So... what's been going on in the last 5 months or so? Here are some of the highlights:
1. Increasing my saddle time
It became painfully obvious during my first duathlon in early February that I needed to focus more time on the bike and tackle more hills in my training. Since that point, I've ridden more and even completed my first metric century, but I feel like I still have a ways to go before I really feel comfortable in tackling the 56 miles in Vineman and Lake Tahoe. Thankfully I have some friends who cycle quite a bit and encourage me to go ride with them, but this is something I need to deliberately focus on.
2. Swimming is still a huge challenge
The good thing is, I can now swim at least a mile continuously, without resorting to using the breaststroke. The bad thing is I'm as slow as molasses in the water. I've been reading up on technique recently, but the hardest part is finding time to swim. I don't have easy access to a swimming pool, so I usually end up having one swim workout per week. Even though this is the shortest discipline in triathlon, my swim is probably the area I can improve on the most. I gotta figure out to realistically increase my swim time each week.
3. Running has been solid
I've only run in a handful of organized races so far. Some fun ones that I ran with the MHRC include the LMJS Couples' Relay (my wife and I each ran a 5k around Oakland's Lake Merritt) along with the infamous Bay to Breakers in SF (I ran in a spandex Spiderman costume from head to toe with my fellow MHRC superheroes). They were both a blast! My one "serious" road race so far was the Oakland Running Festival Half Marathon in late March. I ran though the streets of West Oakland which was surprisingly scenic and I just came up short of breaking my PR and finished in 1:38:28.
|Tagging in for my leg of the LMJS Couples' Relay|
|After finishing the Oakland Half Marathon|
|Bay to Breakers with the MHRC|
The highlight of the season so far has to be Wildflower. I raced in the olympic-distance race and it truly lived up to its reputation as the "Woodstock of Triathlon". From the bustling campgrounds to the throngs of spectators and volunteers, the atmosphere was fantastic! The long course/half-ironman distance race was held on Saturday and the olympic-distance race was on Sunday. The weekend's participants were an interesting mix of pros, collegians, and age-groupers. The hilly terrain presented a true challenge, but what was unusual for this particular race was that the swim in Lake San Antonio was moved 2.2 miles south of where it normally takes place due to the lake being dried up because of the California drought. Instead of having a 10 km run after the bike, we had a 2.2 mile run after the swim and a 4 mile run after the bike.
|Lake San Antonio: normal site for the swim, but currently all dried up from the CA drought.|
To sum the race up:
1. I survived the 1.5 km swim in Harris Creek. I had two waves of swimmers behind me pass me up, but I survived. This was my 3rd time swimming in my wetsuit and my transition went surprisingly fine.
2. The first 2.2 mile leg of the run to the bike transition was harder than I expected because of the first hill out of transition and the amount of sand we had to run through. A lot of the run was on trails that normally are underwater which may be why there was so much sand.
3. I got through the 40 km bike leg better than I thought. There was a lot of climbing throughout, but I was able to spend some time in aero position too.
4. In hindsight, maybe my nutrition plan wasn't up to par on the bike because I cramped up badly at the start of the second leg of the run and had to walk quite a bit. There was a massive hill at mile 2 which I thought would mess me up even more, but after drinking what seemed like a gallon of Gatorade at each aid station, I was able to regain my running stride and made it to the finish in one piece!
My overall time was 3:25:22 (Swim: 36:36, T1(a+b): 6:05, Bike: 1:41:02, T2: 1:44, Run (combined): 59:55).
All in all, it was truly a memorable experience! It was great having my family and some friends there. One of my friends and training buddy, Andrés, even raced in both of the weekend's races! Crazy!
Next stop: Chicago!