Sunday morning at 6:30 a.m., I woke to the sound of the National Anthem.
Since I wake up before 6 a.m. on most days, including Saturdays, Sundays are my day to sleep in! Being woken up at 6:30 was not pleasant, but soon I came to the conclusion that there was nothing I could do about the commotion and I better just get up. We had been informed of the upcoming Encinitas Sprint Triathlon via letter several times and the streets had been marked to be blocked off for days, so we knew itw as coming. I guess we were just hoping it wouldn’t affect us!
Since we were up, Mike and I decided to go watch the race. As I have mentioned in a couple posts and tweets, I signed up for my first sprint distance triathlon, the Solana Beach Triathlon, which takes place on Sunday, July 24. Although I probably could have snuggled up and gone straight back to bed, I figured it was a good opportunity to check out a triathlon. The only other tri I’ve attended was when I watched Mike compete in the Solana Beach tri last year (and watched him place 4th in his age group!).
So, we bundled up and headed down to the sand to watch the age-group wave starts. I must say that I will DEFINITELY be wearing a wet suit for my triathlon. Although it is May in San Diego, it is still cold at 6:30 a.m. and the water is even colder. I learned a few things from watching the wave starts and talking to Mike about it. First, you wear your timing chip around your ankle. Second, it looks very difficult to swim quickly through oncoming waves. Third, I think I will start a little behind the pack of swimmers so that I don’t get kicked in the face.
Next we moved over to the water exit area. The swimmers ran out of the water looking quite tired, some stripped off their swim cap and googles immediately while others left them on. I’m guessing I’ll want to take mine off as soon as possible! The swimmers had to run up quite a steep hil to get the transition zone. I already knew this, but the time it takes to exit the water and run to the transition zone is included in your swim time, and the actual distance that you swim can change from race to race depending on how long you have to run from the water to the transition (i.e. the longer the transition, the shorter the swim).
The transition zone is just an area of the parking lot that is blocked off from the public and contains row after row of bikes. Next to the bikes are backpacks full of the gear needed to transition from a swim to a bike and then a bike to a run (cycle shoes, hats, sunscreen, towels, running shoes, etc). Once the racer exits the transition zone, they can’t get on their bikes until they hit a certain marker. Mike told me that this area gets really congested in some races and it’s best to walk your bike past the marker and mount it there. This is usually where a lot of collisions happen. This is also where the dreaded clip-in fall is most likely to happen – i.e. when you get on your bike with your shoes clipped in but can’t get them out in time and fall over. We saw this happen to one poor woman who unfortunately broke some part of her bike during the fall and had to have someone help her fix it (Mike questioned if this is allowed since it is also a rule that you must change your own bike tire during the race if something were to happen to it).
We stayed long enough at the transition zone to actually see some of the front runner men finish the bike and move on to the run. They were SPEEDY! It’s going to be interesting to see how the run goes for me. I haven’t run a 5k since November or so, right when I started training for the Carlsbad half marathon. I know that I’m a faster runner now, but I’m not sure how much faster I’ll be after a swim and a run!
We followed the bike and run course for a bit on our way to a local coffee shop, noting that the bike and run course seemed really complicated and confusing. Basically the course wound through the neighborhood near my house and there were some tight turns! We finally found haven at a local coffee shop and both of us indulged in a coffee drink – Mike got plain coffee and I went a little overboard and got a Crazy Monkey Latte – nonfat milk, banana syrup and chocolate! It was delicious and we had quite a buzz from it (we gave up coffee when we started P90X in January and since we finished P90X have only had it a few times). I don’t plan to go back to being a daily coffee drinker like I was before P90X, but I do think that from time to time there is nothing wrong with indulging! Plus it’s even better this way because we get the buzz that we were immune to before!
Watching this triathlon got me even more excited to learn this new sport and try it out in July. In addition to the sprint triathlon, we plan to do an Olympic distance tri in September – The TriRock, which is put on by Competitor, the same group that organizes Rock n Roll. After we finish this marathon (in less than 2 ½ weeks – wow!), I’ll start swimming and biking. For now – running is my number one priority!
For more info on the Encinitas Sprint Triathlon, go to www.encinitastriathlon.com