USAP’s Half Moon Bay triathlons are a great season opener. Dust off the cobwebs, get out the creaks and cracks, and remind your body how to move fast.
For me, HMB was my first race after the first off-season filled with consistent training in my life. I started working with Mitchell Reiss and ETPA last fall and pushed to relearn how to run over the winter. By April, I wasn’t expecting miracles but I also wasn’t quite sure how to set a goal for the race – especially when it came to my weakest leg, the run.
I drove down race day morning, dark and early. It’s easy to forget over the winter how early these mornings are, and how dark the transition area is going to be! I set up my gear and headed down to the swim start to find teammates and coaches.
The swim was pretty even, though between the cold springtime ocean waterand the short leg it can be pretty difficult to get into a rhythm. I exited the swim and started the quarter-mile-ish run to T1.
After a quick transition, though struggling slightly with the wetsuit, I was out on the bike. The course heads south on Highway 1, then north past transition, and then south again. What this means is that there’s a chance for either double headwinds on both southbound sections or a really, REALLY long headwind headed north. But it’s a gorgeous ride.
I settled in to my P2’s aerobars and tried to figure out what my heartrate was doing. At first it seemed like it was just continuing to climb up, even as I lessened the power output. Eventually it settled down, just in time for the headwind while riding north. Fortunately this means less of a headwind on the section through the airport with really smooth roads!
Approaching T2, I had no idea where I was in this race. I slipped my feet out of my shoes and dismounted (without too much incident, definitely a wobble on my end and an audible gasp from spectators, whoops!) and racked my bike. I headed out of transition to realize the course was a little different – we were headed directly up hill in a parking lot.
Hills are cool. When I’m headed DOWN. I think three or four men passed me on the way up that darn hill. We headed down the stairs to leave the parking lot and started on the coast side Multi-Use Path.
Everything on the run felt kind of meh, but I just ran through it. Well, slogged might be more appropriate? Mitchell and I spent all winter working on run form and I could tell during this run that my body had not yet formed a really solid muscle memory. My cadence was low, my feet spent a long time in contact with the ground, and I just wanted to be done.
I hit the turnaround, grabbed some water – mostly for my head, still not sure if this is the best idea or not – and kept going. And going. I knew I had run fairly quickly on this course last year and I kept looking at my watch, telling myself “13 minutes left. 8 minutes left. 3 minutes left.” But I wasn’t three minutes out – I knew I was running slower than the year before and it was making me crazy.
The finish here is a sneaky U-Turn: head uphill past the finish line, make a tight left U-turn, and head through the dirt and grass to the finish line.
Since I (un)gracefully puked heading up that hill last year, I decided that my goal was to not vomit again. I made it through the hill and turned to sprint toward the line. I was pretty sure there was a girl close behind me on the hill, and it seemed like the hill helped me get to the line JUST before her.
I crossed the line, found my mom, and was very happy my season opener was finished.
1st AG (25-29), 13th woman
|Swim||00:10:07 02:31 /100m|
|Bike||00:36:50 16.29 mph|
|Run||00:27:47 08:57 min/mi|