Monday, September 28, 2009

Elephant Man

So, the Elephant Man. A race I've been too scared to do in the past. I'm so glad I did it this year. It's a wonderful race with a tough course and great volunteers. Here's my RR.

I camped the night before with a friend after carpooling with a fellow racer. We woke up and headed down to the race start. After getting set up, I went for a quick warm up swim. The water was a nice 72 degrees and not choppy. I was told it smelled/tasted like fish and/or motor oil. I tasted the motor oil, but not the fish.

I was the second wave to start the triangle swim. It wasn't too rough getting out of the gate and on my way. I think I did a pretty good sighting, but I saw people all over the place. It kept me second guessing my line to the buoy. At one point, a dude swam perpendicular to me and I know I was heading straight to the buoy. He swam over me and grabbed my legs in frustration. I was so confused. I waited to get passed by the torpedo speeding women who took off in the wave after me. Sure enough they did. I tried to draft, but when you swim as slow as me, it doesn't work. I got out of the water in about 32 minutes. Slow, but I haven't been swimming.

T1 involved running up the beach, and then having your feet sprayed to get the sand off (that was nice). I took my sweet time in an attempt to get my heart rate down.

Out onto the bike. The course was pretty challenging but not terrible. Sure, I went slow, but that's my fault, not the course's. There were rollers out to a ridiculous hill. I put it in my granny and laughed my way up it. So silly. Why so steep? After crossing the highway, it flattened and slopped a bit downhill. I buried my head and cranked what I had.

T2 was uneventful. But it was nice to have all the volunteers cheering you on. Got out in a reasonable time.

The run was not good. I started a bit too fast and had to walk up the steep sand hill. I maintained a decent pace to the turn-around, with my plan being to crank it for the last half. When the time came, I declined. I decided to limit my losses and take it easy. It was super cool getting to run on the dam, which I'm told is off-limits due to terrorism threats. I finished the 6mi run in 50minutes. So-so.
Total: 2:47:54    1mi swim: 32:15   T1: 2:47
26.5mi bike: 1:21:17 T2: 1:00 6mi run: 50:37

After the race, I ate some great homemade bagels, banana bread, cookies and brownies. So good. All in all, the race was a really good time. I think I'll try and do it again to see what I can do about my time. 2:30 here I come!

I got third place in my age group. Sweet. More mugs for my beer. Exhibit A:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

California Living

Paula and I headed over to California for a bit of relaxation and my sister's wedding. Aside from the crazy traffic and wildfires, the highlight of the trip was swimming in La Jolla cove. Holy schnikies, that was a good time.

For those of you who haven't been there, go. La Jolla has a beautiful marine preserve that is used daily by the locals for open water swimming. There is a dedicated swimming channel with lifeguards and distance buoys. From beach to beach, its 1 mile.

I made sure to check out the La Jolla Cove Swim Web Page. It has a bunch of good tips for swimming in open water and how to swim in the cove.

I was a little scared of the swim. There were a bunch of studs and studettes going in and getting out of the water. I made sure to use a bright colored swim cap, so the life guards wouldn't have trouble finding me. I also threw on the wetsuit. For the first swim, I planned on doing a mile. But, instead of swimming out to the 1/2mi marker and back, I went out to the 1/4mi marker twice. I did this, just in case I couldn't hack it out there.

It took me 16 minutes per half mile that first day. I navigated kelp and other swimmers. It was such a blast. It felt great. I worked on my sighting and form. I liked it so much, I did a straight mile the next morning. Second mile took me 30 minutes. Slow, but I didn't want to tire out in the middle of the cove. Also, word of advice, don't even think about thinking about sharks. Bad idea.

La Jolla is a great time.

Oh yeah, San Diego is nice too.