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Recap: Tri Santa Cruz – Oly

Race: Tri Santa Cruz – International (Olympic) Distance
Date: August 14, 2016
Start Time: 8:00 AM (starting wave: C – 8:45AM)
Location: Santa Cruz, CA

Other than my silly Instagram updates, I haven’t really been updating my blog on how I’m progressing with my training for Ironman 70.3 Santa Cruz. In a nutshell, training is going well albeit not perfect. But that’s for another post! I’m writing this delayed recap because I PR’d my Olympic distance!

It’s a B-Race and I’m extremely excited to have PR’d the Olympic distance by 12 minutes and about 38 seconds! Considering my original PR (RAGE Tri 2015) was a slightly shortened bike for the Oly race, this improved time means a great deal. Granted, I was a little underprepared for the bike ride, but thankfully it was flat & was a loop course (4 loops!). The mini-rivalry I had with my big sis, Minel, also helped push me 😉 Luv ya sis! Race chip time: 3:09:20


…and now my verbose version!

Driving to Silicon Valley
Since I needed to take my bike and didn’t want to pack/ship it, I decided that I’d using this opportunity as a “training drive” to Silicon Valley. It gave me a sense of confidence that I was able to get through 9 hours of (sometimes dreary) driving and compete two days later. I definitely needed that extra day of rest before the race. Something to note when I drive to Santa Cruz again for September’s race.

Packet Pickup
I arrived at the peninsula around 4PM and after unloading the car, sis and I headed to Sports Basement in Sunnyvale to pick up our packets. It was smooth after we got our packets, it took us longer to browse the sales (I <3 Sports Basement! lol). Oh, our race packets contained the usual: timing chip with strap, swim cap, bib, and stickers for our helmet, bike, and bag. It also had (which was something to squee about) a temporary tattoo of our race number! LOL No more awkward sharpie markings… It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but this was my first triathlon with the tattooed numbers — I felt so legit. Hehe.

Race Morning
I’ll spare you the pre-race day shakeout swim, run, and carbo-load details and jump right into race morning because it was a bit of a rigodon! Well sort of. Basically, for some odd reason, neither my sis nor I read through the provided Athlete Guide completely, that is, the part where it said print and bring this parking pass on race day. LOL We were already on the road to Santa Cruz when my sis got to that part of the guide. While sis thought of going to a print-shop, I remembered that CVS or Walgreens had photo printers! We could take a screencap of that page on the PDF and print it. Sis was speedy with finding a 24hr Walgreens that also had a photo department. We were basically in-and-out in about 10 minutes, thanks to the Shift Lead (thanks, Christina!) who pushed our order to the front of the queue and knew how to operate the photo printer!


Sis also did great with mapping our directions so we approached the athlete parking lot from the non-busy side (i.e., there was no queue to get through), this meant we got a good spot (with our freshly printed parking pass lol) that was just under a mile from the race start.

Self Seeding Corral and Warm Up Swim
001_2016-08-18_004443000_9E7E5_iOSThey did things differently in this race as far as corrals. You had to place yourself into one of three waves, based on your estimated swim time: A: under 25 minutes; B: 25 to 30 minutes; C: 30 minutes and above. My sis and I had already decided we’d start at wave C, so after watching a few of the Para-triathletes start, it was time for us to warm up (or technically acclimate) in the frigid pacific ocean.

Our warm up swim went well, except for my wetsuit rubbing my neck! I tried to look for anyone who had Body Glide but just sucked it up and made a mental note to make sure I brought some with me at my 70.3 in September!

I liked the course even though we had to do two loops, with partially running on the sand and back into the water. The corral worked wonderfully, too — I was able to draft off several swimmers and even passed more than a few of them! Now I get why Coach Kara keeps telling us to stay together in a swim. 😉 I knew there was a benefit but didn’t really expect it to be that awesome. LOL. Anyway, I purposely looked at my watch after my second loop and as I ran out of the water to see what my ‘true’ swim time was and was surprised to see 29 minutes! Of course, we had to run about .30mi from the beach to the park for T1 and that’s where our official swim time would end. 1500m swim chip time: 0:33:20.8

After a fairly fast T1 (considering I had trouble getting my feet out of my wetsuit – T1 chip time: 0:04:03), the bike was nice and flat! Well, not to say we didn’t have mini-rollers but it made for a good ride. I thought I’d have trouble counting the number of loops (4!) but the signage on the course kept me on track. Meanwhile, I’d been calculating the amount of lead time I had before my sis would catch me. After the first few loops on the bike, I knew I had at least 6 to 8 minutes ahead of my sister. This is important. LOL. I needed to be ahead of her for a good amount of time because she’s a much stronger runner! 24.5mi bike chip time: 1:27:25.9

After a hurried T2 (didn’t get lost finding my spot to return in transition, btw! – T2 chip time: 0:02:10.6), I made my way down the run course and up the first “hill”. I thought I was going slow only to be surprised at my first mile’s pace. In hindsight, I should have probably started even slower because I ended up with positive (instead of negative) splits +_+ lol I had a sinking feeling that my sis would be passing me and just about after the halfway point, I saw my sis — she was only a quarter mile behind me! My pace slightly quickened because I didn’t want to lose my lead LOL. Talk about being too competitive, huh? 10Km run chip time: 1:02:19.07

Sis didn’t catch me, but she did cut down my lead by 1 minute and about 45 seconds… That’s how fast she was in the run! She actually had the fastest split out of the girls in our age group with a 10Km run time of 0:53:21.6! Yowza! I know for sure she’ll be passing me at the run of our 70.3 in September, but by then, I wouldn’t care.

This was a fun race to do and was made even more enjoyable by competing with my big sis 🙂 If it weren’t for the uber-long drive (from LV to NorCal), I’d totally do this next year… We’ll see! Maybe I’ll be comfy packing my bike for shipment then.




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