Pacific Coast Triathlon 2011 | Sprint Distance | Race Recap

Before the race: Tiff, Maria, Karoline, Me, Kim 
Fun fact: We are all moms and if you add all our kids together there are over a dozen.

1/2 mile swim | 12 mile bike | 3 mile run
My first triathlon. Done.
Well I am told I get to call myself a Triathlete now which is pretty stinkin' cool!! Even as I am typing this I have a huge grin on my face. I still can't believe I did it. 

My biggest fear as you know was the ocean swim. Swim in general is not my strength but when you add the challenge of swimming in the ocean it just compounded my fear of the swim portion of this race. Ten weeks ago I was doubtful I could complete this race because of my insane fear of the ocean swim. After my first ocean swim I made the choice to train scared. Scared of the ocean and the challenge ahead of me. And now that I did it the feeling of accomplishment is amazing. I pushed through the self doubt and fear and realized how mental this sport can be and how I have what it takes to persevere! 

The day before the race my nerves were intense. The worse pre-race jitters I have ever encountered. Every time I talked about the race, picking up the packet or just thinking about the race made my stomach turn. I barely slept. I kept visualizing the swim and then I started worrying that I was too focused on the swim and that I needed to focus on the rest of the race too.

I packed all my things on Saturday the day before the race. My buddies told me to lay everything out by sport on a towel. I took a quick picture on my phone so that after I packed it all up I would be able to double check what I had packed instead of rummaging through my bag. I don't have a tri bag so I used a duffle bag. I really like how everything fit in my duffle bag. 

Here's what my layout looked like:
Swim stuff: Tri Suit, wetsuit, race belt with bib, timing chip, swim cap, extra swim cap, goggles, extra goggles, body glide, shot blocks, water bottle to clean feet, sunblock.

Bike stuff: Helmet, sunglasses, socks, straw for water bottle, shot blocks, water bottle to fill aero water bottle.

Run stuff: Hat, shoes, water belt (I didn't use this but I wanted to have it just in case I wanted it).

Race morning. I was up at 4:30 a.m. My friend Tiffany picked me and Karoline up at 4:45 a.m. We loaded the bikes in the van and headed to Crystal Cove. It's about a 15 minute drive and I probably said  two sentences the whole ride. I felt sick to my stomach from all the nerves. Tip: If you carpool with at least three people in the car and get to Reef point parking lot by 5:00 a.m. you get to park for free and you are the closest to the transition area which was awesome especially after the race!

When we walked down to the main area we quickly noticed all the American flags it was a beautiful display and it was a great reminder of what a sad day this was for our country ten years ago. I loved that they dedicated this race to all the heroes of 9/11.

As we entered the first thing we did was get marked. Race number on your arm and age on your calf. Then you get to go back to the transition area and set up. This was fairly smooth since we were there early and were able to pick the spot we wanted. We set up closest to the bike exit since when you go out and come back you will be running/ shuffling with your bike shoes on so the shorter the distance the better.

Potty break. Since it was still really early we took a quick potty break and it was a good thing we did because within 20 minutes the line was really long to use the restrooms. I also appreciated being the first to use the port-o-potty it was as clean as they get.

We went ahead and got our wetsuits on to head down to the swim starts since one of our friends in the group had a son racing too! Which was pretty cool! He is fourteen and he did an amazing job. I finished my breakfast on the beach saw a dolphin swimming. Got to watch all the rescue crew get in position. I still couldn't shake my nerves. 

I kept looking around for my husband and kiddos because they were originally planning to come down but since it was early and the parking was a little tricky I had texted and told my hubby not to worry about coming out it may be too hard with the little ones. I didn't know what he decided since I needed to get down to the beach. 

My very experienced friend Tiffany had us warm up running a bit on the beach and then jumping in the water and swimming out parallel to the first buoy. I was unsure about doing this I thought it would freak me out. But it had the complete opposite effect. I felt great getting through the waves and swimming a bit. Then when we got back to the shore my nerves were gone!

Before I knew it the horn sounded and off I went into the ocean. My plan of attack was to stay to the left (away from the buoys) and in the back of my wave. My goal was not to stop to keep moving forward. I did not stop at all...I had some moments were I felt like I was stopped because I was moving slow but I was moving. The water was pretty smooth and the waves were not that bad. The water temp was great it was warmer than it was during my practice swims which helped me get my face in the water and swim.

The swim to the first buoy was quick the swim to the second was an eternity! Right before I hit the second buoy my right calf cramped up it was an intense cramp I flipped on my back to try and work it out while I kept moving. When the cramp was manageable I flipped back over and got back to freestyle but then I heard the loud noise of the next wave coming in behind and around me. All of a sudden I felt hands on my feet, feet on my hands and bodies next to mine. The water was extremely choppy from all the motion of the swimmers around me and I made a quick choice to move farther to the left away from the group. I knew if I stayed in the middle of all the commotion that I would have started to panic. I was happy with my choice until I realized I swam right into kelp patches. They were thick and slimy and it took a lot of effort to get out of it. I basically ended up swimming over the whole patch...it was a weird feeling. Then my left calf cramped. So I flipped to my back again to work it out. After I worked through the cramp I was realized I was really close to the last buoy and the end of the swim. My friend Karoline called out my name and I felt soo happy to see a familiar face. I tried to stay behind her following her wetsuit. The swim in was long. It felt great to see the swim finish but it took me some time to make it all the way in.

When I stepped on the mat for the swim finish I was super happy. Then up a steep hill to the transition area. I walked the hill to help myself recover from the swim. I got to my bike and got my glasses and helmet on and then realized I still had to finish getting my wetsuit off! My first transition cost me some time but I got on my bike and rode and it felt great. The view was beautiful. The ride is a small portion of PCH and you just get amazing views of the pacific. Before I knew it the bike was done.

The 2nd transition went much quicker. I put my bike up took my helmet and glasses off switched shoes, put on my hat and off I went. My legs felt yucky as they always do when I get off the bike and then run but I know it takes me about a half a mile to work through it. My calves were still very sore from the cramping in the water. I started on my run and not even a quarter mile into it I spotted one of my other friends, Tracey, (not racing this race) on the sideline and I can't even tell you how happy I was to see her smiling face!! She ended up running along side me the whole run in pants and with her purse on her shoulder. She ran me all the way to the end and gave me that extra boost to sprint it into the finish.

This was a great race! I had an amazing group of friends training with me, supporting me and encouraging me. Thank you ladies for all of your help!!
After the race. 
Pacific Coast Triathlon was a great race. There were a ton of volunteers all of them friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The race was well organized. It was a small sized triathlon about 600 people which I really enjoyed. There was a great vibe from most of the other people participating. I would love to try this race again!

Below are my stats for this race.

Finish time: 1:48:29
Age division place: 17th (I'm not sure how many in my age yet)
Swim: 22:22
T1: 5:20
Bike: 49:13
T2: 2:17
Run: 29:14

Oh and my husband and kiddos didn't have a chance to make it to the race. I checked my phone after the race to see if they had made it and my husband had wrote that my son wasn't feeling well and I was lucky I wasn't home. We got back to the van got everything loaded and then I checked my email. And these two videos were waiting for me...

We all got a great laugh at the "poop allergy" and "diarreo" video. I love that we had just finished a triathlon and then got to watch my kiddos talk about diarrhea. I love all the hats we juggle as Moms. I wouldn't trade it for the world!


Christina said...

Congratulations! I loved reading all about your experience. Is there a trick to changing out of your swimsuit quickly? Reading about your swim, I totally admire you for getting through all of it! Sounds tough with the cramping and the kelp. I could see that messing with my mind, easily.

Simply Fit Mama said...

Thank you, Christina!

I wore a tri suit instead of a swimsuit. Here is a link to give you an idea of what they look like:

You wear that throughout the whole race. It's made of a quick drying fabric. There is some padding (minimal) in the short part for the bike portion.
They can get pretty pricey but you can find good deals online and in some sports stores.

If you wear a swimsuit you would just leave it on and add bike shorts.

Yea the cramping and kelp was a little crazy but I am super happy I got through it.

Elaine Forward said...

Brandy good job how proud you must feel. loved the videos.. proud of you!
Love Elaine

Nellie said...

Congratulations!! That is so awesome!!

East Coast-er Momma said...

Goodness! How fabulous. I remember reading about your fears of the open water and now all that is behind you and you're a triathlete!! Congrats, fabulous job.

Meercat said...

Way to go, girlie! You are tough as nails. The kelp would have had me in a total panic, that plus the cramping....you handled it so well and kept your cool. Way to go. I love your friend Tracy for jogging alongside you with her purse! What a friend! :) That made me smile. So did the videos of the kids. :) They are getting so big. Wow. Love you lots. Miss you. Let's talk soon...

Simply Fit Mama said...

Thank You!! :)

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