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The Day at the Beach Triathlon - TriathlonSprint

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Hermosa Beach, California
United States
63F / 17C
Total Time = 1h 47m 43s
Overall Rank = 750/800
Age Group = Athena
Age Group Rank = 15/17
Pre-race routine:

Well, here it was, my second race…my first race as a triathlete and not a newbie, tri-virgin, or whatever you want to call it. During taper week, I didn't feel nearly as nervous as last time. However, I didn't get good sleep, which I need to work on. Other than that, I felt that I was heading into this race better than into Long Beach, since I didn't have any injuries I was nursing. However, last night I started feeling not so hot. I had a migraine and was really exhausted. I didn't sleep well and didn't feel great this morning. This morning my usual adrenaline rush was a no-show!

My routine wasn't unlike last time. I got up, got ready, ate breakfast, stretched and left. This time I pumped my tires at home so that if I did have an AM flat, my husband could help me change it. Tires looked good. No explosions! Already the day was seemingly off to a better start than last time.

I drove to Hermosa and had to make a pit stop at Carl’s Jr. I arrived, was able to park close to the transition area and was surprised how many people were there before 6 am. When I got to my rack, only one other bike was on it. NICE! Last time I had to move people's stuff to fit mine in. Now I had plenty of room. Note to self...much better to get to the transition area early. I tried last time...I really did...but tire malfunctions kept me away!

I saw that Tim was a volunteer checking our wrist bands as we headed into the transition area, so I said hi. He was one of the Ocean 101 instructors. I quickly got my area set up in the dark. I made sure that I could find my bike from both the swim-in and the bike-in. Glad I did because that was one long-ass transition area! I headed over to the potties, then walk out to see the waves. They looked small which was good news. I headed back to the transition area to stretch. After a little while they were saying that we had to be out of the transition area by 6:45 for the meeting. I was frustrated because no one could tell me whether or not the transition area would be open five minutes later after the meeting or not. At Long Beach the transition area was closed at race time. This time, my wave wasn't even set to go off until 49 minutes after the race start, and I hate to hang out in my wetsuit any longer than necessary. Since no one could answer my question, I went ahead and got into my wetsuit and got my caps and goggles. FYI...silver cap, much more flattering than the hot pink last time! :)

I headed over to the stage as the announcer was threatening to disqualify anyone still in the transition area! The meeting was short and sweet. No biggy. Got a few good tips. The cool thing is that when the race director asked how many people were about to race their first tri, about half of the hands went up. I'm hardly a seasoned triathlete, but it sure was nice to not be a newbie and know that I wasn't one of the nervous, anxious first-timers. I headed back to the transition area since it was still 55 minutes until my wave. I called my husband just to say hi. I wanted to hear his voice before the race. He and the kids wanted to come to the race, but the Long Beach Marathon is also today and our street is blocked off. It would have been tough getting in and out, so they stayed home. It was kind of a buzz kill to know that I wouldn't have anyone there to cheer me on. Oh well.

I decided to hit the potty one last time. My zipper pull fell in the toilet. Eeeeeewwwwwww gross! Oh well. I started heading up the beach and met ChrisM and his wife. They were super nice. I went near the water and watched the first few waves go off. The water looked cold...I was stalling, but knew I should get in and warm up.
Event warmup:

I got in and it wasn't nearly as cold as it had been last Sunday at the swim clinic. Cool. I was unsure as to how to warm up exactly. Normally I'd swim for about 10 minutes to loosen up the arms. However, I'd never done a race with waves. Swimming is easier said than done, and I worried about getting too tired fighting through the waves.

So, I practiced diving under a few and practiced body surfing. Turns out I suck at bodysurfing. Need to work on that. At least it got my arms moving, but not nearly enough. I was having fun, but realized I was pushing it and didn't want to get too tired, so I got out. I stood and talked to several other silver-capped women as we watched the next few waves go off. There were several women that I had met the week before at the swim clinic, so it was fun to talk to them.

When the time came, we went and lined up on the sand. I was sort of excited, but also just felt like I was lacking the energy that I had at the Long Beach starting line. I was a little worried about how I'd do. Plus, my goggles kept fogging up despite using anti-fog spray. That was frustrating me because it made it a lot harder to see the waves. Great. That's all I need! Then the guy yelled "one minute" and my nerves went into overdrive! Here we go!
  • 12m 59s
  • 440 yards
  • 02m 57s / 100 yards

Okay, I just have to say, that the SWIM did not take me 12 minutes and 59 seconds. I was out of the water in 10, but it took me 3 minutes to get from the water to the transition area. So, although my swim kind of sucked, it didn't suck as bad as a 12:59 would imply.

The gun went off and we had to run to the water. I hate that. I was situated at the front of the pack, but am a crappy runner, so I was already middle of the pack by the time we hit water. Great. I was off to a slow start, but kinda figured I would be. This was my first race with waves, so I planned to take it slow and easy to get through them and not stress out. They were only 2-3 foot waves, so it was no biggy. I wouldn't say I did a stellar job of getting past them, but it wasn't too bad.

I got past the breaking point and was now swimming toward the first buoy. These buoys were nice...big and red...couldn't miss them! As I rounded the first buoy I started to get discouraged. My arms didn't feel so great. I felt lethargic. This is the one sport of the three that I'm good at and I just felt really tired. This should be the best part of the race, and I felt like crap. I rounded the second buoy feeling no better and headed back toward shore. I kept swimming and just let the waves wash over me. I wasn't able to bodysurf any of them.

I stood up, popped off my goggles, and was out of the water in 10 minutes. Not too great. Based on my Long Beach pace I should have been out in 7, but waves do make it tougher. I was glad the swim was over, but very discouraged with both my performance and my energy level. Maybe I was tired from lack of sleep. Maybe I was catching my daughter's cold. Maybe I hadn't trained enough in the weeks since Long Beach. Who knows. All I know is that the thought of quitting actually passed through my head. I actually thought "I'm not up for this. I should pack up and go home." Definitely not the good attitude I'd had at my first race. It was frustrating.
What would you do differently?:

I need to get in a lot more wave practice. This is my only wave tri this season, but I plan to do some next season. I need to spend hours out in the surf dolphining, diving under waves, practicing ins and outs, and bodysurfing. Also, I need to try to do a better warm up. In retrospect, I realize that about 10 minutes into an open water swim is often when I get into a groove where I feel I could swim forever. Today, I was out of the water in ten minutes. Maybe the feeling of malaise was because of that. I know that I'm better at longer distances. In high school, I was better at the 500 than the 200, and better at the 200 than the 100. I think I perform better with a longer swim. Go figure! Ultimately, my average per 100 was 2:15. That is worse than Long Beach, but still better than both my open water races this summer. Really, not as bad as it felt at the time.
Transition 1
  • 05m 28s

Ugh! As I got out of the water, I jogged just past the Brightroom photographer. Don’t want to look too pathetic in my overpriced picture. Then I walked. I was tired, I was frustrated and I didn't want to do the rest of the race. I couldn't believe it. I didn't care anymore. I slowly walked the rest of the way to T1. I knew from Long Beach that running on soft sand tore up my calves, so I walked...slowly. People were cheering me on and it felt patronizing, not encouraging. I also missed not having someone to cheer me on. I thought it would be no biggy to be there without family, but it kinda sucked.

I kept walking past the bathrooms, across the timing mat and to my bike rack. I was so slow in T1. I just didn't care. I planned to continue with the race, but was apathetic about time at this point. I basically wanted to finish so that I wouldn't have to tell everyone I got a DNF. But, I didn't care about my performance anymore.

It took a while to get changed and get my bike. I slowly walked it to the bike mount line. I already felt defeated, but I was there, I was in bike clothes, I had a bike, ready or not...I was riding. It also sucked to see so many of the men running back in to get ready for the run. Of course, because of the long 7 minute intervals between waves, there was probably a guy or too done with the whole race before my wave got into the water!
What would you do differently?:

I really need to practice running barefoot on soft sand. It uses all different muscles and is a strain on my calves. So far both races have required this and it is a skill I've never practiced. It will be part of my off season training.

I also need to compete in the transitions. I was sort of slow at this and at Long Beach and thought I'd do better, not worse this time. I also need to not get discouraged. I need to treat each part of the race as it's own race and not let how I did on one part affect the others.
  • 41m 46s
  • 10 miles
  • 14.37 mile/hr

I mounted my bike and basically had an intersection to cross before I'd be heading up the hill on Pier Ave. that I dreaded. I got on and started pedaling. Before the climb started I went to change gears on my front chain ring and the derailleur moved, but it didn't shift. Oh shit! I can't climb this hill in low gear! This had happened briefly in Long Beach on one of the climbs, but it eventually switched and I was okay. But, I wasn't so lucky this time. I barely got up the hill and couldn't go anymore. I had to stop and WALK THE FREAKING BIKE UP THE HILL!!! Okay, this was NOT helping my negative, defeated feeling. It only fueled the fire. As I did the walk of shame up the hill I was passed by many people. Great.

I got to a point where the road had mostly leveled off so I got back on the bike. Because there was a slight incline still, it was hard to get on and I almost fell off. Nice. I got on and couldn't move the pedal. Now what??? I got off again and moved the front derailleur back to where it was before and tried moving the pedal. This time it worked. I got back on and started pedalling. It seemed to be okay. So, I began heading toward Valley. I was frustrated, but at least I was actually riding the bike now.

I made the left turn onto Valley. It was a nice street. I was going easy as I often do the first mile just to warm up. I realized that I was going 17 mph at one point. I wasn't going as slow as I thought I was. Then something kind of kicked in and I decided that I wanted to get a better mph at this race than Long Beach, so I started racing.

I rounded Gould and turned onto Ardmore. I loved Ardmore it was a nice long downhill and I got some great speed. I was getting passed, but also passing a lot of people. The course felt a little tight, but I got used to it. I turned on Second slowly as we were warned about this turn. I was now back on Valley heading back toward Pier. I found the time to get in a quick gel and some fluids. I realized that I hadn't drank enough fluids and vowed to take in more on the second lap.

The second lap started better than the first. I was keeping a good clip, for the most part. My watch wasn't showing my splits the way they usually do so I wasn't sure if it was recording them or not. Oh well. I got onto Ardmore and was looking forward to the fast downhill part. I decided to take a sip of gatorade before getting into a tuck. Now, this is why I should never laugh at anything anyone else does in a race. I have read several race reports about people getting dehydrated and bonking during the run because they had dropped their water bottle. I thought, "how hard is it to hold onto a freaking water bottle?" Well, turns out it is harder than I slipped through my fingers and fell to the ground. Damn! I yelled sorry to the women behind me and kept on going. I had only had about a third of it. Now I worried about dehydrating and bonking. Great. One more thing to stress about. I figured, no use crying over spilt gatorade, so I went into a tuck and hit some of my fastest speeds of the race.

The rest of lap two was uneventful, until I got to Pier Ave. A volunteer stopped the bikes because a fire truck had to get through. I heard a woman with aerobars get pretty mad. I slowed way up and was able to stay on my bike and ride through. As everyone started picking up speed, one woman turning left and one going straight almost got into a crash. Luckily they didn't!

I started lap 3 and at this point it was pretty much all women on the course. Kind of nice. I love men...they're great...but the women just seem more encouraging and less aggressive. As I turned back onto Ardmore for the last time, I wondered if I would see my water bottle. I wondered if I should stop and pick it up. I did see it and decided that I had a good pace and didn't feel like stopping and dealing with it. After all, it was a cheap, 12 year old bottle. Actually it was my husband's bottle. Oh well...I'll get him a new one!

I finished out lap 3 and turned left to head back down Pier toward the transition area. Pier is much easier to ride down than up! Ha! I was feeling better as I was pretty sure that I had gotten a personal best on the bike. I feathered my brakes and took the hill slowly. I dismounted and walked it into T2. My feet were numb, as were other parts I'd rather not discuss. Good times.
What would you do differently?:

I now know that if I'm going right into an uphill, I should just have the bike in high gear already. I also need to keep a better hold on my water bottle. The shifting on my road bike was a pain. The shifters are on the down tube, not the break levers, so they're a real hassle on a course like this with rolling hills. I need to get a road bike with better gear shift levers. Overall, my average was 14.3 mph (which does include the uphill walk and stopping to figure out gear freakiness, so my pace was much higher when I was riding)...better than the 13 mph at Long Beach.
Transition 2
  • 02m 57s

Well, on the heels of a personal best on the bike, I was feeling more optimistic. I was kind of slow in T2, but not because I felt defeated, just because I had a long run ahead of me and didn't want to rush. Lots of people were done and leaving, but I tried not to think about that and started running through T2. When I left the area, Tim saw my hat and yelled "Yeah LA Tri Club!"
What would you do differently?:

I need to run in with the bike and get dressed quicker. I also would like to find running shorts that go on faster. Mine always get caught on my shoes.
  • 44m 32s
  • 3.1 miles
  • 14m 22s  min/mile

As I headed out on the run, there were a ton of the athletes that were already done there to cheer us on. My legs felt good, but I went out a little slower as I always do, just to make sure that my shins weren't going to flip out or anything. Now, this run was blind. I have never been on the strand and didn't get to check it out ahead of time. Oh well...seemed straightforward up the beach, turn around when they tell me to, then run back down the beach.

Since my HRM was acting up I couldn't keep track of my pace. This was most frustrating on the run...but the theme of today was technology failure, so this fit right in. A lot of people were passing me, which is par for the course on the run. I kept going, my legs felt good, and I finally saw the one mile marker and ade station. Bummer...just water, no gatorade. I looked down at my watch and couldn't believe it! I had gone a 16 minute mile. At Long Beach my first mile had been 17 minutes. This really kicked my ass into gear. I realized that I had a shot at getting my rest run time as well and wanted to do that, so I sped up.

Not long after we had to go up a small staircase, then turned and I believe were now in Manhattan Beach. I kept waiting for that turnaround...and waiting...and waiting...and waiting...where the hell was it? Oh...there it is! Finally! The volunteer yelled "you're halfway there" and I think I yelled "fuck yeah!"

Now was my chance to see how many people...if any...were still behind me. Luckily there were several...but not a ton! Knowing the run was half over, I sped up. As I went back down the steps I thought "hey, that house looks like the 90210 house." Don't know. Oh well. I saw a million cups on the ground and got all excited to be at the 2 mile marker. I looked at my watch and was STOKED! I had gone this mile in 14.5 minutes. This was my first sub-15 minute mile this year! Woo hoo! I was TOTALLY on track for a personal best on the run. This fired me up and I started running faster. Then, I realized I didn't have it in me to keep that pace, and backed off a bit.

I saw a woman in front of me with "ATH" on her calf and knew she was in my age group. I totally had to take her! She was walking as I jogged up to her. When she saw me she started running. She wasn't going to let me pass her without a fight! So, I remembered how I used to race in high school and I ran right behind her. I figured if she was walking before, she'd probably walk again. Sure enough, she did and I passed her. At least I knew I wouldn't be last in my age group.

The finish line was now in sight. I was speeding up and got a fast clip going! People were cheering, and I felt good. Until...I hit the freaking soft sand. How cruel is that! I've got my best pace of the day and now it's like I'm running through molasses! Ugh! So, I slowly pushed my way through the quick-sand to the finish. Woo hoo! I did it! As I crossed one volunteer handed me a participants medal and another handed me a towel soaked in cold water. Brilliant! Whoever had the cold towel idea is a freaking genius! It felt so good! Although I didn't realize it at the time, but I went a 12.5 min mile at the end! Woo hoo! That's way faster than the 15 minute mile I ended on last time! I love it!
What would you do differently?:

Once again, I need to practice running on soft sand. Other than that, I think I pulled out a good run. I'm really happy with it.
Post race
Warm down:

After getting my cold towel and some water, I started walking. Last time I didn't cool down properly and was determined to this time. I walked five minutes down the strand then 5 minutes back up. I went into the transition area and got my endurox and cell phone. I called my husband to let him know I was done, then went to watch the awards.

I went back and got my bike and bag. I drove home but couldn't get off the 405 in Long Beach, because the marathon was still going on. I had to get off in Seal Beach and back track my way through the marina. I was surprised that I ended up getting to park literally across the street from the entrance to our condos. Not too bad. I called my husband and he and the kids met me across the street for a late breakfast at Hof's Hut.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

For the most part I did perform faster. However, I think that being tired this week didn't help. Also, I did very little training between Long Beach and this race. I was sick a week and a half from the mutant water and by the time I got back into training, it was time to taper! Also, the faulty gears on an old bike played a factor in the bike leg.

Event comments:

This race was a rollercoaster for me. On the negative side, I had a rough swim, I felt tired, I was slow in transition, my bike gears failed, I lost a water bottle, and I didn't have any friends or family there to cheer me on. On the plus side, I got my personal best on the bike and a much improved personal best on the run. When I started this whole triathlon training thing, I was afraid that I'd barely survive a sprint tri. Now I know that even on a day where I feel like crap, I can still finish a race and even pull off some good times. I just need to keep the negative attitude in check. Whenever I get discouraged again in a race, I'll remember the race where I almost quit, then went on to get two of my best times.

Last updated: 2007-04-03 12:00 AM
00:12:59 | 440 yards | 02m 57s / 100yards
Age Group: 15/17
Overall: 589/800
Performance: Below average
Suit: Zoot Two Sleeveless
Course: typical horseshoe: right at the first buoy, right at second buoy, back to shore
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 05:28
Performance: Bad
Cap removal: Bad Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Bad
00:41:46 | 10 miles | 14.37 mile/hr
Age Group: 15/17
Overall: 733/800
Performance: Good
Wind: None
Course: Climb up Pier Ave., 3 laps on a circuit, back down Pier Ave.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Below average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Not enough
Time: 02:57
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
00:44:32 | 03.1 miles | 14m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 14/17
Overall: 751/800
Performance: Good
Course: Flat out and back on the strand
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Below average
Mental exertion [1-5] 1
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? No
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4

2007-10-14 4:30 PM

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Long Beach, CA
Subject: The Day at the Beach Triathlon

2007-10-14 9:04 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

Edited by mixie 2007-10-14 9:04 PM
2007-10-14 9:15 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon

Way to go Jocelyn!   Ad think about it, the swim, your best, you felt the worst in, but the run, your weakest, you felt the best in!!!!!  That should make you feel good, the swim will always come back to you, no worries about that.

And Congrats for passing that Athena!

Oh yeah, that is the 90210 house, my friend lives on the top floor. 

Again, great job

2007-10-15 10:11 AM
in reply to: #1007587

Redondo Beach, CA
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
Isn't is great how no matter how bad one leg of a triathlon goes, or no matter how bad you feel about it, it can all change as you move on to the next leg? Congratulations on the fine competitive finish and the PRs.
2007-10-15 12:37 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
Congratulations on not throwing in the towel and going the distance! I think you did a fantastic job, you should be proud of your accomplishment!
2007-10-15 2:24 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Long Beach, CA
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
Thanks so much everyone! I did learn a lot about the mental aspect of triathlon. They're not all going to be sun-shiny happy races, but I can't let that get me down. I think I'll be able to not feel so defeated at the next race!

2007-10-15 3:37 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
YAY JOCELYN!!! You GO! I loved your race report. Especially when you passed the other Athena, "she walked before she'll walk again" and boom! there you go! Man, I love that. Congratulations on the PRs too - GREAT JOB!!!
2007-10-15 9:27 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Silver member
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
Nice Race! congratulations.  sometimes the hardest thing is to keep going, and you certanly did that.  Always remember DNS<DNF<DFL. Congrats!
2007-10-16 2:38 AM
in reply to: #1008926

Northridge, California
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
sealiongirl - 2007-10-15 12:24 PM

Thanks so much everyone! I did learn a lot about the mental aspect of triathlon. They're not all going to be sun-shiny happy races, but I can't let that get me down. I think I'll be able to not feel so defeated at the next race!

Great RR...I quoted a lot of it (esp. swim) to my wife, who told me after the last sprint we did that she got sulky/contrary/defeatist on the run when she discovered it was a trail run, rather than a road course. She finished it out--resentfully...and ended up missing a first-ever medal in her AG by 28 seconds. So, yeah, you never know how it'll bite you if you give into a defeated mindset in a race. They won't all be PRs for any of us and you rarely know (at least in my experience) in advance when you're gonna have a bad day. Good job working through it!
2007-10-16 3:22 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Sherman Oaks, CA
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon
Great job and RR!
2007-10-17 4:03 PM
in reply to: #1007587

Owings, MD
Subject: RE: The Day at the Beach Triathlon

Great race report, Jocelyn!  Even with all the adversity and those negative messages from your brain, you persevered -- the sign of a true ATHENA! 

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