time in community pools to know that there are always big bathrooms/locker rooms on deck and I was right!
Event warmup:

It was now 9:30 and time for the pre-race meeting. I still needed to warm up, so I was walking and jogging back and forth on two sides of the transition area so that I could hear the loud speaker. Nothing too exciting so I kept running. On one of my laps I ran into the police officer that works at our school! I felt bad that I had forgotten her name, but she didn't know mine either! We talked and I was surprised to find out she is also a triathlete! Too cool! Today she was just there to cheer on her girlfriend who was racing.

I hit the super fancy potties one last time, tried to wet my hair down to prevent overheating, then made the long walk out to the start line. I got in a final stretch, waved good luck to Lori, then took my place at the back of the run line. A group of kids sang a very cute but very off-key version of the Star Spangled Banner, and then they started counting us down...
  • 04m 43s
  • 200 meters
  • 02m 22s / 100 meters


The horn went off and it was one of those funny times where because we're at the back of 600 people, we all stand there for several seconds before being able to jog. It was also funny that there wasn't a start mat to cross, so my time was ticking away as I stood there for about 10 seconds then ran to the start line for about ten more seconds. Oh well. At least I use my HRM for timing.

THE FIRST OF SEVERAL REASONS THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that as a slow runner, I was immediately third from the back in a sea of 600 people. That sucks. In regular tris, I am either front or front of middle of the pack for the swim. I don't usually end up in the back of the pack until late in the bike leg. Today I was four minutes in and in third-to-last place. But, at least it wasn't last place, which I feared. There was a woman behind me in a pink suit and the last woman was wearing an LA Tri Club suit.

I started easy and planned to stay easy. My biggest goal was to make it to the 1-mile marker. I was mentally chopping this race up into lots of little steps or checkpoints knowing that if I was too sick at any of those points, I'd DNF. We were on these huge asphalt military runways, which was kind of a trip. The sea of people ahead of me was pulling further ahead of me, but the two women behind me were falling further behind, so I found myself running alone for about 2.75 of the 3.1 miles! Oh well! Been there...done that!

I made the first left turn and distances were deceptive. I was looking ahead to the runners who seemed to already be turning back! They weren't. It didn't look that far. It was. I just kept plugging along. Occasionally I'd turn my legs over faster, but then I'd remind myself that I had a long race ahead of me and that I was sick and would run out of steam sooner, so I'd slow back down.

I hit the first ade station pretty soon. They were playing Billy Joel's "The Piano Man". I sang along! :) Since I knew there was hardly anyone behind me, I asked for two waters. I drank one and poured the other over my head. That helped. The volunteers were really fun.

But after passing them, I was on a bleak stretch alone again. I could see the pink suit woman falling farther behind and couldn't see the LA Tri Club woman. The woman ahead of me, that I had hoped to catch, was farther in the distance now. Seriously, I was getting bored. It was bleak, flat, and quiet. I then noticed that I was running over giant letters so I began figuring out what they spelled.

I hit the one mile marker and was pleasantly surprised to see I had done it in 17 minutes. I've been doing better lately, but had some early races slower than this. Considering how sick I was, I had really expected worse.

I started speeding up to get a better time for the second mile, but started to feel really hot at this point. I feared getting heat stroke again, so I slowed back down. I hit another ade station and kept going. They were playing "Imagine" by Lennon. So I sang again! :)

I could barely see the pink suit woman behind me now. As I looked back to find her, I saw the first cyclist coming. Oh great! I wasn't even halfway through the run and there were already people cycling? Ugh!

Then, I saw a truck of volunteers and they had the woman behind me in the LA Tri Club uniform on the truck to take her back. First of all, I felt really bad for her. But second of all, I was now bummed to be second to last! :( Oh well.

THE SECOND REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that the bikes were now on the same course with us runners. This started to freak me out a little. We had a huge thirty foot wide runway, and I was way to the left, and yet there were guys speeding by within inches of me. I was afraid of getting hit. Why the hell couldn't they scoot to their right a few feet?

At some point, Rob rode by and cheered me on, which was nice. I finally got another left turn after a long straightaway. Got more water then finally hit the 2 mile marker. I had gone 17:30 on my second mile which was only slightly worse. That's cool. I kept plugging along. At this point I felt good. I knew that if I had done two miles, I could do one more. I also knew that if I could get through the run, I could most likely finish the entire race. That was a good feeling. I also had a lot of the cyclists cheering me on, including one of the challenged athletes. That rocks! I love to hear the encouragement.

At this point, there were a ton of cyclists. There were two volunteers on the other side of the runway telling me that runners should be on the right, not the left. I looked and there was a sea of cyclists coming. There was no way to cross. I said to the volunteers "you've got to be fucking kidding me?" I didn't mean to be rude, I was just in disbelief. I had to stop and stand there for about 30 seconds waiting for a break so that I could RUN FAST across the runway. I felt like I was the frog in the old Frogger video game. When you got to the higher levels the cars came so fast that there were no breaks. That's how this was. Lame.

Now safely on the right, I kept running. I got to turn off onto my own lane which was quieter and safer. As I made the right hand turn to get off the runway and on the roads back to the transition area, the first cyclists were heading back to T2. Holy crap! They had done the run AND bike in less time then it took me to run! Dang! I just kept plugging along. Rob again yelled to me as he was coming back in to T2. There were a bunch of kids cheering for me. They were sweet. I put my hand up to my ear, so they started screaming louder. So, I gave them all high fives and had fun.

Once again, I was now running right with the bikes and scared that some overly agro front-of-the-packer was going to take me out trying to do his flying dismount. But, I was spared! There were a ton of people there to cheer on the cyclists, but the funny thing is that they were all cheering loudest for me! That was cool! One of the cool things about being one of the super slow people in a race, is that you do get a lot of cheers. I'm sure some are out of pity, but most are genuine!

I turned to run up the sidewalk and a volunteer explained where I was to go. I had to be careful not to bump into anyone running to the pool to finish the race. I got into T1 and saw that my pace for the last 1.1 miles was 21 min miles. I don't think I went that much slower. I think that the distance was misjudged. We ran on the same course as the 5k earlier, but had to run on the streets way back to the transition area. Or maybe I was just super slow...but I doubt it.
What would you do differently?:

Overheating is an issue for me on runs where my suit and hair are not wet. I think for future runs, I'm going to wash my hair on race morning and braid it to hold in the moisture. I'm also going to bring a disposable bottle of water to soak my hair right before the race starts. That should help.

As for this race, given how sick I was, I think I did okay. I finished! I don't know what I could have done better, given the situation!
Transition 1
  • 03m 56s

Now, the fact that I racked near the balloon turned out to be unnecessary. My bike was the only one on the several racks near me! There it was! My pretty new white road bike! Hard to miss since all the other women (except one!) were on the bike course already.

When I got to my stall I just stood there a minute resting and catching my breath. The good thing was that it was nice to not be dizzy from an OW swim and it was nice to not wrestle with my wetsuit. However, my legs were sore from the run which concerned me with a 12-mile bike ride ahead of me.

I was slow and methodical about getting ready, as I'd never done a run to bike transition before. I also took some time to drink some water, then poured the rest over my head. I grabbed my bike and ran out of the transition area. My new bike was so happy to finally race! ;)
What would you do differently?:

I would have taken a few extra seconds to stretch my calves. They were thrashed from the run, and I got a charley horse in my left calf while unracking my bike. I also could have just waited and drank on the bike, but I was worried about dehydration. After being sick this week I noticed that I was dehydrated the last few days no matter how much I drank!
  • 53m 19s
  • 12 miles
  • 13.50 mile/hr

I was able to clip in easily, since I was the only one at the mount line. However, THE THIRD REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that if you're a slow runner, like me, then there are people hanging out and walking on the bike race course thinking that the race is done. I can't count the number of times on the ride out to the runways that I had to hit the brakes and yell "Excuse me! This is still a race course!" Some people moved and some didn't so I had to slow down and go around them. FRUSTRATING!!!

I was happy to finally get out to the runways and away from them! Since there were three laps for the course, it was nice because a lot of cyclists were still on the course, so it felt like a normal race. I wasn't all alone...though I knew I could be later.

I tried to take it easy the first mile or two and get into a groove. I've never ridden after having run. THE FOURTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that my legs were already spent. They were already sore. I felt discouraged knowing I had to ride 12 miles on beat up legs. I usually really enjoy the bike leg and don't feel pain until at least 10 miles in, but today was different. I had pain from the get-go. Ugh! I wasn't exactly flying past people, though I passed a few. Turns out they were a lap or two ahead of me, so I wasn't really passing them. But, it felt good. I didn't know my speed. My bike computer needs to be fixed but I chose not to fix it for this race. I decided it would be better not to know my speed. That would keep me from getting too agro and trying for a PR on a day where I needed to mind my health.

I went around the first lap and was in pain. My knees were aching...especially the left. The bottoms of my feet were sore from running. My body was stiffening up already. Yikes. I knew this would be a long ride.

As I finished my first lap, I was dismayed to see how many of those cyclists were not on their second, but on their third laps! As they all seemed to be heading back to the transition area, I was looking at two more laps. Oh well. What do I do? I just kept riding. On lap two I would see the occasional person, but they were few and far between.

I did a good job at hydrating on this leg. I just had a second cage added to my bike which rocks! I was able to get in twice as much fluid as usual, which I need. I also got in one gel, but my stomach was feeling goofy, so I didn't have any others.

As I headed into my third lap I felt like I was out there alone. BUMMER! Then I saw the woman who had earlier been ahead of me on the run ahead of me on the bike. I had to catch her! Suddenly...eight miles into this course...I was racing! I had to pick someone off. I just had to! I dug deep and started hauling ass. After the first turn I flew by. I was nice and we chatted as I did.

I couldn't see anyone else, but I kept going fast to widen the gap between me and the now two women behind me. On the long straight-away I looked way ahead and saw another woman! Yes! She was super far away, but I had to try. As some point I realized I was saying "Get her! Get her!" and "Pick her off! Pick her off!" quietly. Nice thing about no one there to hear you saying mantras to yourself! ;) Sure enough, after a mile or so of chasing her, I sped past her. She looked surprised and said "Oh! I thought I was last!" I told here there were two more women back there. This seemed to make her day, so I added that they were WAY back there to make her feel even better.

I was really hauling now and looked ahead, but there were no other cyclists to be seen! So, I was now just working on maintaining my strong "fourth from last" position!

I finally hit the right turn to head back to the transition area. The road here was super rough and I was sure I'd bust a tire...but I didn't. It was once again dicey getting near the transition area, as everyone else was leaving. I had to be very careful. Finally...I got to dismount! I knew I had under 10 minutes left in the race, with my best event left! Woo hoo!
What would you do differently?:

I really should have had the bike computer running so I could pace myself better. Other than that, I was happy with my performance. It was my second fastest time in 9 races! Not bad for a sick day!
Transition 2
  • 03m 54s

Another new experience...a bike to swim transition. I had to basically strip everything off, except my shirt which I was going to wear to the pool since I was feeling extra-tubby in my new tri suit. I got my caps and goggles on and was off.

I did see Andy who was a student of mine back in 2000 and also does triathlons. Good to see him as I hadn't since last year at Ironbruin.

I then jogged in my flip flops to the pool.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Decent transition. Part of this time is the time it took to get from the transition area to the pool deck.
  • 57m 32s
  • 3.36 miles
  • 17m 07s  min/mile


I tossed my shirt and flip flops aside, and hopped in. There were a few others in the pool at the time, all of whom seemed to be struggling. I got off to a good start on lap one. However, THE FIFTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that there was no one to race! Usually the swim is the race within the race for me. Since I'm a swimmer, and since we usually start the swim as a group, I love racing it! The bike and run are about beating my own times for the most part. But the swim is usually about beating others! It goes back decades to when I was a competitive swimmer. I like the race of it! Now, there was no one around to race!

THE SIXTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that no one can really tell I'm a good swimmer. Not to brag, as I'm not a great swimmer, but I'm a good one. Being out there as an atypically large triathlete, I do get some street cred for holding my own during the swim. But today, I was just a slow person! Grrrr.

THE SEVENTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that I couldn't do a warm up for the swim. I prefer to warm up for swims more than anything else so that I can really race them.

THE EIGHTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that I had to do the swim in a tri suit. Wetsuits are better at holding back the extra parts of me that I wish for others not to see.

THE NINTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that I'm tired and winded by the swim, so I really couldn't give it my best effort. However, I went as hard as I could and made it to the first wall. I ducked under the lane line and was off on lap 2. I passed someone, then was off on lap 3. As I crossed over from 3 to 4, I passed another person. I started sprinting lap 4. I wanted to come in with a bang. I had earlier contemplated coming in doing butterfly, just for effect...but I was way to tired to show off! ;) The sprint got tiring and I had to back off a little.

Getting out of the pool sucked. They had these two large step things that were not the easiest. Plus, as the lifeguards started to lift me off of it, I realized that it was a bad situation. I wasn't comfortable. My left calf was freaking out again and I was uncomfortable having people lift me. So, I put my butt on the deck and embarassingly climbed out that way. I walked across the mat and was done. They took my chip and I made a bee-line for my shirt to hide under.
What would you do differently?:

Not be so body conscious...or just be skinny! ;)
Post race
Warm down:

After getting out of the pool I was super winded from the combination of asthma, congestion, and sprinting. It took a while to catch my breath. I got some water and just slowly walked back to the transition area trying to get it back.

THE TENTH REASON THAT REVERSE TRIATHLONS ARE NOT AS GOOD AS TRADITIONAL is that I am done and wet, and not dressed. Usually I end a race in run clothes and fairly dry. I had to take a while to dry off and get back into clothes. On the upside, I wasn't as sweaty as usual since the pool water had cleaned me off.

It took a little time to pack back up, then I headed back to my car. I called my husband and while talking to him realized how winded I still was. I was really coughing a lot now, but was proud of myself for sticking it out and finishing the race.

I grabbed a burger and headed home to watch the kids so my husband could go meet with friends. It looked like a good expo, but after he had watched the kids all morning for me to race, the least I could do was get home so he could go out.

At home I had a shower, but no time for a nap. I went and got an awesome massage! By the end of the day I was no more sore or tired than usual. I still felt sick, but not any more so. The woman who owns the place I go for massages is also a triathlete and saying to me that exercise often helps when you have a cold, but people tend to just rest. Don't know if that's true, but I don't feel too bad!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Being sick, sporadic training, extra you can see, I'm not a huge fan of the reverse format. It just doesn't jive well for someone like me who is a strong swimmer, mediocre cyclist and crappy runner. Oh well...lesson learned!

I didn't do as bad as I thought I would. My best case scenario was 1:45. My worst case scenario was 2:20 and I came in at 2:02. I split the difference. I'm cool with that!

Event comments:

For an inaugural race, this was excellent. There were a ton of volunteers, including many soldiers who were super supportive. There were a lot of ade stations and everything was well marked. The course was flat as a pancake, which is ideal for PRs. I would highly recommend this race to anyone wanting to do a fast reverse triathlon. I however, am not a fan of the reverse format, but think this is a good race, none the less.

Last updated: 2008-12-12 12:00 AM
00:04:43 | 200 meters | 02m 22s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/35
Overall: 0/571
Performance: Average
Suit: New Danskin Tri Suit
Course: 50 meter pool - up and down four lanes
Start type: Inside Pool Plus:
Water temp: 78F / 26C Current:
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 03:56
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
00:53:19 | 12 miles | 13.50 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/35
Overall: 0/571
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: 3 laps on large oval-like course; with a short ride to the course and back
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills:
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:54
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Below average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:57:32 | 03.36 miles | 17m 07s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/35
Overall: 0/571
Performance: Average
mile 1 = 17:00; mile 2 = 17:30; mile 3.1 = 16.90
Course: One loop around some runways, then through streets back to transition area
Keeping cool Below average Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too easy
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2009-02-22 1:33 AM

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Long Beach, CA
Subject: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri

2009-02-22 8:44 AM
in reply to: #1975374

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Extreme Veteran
Bend, OR
Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
Congrats on your finish! That's a GREAT reason why this reverse triathlon was good  I know you were feeling sick so I'm glad you finished and had a good race.  It was great to see you.
2009-02-22 5:26 PM
in reply to: #1975374

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Northridge, California
Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
Congrats! Good job...whether sick or not!

(I hate reverse tri's, too...they aren't good when you're a good runner, either, trust way to use a finishing kick...and chasing people down in a pool isn't exactly realistic.)
2009-02-22 6:47 PM
in reply to: #1975986

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Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
I think you did a great job!  I'm still bummed we missed each other though.  When is your next race?
2009-02-23 11:53 PM
in reply to: #1975374

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Vista, CA
Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
Nice, descriptive RR. You may not have finished first, but you've got a lot of heart and that counts for so much. Good for you for going out there sick, too. I sure hope you're feeling better now.
2009-02-24 1:01 AM
in reply to: #1975374

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Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
Awesome job out there!  Loved the RR too.  Keep at it. 

2009-02-24 8:25 AM
in reply to: #1975374

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Melon Presser
Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri
Super job, Jocelyn! You had the courage to do a reverse tri and persevere in an unfamiliar format with a lot of unanticipated pitfalls, with a COLD, and you did great!
2009-03-03 10:22 PM
in reply to: #1975374

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Subject: RE: Los Alamitos Race on the Base - Reverse Tri

Great job out there! Really strong going on with a cold. Super!

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