Thursday, March 7, 2013

Desert Tri: Mission Accomplished

Desert - A large, dry, barren region, usually having sandy or rocky soil and little or no vegetation. 

Last weekend marked a milestone for many of our participants - they became triathletes. Not only was it the first race of the season, but it was many participants' first triathlon. It was so amazing racing alongside them and watching them all cross the finish line. 

To avoid the unavoidable LA traffic, we headed out around 9pm on Friday. Got there late but practice didn't start til 10am on Saturday so no early wake up call. The Embassy Suites was our home for the weekend, and the added bonus of living room with kitchen made it that much better to accommodate all the crap 4 people have when traveling for a triathlon. And that doesn't include the bikes!

Saturday morning. 10am. Arrived at Lake Cahuilla for practice. A reverse tri was on our schedule. Did the race course that we'd be doing on Sunday - 24 mile bike then 6 mile run. We didn't start til 10:30 so by the time we were running, it was blazing hot. This was the second time I had an issue training in heat, and it's not fun. Now I know I gotta watch out a bit and get ahead of it before it takes me down. But our day didn't stop there. Race prep meeting, packet pick up for Sunday and then a swim in the lake. It was great to finally get to dinner and be able to chill out with the team. 

Sunday morning. Wake up - 4:30am. Oh...the season has officially begun. Most race mornings I'm a bit nervous but not that day. This was a training day and I took it at that. And I was excited to see all the new participants complete their first triathlon and cross the finish line. Plus, how could I be nervous when I was dressing up in a costume?

We headed out to the Lake at 5:15 and arrived to the most amazing sunrise. 

Set up transition, walked around and checked in with peeps, did a little warm up run, then suited up for a practice swim before my wave start at 7:42am. 4 Goals of the day: get to 1st swim buoy before the second (unlike last year), work the bike hard, don't melt on the run and most importantly, have fun.

7:42am - horn goes off and we're in the water. Thanks to the race officials for changing up the swim course so we didn't have to swim straight into the sun this year. YAY for getting to the first buoy before the second. Goal 1 accomplished! I forgot how awful the first open water race feels. Arms & shoulders were not in wetsuit shape and wow did my arms feel so lethargic and dead weight. Can't wait to get those OWS back in the weekend rotation! 

Swim was done and now time to bike. The course is super flat so it was go time. Glutes were a bit tired from Saturday but wanted to hammer it as much as I could. Managed to shave a few minutes off from last years time. Goal 2 accomplished!

Now it was time for some fun. Running in costume always makes things better. And if I can make others happy, then that's a win. So off I went...all dressed as Luigi.

The first person that saw me running out of transition as she came off the bike was Christine. All she could say was "O dear, mentor. O dear." But then she smiled. Next one that came up on me was Beth. We had just started running and it was her first triathlon. And hearing her say "Oh my god Holly you are f'ing awesome for wearing that!" made me happy. I knew it was gonna be a hot 6 miles but that was ok. Making people happy was what it was about that day. 

It was a 2 loop run so that made it so easy to see lots of people. It was great catching teammates as I rounded my second loop. Chatted with lots of participants along the way - Tiffany, Rona, Sheree, Mary, LDV, David just to name a few. Everyone was in great spirits and having a great time. It was awesome! And I considered it a bonus that the sun was not as blazing as it was last year. I finished a few minutes faster than last year with a one-up jump as I crossed the finish line. Goal 3 accomplished - do not melt!

The best part of the day was cheering everyone in. Lots of PRs, lots of first time triathletes. All in all, super successful and fun day. Goal 4 accomplished!

Way to go Ironteam!

Long and tiring weekend but worth it! Great job Ironteam. Happy to be a part of such an amazing team. 

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