A little soggy: Sandman 2019

A soggy but successful race.

Fundamentally, I don’t believe in PRs (personal records) in triathlon. I mean, sure, you can declare your PR for a sprint / olympic / half / full, but so what? The course is different year to year, distances aren’t standard, and especially in the Ironman world, it’s not a time trial.

IMG_4436
Pre-race views – Thanks, SCSLA!

That said, I had a very good race on this course this year. Good indicators (and some would say a PR but… not) across all disciplines. I wasn’t sure how this race would go, as I technically ‘trained through it’ – though it happened to align with a recovery week.

I drove down to Aptos the morning of the race. It was a little foggy but mostly wet. Since I’ve raced here since 2014, this made me a little nervous. As gorgeous as the bike course is, there are some sharp turns that I knew I’d need to approach far more cautiously than usual.

I arrived, picked up my packet, and dropped my bike at a rack once it was semi-secure. Then I went back to my car to stay semi-dry! About 45 min before race start, I headed back to transition and set up my area (in 8 minutes) and got prepped to race. Fast, low key, and easy.

Sandman Tri 2019
Eye contact? Check. Smile? Check. Sandy feet? Oh ya.

Now on to the race!

Swim:

The water was CHOPPY. Could see it from the beach. Could feel it during warm up. But I know I’m a strong swimmer and there’d be a few women around me so I figured we’d just be all along for the same ride. And that maybe I’d have a nice advantage over the rest of the field. Wind+fog rolling around=prime conditions for KJ.

The swim to the first turn at the end of the ship was rough! I got hit in the face by the chop a few times. The college athlete who is super fast and dominates this race just cut through the water like butter and I felt like a total clod – but I got to the end of the ship eventually and had finally caught her feet. We made the turns around the ship, and on the first leg to the beach, I made the pass and left her behind. I looked for her a few times (this being shark country I was nervous, ok?) and didn’t see her. For the parallel leg I got pushed around a couple of times but eventually made the last turn into the beach (avoiding male obstacles) and came out of the water first woman.

Sandman Tri 2019
Possibly only smiling because I don’t have to swim anymore today.

T1 was a little slow for me for this race due to my own spazziness. But no issues.

Heading out of transition, the collegiate athlete passed me briefly; I got my feet in my shoes and passed her on a short climb and didn’t see her again on the bike.

Sandman Tri 2019
Thought it was a good idea to have the visor down. Spoiler: it wasn’t.

As I was climbing up the major climb on the course, I could tell a guy I had just passed did not drop back. Not only that, as we made a left turn, he almost took my back wheel out. I yelled at him to either pass me or fall back because he was drafting – so he passed me and everything was fine. How do people not know this rule? But still on the climb, I passed a small group of spectators who yelled to me that I was the first woman (thanks I know!) and so I waved back – I was trying to stay focused as the difficult handling was about to start.

Sandman Tri 2019
Feeling like an ewok on Endor. Casual beauty of this course! (And the casual drafter I yelled at sucking wheel)

After the peak, I started the best descent on the course. It’s long and straight, and has a slight upward pitch just before the SHARP right hand turn. I actually got passed by a few people on it and hey – they didn’t crash at the bottom, so good for them. Glad they were that confident! As the course heads toward Seascape, I saw a kid in a Cal kit talking to a cop. He yelled out that he had a flat so I briefly slowed and tossed him a tube. BUT he didn’t finish because I don’t think he carried ANY equipment – totally unacceptable and annoying.

I felt strong all the way through the end of the bike, AND I didn’t get passed by any women during the bike leg! I was so happy with the ride, got off the bike with a stellar dismount, racked my bike and headed out on the run. I don’t think my T2 lasted any longer than 30 seconds (I was busy doing things so I didn’t hit my watch).

Sandman Tri 2019
Coming in for a great T2!

The run started out ok – on the soft sand on the way down to the hard packed sand I definitely thought I was going to eat it, but I made it successfully.

I led the women’s race until mile 1, where the collegiate athlete finally passed me (where were you!) – she looked stronger than ever though. A woman who’s calf said “29” caught me just before the turn around. And at the turn around, I determined I had 38 seconds before the next woman, and a minute to the woman after her. One of them had a Stanford kit on so I hoped she was 20-24 (and really I was hoping I could hold the second of the two off).

Sandman Tri 2019
I think I may have been smiling this whole race, to be honest.

I got passed around mile 3 by the Stanford kit (who was 25) who took the third place slot – I kept running because I knew I was closing on the finish line and that the second of the two women was probably chasing me down. I checked over my shoulder right after the pier and I was basically seeing blurs, so that wasn’t helpful! I checked again as I made the left hand turn into the soft sand toward the finish and didn’t saw one man trying to get by me but that was it.

I approached the finish line and thought I had finished because I ran through the arch, but apparently the timers didn’t hit the plunger until you passed them (learned this because they yelled this at me) – so I stumbled in the soft sand to them. THEN apparently they needed my bib tag in the right order and wouldn’t hold my place so I had to get to the next set of volunteers… Like, lifeguards! Can’t you tell I’m about to puke?! I eventually got to them and gave them my bib.

Sandman Tri 2019
But did you die? No? Ok then you’re good.

Post race, it turns out the first girl who passed me with the “29” doesn’t understand how triathlon age groups work – she was actually 30-34. So I raced myself into 2nd Age Group, 4th Overall (for the third time (?) here?) which was fairly successful, really. One current collegiate triathlete, one ex-collegiate triathlete, and one other random person. I’ll take it.

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And I love this photo team, but please no more post-race-grossness photos. Just catch me pre-race and I’ll smile, promise!
Race Distance My Distance Time
Swim 0.75 miles 0.60 miles (normal)
15:08 (1:24/100yd)
Bike 13 miles 13.2 miles
45:18 (17.5 mph)
Run 4 miles 3.74 miles (normal) 33:41 (9:00/mile)
Total 1:43:15

 

Author: KJ

Hey, I'm KJ. Triathlon is the first time I've felt truly passionate about something since my swim career ended.

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