Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dina Lavinga Breath of Life-Olympic Triathlon - June 22, 2014

On June 22, 2014 I successfully completed my first Olympic distance Triathlon In Ventura, California. The distances were :

 Swim: 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles)
Bike: 40 kilometers (24.8 miles)
Run: 10 kilometers (6.2 miles)

Our bike/transition area was arranged by age. I had got there as soon as transition opened and I was able to secure a really good spot (first on the rack). I've learned from the my last tri it's really important to get a good spot. It had rained the night before (my first tri) and some ladies that arrived late had to put their stuff in puddles and/or were moving other people's stuff for theirs to fit.

After this picture I ended up moving my helmet on top of my black shoes. I was afraid I'd be so worried about getting my shoes on I would grab my bike and forgot about putting my helmet on first (grabbing bike before putting on your helmet = instant disqualification). I'm always extremely nervous about that.

After getting marked up (age on the hamstring race number on the arm and wrist) I did last minute checks and slowly got my wetsuit on. It was really funny watching everyone do the same. There was no shame as people yanked and pulled at their butts, thighs, and chest areas making sure the skin tight material is fully stretched over our bodies.

My age group was the first female group out in the water. The temperature of the harbor was around 63 degrees although my heart was racing too much to think about the temperature. I was anxious about the triangular course. I intensely watched the first 6 waves attempt it to make sure I knew what I was supposed to do. My first loop around the triangle (750 m) was very unsuccessful. My first stroke involved lots of high tension breathing and realized that I could not see anything underwater. My breathing shortened and I had to spend the majority of the first loop doing the back stroke just to breath. I saw the lifeguards eying me and I started doubting my ability to even finish this section, wondering if I had set the bar too high.  As I made it to the end I could not think of how I was going to accomplish that again making a second loop . I ran onto the beach, through the sand, over the platform and back in the water. This time I was determined to relax and find my breath. I only had to turn on my back to breath twice but I slowly made my way around the entire course again with the freestyle stroke. I was mauled by the other waves of swimmers as well as getting my feet tangled in kelp beds but I got used to the bumping and jarring of hands and heads. As long as someone didn't kick me in the face I was fine. I finally saw the sandy bottom and knew I could stand. I walked up the beach, hands in the air yelling "It's over!!!" ..the worst part was over. I couldn't tell you how excited I was to get on the bike. I got to the transition are and saw that my area (Women 35 & under) was pretty barren. I think there were 3 bikes left , including mine.  I stripped my wetsuit off, GRABBED and SECURED my helmet, socks/shoes on, belt w/ number on, and away I went.

The bike was going well. I knew / had ridden the course countless times, I felt confidant, there was little headwind, and I was making really good time. I remember looking down at the Timex computer and saw I was at mile 12 by 45 minutes averaging somewhere around 15-16 mph. I had planned on keeping the pace steady, replenishing my nutrition, and then picking it up on the 3rd loop..and happened. One of the streets on the course had some really bad potholes as well as some bad bumps. I knew it well and tried my best to avoid them but for some reason I could really feel them the 2nd loop around. I looked down and saw that my back tire looked really, really low. I groaned and stopped. I got off my bike, looked at it, and saw it was extremely low. I knew I had aired up this morning but I didn't know if I had popped it or if it was just leaking? LUCKILY I had decided to keep my little pump attached to my bike. I aired up the tire as much as I could (as many bikers passed) and crossed my fingers that was the last of it. As I made it around the last turn I could feel the low tire again. Then became the routine of stopping, unclipping my feet, and airing it up every 2 miles. I kept getting passed by more and more bikers. On my 3rd loop I think I saw maybe 2 other bikers. It was kind of an odd feeling to be in a race and see a single biker. By mile 20 there was no more airing it up, it was just done.

I was extremely frustrated at my bad bike karma . On a earlier ride this week I had popped my tire on a screw riding on the Pacific Coast highway and then in my first Sprint Triathlon my chain popped off and I had to spend 5 minutes figuring out how to get it back on. I didn't want to quit though. As I rode down the 5 mile stretch I finished the bike course riding on my tire rim at a slow 10-11 mph pace. I had passed right by the runners and got a lot of weird looks but was ecstatic to be done with the bike portion of the race.

As I dismounted and "ran" back into transition it was clear that the finishers party was beginning. Many people next to me, wearing their medals, were clearing the area . They saw that I was still in the race and wished me luck on the run portion. I put on my running shoes, determined to not let the bike get to me, and ran out of transition with tight legs. As I passed runners who were on their way back from the run, most looked tired and fatigued. I high fived them and let them know they're almost done. My goal was to go slow and steady. I biked right by the run course and knew that last mile was going to be a tough one, mentally if I didn't pace myself adequately. I had fueled myself well on the bike and felt decent but the heat of the sun breaking through the clouds was evident and I knew it would be smart to take advantage of the 3 hydration stops.

 It was odd not to have music with me (music is not allowed in Triathlons) but I focused on keeping myself relaxed, breathing at a rhythm , and my pace around 10:00 per mile. By mile 2 my legs were finding their rhythm and I knew I wasn't far from the turn around. Each time someone passed me on the return side I high fived them, letting them know they were looking great. As I approached the turn around sign I slapped it hard, letting it know it wasn't going to defeat me, and told myself I was almost home. The whole time I was running I kept thinking " I'm so glad I'm a runner, I'm SO glad I'm a runner." It really fits the phrase, saving the best for last. I arrived at the mile 5 sign knowing I had lots of turns ahead of me back into the marina/harbor area and I didn't need to start my finish line pace yet. Every turn I made I looked up to see if I could see the finish line/party. When I couldn't see the finish, I fixed my eyes on the road a head of me and kept pushing. I finally made the turn towards the finish line and was SO happy! 

My Times were:
Swim: 39:51
Transition 1: 2:39
Bike: 1:59:36
T2: 1:23
Run: 1:04
TT- 3 hours 48 minutes

I'm not exactly thrilled with my times. Of course the bike could have been much better. If I could have ridden all the way through I think I could have ridden around a 1:35-40, according to previous rides. Oh well, it's not the action that matters, it's how you react to the action. I didn't realize my husband had replenished my little saddle bag with a new tire. With the previous flat I thought I had used up all of our spares. Since the race I have learned how to change a tire and am prepared for the next time I get a flat. Though, with 2 new, more puncture resistant tires and tubes, I'm hoping that's not any time soon.

I was really impressed with the organization of the race as well as the volunteers. The swim was the most impressive. There were multiple times I would look up to site and a life guard would tell me I've veered off and where I needed to go (thankfully my next TRI is just a straight shot down the river lol). The after party was amazing. The complimentary grilled burgers/chips/and multiple drink choices were very welcoming, I was already thinking about where I was going to have lunch during the run (lol always thinking about food). If we lived here permanently I would make this race a summer staple for my Triathlon Training!

Official Website
Renegade Race Series-Breath of Life

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