Sunday, June 26, 2011

Breath of Life Triathlon -- Race Report

Today I raced the Breath of Life Triathlon, an olympic distance race -- 0.9 mile swim, 24.8 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run.

The race took place in Ventura Harbor and along nearby roads.  Previously, the race was held at San Buenaventura Beach, which meant the swim could be choppy, but the run was scenic along the boardwalk.  This time, the swim was calm and the run had unexciting views.

I had my goals -- 28 minute swim, 1:25 bike, and 53 minute run.  I met them all -- 26:48 swim, 1:23:38 bike, and 52:50 run.

The swim start wasn't too crowded, which is always nice, to avoid getting kicked and elbowed.  But there were some very aggressive women in my group, so it was a tough start.  We swam two loops, jumping out of the water and running across a timing mat on the sand between the loops.  I sprinted out of the water after the first loop, perhaps showing off, and dove right back in.  This expenditure of energy ended up being counterproductive because after landing in the water again, I ended up pretty winded for the next minute or so, and spent about 15 seconds doing breaststroke catching my breath.  That said, none of the 3 or 4 people who I passed on land passed me in the water.

The bike was flat and dull.  One woman coming out of the transition area at the same time remarked that she didn't have a gel with her.  I gave her one of mine.  She then proceeded to draft off of me for the first four miles of the race.  When I passed her, she acknowledged she was drafting me and suggested we draft off each other for the remainder of the race.  While drafting was a tempting proposition, drafting is not legal in this race, so I pulled ahead and stayed away from her. 

We rode three loops around a few farms on a mostly flat course.  I have definitely become a faster cyclist, as I was able to maintain an average speed of 18.2 mph on my bike.  I was passed by lots of men with fancy wheels and helmets, but not by too many women.  If I'm riding 18-20 mph, I think I can get over someone flying by me on their bike.

The run was an out-and-back, through the harbor and then along a really boring road with not much to see other than the strawberries across the street and runners and cyclists.  But, on an out-and-back, it is easy to know who is in front of you and who is behind you, in case you feel competitive.  Which, sometimes I do :) Though I know I'm not going to win the race, I like to see how I'm doing relative to others.  And I like giving the occasional high-five to my friends who are racing.  I dropped my pace a bit toward the end of the run, but stayed between 8:15-8:43 per mile.

Total finishing time: 2 hours and 48 minutes and 39 seconds.  This was my best time on an olympic distance course, so I am very happy.

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