Last week I took part in the Marin County Triathlon. I signed up for this one mostly for endurance experience, in that I wanted to get an Olympic distance tri in before the end of the season, and before getting into more serious training for next spring’s 70.3. I set a rather modest goal time and beat it, although many more people were well ahead of me. It seemed to be a rather serious-into-tri crowd.
It started psychologically very early, given that it was almost November and daylight saving time hasn’t switched over yet. The water in this part of the bay, north of the San Rafael bridge, was significantly warmer than in SF, which was a pleasant surprise. The swim was good; most of my wave was ahead of me (see note above regarding the crowd). It was out and back along a buoy line, but with a long enough swim out to avoid too much of a buoy-turning pile-up. I kept a strong but sustainable pace, never feeling tired, and finished in 31:35, which is six minutes better than my normal open water pace at decent distances.
I felt stronger after this swim than Malibu, but with literally cold feet after the swim that took a long time to warm up, stalling transition a bit. Then the bike ride really got me. There were a number of longer downhill or flat stretches, interspersed by small but decently challenging hills. I hadn’t slept much the night before, which I think combined with a generally busy week to hold back the rest of the day. Each hill for the first two thirds of the bike course were pulling back my speed quite a bit, and my legs just weren’t cooperating beyond a certain effort level. The third loop was much better; it almost felt like it took a long time to just warm up in this race. I finally finished the 22 miles in 1:41, about 13mph. Far from worst, but far from best. And my feet were still cold after this. Big takeaway for the next course like this: hill training. Everything else was good. Except I dropped my chain once, but I I had it back on pretty quickly, before the volunteer nearby could make it over and help.
The run was a double loop, with a two big hills and two small hills. The hills felt good, but the flat sections just felt slow. My quads were tired from all the hills on the bike course, so I just wasn’t getting stride length up where it normally would be. Otherwise it was good, and somewhat warm and sunny at this point. Finished the 10k in 1:01:17, slightly below the goal for this race and eight minutes below my best 10k time (which would probably better now, given that I haven’t run a 10k since before I started any speed training).
Anyway, to finish the number juggling, it was 3:21:37, pretty far down compared to what I think I could do on a better week. But it wasn’t a race for time, more so for experience and to have fun, which I did. I felt better at this race than at Mailbu, so the longer rides have paid off. The views were of the bay the whole time, which was great, and warm pasta at the end has to be the best post-race snack I’ve had. The crowd, while seemingly serious, was friendly, and the race was a lot of fun. This would be a good one to come back to. Time to plan a bunch of hill rides through the winter.
Partially Tentative schedule for the next few months, all running:
Coastal Lake Chabot 30k: Nov. 9
Berkeley Half Marathon Nov 24
Inside Trail Woodside Ramble 35k Dec 15
Brazen New Year’s Half Marathon Lake Chabot. Maybe both. Still deciding.