Golden Gate Triathlon

Jun 21-27
S:.1.4 B: 58.85 R:9

Tri posted: .9 / 20.93 / 6.2
Tri Actual: .9 /20.25/ 5 plus 1 mile run to transition = 6

Time: 3:16:32
Thanks Chuck at Rogue Multi-Sport

This is going to be a long blog post so I can share all the fun details!

For my first Olympic Tri I wanted to do a local event, something I can bike to and found the Golden Gate Triathlon. According to the results, there were 219 participants (sprint and oly) and one relay team, so it is not that crowded. They had great volunteer support and I personally thanked people on my last laps.

It was a beautiful day for a triathlon! We had these amazing half-foggy conditions on one side and beautiful hot and sunny on the other. I biked to the starting line and took the scenic route. The coastal views and Golden Gate Bridge disappeared into the fog, but eastward was misty and allowed some sun to show through for a not so cold swim.

Golden Gate Triathlon

Golden Gate Triathlon

Golden Gate Triathlon
It's good to get to the transition area early to get a good spot on the rack, get organized, and meet your tri neighbors. There are no pics of me because I looked awful ;-)

SWIM: The sprint women went first then 5 minutes later the men's wave. In retrospect it makes sense for the women to go first so they get a head start and clear the course before the olympics. But today, the current was still ebbing pretty hard when they went out there and got swept away from the first buoy pretty badly. We all stood on the beach and watched in horror as they swam in place very far off course. When the men's sprint wave came, they took the hint and ran on the beach for several yards to compensate their entry point. It was HILARIOUS!

After this, the swim director decided they should change the course for the Olympic waves since we would've be out there all day swimming against the current. Actually I was kind of disappointed they did this because swimming with Pedro we trained in currents and I was all ready to navigate my way through the ordeal. Though people complained about the short run getting out of the water and running on the beach to the next entry point for the next lap this also makes sense because then you don't have to swim against the current. So forget what it says on the event site about swimming at Chrissy Field is close to shore and not affected by currents, because it is and I have seen people's dogs get swept out to the Golden Gate Bridge here when they swam out too far. :-) I loved the swim though and wanted to do the whole day swimming. Going with the current improved my time! My motivation words for the swim are "smooth and steady". Remember not to run too hard on cold leg muscles or get injured, take it easy.

The Olympic swim was great, the water felt warm and not too many people swimming over everyone except near the buoys and up front. I saw George in his orange kayak, a pilot on our Water World Swims out there and said hi. Before I knew it it was time to get out of the water.

T1: A little dizzy coming out of the swim. I peeled off the wetsuit and grabbed my shoes out of my bag and put the wetsuit inside and gave it back to the volunteers (to be picked up after the event). I brought some socks and didn't worry about sand getting in them, it didn't matter too much later. Had a drink of H2O at the aid station and then ran about a mile back to transition. By then I was really out of it and glad I didn't have to think too much to get my stuff for my bike leg.

The course was shortened and another lap added. Fine by me! Not many flat spots on this course just so you know. It's either up or down. :-)
Golden Gate Triathlon - Bike elevation
On the bike I had a big bike bottle of Nuun water and a carb flask of 3 GUs. I took a swig every lap. I also brought Clif Shot Bloks but didn't need them. I also had a bottle of water in my transition area that I took big gulps from. I picked a flat quiet spot on the course to fuel up as I rode slowly. Motto here: "stay out of the fast lane", "controlled descents" & "keep spinning!" By the time I was on my last couple of laps the fast aero*zipp*cervelo riders were done so I could take the whole road ;-)

Run: It was hot by this time and no, the course was not closed for us. We ran around all the strollers and tourists taking photos on the bridge! This is the one thing I hate about running on the Golden Gate Bridge and usually avoid running on it for this very reason. Oh well. Originally we were going to run on the west side, but that is the bike side, so they changed it to the east side. My left hamstring starting getting kind of tight on the bike, so I was going to run easy at first to get the feeling in my legs. My goal here was to keep a moderate pace with sprints where possible then kick it into high gear the last quarter of a mile. My Garmin said I clocked around 10mph here! The bridge is not flat either, it has 2 mini-rollers. No motivating words here, just curse words ;-)

There was not that much food at the end, but I'm not the type to complain. I tried not to let all the little annoyances bother me and take energy away from my race, just be flexible and go with the adventure.

Overall I had a great time and felt strong at the finish. The minimal training I've been doing based on a marathon training plan with cross-training put me in a good place to make this distance really manageable. I've been training around 10 hours per week plus commuting by bike to work adds another hour each day. I rested well the week before but actually had lost all motivation to do the event by the time it came around, which has never happened to me before. It might be due to all the stresses of the week. My dog was having seizures again in the middle of the night and went to the vet twice.

I thought about what I'm doing here and I realized there is no going back! Once you get started in this life, there is no going back. After all the time, $ and sweat invested to get to a certain goal, a distance, a speed, the heat is on to maintain what you've worked so hard for and go farther. The other thing I realized is why bother signing up for expensive tri races if I am still slow and broke as hell? I'd rather train up and get faster before I even think about doing any longer distances and suffer twice as long, right? But I still want to run an ultra, maybe in the fall.

My bike training was lacking and could use improvement, but to tell you the truth I am not into bike racing. Last weekend, my friend crashed their bike and broke their hip on the Terrible Two. No biking or much less walking for them this summer. Sucks. I bet he will be back on his bike as soon as he is ready. I would too.

My next big event is the San Francisco Triathlon at Treasure Island, and I've signed up to volunteer for Headlands 50 and Sunday Streets. It's turning out to be a great summer in this little microcosm of runrenerun's fitness world. The rest of the world is a different story. Can someone please make the oil stop gushing in the gulf already!



Jun 14-20
S:2.9 B: 68 R:4

The triathlon is next Sunday, and am getting mentally prepared. At this point I find myself remembering things, such as last year when I thought the Olympic was a long distance, and getting down one buoy line without stopping was an effort. It's easy to get caught up in the game of "if only I can go a little bit faster" and forget the strides we've made. Now friends from my swim group are already convincing me to sign up for a half-iron with them.

I was so tired and ready to just rest and get rejuvenated. Had a perfectly relaxing weekend with lots of family time. Had a good fast interval run on Wednesday, but my legs felt "fried" and tight. Just need to rest and stretch. Plan on doing a few more short & sweet workouts before the event. I am appreciating the swim/bike/running thing as a lifestyle choice and not so much as a competitive sport. I don't know if people understand what a necessity it is for some of us to exercise, but I really can't forgo it or I get ill. So I make it a priority. It's like taking medicine. Today I'm glad that I can swim in the ocean for half an hour without stopping and being able to live in a place with access to beautiful natural surroundings and trees. Good for the mind, body and spirit.

Sunday Swim

Noting the swimming conditions last Thursday, a strong ebb, with the winds picking up in the opposite direction over the water creates wind waves and chop especially farther out. The west winds tend to pick up in the evenings. Mornings are calmer. Feeling little "cold fingers" of water in different parts of the Aquatic Park, as if someone emptied their cooler. Though the water was ebbing, the wind blowing across the surface can make it seem like it's going the opposite direction when observing from the shore. On Sunday morning, hardly any wind and pleasant conditions.

There are NO limits on race day - only possibilities!


Training Check-In

Jun 7-13
S:2 B:67.9 R:17


Sunday Swim
Swimming with Water World Swim
Swimming into the currents, working on spearing the water and tapering the kick. Swimming into the current helps refine the stroke as you find a more efficient means of moving through the water and decreasing drag. I noticed in the pool workouts that even though my sprint time is not faster than 6 months ago, I am able to hold that fast pace for much longer without stopping.


View from Immigrant Point Overlook in the Presidio toward Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Hill sprints on the Golden Gate Tri course, downhill control.


The Nasturtiums are in bloom on the trails and in the park! Beautiful.
Recovering from Mt. Diablo! Keeping the heart rate at a reasonable rate.

Happy Training!


Diablo Trail Run 25k

May 31 - Jun 6
S: 1.7 B: 44 R: 30.5

Hill training anyone?

Oh the challenge of running Mount Diablo! I had set my sights on it last year after running up Mt. Tamalpais and there it was. Another hill to climb. I had heard about it from other running blogs and PCTR runners (Rick and Jo Lynn). Be careful what you wish for.


The course starts down in Mitchell Canyon and then goes up some really narrow steep singletrack trails (Back Creek) that snakes it's way up to Deer Flat Road. I kept watching the trail snake around the ridge and then once you get around the ridge, it switches back to another ridge, and another, it just keeps going up higher and higher. Then when you finally get to Juniper campground, there is a nice breeze and another hour of climbing to the summit. There were some loose rocks up here and I stacked real good twice. All along the way there are amazing views to take your mind off the pain. I would say that for me, on the way up only 10 - 15% of this was runnable, especially in the heat almost 90°! We'll just call it Extreme Hiking! Coming back down the summit trail was a little scary steep in some areas, so not so fast. After several hours of walking was able to finally get a nice downhill run from Juniper to Mitchell Canyon to finish in 4:23 (2:45 to summit {fast people are done by now}, 1:38 back down). This was my first PCTR event and I totally enjoyed it. Thanks to all the friendly runners and volunteers who made it a really great experience! This is a great social run if you are not racing it because of all the hiking - gives you plenty of time to chat with friends. Popping Endurolytes and strategically placed moleskins in advance of the run made it all good.

I am smiling here but am so sore and sunburnt right now.

This turned out to be a camping trip as well as a run and have to say that is the way to go. I had a great time! I think my dog appreciated the healing calm of being out in nature. The Juniper Camp has an amazing view:


and amenities such as showers, fire pits, sinks, water fountains. You may want to bring your own compressed fire wood since they didn't sell it at the ranger station. I ran 5.5mi down to the starting line early in the morning and saw dozens of little brush rabbits. Afterward I had a nice little nature hike back up to camp and took lots of photos. As I walked back up enjoying the flowers, I watched in awe the 50k-ers coming down from the second loop. It took me 2.5 hours to hike from Mitchell Canyon to Juniper. It was nice to rest under a shady tree listening to the wind rustling through the grass and fall asleep on the mountain afterward.


To get to the camping spots by vehicle or to cycle to the summit on a road bike, use the North Gate or South Gate Entrance. Bring a camera and lots of water & electrolytes! It is possible to BART and mtn. bike here (about 11 miles from Walnut Creek Bart to Mitchell Canyon) but you will want to give yourself plenty of time to climb up a couple thousand feet to where the camp is!

April Recap

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