Best of the US!This picture was my nightmare worst case scenario for this race. Luckily the pic was AFTER the race and not in the middle of the race, so all was good. PHEW. As many of you know about 2 weeks ago I encountered a case of the " MY BUTT wants to be done" -ITIS, it was the same day as AG natz that my butt started saying " You said TODAY was our last race, what is this 2 weeks to go stuff?" Turns out the temperature change, a hard week of running and just general body wanting rest made the 2 weeks leading up to BOUS a bit of a mental and physical challenge for me.
But...I was going to go and give it the old college try. Why not? I had plenty of sleepless nights about my sore backside, and my overactive PT brain had me thinking WAY too deeply about this. Finally I had to just say " I AM NOT INJURED" over and over again and that seemed to work.
Rich and I arrived friday afternoon and got settled, we flew into San Diego bc we would spend a day in La Jolla on the backside of this journey and fly out post race. We drove up to Mission Viejo and got a good nights rest friday and saturday then started with a bang! We kept MN time bc it would prove to be helpful for a 7 am race start sunday. So we were up early friday and went to Lake Mission Viejo to swim and bike and run. Other than they wouldnt let us in the water, oh well. It is a lovely lake, and let me tell you, Mission Viejo is a lovely place if you ever get a chance to visit. I know its a big swimming town, and this lake is owned by the community who pays to maintain it. Super nice. So instead i just biked and ran, and well...the run didnt go so well. Ok. Dont cry. 9 minutes of running and my butt was not happy.
Here is Rich showing me how to cross the finish line:)
Sigh. I did meet Seeley and we talked a bit and then Rich and i headed back to the hotel for another breakfast. Rich was killing me! I had been trying so hard to eat really well, and he goes and buys carrot cake whoopie pies! Oh and Red wine cube juice boxes! ( not for breakfast!)
We had a busy day planned with packet pick up, a race meeting with a Tri coach from the area. She was SOOO enthusiastic but she kinda stressed me out bc she was SOOOOO enthusiastic. I think she must have been a 1st grade teacher or a drama major. Or just really really hyper:) Anyways we headed out to drive the course and boy was i glad i did. It was hilly but LONG hills, the kinds i love:) And i knew i would need to use the small ring a few times. But what a descent it would be when we got to go down into the canyon.
We made it back to the 2pm Bous meeting where Jerry and Trudy introduced alot of the athletes, we "meeted and greeted" ( bad grammer, but you get the idea) and got our numbers and our wine:) hee hee.
What a great race goodie. It's a local label called Wyland with wildlife on the label. Yum!
The only sorta stressful thing ( other than the tri coach lady who was doing cartwheels and talking REALLY loud) was getting T2 set up the day before. I have had separate T areas before, like at KS, but i have never had to leave my run shoes outside all night. So i wrapped them up in a baggie with my visor and my nutrition and we left those at T2. I was lucky that i thought ahead bc many people race morning were without warm up shoes since they didnt have two pairs of run shoes.
I slept ok, not great, but ok and got up around 3:45 am ( PT) The lake opened at 5 am and the parking was going to be tight so we figured we would get a spot right at 5 and then take our time getting into Transition. That worked like a charm. It was so helpful to have Rich help with my bike, carry some stuff and just calm me down a bit pre-race. I tell ya, those headlamps are pretty cool but i dont know if people who are wearing them know HOW BRIGHT they are in your face when they turn to ask you a question! Whoa, blinding.
I warmed up a tiny bit in the parking lot with my special pair of shoes:) I did laps up and down and actually felt OK! WOW. Dont jinx it, just go with it. I have to admit that i did start taking celebrex (bid) the day before ( for my period, which thank you very little arrived race day too! Alright, this is gonna be a sufferfest for real!) And then figured i didnt need to win the warm up and stopped.
Marit was arriving and i found her right before i got into the water to warm up! Pink socks and all I cant say how fun and special it was to see her, and for Rich to have a veteran Triathlete to spectate with all morning. Most the race day pics are from Marit, who truly knows how to capture a moment on film. And who knows how to say just the right thing to make me feel like a champion:) more on that later.
Ok did you want to read about the race?:) you know some of that is a blur but here goes:
SWIM: The water was about 74 and perfect. I was not hot or cold in my wetsuit and was glad to have it on for the added protection it gave me from the arms and feet smacking me around. I Did start up front, or close to it, so maybe it was my fault that i got kicked around a bit.
I cant say i had the best swim. I got my goggles knocked off/ or at least the left goggle got wedged off my eye in the first 200 YArds from an errant foot. I was going to stop but it was chaos and i realized i could still see out of the Right goggle and so i soldiered on. I was VERY trusting of the women next to me, bc i could not sight a dang thing. There was one buoy about 800 Yards out and a lifeguard boat with a flashing light in btween that first buoy ( where we would turn right and i would get kicked again) and the 2nd buoy where we would turn back intowards shore. So i just kept that red light to my right and prayed i would suddenly see a big yelow buoy. Horray there it was! I turned right and SMACK, i got kicked again. Oh well.
One more turn and i was able to catch up to a few people but now the sun was right at us and again, I prayed i was headed in the close vicinity for the boat ramp. It wasnt a straight shot back, it kinda veered to the left and i just kept the shoreline parallel to my swim and then veered left at the final buoy and seemed to find the boat ramp. Phew. I made it in!
I ran up the ramp and headed to my bike!
I debated shoes in or shoes out. I just have tried to be consistent and they stayed in, despite a real uphill T area and start. I started in the small ring so i thought that would be adequate.
All was fine till i was getting my Right foot in and UGH, AGAIN. my shoe liner bunched up. I nearly had to come to a a full stop, but i just pushed my feet in so hard that the liner bunched in the toe area and i said " Ok i can ride 24 miles like this. it will be fine" and off i went.
I do need to figure that out bc its the 2nd time i have had to come to a nearly complete stop bc the liner slides when i put a wet foot in.
Somehow out of nowhere i pulled my next Bike 101 error, I pulled a Schleck. I really cant tell you what i did, but yup, my chain was off. I tried to back pedal to get it to catch but it was too far off so i did have to stop. And that just added another UGH to the early ride. I Was happy with how easily i just let those both go. I kinda forgot about them until i saw another gal drop her chain on a major climb and it made me feel a bit better.
The ride was so fun. It was alot of climbing, and as it was about 7:30 am you would go thru these hot and cold pockets as you climbed up Santiago Canyon. When we dropped down into the canyon it was alot hotter and the roads were so fun to ride. I am not sure if it was my Coffee Powergel or that i was having so much fun but i felt like i was flying! I knew we had to climb back out of the canyon and that was going to be hard, but then i knew we had a great descent to look forward to. The bike went by super fast and i played cat and mouse with a few gals and that kept me honest and made me work hard. Coming into T2 we had to get on a bike path the last 2 miles. That was super fun and tho i was a bit cautious ( one of the things the hyper Tri lady told us was that we would have to SLOW DOWN to get on the path, and it was no passing on the path) well the path became as wide as a road so there was plenty of passing room but since it was dark, and the shade made the road hard to see i just rode fast ( at times 30 mph!) but safely behind a few gals. All the sudden they are yelling dismount line! What?? I did nearly throw myself from my bike but i got it together in time to do this:
My ride was good ( despite the early mishaps) but this was the sweetest dismount ever:)
Now to be honest I didnt even know who that girl was but she bolted past me in the first mile and i think she ended up like 6th. But it was sweet while it lasted ! I got my stuff out of the bag, and didnt fumble too much and i was off on the run. My mantra was " I am not injured" and i planned to focus on anything that did not hurt. So for mile 1 I was thinking " LEFT ARCH LEFT ARCH!" you see i spend alot of time working on my foot strike and NOT falling out to the outside of my feet. I tend to oversupinate ( spend more time on the outside of my feet) and that can lead to peroneal issues and of course the big bad ITBS. So left arch it was. The first few miles are downhill, gradually down hill, and on the same path we were biking in on. I passed a gal right away and then just kept chasing. The Hammer gal who i passed in the dismount area was not impressed with me and had left me in the dust:)
They had said there would be water stops "about" every mile, but that was rough so as i was starting to get tired i just sorta zoned out and had no idea where i was on teh course or what my pace was. I never race with anything, HR or clock, i just have to GO HARD. The first of the hills came about mile 3, i think. Up up up a woodchip path and i thought it was hard but not too bad. I passed another gal and we exchanged " goood jobs" And i thought..."HMm, they said the hill was at mile 4, we arenot at mile 4..." knowing deep down i wished we were. Then all the sudden i see it. a sharp left turn up Vista Del Lago. That sucker went on and on and on and it was not a gradual hill. I thought about staying up tall bc i felt like my 5 foot 9 stature had shrunk to at least 5 foot 4, i felt so hunched over. Lots of volunteers greeted me at what felt like the top of the world ( i guess it was about 500 yards long?) and said "That is it, no more hills! "
Um not really.
Of course every little incline felt like a hill after that:) I knew there was a gal behind me, i coul hear her and i had a gal in front. I just could not close the gap on the path bc it was weaving andup and down. But i sure tried. When we turned onto the final mile they take you past the finish area, down about 200 Yards then back up to the turn into the Lake MV park. I Tell ya I HATE seeing who is behind me on those out and back! IT's funny how the people i see in front look liek they are going SO Fast, but when i turn around i see the people chasing me and i think " WOW they are going fast I am gonna get caught!" So i tell ya, it was ZONE 5 from that point on. I didnt want to look back bc i didnt want to know and its a waste of energy to do that. CAtch me if you can was my thought, and i just picked it up as hard as i could.
Not until I turned into the park, and the slight downhill towards the lake did i glance and see nobody. But i still was gonna get this done ASAP.
IF you want a glimpse into the pain locker here it is:
My lovely hubby was there to greet me, and i still look a little bit wasted.
I was really really happy with the run, the race and how my butt held up! I would be lying if i didnt say that even tho i went into this race with a slight mental hurdle of the sore butt, i was still going for top 10. I knew i was close. And when i found out I was 11th by about 20-30 sec's I was heartbroken. I wanted nothing more than to podium for our state, for Jerry and Trudy, and for me new Gear West Bike and Tri team. I told Marit that i was bummed. I felt like it was so close, and then i realized that I had all the sudden gotten SO GREEDY. 3 hours earlier, or even 43 minutes earlier ( before the 10k) I was not sureI could even run!) and all the sudden i am pouty lipped ( not really) at finishing 11th? When i looked at Marit i felt selfish, and i quickly apologized. My good friend has been faced with more challenges than any young person should have to, and I am thinking....boohoo I didnt podium??! Julia, pull your head out.
Thankfully Marit ( as i said, she knows what to say!) said " Julia you are a great athlete, you set goals and you extend yourself beyond your limits to try to reach them, its normal to be disappointed, but that doesnt mean you didnt have the race of your life."
And how well said, that sure made me feel happy and proud of myself, proud of Marit and so grateful that my butt let me do one more race!
It didnt hurt that Jerry came up to me and said our MN team had gotten 3rd! Woohoo! And that was quite a treat as well.
Me and the fastie Matt Payne, who got 3rd OA! What a nice guy, It was great to meet Matt and his wife! They headed to San Diego and Sea World after the race.
and a few more images from Marit:
This is a great picture that i am thrilled to end the race season with. I gave it all I could and I am so thankful for the chance to go race with the best in 2011.
Thanks again to Jerry and Trudy. You seriously know how to make us feel special and i applaud your quest to give back to the amateurs that are racing day in and day out for the love of the sport. Many thanks to my husband of course, my coach who led me to the pain locker but never closed the door on me, she let me do that myself, and to all the super fun friends on blogland, fb land and in real time that are so supportive of me and this amazing sport! I am super excited, as i said, to be joining a new team for 2011 and racing and laughing with the Gear West Tri Team.
We already have our first race this coming weekend. The Beer Mile. I am not sure i can race but i will do my best to sherpa for anyone that needs me:)
More on the recovery later!
But it started that night with dinner in La Jolla at Piatti with Marit:)