Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Moraga Treeline Triathlon

I really wanted to do the Moraga Tri again this year, but with 1/2 marathon training all winter I knew there wouldn't be enough time for me to get any bike training in. The Moraga Tri bike course is not one that you can just wing it. The amount of gear shifting that takes place is mentally exhausting alone not even counting the number it does on your legs.

I inquired with the city if you could do a relay team with only two people, and they said yes! So I signed myself up for the swim and run leg and Scott for the bike portion. I didn't have a lot of nerves before this race because I don't think I really knew what to expect, other than I should be able to improve my swim and I should definitely have a better run time based on not having to do the bike leg.

We arrived to transition on race morning and found the relay rack, we were the second team there so we got a very nice end spot. After getting body marked it was time to stand around and wait for our swim time seeded starts. There are many advantages to doing a relay. The largest was being to wear my swim parka on deck until it was time for me to jump in the water and hand it off to Scott. I received my three second count down and I was off. I'm pretty sure I swam the first 50 meters too fast, immediately my arms started to ache. I'm sure this also had a lot to do with the fact that I wasn't able to warm-up. My arms just felt like lead the entire time. I also realized that I should have practiced turns that involved going under the lane rope. In this swim you traverse the 50 meter pool in a zig zag pattern until you reach the other side of the pool. This means when you hit the wall you have to get under the lane line to head down the next lane. I don't remember having such a hard time with this last year, but I found it difficult this time around. I must have seeded myself fairly well as I only passed one person and only two people passed me. The entire swim just felt like a struggle and when I finally reached the end of the pool I climbed out and booked it over to transition. I probably would not have run that fast if I were actually doing the full tri but since I wasn't, I did and managed to pass two people coming into transition. I finished the swim and run to transition in 9:57 far from my goal time but still an improvement of 24 seconds from last year. I was ranked 13/17 for the swim.

As I came into transition I saw Scott waiting and ready to go, all I had to do was take the timing chip off and attach it to his ankle as he headed out on the bike. Our T1 time was :50 which ranked us 2/17 for T1.

I stood over my bag for a second feeling the need to either throw up or pass out. I told myself I needed to move, so I grabbed my bag of running gear and started walking back to the locker rooms to change. Walking helped, but at that point I wasn't even sure if I would recover enough to have a decent run. I changed, consumed liquids and headed back to the relay rack. It was interesting watching people come into transition and getting a look at bib numbers. You were assigned a numerical bib number based on your swim times. So bib number one had the fastest seeded swim time. (Which ironically did not, as I guess his wife signed him up and entered some erroneous swim time that had him seeded first). We had a bib number of 117 since I'm a slower swimmer. Watching people was fun because you could be a fast swimmer and a slower cyclist or vice versa. I was waiting with the other relay runners and we watched a few relay teams come in. I had a general idea of how long I thought it would take Scott but I also didn't know the exact time I got out of the water and when he left. We had lots of friends doing the race and I was trying to keep my eyes open for them as well to cheer them on. I was actually pretty surprised when I saw Scott heading into transition. I think my exact thoughts were "Holy shit, that was fast!" and "Holy shit, I have to go run now!" I struggled a little bit getting the timing chip off his ankle but got it on mine and took off. Scott's efforts on the bike ranked him 2/17 and once again our :28 second transition also had us ranked 2/17.

I was nervous about the run, I had brought a gel along and actually had intended to consume it while waiting in transition but my stomach didn't agree. I figured I would just take it in during the first downhill portion of the course. The run takes you through the Campolindo residential neighborhood. You come out of transition and start running up a slight incline. Then you make a right and start running up a slightly more inclined street. I tried to focus on just one step in front of the other and the downhill portion that would come once I reached the turn-around on this street. It felt good to hit that turn around and have the relief of some downhill. This is where I took in my gel; right before the aid station so I could wash it down with water. After that it was a long, steady, steep uphill. This is the part of the course where it would be really awesome if it just didn't exist. You want to walk but you know eventually you will be rewarded with a long, and steady downhill portion. At the crest of the hill my gait was so slow I'm sure it didn't look much like running, but I breathed a big sigh or relief as I hit the downhill. I could push going downhill for awhile until I hit the last uphill section and then would need to run 3/4 of the way around the track. As I came through the parking lot I saw Scott cheering me on. He ran alongside me up the last hill and encouraged me as I hit the nice soft track. Just push, I thought to myself. I sprinted with long legs as best as I could until I crossed the finish line. I took 4:31 off last years run time thanks to not having to ride the bike. Sadly my run ranked us 15/17. Although I knew this would be the case as most of the relay runners are running the 5k somewhere around 23-28 minutes. Overall, we placed 7/17 which we were pretty stoked with, way better than we thought we would do.

I have also decided that from now on we are totally doing this race together as a relay. We had so much fun and it was really nice for us to work together as a team. Obviously, I'll be working on my swim and run game for next year!

Thank you TriSports.com - I was super excited to wear my new gear for the first time this year!

1 comment:

  1. Great job to both of you! You make a great team.