Before it all is lost in my foggy brain of race prep for Oceanside 70.3 next week I figured I’d share my experience with the oh so amazing SuperSeal on Coronado last weekend. It was maybe my favorite overall race experience ever.
So i had only done one olympic distance race before and it was the 2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon, which was awesome. I’m so grateful i’ve gotten to do tris in both of my homes! Chicago will forever be my hometown but man oh man does San Diego feel like home! However they are crazy different! The expo for the Chicago triathlon was MASSIVE. like… i was meeting friends there and it took ages to find each other. There were a dozen or so lines for checking in and it was in a massive room. Then there were two huge rooms of expo stuff for amazing hours of shopping. SuperSeal… there was one table with two lines for checking in and two vendors at the “expo”. I guess the big difference between the two is that the SuperSeal has less than 1,000 participants and the Chicago Tri had close to 3,000! I guess here in the birthplace of triathlon there are a zillion tris to choose from throughout the year- that was the first of 6 or 7 local tris i’m signed up for this year. In Chicago that’s really the one. there are smaller ones sprinkled around the suburbs but that’s the main event. It’s like if you’re having parties every weekend you’re not going to make all of them a full out bash. but if you only have one party a year it’s gonna be a rager!
Even though the expo wasn’t big it was still a ton of fun getting to see familiar faces and meet new people! I love being a part of this amazing community of athletes we have in san diego! Checking in was pretty simple. we, of course, got in the slowest line! but we were in no rush and it all worked out great. Got a bunch of new stuff at the Pulse tent that was at the end of the line. they had some crazy sales going on!! And i mean… i can always use some new bike shorts!
After registering, we headed up to Oceanside to get some bike training in before the sun set. My pre-race dinner was AMAZING!! went to a new vegan restaurant in San Diego called Donna Jean & had the hush puppies, baked ricotta, and mac & cheese. so. good. maybe not the best pre-race meal but i’ve never been much of a traditionalist!
Race morning was chilly!! Headed over super early to set up my stuff because i stress about things like parking! Got there nice and early, met a super sweet girl that was sharing my rack, and got all set up. and then had like an hour to kill. if you’re new to tri, a tip for setting up your stuff? take up as little space as possible to not piss off people around you! and also rack your bike so that the front tire is on the side where your number is (if reserved rack space is a thing). You want the majority of your bike on the side of your number. and your stuff gets set up where your front tire is. typically on the right side but the girl that got there before me did hers on the left so i followed suit. Luckily my friend Cherrie was a couple bikes down from me!
After getting everything mostly set up we headed out to the actual bathrooms to do one last bathroom break before the race. the line was BANANAS and people were taking forever! We barely made it back to transition in time for a quick last check of everything & wetsuit putting on. then it was off to the starting line. in transition it was still pretty dark & a little foggy but when we got to the starting line it was SUPER foggy!! they shut down the pre-race swim people right as we got to the edge of the water so we didn’t get to go in at all. ran into a few other friends at the start- it’s always helpful to see familiar faces!! Then as we were lining up to get started the sun started rising over the mountains in the distance.
i still haven’t found a picture of how actually amazing this was but let me tell you… it was one of the most incredible things i’ve ever seen. it totally set me up for a great swim!! Once we hit the water i was super pumped to find it was waaaaay warmer than our swim was a few days prior. score!! it honestly didn’t even feel cold! amazing. the swim out the first half seemed to take forever- i kept thinking i was at the last buoy but there were always more coming. sigh. i felt like i was going super slowly but kept making my way around the course focusing on form and trying to continue enjoying the stunning sunrise. It was so cool- in front of me there was this beautiful rising sun and when i’d look back mid-stroke you could see the full moon setting. i mean… does it get any better than that?!
After an awesome swim (2:00/100 yards- pretty solid time for me!) i headed to transition and switched into my bike gear. it was my first race w/my clip-in shoes so that was kinda exciting!! i was nervous i wouldn’t be able to get my right foot clipped in (i struggle with it like… daily) but it went in no problem. score! all this training is paying off! i’m not super fast on the bike (aka i’m pretty darn slow) but i was just there to enjoy the experience. it was a SUPER flat course, which was amazing. and i hadn’t paid any attention to the course route sooo yeah. i had no idea it was a two loop course. my booty didn’t feel great but i made the most of it. i tried to stick at 16mph or higher and did that for most of the course (my average pace was 15.967). and dude. i saw dolphins in the ocean at one point. i mean could this race be any more amazing?! and seeing friends on the course as we passed each other?! such a huge boost of awesome! one friend saw me right when i was eating a larabar! hahaha such hilarious timing! but my race nutrition worked out great- my stomach didn’t get funky at all and i never felt hungry or energy-less. score!
and then the run to the finish. oh man! 6.2 miles of flat awesomeness? i’ll take it!! my feet were hurting pretty badly at one point but i remembered what my friend jerry had recently said about his pain after getting out his wisdom teeth. he acknowledged the pain, thanked his body for what it was doing, and let it go because he didn’t need it any more. and it went away. so i tried that with my feet. not sure if it worked because i got distracted by something else so… i’ll take that as a win! During the run i sprinted to catch up with my tri bestie and ran with her for a while but dude. she’s like way faster than me. so i ran with her for a mile or two and let her get ahead of me and just went at my own pace.
wanted to sprint to the finish but man oh man did i not have any gas left in the tank! my legs felt pretty good though and i really did feel confident that i could have done another 7 miles if i had to. score! now adding on another 30 miles of cycling before that? we’ll see how that goes!! but from the packet pickup to the early morning transition to the sunrise over the swim to the dolphins during the bike to running with Cherrie i’d say that was one of my favorite races, if not my favorite. it was just so flipping awesome!!
plus i got the super cute seal bling- holla! my post-race meal was a super healthy burger & tots! hahaha we do this crazy stuff so we can EAT right?! oh man was that good. i ate the whole plate of food and was super stuffed. and then ate a whole pizza for dinner. and still lost weight over the weekend. i’m telling you… this tri thing requires a LOT of eating!
speaking of… i want to go over my whole race plan of nutrition but i’ll save that for a separate blog perhaps. basically i had that delicious donna jean dinner the night before, a fruit smoothie in the morning (mango strawberry banana) at like 4am (done by 4:45- 2 hours before race time), had coffee on the drive to the race, chugged beachbody performance energize before the bike, had 5-6 dates during the bike + 1/2 pb&j larabar + 1/2 kind bar, also drank vega hydrate during the bike, and had a pineapple banana smoothie after the race that had some awesome recovery stuff in there like spirulina, maca, & mushroom mix. no idea if that stuff actually helps but i do know that the next day my legs felt fresh and i didn’t feel like i raced the day before so that’s good!! i definitely wasn’t pushing myself to “race” during the race- just wanted to take it easy and have fun and practice transitions, but i definitely improved on my times over chicago & can’t wait to do this one again next year!!