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Long Beach Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Long Beach, California
United States
Pacific Sports LLC
57F / 14C
Total Time = 2h 05m 36s
Overall Rank = ?/1300
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 30/39
Pre-race routine:

Well, I popped my triathlon cherry today, and like the time I lost my actual virginity, it was fun, it hurt, and was over sooner than I expected! :)

I don't remember when I first heard about triathlons, but I do remember the first one that I watched. It was the 1995 Kona Ironman and was amazing. I couldn't believe people could actually do that. I found out that there were shorter local races that were very doable and was dying to try one. However, I was a college student with a full class load and two jobs. Training wasn't happening!

Over the next 11 years, I graduated, became a teacher, got married, got out of shape, and became a mother. I still had triathletic ambitions, but told myself I wouldn't even entertain the idea until I got into better shape.

Fast forward to September 2006. I got a bulletin to read to my students about the fact that they could earn community service hours by volunteering at the Long Beach Triathlon. I didn't know our city had its own triathlon! I looked it up and knew that I couldn't do the 1/2 mile swim, 11 mile bike ride, and 3.1 mile run in my current state of fitness, but thought that with a year of training, it might be possible. I vowed on that day to do this race in 07.

I was a good distance swimmer in high school, and had gotten back into swimming over the summer. I was doing a lot of laps, but not a half mile straight, and definitely not in open water. I rode my bike around town a little, but couldn't go more than 3 miles without aching legs. I couldn't run for even a minute. I could quickly walk for an hour, but no running. I had a lot of work ahead of me.

Over the next six months, I trained hard. I got to where I could do the swim and bike distances, but still struggled with shin problems on the run. I spent the next six months getting used to open water swimming, competing in two open water races, getting faster on the bike, getting used to a road bike, running more and more, doing a 5K race, joined the LA Tri Club, and felt a lot better. I was ready to race.

During my taper this week, I started having a lot of self doubt. I felt undertrained and like I wasn't ready for this race. But at some point last night, I just relaxed. I thought, there is nothing more I can do. What's done is done. So why not go out there and just have fun. With that, I relaxed, got good sleep and felt ready to go.

I got up crazy early at 4 am. I got dressed and had breakfast. I decided to forego coffee due to its um...diuretic effects. I opted for two caffeinated gels, a banana, some yogurt and part of a peanut butter bagel. My stomach started feeling goofy, so the rest of the bagel went in the trash. My bike was already in the Westy, so I threw in my transition bag, and headed downtown at about 5 am.

I arrived and there weren't a ton of cars in the lot, but people were definitely arriving. I got out, got my tri bag out, went to grab the bike, and DISASTER STRUCK!!! My back tire was completely flat! I couldn't believe it! It couldn't be the front one...the easy one to get off? The back one involves the chain, the derailleurs, and the cogs. Oh man! I had only changed one tire and it was on our balcony with my husband walking me through it. It definitely wasn't on a dark, nerve-wracking morning, alone in a parking lot, before a big race.

I called my husband and woke him up. I wanted a quick review of Tire Changing 101 before I started loosening things! I got the wheel off the frame easily. I didn't even need a tire iron to get the tire off, as a section of it was already off. Strange. There was a lot of the self-sealing foam stuff. Ew. I checked the inside of the tire and couldn't find any glass or pebbles or whatever that had caused the puncture. I took out the tube and couldn't believe it. There was an eight inch split along the seams. Wow!

I got the new tube on and the tire back in place. So far, so good. I then struggled to hold up the frame and get the wheel on. I saw a woman next to me flip her bike over to put her front wheel on and in a braindead, stupid moment, I flipped mine too, thinking it would make things easier. Did I stop to think about the chain being loose before I did this? Of course not. After flipping it I saw that the chain came off and was only now attached at the front derailleur and chainring. It was completely off of the rear derailleur. Oh crap! What had I done???

I called my husband in a complete panic. I couldn't remember which way to thread the chain, and on top of that, there were two kinks in the chain that I couldn't get out. At this point, tons of athletes were arriving and heading over the venue. The clock was ticking and I had just screwed up royally! He asked me if there was anyone I could ask for help. The tough thing is that everyone else has a race to get to. I didn't feel like I could bother them.

He was trying to explain to me how to unkink the chain and I couldn't do it. I began panicking and saying I was going to just come home. He told me to calm down and just play with it like a puzzle. He said that until they closed the transition area at 7 am, there was no reason to leave. I had to try. I played for a while, then in what would be the first of four amazingly exhilarating moments of the day, I got it undone. Woo hoo! From there if didn't take long to rethread the chain, get the tire back on, and pump it up. I went for a quick spin around the parking lot and it seemed okay, so I grabbed my stuff and headed off to the transition area. Of course, my plan was to get there at 5:30, not 6:15, so I was freaked out about time.

I headed over to the huge and crowded transition area. It took a while to find the bike racks that were for Wave 6, the athenas and clydesdales. But, there was no room on the racks. Oh man! Now what??? So I kept looking and finally was able to squeeze in. I frantically set up my transition area. There was a guy next to me that was really nice, gave me a lot of tips, and helped calm my nerves. Of course, he looked too little to be a Clydes. I looked and realized I had set up on the Wave 7 men and women over 50 rack. Uh oh. Hoped no one would notice. Maybe they would just think I had work done! :)

I was watching the clock get dangerously closer to race time, and headed over to the insanely long bathroom line. I had meant to eat, but no time. I had meant to scope out all entrances and exits, but no time. I even ended up stretching in the potty line, or it wouldn't have happened.

I headed back to the transition area and found a volunteer to do my body marking. The area was to close in ten minutes, so I quickly got the body glide on and got into my wetsuit. I grabbed my caps and goggles, and started the 1/2 mile walk up the beach. Still no sign of my family.

As I walked down I talked to another nervous newbie. I got to the start line at 7 am, as the elite wave was going off. I watched to see how they rounded the buoys. I had missed the pre-race meeting due to trauma and despair! :) I then found my husband and kids, and got quick hugs and kisses before heading in for warm up.
Event warmup:

I walked into the murky, brownish, greenish, bacteria infested, swamp-like post-storm ocean. Yuck! I think they should have included a round of penicillan and a tetanus shot in our goody bag! I could only get in a five minute warm up and was swimming through tons of branches and seaweed! Also, the water was FREEZING! I'm glad I had the wetsuit, but it was still a shock. I was joking with one of the clydes about how this was was much too warm and pristine for us! :)
  • 14m 29s
  • 880 yards
  • 01m 39s / 100 yards

I decided to place myself at the front, but on the outside away from the buoy. I'm a good swimmer and at my OW swims I started farther back and had to fight to pass people. I decided to arrogantly head to the front and am glad I did.

When we started, I got in quick. It didn't take too long to find a piece of water to swim in, though it was crowded. The first buoy came quickly and we there was a bit of a bottleneck getting around it. We turned right and headed up the beach for the longest leg of the swim.

I felt strong and wasn't panicky at all, which was nice. I was tempted to look back to see how many people were behind me, but resisted. I was tempted to see my time on my watch, but I resisted. I just kept going.

One woman was frustrating me. She was on my right and kept veering left pushing me off course, so I had to sprint around her. Then a guy doing breastroke came out of nowhere and almost kicked my goggles off. Passed him too.

For most of this leg I felt great. I was settling into a rythmn and felt strong. I did feel a big chip bag, or something on my hand, then down my body. Gross. I began passing some red caps from the wave ahead of me, which was nice. As I neared the final buoy, to make the right turn back to shore, things got congested again. I held my line and didn't let anyone swim over me. I was now in a weird spot where the slower people of the previous waves were breaststroking or backstroking ahead of me and I had to weave around them. At the same time, the fast people of the wave behind me were also trying to pass. It got crazy there at the end!

I looked at the shore and could see a crowd of people, but not the chute we were supposed to run down. Oh well. I noticed a lot of swimmers stand up and try to run in chest and waist-deep water. Not me. I swam past them and didn't stand until I felt that sand. I stood up, popped off my goggles and began jogging up the beach. I looked down at my stopwatch and had the second amazingly exhilarating moment of the race. The watch said 14 minutes! This distance had taken me 25 minutes in July! I couldn't believe my split was so fast! I was elated!
What would you do differently?:

I wouldn't do anything differently. I had cut my 100 time from 3:15 my first race, to 2:30 my second race, and it was 1:45 this time! Couldn't have done much better! I ended up 14/39 in my age group which ROCKED!
Transition 1
  • 09m 4s

Well, the first four minutes of the transition were spent heading up the beach in soft sand. That just sucked! I jogged for about a minute, but my calves started to ache, so I walked the rest. Now, all those people I had beaten in the swim were passing me at an alarming rate. Oh well.

I got my wetsuit around my waist and pulled off my caps and goggles. I saw my family, and they cheered and waved. By the time I got to the transition area, my calves were in PAIN! I was frustrated, because I still had to ride and run on those calves!

In the transition area I got my wetsuit off and got my shirt, socks, shoes, glasses, helmet, and gloves on. A piece of my glasses broke, but I was able to fix them quickly. The changing gear part of T1 took under 3 minutes, but it took a little while to walk my bike to the mount line. It was at the other end of the transition area.
What would you do differently?:

Besides not enter a race with a freaking soft sand run up the beach? :) I would have run through the transition area, but after that beach way!
  • 52m 4s
  • 11 miles
  • 12.68 mile/hr

I mounted the bike easily. But, there was an uphill exit out of the transition area with a sharp turn. Ugh. I kept climbing up to the turn near the Villa Riviera. Then, there was the glorious downhill. Ahhhh! I stopped pedaling, got into a tuck, and enjoyed it.

I quickly started getting fluids into me. I was getting passed a lot, but I didn't care. I really liked bike racing. I'd never done it before. We had the big road all to ourselves. It was also cool riding past all the places I've been many time. I went by the Villa Riviera, the Marina Green, the Convention Center, the Aquarium, the Pike, the ferris wheel. It was cool! Also, I passed my first person on this part! Woo hoo!

I was keeping a nice 16 - 17 mph clip, which was really good for me. The fast and elite were on their second lap and passing on my left quickly with their cool tri bikes and disc wheels. I did the turn around near the 710 and headed back up Shoreline. I made the right hand turn and was heading in to the part I dreaded - The Queensway Bridge. This was the only real climb in the race, but I had to do it four times. I just psyched myself up for it, got into my lowest gear, and spun to the top. It really wasn't as bad as I thought.

I started the downhill toward the Queen Mary, and there was a weird little jag where it went back up again. I went down and turned into the Queen Mary parking lot. There were speed bumps, which added a fun obstacle. At this point it was time for a gel and some fluids.

After leaving the parking lot it was back up over the bridge. This time was a little harder and my mph was a little lower, but I made it. The downhill was fast, but I feathered the brakes to slow down. I was worried about putting too much stress on the back wheel that I had somehow reattached. I went right on Shoreline and headed up to the turn around. It was nice to know the bike was half done. I couldn't believe my split time. It was faster than I had expected! I looked for my family, but didn't see them.

The second loop was even better. For one thing, the fast people were all running now, so the road was a lot less crowded. Plus, I realized that I love cycling. It was so fun to get out there, without traffic, and go fast. I loved it!

I passed a lot more people on this lap, which felt nice. My feet were numb at times, so I was careful to move them a lot. Also, my calves were struggling a little from the beach run, so on the downhills I'd stop pedaling and stretch them out. As I was riding, I felt bad as there were at least ten people that I passed who were fixing flat tires. Boy, I'm glad mine happened at 5:30 and not now. I even saw a woman walking back with her bike over her shoulder. What a bummer!

I got over the bridge, rounded through the Queen Mary and did my last climb. There was a real camraderie as us back-of-the-packers were heading into the last climb. I'm sure it's great to be up there with the fast people, but I think the back of the pack has a lot more spunk! :) At that point, I had my third amazingly exhilarating moment as I got to the top of the hill the final time. The hard part was behind me and I was within a mile and a half of the transition area. At this point, if my bike fell apart, I could freaking walk it back and still do the run.

I was slow going down the ramp at the end, as the race director had told us a gory accident story involving that ramp. I got off at the dismount line and my feet were numb. I remember saying "numb feet, numb feet, love running on numb feet" and the volunteers laughed.
What would you do differently?:

It was my first, so I can't be too critical. I was 28/39 in my age group, which was a lot better than I thought I'd do. I look forward to having more faith in my bike's functioning so that I can really open up and go faster on the downhills. Also, I need to get more practice on hills. This off season I plan to get a road bike that better fits female dimensions and get clipless pedals. Should make a real difference.
Transition 2
  • 02m 43s

T2 wasn't too bad. I did encounter the only jerk of the day. He was one of the fast people and was heading with his bike and gear back to his car. I was obviously racing still and he stepped out in front of me so that I had to stop for him to go by. Oh well, in an event of 1300 amazing nice people, one jerk isn't too bad.

I was worried about my running legs, so I didn't run through T2. I walked and that was fine. I dumped the helmet and gloves, and added running shorts, my race belt, and my hat. Off I went!
What would you do differently?:

Run, not walk and get a spot closer to the bike in/out entrance. I lost a lot of time on both transitions because I was on the other end. Also, not adding the running shorts and just running in bike shorts would save time, but only seconds, and I'm more comfortable running in bike shorts.
  • 47m 14s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 15m 14s  min/mile

So, I was 2/3 of the way done, but entering my weakest sport...the run! I still had never been able to run a full 5K heading into this race, so I was expecting to walk part of it. Plus, I was having shin trouble and had hurt a muscle in my left arch on Monday. I had no idea how this was going to go.

I headed out of the transition area and made a left. We had to jog about a quarter mile up the beach bike path, before turning around. I was surprised to see that the bike path wasn't closed to traffic, and there were people cycling by. Kind of annoying.

As expected, I was getting passed a lot. I tried not to let it bother me. I turned and headed back up the beach toward the transition area. I saw my family and they were waving and cheering. I also had to run by the finish chute where they were announcing the names of those finishing the race. Very ironic to be next to be literally 50 yards from the finish line, but technically over two and a half miles from it. Oh well.

I kept a slow jog to warm up and see how my shins and arch were going to treat me. They were doing okay. I turned and headed out near the Shoreline Marina. This is a great place to run. Couldn't be flatter. I passed the yacht club and the gangway leading to Bob and Cathy's boat. I was still getting passed and still didn't care.

I hit the one mile marker and my watch said it was 17 minutes. Now, that's slow...I know...but in my 5K this summer, my first mile was 19 minutes, so I cut two minutes and did this all while swimming and biking first. I can live with that.

My legs felt good, so I went faster. When my arch would ache I'd slow down, then speed back up later. I crossed the road and went to the part past Shoreline Village heading out to the end of the harbor. This is nice because I was running past the Queen Mary and it was gorgeous! There were two women cracking me up. They were having so much fun running together. They had a camera and would trade off taking goofy pictures of each other and the Queen Mary. They were having fun and I love that! At this point in the game, everyone was so supportive. All the back-of-the-pack runners were cheering each other on and just having fun!

I made the turn around and knew I was more than halfway there! Yay! I got to the two mile marker and had gone a 15 minute pace this time. Not bad. I dropped two minutes from the first mile. After this I would get faster at times, but then feel tired and slow down. I was determined not to walk, and never did. I ran the whole 5K for the first time, which was awesome. I knew I would rather maintain a slow run, then go back and forth between faster running and walking.

On the way back I could see that there were a lot more runners behind me than I thought, so there was no way I'd be DFL. Thank goodness! As I headed into the final stretch, I saw my husband and kids ahead of me. The kids were going nuts and cheering. They then started doing the Bugs Bunny cheer "Fricka fracka firecracka, ciss boom bah. Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny. Rah, rah, rah." Too freaking cute!

I made a left then a right and there were a bunch of people there cheering. I turned the last right and had my final amazingly exhilarating moment, which was running through the finish line. Damn that felt good! I had done it! I was a triathlete! It felt great!
What would you do differently?:

Not much, really. After all, I ran the whole thing, which I hadn't done. I'm sure I'll feel the effects of that tomorrow, by the way. Training more consistently will help me drop time. But, I averaged 15 minute miles as opposed to 17 minute miles in my 5K this summer. It's not great, but for a girl who couldn't run a single minute a year ago...I'd say it's excellent!

Also, I was 37/39 for my age group. That means that despite my slowness, I still beat two other women! Woo hoo!
Post race
Warm down:

I gave the volunteer my timing chip, got hugs and kisses from my family, the walked around. The woman who came in after me was laughing about how I had the best cheering section! I walked back to the transition area because I wanted to get my Endurox. I somehow got all my gear back in my bag, grabbed the bike, and headed back to my car.

My husband laughed...sort the foamy, greasy mess in the back of his car from what will now affectionately be known as the tire meltdown incident of 07. Then we were off to Hof's Hut for a much deserved breakfast. There were a ton of other racers and volunteers at Hof's too, which made for a fun atmosphere.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Inconsistent training and inexperience.

Event comments:

I got to do my first race in my hometown with my family there. I got times much faster than I expected. It doesn't get much better than that!

Last updated: 2007-04-03 12:00 AM
00:14:29 | 880 yards | 01m 39s / 100yards
Age Group: 14/39
Overall: 0/1300
Performance: Good
Suit: Zoot Two Sleeveless
Course: 75 yards out to a buoy, right turn, swim parallel to the beach, then right turn back to shore
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 57F / 14C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Average
Time: 09:04
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
00:52:04 | 11 miles | 12.68 mile/hr
Age Group: 28/39
Overall: 0/1300
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: 2 loop circuit down Shoreline Ave., turn around before the 710 freeway, right turn over the Queensway Bay Bridge, loop through the Queen Mary parking lot, back over the bridge, right turn back onto Shoreline.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:43
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
00:47:14 | 03.1 miles | 15m 14s  min/mile
Age Group: 37/39
Overall: 0/1300
Performance: Good
Course: Little loop up the beach bike path, then along the Shoreline Marina and back.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2007-09-23 3:17 PM

User image

Long Beach, CA
Subject: Long Beach Triathlon

2007-09-23 9:03 PM
in reply to: #975748

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2007-09-23 10:09 PM
in reply to: #975748

Extreme Veteran
Cary, NC
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Congratulations, Triathlete!  That was an awesome race and an incredible Race Report.
2007-09-23 10:11 PM
in reply to: #975748

Cypress, CA
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

Sounds like you had a great race, and a great story to tell about the tire meltdown--can't beat it when you get a new legend out of it!


2007-09-23 10:17 PM
in reply to: #975748

Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Hey you did great!! I also wrote a long discourse in an email to friends, but I haven't posted it on BT yet. Doesn't it feel GREAT to do these? Enjoy your rest and then get training again!!
2007-09-23 10:49 PM
in reply to: #975748

Eugene, Orygun
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

Way to go!!!  You did it!!!

Great race report, too. (and LOVED the virginity analogy...!

2007-09-23 11:03 PM
in reply to: #975748

Extreme Veteran
Brisbane QLD
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

sealiongirl - 2007-09-24 6:17 AM Well, I popped my triathlon cherry today, and like the time I lost my actual virginity, it was fun, it hurt, and was over sooner than I expected!


 I love'd your report.  That first line had me hooked from the word GO

2007-09-24 6:16 AM
in reply to: #975748

Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Congratulations triathlete!! Fantastic race and the report was teriffic, enjoy the high!
2007-09-24 8:22 AM
in reply to: #975748

West Chester, Ohio
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Excellent job!  I've never changed either of my tires so a race morning flat would have me so messed up I would have headed home like you thought about.  That feeling you have crossing the chute is indescribable.
2007-09-24 8:31 AM
in reply to: #975748

Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Big congrats and your swim was super fast! Glad you managed to sort the itre out yourself but never feel bad about asking other racers for help - if they can help then they will! Afterall you never know when you will need to return the favor.

Hope to see you at another race - it sounds like you are hooked!

2007-09-24 8:33 AM
in reply to: #975748

Owings, MD
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

What a great race report!  Way to go triathlete! 

2007-09-24 9:04 AM
in reply to: #975748

Dallas, TX
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
WONDERFUL race report! Congratulations on becoming a triathlete. You set a goal for yourself and achieved it!

Great job on dropping your times too! Terrific!

Numb feet... suck! I hate it. But what can ya do?

BOPer's are more fun! They can actually talk while they run... HA! I know, because I'm always BOP on the run and I'm talking. The fast people are so focused they rarely acknowledge anyone around them.

Again, wonderful job out there!
2007-09-24 10:22 AM
in reply to: #975748

Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Gotta love it! Detailed report too! You'll be so much better prepared for the next tri now. And hopefully no long beach run either!
2007-09-24 8:55 PM
in reply to: #975748

Carlsbad, California
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

Hey, great job out there this weekend.

I did not get a chance to meet you at The Pacific Openwater Challenge but I do remember from your report that you swim like a fish. (And your swim split confirms this)

It's funny, it usually hits me in the first part of the bike how much fun I am having and it sounds like you were having a blast. (Early morning bike issues aside) Lucky that you had some support out there.

Best of all, you dug deep and made the run happen. Sounds like you exceeded all of your expectations even with some niggles going into the race.

I have never done the Tri there, but have done the Marathon, and I was able to visualize the parts of the course you were describing. Running the bike path is always my favorite part of races there.

Very nicely done

2007-09-25 1:13 AM
in reply to: #975748

Extreme Veteran
Bend, OR
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon

Congratulations!!  You set out to achieve a goal and you did just that.  I hope you continue the journey.  Cheers!

"I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestioned ability of a man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor." Henry David Thoreau
2007-09-25 11:57 PM
in reply to: #975748

So Cal.
Subject: RE: Long Beach Triathlon
Fantastic race report.  Congratulations on your first race!

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