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Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance - TriathlonOlympic

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Los Angeles, California
United States
65F / 18C
Total Time = 3h 47m 21s
Overall Rank = 858/912
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 29/32
Pre-race routine:

I actually got up kind of late for this one. They were saying at the pre race meeting that they were not going to 'close' transition...just a soft close so that people wouldn't get in the way of the pro's. I'm fairly Type A and still wanted to get there early (racks were first come first served) but it was my friend's first tri and he didn't want to get there early so I deferred. In the end it worked out...but boy did it make me nervous!

So, back to what I was talking about. I got up around 5ish. Ate some breakfast, took a shower, and got dressed. Then I sat around for quite some time while my friend worked on getting out the door. We had to ride our bikes about 2.5 miles to the start...cooooooooold! Once there we split up to find transition spots. This proved difficult. There were three racks for the women's wave...but each rack was already full with 8 bikes per section! And I was worried that if I racked outside my AG racks that they might penalize or DQ me. Several other women were in the same boat. Everyone was really nice though and they squished us in. So I set up my stuff and went to find my friend. We got body marked and hit the bathroom and then double checked our stuff and went to the beach.

We stood around on the beach watching the insane waves. 4-6 feet EASY. I laughed tons wishing the St. A's race director could have been here to see it! The first waves of pro's and elites went off without a hitch despite the rough water. I helped Mike get suited up in his wetsuit. He went to stand in the corral and I went to watch more start waves. Then the first AG wave went idea what one, but they wore GREEN caps. And they got DECIMATED by the water. Absolutely decimated. Like a bomb went off. Seriously. Instead of a tight pack they got all spread out and about half of them didn't seem to be able to get past the breakwaters. NOT GOOD!

Next they send my friend's wave off. I see him run in with everyone else and watch as THEIR wave gets decimated despite them all running up current for a bit before getting in. I lost track of him in the chaos but after few minutes I was absolutely sure he wasn't one of the remaining red caps still trying to get past the big waves. I was worried, but pretty sure he'd made it out.

Right about then I decided that a little research was in order. So I poked around listening to conversations and chatting with other racers and some of the not busy lifeguards (not many...most of them were VERY busy!). I got the idea that you needed to duck under the waves or you wouldn't make any progress. So I decided that right before my wave would go off I should practice a bit. When I thought I had about 20' to go I got into the water and worked on the duck diving. Once I had the hang of it I got back out to get into the corral and found out they were delaying the waves a bit. We had a feeling it was to space out the swimmers a little so that the lifeguards could watch everyone better. But the whole corral of women was totally shivering! Brrrrr!

So, right before we start they tell us to make sure we run to this truck before getting in because of the current. It was going to be about 100 yards North. Okie dokie. Roger.

And...finally we get to go!
Event warmup:

I did a little duck dive practicing just to get the hang of it. I'm very glad I did!
  • 35m 10s
  • 1640 yards
  • 02m 08s / 100 yards

This was just SO cool. So damn hard. But so damn cool. Challenges like this don't come up every day, rocked!

Made the run down the beach and over to the truck and then ran into the water. I started swimming as soon as it was deep enough and as quickly as I could. I even remember having a girl walking next to me...she kept drifting to the right...into my swimming path and it was getting REALLY annoying. We hit a wave, I ducked under, and then all I felt were her limbs hitting me as she got blasted back towards the beach. My plan was to just keep swimming. I didn't even pause to look back. I actually had very little idea if I was making any forward progress at all but the last thing I wanted to do was stop to assess. I just kept pushing forward and ducking under wave after wave after wave...until I looked up and the huge red buoy was right in front of me! The lifeguards TOTALLY called our entry point correctly. They had said to run up to the truck and then get in the water...that is what I did and the current carried me to the EXACT point I needed to be. Thank you, LA Lifeguards!

Okay, so once past the first buoy it wasn't really choppy. There were just HUGE 10+ foot swells. As long as you don't get seasick, this part wasn't so bad. HOWEVER, there were NO BUOYS! Those from my wave that had made it this far beelined for the first buoy we saw...which was actually on the RETURN course. We got pointed in the right direction by a lifeguard...but pretty much the lifeguards became our buoys until we could make out the Venice pier and eventually the one buoy by the Venice pier. I think the buoys pulled free because there were a LOT more on the inbound side. I suspect that some of those were originally outbound buoys. If it hadn't been for the lifeguards out there floating on their boards and pointing in the right direction I would never have been able to figure out where to go.

So I finally make it to the turn around and could definitely tell that the 50 feet or so closer to shore was making a huge difference...MUCH choppier, much wavier, and there was a current. I had to work pretty hard to make forward progress. I was SO thrilled to finally get to the orange buoy that marked the turn to shore. I MISTAKENLY thought that this meant I would finally just get pushed back to shore by the waves. The last 100m from the orange buoy into shore was the absolute hardest part of the swim. I kept trying to "catch" the waves...but they were just too big. And they would come crashing down around you and you'd just get swirled and tossed until you could surface again. But when you would surface you would be getting pulled DOWN and BACK by the rip currents. I was actually struggling to stay afloat. After the third or so wave hit me I was nearly starting to panic. I seriously have never been so scared in water in my LIFE. I honestly began to doubt my ability to get to shore. I think it would have been better if I had been wearing a wetsuit, but unfortunately mine broke the day before the race. I was just getting so tired. I was almost flailing. I had a lifeguard ask me if I was okay and I think I replied, "I think so. Wait, I don't know. Maybe not." But then another wave hit me and I ended up near ANOTHER lifeguard who said, "Great job! You're almost there! You can almost touch the ground!" So I just tried to creep my way in. I think I was hit by another 1 or 2 waves before I could really gain my feet and felt less panic.

This time includes a long walk up the beach to the mat. I was so tired I had nothing left to try to run on the sand up the hill. I just walked it and tried to recover from my near drowning. :)
What would you do differently?:

Figure out how to swim into shore without getting pummeled by waves. Otherwise, I think I did REALLY well!
Transition 1
  • 02m 53s

So, the swim took a lot out of me thus I walked most of transition. I was hurting a big from the salt water hitting the chafed areas (even without a wetsuit I chafed!) and just recovering from being pretty scared on that last part. I still managed a pretty fast transition all things considered...probably because I didn't need to take off a wetsuit! 361ish overall (359-364 all went 2:53) and 10/32 in my AG.

I used a water bottle to wash the sand off my feet (that took the longest) and put my shoes/helmet/sunglasses/number on. Then you had to stuff all your stuff (heh) into your bag so it could get transported to the finish. Just took an extra few seconds and everyone had to do it. Looked around to make sure I didn't leave anything outside my bag and ran for the exit.
What would you do differently?:

Remember to put the race number in the T2 bag at the expo so I didn't have to wear it on the bike! Oopsie!
  • 1h 38m 17s
  • 24.85 miles
  • 15.17 mile/hr

Well, rather than talk about my about some funny things that I saw? :)

1. The woman on the trike. Really. As I was coming up behind her (I'm guessing she skipped the swim) I thought it was just some neighborhood person out riding their know...those things with two wheels on the back end with a basket type contraption between the wheels? Yeah, one of those. But as I pass her I note that she has a race number! And was wearing a fluffy down jacket and fluffy down pants. Kudos to her for being out there...but it was definitely ODD! I saw her later on the run...major props for doing that whole bike on a TRIKE!

2. Then there was the dude in Koreatown that pretty much shouted from the side of the road that I should be praying in church not out riding my bike. Heh. That made me smile.

3. The Hollywood sign! I was thinking as I was riding that I didn't really see any LA sites while I was out there. And I thought that it would have been cool to go see the Hollywood sign. About 10' later as I'm biking I happen to glance up at a hill and there it is. CHECK! Much smaller than I thought it was...all the movies make it look huge!

4. First uncrowded bike course in AGES! It was awesome! No having to dodge around people or avoid them...I was actually quite alone for many bits of it.

5. Heh...this isn't really funny, but I saw least one intersection had BOTH of the cops patrolling it TEXTING. Not looking at traffic, not watching for bikes...texting. Thankfully it wasn't a busy intersection. And all the other cops especially at the busy intersections seemed to be nicely paying attention. :) And there were LOTS of cops. I swear, half of the LAPD must have been out there! I saw car cops and bike cops and motorcycle cops...all kinds of cops!

Well, those were the highlights. In general, the course was a false flat headed away from the shore. Then you had a headwind on the portion of the out/back loop that you did twice. So I felt a bit slow. But I was working as hard as I could. My legs were BUUUUUUUUURNING! :)
Transition 2
  • 05m 16s

768 or 9 overall and 28th in my AG. I was having a hard time running in my bike shoes. I probably should have just taken them off...but it was a parking garage and the thought of running barefoot in a parking garage scared me. :) So I made the looooooooooooooong run around to my spot and racked my bike. Found my bag and unpacked it. Put on my stuff. Held up a tampon and debated whether to bring it with me. Looked ahead at the exit to T2 and realized there were no bathrooms and didn't want to commit to carrying it, so I left it. I thought that maybe I could hit a bathroom on the course but I really didn't want to have to carry it unless I could SEE the bathroom. This no bathrooms thing will come up later.
What would you do differently?:

Take off my shoes...I guess the floor didn't look THAT gross. :) It would have made the run around the garage go quite a bit faster.
  • 1h 25m 45s
  • 6.21 miles
  • 13m 49s  min/mile

Um, wow. Only six people ran slower than me. I can only hope that all the folks that were unable to finish the swim would have run slower than me. It makes me feel better to think that. :)

So why was I so slow you ask? My foot hurt. From the get-go. NO idea why really but the PF on my left foot (yes, the one that has been acting up for awhile) was just BURNING. Really bad. It felt just like Alcatraz except this time I didn't have any BT tattoos in my shoe. I stopped to adjust the shoe a few times...didn't help. I tried walking for awhile...didn't help. Finally just past the first loop turnaround I decided to completely take off my shoe and left my foot sit for a few minutes. That finally helped. I was able to start running--just as my friend lapped me on his second lap. We ran together for a few minutes and then he pulled ahead. I was able to run constantly until I came up to the hill for the second time. I walked up it...wouldn't have been any faster to run it. :) Once at the top I ran again...the foot threatened a relapse and I almost stopped to take my shoe off again but it passed.

I had to pee SO badly by this point that I stopped drinking at the aid stations. I'm guessing I just swallowed a lot of water on the swim...because I only had about a bottle and a half on the bike. It just wasn't that hot. I realized I was being stupid...but I just couldn't fathom putting fluids into my body...I had to pee THAT badly. I was looking at every bush I passed trying to figure out if I could duck behind any of them. Unfortunately in the concrete jungle that just isn't an option. And no porta potties on the course.

So, between the foot and the pee, I was slow.
What would you do differently?:

What could I do? I have no idea why my foot hurt. I think I handled it pretty well. It wasn't worth injuring it.

I guess I could have ducked into a restaurant or coffee shop to pee...but I expected to get the "bathrooms for customers only" talk so I didn't.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around until I found my friend--whom I beat by SIX whole minutes! yay me! Okay, so that's mean...but he's a lousy swimmer and was riding a mountain bike...I was really going to feel like a schmuck if I didn't beat him!

We stood around some more until we went to get our stuff and put our bikes into his parents' car to take back.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Just gotta lose the weight. And I'm sure the epic swim didn't help matters. :)

Event comments:

Wow. Truly epic swim. Being a good swimmer you LIVE for days like this. I feel bad for all the not so good swimmers who didn't enjoy it...but hey, sometimes you have to make the good swimmers happy too! My results look pretty ugly, but the online results unfortunately do not show anyone who DNF'ed on the swim. The RD-types were estimating that they pulled 500 chips from people at the swim starts. They handed out 2150 at packet pickup and the website had 1368 official finishers between the sprint and Oly. So that just goes to show you how many people didn't manage the swim.

I'm so very glad the swim wasn't cancelled though I totally would NOT have blamed them...and anyone that knows me knows that is saying something!

So, kudos to the RD for sticking it out. Kudos to the LA Lifeguards for just plain ROCKING.

My gripes and warnings to future participants:
1. This is a point to point race and they do NOT give you free transportation back to the start after the finish or to the start in the morning. They charge you an extra $25 on top of your $200 entry fee. Just pointing that out...
2. I was not the only person complaining about the lack of porta potties downtown...apparently all the local business bathrooms got pretty decimated because of it. I just don't understand how a race can't have porta potties on the run course. What if I had a bigger bathroom emergency like I did at Nations Tri a few weeks ago?

Last updated: 2009-03-11 12:00 AM
00:35:10 | 1640 yards | 02m 08s / 100yards
Age Group: 17/32
Overall: 32/912
Performance: Good
Course: Out, south, north, in.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: High
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Bad Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 02:53
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
01:38:17 | 24.85 miles | 15.17 mile/hr
Age Group: 29/32
Overall: 846/912
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Course: Into downtown LA, then a small out/back loop through Koreatown. Ended at the Staples Center.
Road: Potholes  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 05:16
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:25:45 | 06.21 miles | 13m 49s  min/mile
Age Group: 32/32
Overall: 906/912
Performance: Bad
Course: Two loops! With one helluva hill that you had to do twice! :)
Keeping cool Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2009-10-06 3:34 PM

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance

2009-10-06 4:48 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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San Diego, CA
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance
Well done on a rough swim. You handled yourself really well considering the conditions. Way to stick out the surf.

I think I saw the trike woman last year. I think she was out to just do the bike.
2009-10-06 4:51 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance
What an adventure!

So cool you enjoyed the challenge of the swim and rocked are such a swim stud!

Funny things you saw on the bike so different doing urban tri and that sucks about no port a potties on the run....yah how about a HIM w/o any on bike or run...that really sucks.

Congrats..sounds like a blast and will be an epic race for you with the really tough swim. Do you know how many DNFed due to the swim?
2009-10-07 9:53 AM
in reply to: #2446163

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Evergreen, Colorado
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance

Congrats..sounds like a blast and will be an epic race for you with the really tough swim. Do you know how many DNFed due to the swim?

A triathlon consultant who was out working the race told me they pulled over 500 chips at the swim start but that doesn't include people who slipped past them with their chips.  They gave out 2150 chips total and from the official results there were about 1300ish finishers between the sprint and Oly.  So, somewhere between 500 and 800 were DNF's.
2009-10-07 11:42 AM
in reply to: #2446004

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Santa Clarita
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance

Wow !  Great RR and  Congrats on making it out of the swim  course and finishing . Sounds like it was Absolutely Brutal conditions. And the  very hard effort probably drained you for the bike and run afterwards.

I agree They should have portapotties and  a complimentary shuttle   included in the very steep price.



2009-10-07 5:26 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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Williamston, Michigan
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance

Awesome race report Jen :0 soundslike you had a good time despite it all great job on the swim.  I did a race in CA once.   I think I was the only one withut a wetsuit but I swam fast cause I was freezing!!

2009-10-09 7:02 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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Santa Fe, New Mexico
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance
Congrats on finishing.  Knowing what kind of swimmer you are, truely makes this swim sound very scarey.  I cannot even imagine 10 ft swells.  Way to go!
2009-10-11 11:04 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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Frugal Gear Geek
having fun with the kids
Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance

I am just so impressed with your effort!! And I was beefing about the 1 foot swells at my last race! guess I just would have suffered more at this race

2009-10-12 8:09 PM
in reply to: #2446004

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Subject: RE: Los Angeles Triathlon (Kaiser Permanente) - Olympic Distance
fantastic job...
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