I'm going to count this as my San Diego International recap. And I'll get to it after I switch the stereo from the DVD feed. Who would have thought that the end credits of Ghost Rider would have such annoying music? Seriously, it's like nails on a blackboard remixed by Jay-Z. From the techno/industrial cover of Ghost Riders in the Sky (Get it?) to..oh, never mind. This doesn't mean anything.
Sidebar: Fun drinking game: Watch Ghost Rider and take a shot every time Eva Mendes delivers a line like she's made of plastic.
So, back to the race.
I can't believe I know this many people who are willing to get up at 4 in the morning on a Sunday and put on spandex.
Interesting experience, this one. I realized that I've come a long way because I wasn't nervous. I didn't fuss with my bag all night and I wasn't worried about forgetting anything.
I had two goals going into the race:
1. Run the entire course. No walk breaks.
2. Finish without feeling like I could have done more.
I managed both. Yes, you heard that right, I ran the whole 10K. My pace was close to 10:30 per mile, but screw it, man. I haven't managed to run the entire course since Mission Bay last October. I wasn't even limping when I got done.
I think I'm capable of going faster, but that's for another race. For this one, I'll take the lessons, and the proof that I might actually get my run back.
I hit the swim feeling good. It was a floating start, only my second time doing that, but I reaffirmed my belief that it is the coolest way to start a tri. Straight, u-shaped course, and only 1,000 meters. I was out of the water in 14.47, which was a little slower than I wanted, but still not too bad.
My first indication that I was going to have a good race was when I ran into T1. Yes, I ran into T1. I didn't limp. My foot didn't hurt. I ran. I hit the bike with a big boost, feeling good.
The bike went well, though I wish I had been able to preview the whole course. I only rode from the transition area to the Navy gate before the race. That's the big hill, but I wasn't quite ready for the tail end past the cemetary and down to Cabrillo Monument, twice. I also enjoyed passing people who were dressed for more serious racing than I will ever contemplate. Seriously, Team Skyfuel, lighten up and work on your drafting/passing rules. That, or stop selling your jerseys to newbies at the expo.
I got a little more tired than I expected on the ride and had to take some of the hills a little slower than I wanted to, but I was able to keep my speed up above single digits pretty much the whole way. I think I dropped into the 9s once or twice. I definitely need to fix my dang cadence sensor though. I miss that. I didn't realize how dependent I am on it.
I was ready for T2, with my feet out of the shoes and coasting down the hill to the dismount line when I saw the guy in my line go down. I got scared for a second because he was disoriented and having trouble picking up his bike. Someone was next to me, so I wasn't going around, but he got it together and I was able to dismount smoothly.
Through T2 and out onto the run, where I had my first moment of doubt. About a quarter mile onto the course, my calves were spasming and making me shuffle. Someone ran by me, slapped my shoulder and told me I was looking strong. How bad did I really look, I wonder? I kept running, gritting my teeth until Jay caught me. We ran most of the course together, except that he got a burst at the finish and left me behind just before the chute. I tried to keep up, but I wasn't going any faster. Nice work, man, and thanks for the pacing help.
It took until the middle of mile two for the cramps to work out, but they did pass, which means I need to do some bricks, but my nutrition and hydration held up. I only used two water bottles on the bike. One with water and one with 2 tabs of Nuun and 2 scoops of Carbo-pro. I was a little worried that it wouldn't be enough. I usually have a couple of Gus, but I left them behind to try this method. It worked. I love it, too. No trash, no choking down weird pasty stuff.
My foot was sore as hell all through the run, but it stayed loose and the pain hasn't stuck. I guess now I just need to get off my lazy butt and train my run.
The run at this race is great. Flat and fast (if you're into that sort of thing) and there's lots of spectator participation. The older lady on the bike who kept riding 100 yards ahead of us and saying "Damn, you caught me." was awesome. Seriously, she kept it up for at least two miles. It never got old. Then there was the, let's say special, homeless guy who yelled at every runner going by, calling us by race number. "Go 307!" He was loud. He had an appreciative audience. He had a balance problem. I was a little worried that he would fall into the harbor, but he hung in there.
I had a fun moment at the last aid station, when the volunteers asked if we wanted to be splashed. I said yes, and they promptly threw two cups of water into my eyes. It sheeted all over my glasses and I had to take them off. Then there was the lovely combo of harbor water slime, sweat and coppertone sport that surprisingly, doesn't feel very good underneath your contacts. I couldn't see a damn thing, and I gave serious thought to scratching out my eyes.
The finish line was great, except that I totally spaced on the beer garden. Oh well, put that in the race notes for next year.