After the raging glory of Wildflower, I had an extremely quiet race season, with nothing but a little July 10k between May 4 and late August. I was super off my game for about a month-- June til July-- thanks to my bout of sadness, and gained back the weight I'd lost in my concerted efforts since LA Marathon (alas!) Lots of late night beer drinking and Pattaya Thai 4AM karaoke and noodle sessions are going to equate to a certain calorie surplus.

Fortunately, a slow turnaround back to normal got underway. I got back in the swing of things exercising, stopped drinking too much, and yes, even started dating a man! (Jacob, the previously mentioned cyclist man.) Fun story, we weigh the same even though he's 6'2". Ah, skinny vegan cyclists. Since we started dating he's started to outweigh me by a pound, which means he's building muscle (the boy just does not have any fat, period) and I'm losing fat. I think the former is due to the fact that he's sleeping more and I feed him and the latter is because he doesn't drink so I don't drink when we hang out. Plus, we can use quality time together as cycling time. Hooray, it's win win! It's nice to have the person you're dating go on rides with you. Well, at least when he's in zone 2. He's fast. 

Fast forward to August, and it's time for me to be a triathlete again. I've forgotten how to taper, that I have to hydrate, carbload, what have you. In trying to stay Paleo (yeah,trying being the operative word... succeeding, maybe not as much) and I've grown wholly confused as to what the carbload entails. I guess mostly yams and fruit... I'm trying to stay whole food based, but sometimes some gluten-free noodles are good. (She says as she eats some gluten-free angel's hair.) I've learned that a gluten-free diet is all sorts of related to healthy goodness, since it's thought that

Jake drove us out to Santa Barbara ass early in the morning that Saturday (4am) and we arrived with enough time to find parking, do packet pickup, and leisurely prepare while compulsively refreshing the ebay app on my Droid, since I was bidding on a 54 Felt frame (two years and a full tri on a 52 frame, it was time to upgrade to a bike that fits properly... I'd saved up a bit, and the cost of a build with my old components would be much less than getting a full new bike. We found a Felt B2 (read: aero as hell!) and the price was increasing all week, but looking at the original cost ($2,000 for the frame, $6,000 for the full bike), it would still be a steal at a grand. I was stressed, though, since bidding ended at 8:45am, namely RIGHT when I'd be cruising through the bike leg of my race. Oy! Jake promised to keep an eye on it for me, like a good sherpa, since he knew it'd just distract me from giving it my all. So I was able to relax and do my best, knowing he'd take care of it. Hooray.

The weather was perfect, cool and just slightly drizzly, with the ocean calm and easy to swim through. Shortly before the start, Will said I should do sub-4, and since I don't know any better, I decided, hey, let's see if I can. My mile took 33 minutes, and there were still plenty of bikes racked when I got in. Of course, I wish I could be one of the 28 minute ladies, but five minutes is not so terrible, and a new bike could shave that. Transition was fast, just under three minutes, and soon I was out with Jake on the bike. Since it wasn't a closed course, he was able to bike with me in his Animal Liberation kit, keeping track of my auction and helping me keep a good pace. He pulled to the side, since about 20 minutes into the ride someone tried to outbid me, and then caught up, saying I'd won! Yay! I was now the proud owner of a badass aero Felt frame. The rest of the race wasn't no thing. 

I guess the bike frame gave me some extra gumption, 'cause I kicked it up a notch for the second half of the ride and finished is just around two hours, which was my hope. I had to pee like a mad man, and had to run in the opposite direction in transition from the run out in order to do so, so my T2 took over 3 minutes which I'd wished weren't so, but hey, peeing is very necessary. (I'm looking forward to Malibu, since it'll be the first race I do that's fast enough that peeing won't come into play. What a relief.)

I was feeling very good on the run, and was keeping up my 8:30 minute mile., even with the steady uphill on the run out. I smiled at everyone and kept an eye out for calves with my number on 'em, since Jake said he really hadn't seen many other women before me on the swim out, and thought maybe I could be a contender. On the way downhill, I increased my pace, and looked at my Garmin... I was getting close to 4 hours, but thought maybe I could do it! Running sub 8-min miles, with two left, a lithe leggy 28-year-old whizzed by me, and I tried to keep her in my sights, but she was GONE. Must have been doing six-minute miles or some madness. I pushed it as hard as I could, slowed slightly by the annoying sand patches and finished at just over four hours (darn!) Of course, the most exciting part would be right before the finish line, I spotted a woman who was finishing and had a 27 on her calf, and I sprinted to outstrip her. So I got 5th, and she got 6th, by one second. (If I were her, I'd be pissed.) The chick who passed me got 4th, beating me by two minutes. The podium ladies beat me by about fifteen. That's not too terrible a spread. Though speedy 4th place lady did her 10 mile run in, I believe, 1:09, and ranked somewhere like 46th OVERALL on the run (that includes all the men and elites.) In other words, she is fast as hell. But her bike was very slow. So if I get as speedy as we all hope I will with a new aero bike that fits, maybe I can still be a contender! (Although I looked up my age group for next year... 30-34, eeeek, and they are all EVEN FASTER. DAMN IT!!)

But I'm pretty pleased with how that went, and hoping I can put in a good show at Malibu. It's my third tri of the season (yikes, slow season) so I can finally get a ranking. Will be fun to find out how I'm doing!

AuthorNikki Muller