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!


The Green Girl said...

I love that you represented with the San Francisco towel!

You made the swim part seem so easy. ::smiles::

I love your positive attitude, girl.

I'll be doing the first half of San Franciso this year after chickening out last year. Heh.

René said...

Cool! See you there!

Hugh said...

Awesome job, smart training and great report!

Crissy can have some strong near shore currents.

The ultra sounds fun. Pacific Coast Trail Runs put on some awesome events.

Thomas said...

Congrats on your first Olympic Tri, smart race and strong finish!

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