2 - I had off Thursday - Monday for spring break. For some reason when I originally planned my schedule for the year, I totally missed the detail that Oceanside fell over my spring break. So when I got the go ahead from Jesse, I was super excited to head to one of my favorite places, sunny Southern California!
The bad part about doing this race, was I was flying solo to compete for the first time. Because of the last minute decision, Jeremy (my husband and bike builder) couldn't make it. Fortunately, I was lucky enough to have a homestay with Monika, who is one amazing woman. Not only is she so warm and funny, her family reminds me of my crazy cool family. Hanging out with Monika felt like being at home, which made me so calm and happy.
Swim - My only goals for this swim were to go out HARD and to hang onto feet. When the gun went off, I stayed with a huge group of girls for about the first 100 meters, then a group of about 4 women (me included) formed our own little group. I was so excited that I was swimming with people, that the time went by so fast. When I got out of the water and saw 28, I had the biggest smile on my face because this would be a big PR for me....but after making it to transition and seeing only a couple bikes, I knew the course was fast and/or short. I am very happy that I did go out hard, although I would have liked to have stayed with the really big group for longer, but I did draft the entire way, which is a first. Onto transition and this is where lesson #1 comes in: Learn to transition faster! It won't help my bike split if I lose the girls before I even get onto the bike! They were in and out in the blink of an eye - while I was still fumbling around with my wetsuit. Starting the bike, I would be in no man's land!
Bike - I knew this super hilly course was going to be challenging because I have not had the chance to ride my bike outside for months, aside from an easy spin the day before, but I was also super excited because this course is stunning. This is also where lessons number 2 and 3 come in. Heading out on the bike, I was prepared to be alone, but I didn't think to learn the course very well. Even though you cannot drive the course because most of it is within Camp Pendelton, I still should have generally known the turns. Oops! Anyways, in the first few miles of the race, a road came to a Y, and I made a right hand turn. There were markings, but they were going in the opposite direction for when you rode back into town, so I was confused. After soft pedaling and looking over my shoulder for a bit, I finally saw a motor vehicle going in the opposite direction, so I turned around. This made me pretty timid every time I came to a turn in the road. Also, mistake number 3 is because I didn't know the course. At the end of the ride, you roll past T1 before heading 1.5 miles to T2. I got confused again and took my feet out of the shoes only to realize that I had 1.5 miles left (and a steep little hill) to ride with my feet like this. These stupid mistakes didn't really change anything for me on the bike, I knew I would be bringing up the rear, I just simply need to become stronger, smarter, and more aggressive on the bike!
Run - Can be summed up by looking at my garmin. I ran almost the exact same pace all day. I didn't get faster or slower, just steady 6:40 pace! At one point, Kendra (who had an amazing race and won the amateur race) came out onto the run right beside me and started cheering and pushing me to move along, so that helped a bit, but generally, I just kept right at my boring pace. I would have liked to have had some more spark in my legs, but dealt with what I had for the day.
Overall, I am happy that I jumped into this race and learned some very valuable lessons. I also had time to hang out on the beach, go out to dinner at a great Mexican restaurant with good friends, and to meet some really nice new people.
I do have one last lesson #4: Learn how to use a torque wrench without stripping the screws! In a frantic disassembly of my bike, I stripped 3 screws so bad, that I had to take my bike to NYTRO so that I could get my headset off my bike. Lucky for me, Rocky (who is the best), drilled them out of my bike just in time to make my flight back to Pittsburgh...like I said, I love an adventure!