Last year the Super Seal Triathlon was my first official sprint distance race. (Race recap here.) Prior to that I had done a mini-sprint race and two 'unofficial' sprint distance club races with the Tri Club. When this year's race rolled around I held off on registering for a while as part of my New Year's resolution to race less, but in the end Tara talked me into signing up. As a new triathlete I thought about registering for the International distance race this year, but then decided to do the sprint distance again so I could compare my times and hopefully see some improvement.
My big race for the first half of the year is the San Diego Century Ride in May. The course I'm doing is 66 miles long, so to prepare for that my training has included biking and running, peppered with some swimming. Perfect for a short triathlon! As the Super Seal race approached I felt that I was much more prepared on the bike than last year, a bit weaker on the swim since I was only swimming once a week versus twice like last year, and I think I'd maintained my running strength. I felt out of practice on transitions and ocean swims, so as a last minute preparation for getting my hustle on during T1 and T2, I signed up for the Tri Club duathlon a few weeks ago.
Tri Club Duathlon
My friend Robin was racing as well and offered to stick with me on the bike. I was worried that this would ruin the race for her since she is a much stronger biker than me, but with the extra motivation to push my pace during the race on the bike to somewhat keep up with her, I was riding way faster than any of my training rides!
Tri Club Overall Winner Race Medals
The duathlon consisted of a 2.3 mile run, a 12.5 mile bike, and a 2.3 mile run.
Run 1: 16:51 @ 7:15 pace
Bike: 46:05 @ 17.5 mph
Run 2: 17:42 @ 7:41 pace
I was shooting for a 7:00-7:30 pace for both legs of the run and was pretty happy with a 7:15 and 7:41. I was also thrilled to see that even though my training rides had all ended up being around 13mph, in a race situation I could push myself to 17mph. I'm still pretty slow on the bike, but at least I'm improving! The club race duathlon was not only fun, but it built my confidence up more for Super Seal.
Post Race Smiles with Robin
Super Seal Weekend
As race weekend approached, a storm started rolling into San Diego. We are spoiled here in San Diego with sunshine and great weather almost year round, and it was sad and unlikely to have rain and high winds forecasted for the weekend. A few days before the race the race directors issued a message about the rain and the possibility of the swim leg being cancelled. I'll be honest, I wasn't going to be sad if they cancelled the swim. I don't like swimming and I hate swimming in the ocean. I knew without the swim the race wouldn't be the triathlon that I signed up for, but whatever, I wouldn't be heart broken.
Battling the Monsoon on Packet Pickup Day
Green Swim Cap Wave!
The day before the race the swim was called off due to rain and high winds, and suddenly there was a chance that even the bike leg would be cancelled! The morning of the race I packed up my car with my bike and David and I headed down to Coronado.
Cold, Rainy, and Windy
I hate the rain and would normally never run outside when its raining, so hurtling through the rain on my bike and then during the run didn't seem too appealing to me, but hey, better than swimming, biking, AND running in the rain right?
Entering the Parking Lot
As we approached the start line of the triathlon I saw a lot of cars turning around and leaving. I checked the race's facebook page and saw that they had now cancelled the bike as well due to high winds and were planning on putting on a 5K as a last resort. It crossed my mind to turn around and leave as well, but I figured since I was up early and down in the area, why not stick around to run?
Trying to Keep Warm in the Car
We parked and got to the start around 6:45am, and I saw on facebook that the run was scheduled to start at 7:30. We got out of the car and went to the start line to confirm that the race would indeed start at 6:45, and then hurried back inside the car because it was cold, rainy and WINDY out. It was actually so windy that when I first opened my car door the wind blew the door out of my hand and it flung open and smacked into the car next to me. (Luckily neither car was damaged!)
Navy Seals Working Out on the Beach
The 5K Run
The race start time finally rolled around and I made my way to the start. Poor David. Dragged out of bed early and forced to stand in the rain and wind to watch me race. What a great boyfriend!
Ready to Race!
The officials said that we'd be doing an out and back course on the beach before crossing under the road to go through the original finish line. I've never run on the beach before but figured it couldn't be that hard, it was only 3 miles right?
After setting three PR's last year in the 5K it crossed my mind that with this small field of runners I would place fairly well. I had gotten my 5K down to 22:26 last year (7:14 pace) and figured I should shoot for a 7:30 pace for this race to allow for a little time loss because of the sand. Um, about 50 yards into the race I was quickly humbled. Running in sand is HARD! And running in sand with the wind swirling all around you is harder.
Sprint Wave 5K Start
Running on the Beach
I looked down at my watch at one point and was horrified to see that I was running close to a 10 minute mile. OMG! How could I be going so slow?! I tried to push harder but it was near impossible. The turnaround point couldn't come fast enough, and I swear those three miles were the longest and hardest I have ever run in my life.
My Chins and I Racing to the Finish
Great Finish Line Support
When I finally made it back near the start area and crossed under the road I was so relieved to have some relief from the wind as we ran through the tunnel. I took advantage of the shelter and pushed my pace back up to where I thought it should be, and felt a huge wave of relief as I saw the finish line and David.I met up with David and Ben at the finish and we all got to cheer Tara in shortly after.
Post-Race with Ben and Tara
Go Glam Runners!
I looked at my watch and saw that I had run the 2.75 miles in 26:57 (9:50 pace). Wow, this was one of my slowest 5K's ever! My hopes of an Age Group win were dashed, and I didn't even bother looking at the final race results before we left.
So Much for New White Shoes....
Super Seal Sprint Finisher's Pin
Back to Work
My company was exhibiting at a tradeshow downtown San Diego so after the race I showered and got ready and then headed down to the show to work. I didn't think much of the race or how I had placed and was amazed and thrilled when one of my twitter friends tweeted at me about winning a medal. I couldn't believe it! I ran so slowly! I suppose everyone did though, so among the slow people I was the fastest in my Age Group? Amazing! When I got home I checked the official race results and saw that I had come in 1st in my Age Group. Wow, my first Age Group win in a 5K! Even more exciting, Tara came in 2nd! Go Glam Runners!
Gloomy Day at the Convention Center
I emailed the race organizers to see if they would mail me my medal, and a few days after hearing a "yes" back from them, I got my medal in the mail. Sweet!
Super Seal Sprint Age Group Medal
On the day of the race and several days following, there was a massive fallout of angry people on facebook and the message boards. Even though we sign a waiver warning us that the race could be cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances like weather issues, people were losing it and getting angry. It reminded me of when a flight is cancelled or delayed due to weather issues. It seems like in situations like that, you start to see society crumble. I saw a lot of racers who expected either a full refund, a free race for compensation, or to have the race be rescheduled for a later date. Um, what about all of the sunk costs the organizers still had to bear from trying to put on the original race? How could people think it would be so easy to just 'redo' the race a few weeks later?
The race organizers sent out several emails in the days following the race with apologies to all of the racers. In the 34 years they have held this race, this is the first year that the full race didn't take place. As compensation they were allowing a $40 discount off the Fearless Triathlon in April, and a 25% discount on the Super Seal race next year, in addition to a couple other races they produced. While I am disappointed that I ended up paying $85 for what ended up being a 5K, I understand that things happen and I don't hold the organizers responsible. While it would be nice to get a free entry to a future race to make up for this one practically being cancelled, I understand that the economics of that probably aren't feasible.
I'm sure my attitude towards this race being cancelled would be much different if this was my first triathlon or a key race in my year, but it wasn't. It is one of many races and sometimes things just happen. I hate that I spent so much money on a triathlon I never got to do, but oh well. I've been fortunate enough to do several other races for free in the past year or so, so in my eyes the race gods don't owe me anything.
I will probably do this race again next year, and I will keep my fingers crossed that the storm clouds stay away! My next race is this coming weekend and is the start of back to back weeks of races.
My upcoming races:
- April 1st - Carlsbad 5000
- April 7th - Hollywood Half Marathon
- April 15th - Gran Fondo (60 mile bike tour)
- May 6th - Vancouver Half Marathon
- May 19th - San Diego Century Ride (66 mile bike tour)