One Final Tune-Up
This past weekend, I raced in the San Jose International Triathlon (SJIT). It is a local favorite; right here at Lake Almaden. A quick breakfast, prepped from the night before, and knowledge of the secret parking spot, I didn’t even have to get up much before 6am for a race that started at 7. Nice! SJIT is a 1.2k swim (although, the water level was low, so I think the swim was pretty short), a 40k bike, and a 10k run. I had no expectations. I removed all the computerized ‘gear’ from my bike, didn’t wear a heart rate monitor, had dairy at breakfast, and didn’t hash and rehash my race before hand. I just showed up and went as fast as I could go.
The swim was fantastic. I warmed up enough that I didn’t experience the usual ‘I-want-to-quit-this-thing’ panic in the first 10 minutes. I started out in front and stayed there. A 19:15 swim won for my age group and was the 20th fastest swim time (out of 742). For the first time in many years, I felt that old twinge of competitive spirit inside of me. Funny feeling. However, while I was casually drying off my feet to put on socks in transition, a woman in my age group passed me. So, I was already in 2nd before I got on the bike. The bike was also fantastic. Of the three disciplines, I’ve concentrated the most hours on the bike – three times a week since January 1. But, most of my training has been long, slow miles, so I wasn’t sure how a flat, fast, short course would feel. I held 21.2 mph for a 1:10:16 bike. That’s definitely my best bike I’ve ever had. I was working hard, for sure, but 40k is SO short, it was over before I knew it. Another woman in my age group passed me on the bike, so I was 3rd. But I guess my next transition was fast enough to put myself back in 2nd for the start of the run. The run was not so fantastic. It wasn’t terrible, but I’m just not a great runner. I’ve been pretty conservative in my run training this season for fear of my knee falling apart. I’ve done plenty of training at a slow pace (9:30 min/mile), lots of long miles, but very little speed work. I started out relatively quick (for me) – 8 min pace. At about mile 3, I decided I didn’t like that pace anymore and dropped down to about 9 min pace. I averaged ~8:30s, which was fine with me. Three more women in my age group passed me during the run, which pushed me back to 5th for women 35-39. J&A always puts on a good party after the race – plenty of food, beer, awards, etc. I got a chance to catch up with former co-workers and my favorite former manager from HP. This was his first Olympic Triathlon and he was delighted to meet his goal time to break 3 hours. The usual fast boys from TRIbe showed up in droves and took a number of podium spots. I think Dave was fiddling anxiously on the sidelines, wishing he could be out there smacking ’em down. My parents, our friend Gary, and our son Kevin were all cheering me on. Kevin made plenty of friends during the race. He was quite intrigued with race director Andy Robles’ walkie-talkie.
Overall, I was very pleased. My swim and bike were solid and my run..well, it is what it is. My transitions were slow, but still better than average. I worked out all the kinks in getting my wetsuit off, making sure my bike and race wheels are functioning perfectly, and was reminded about applying plenty of sunscreen. This race distance was only 1/4 of what I’m going to do at Coeur d’Alene in less than two weeks, but it was still a confidence boost.