Los Angeles Triathlon Club
Race Report
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Club Member: Jim Palmer
Race: Catalina Tri 11/7/2009
Distance: Sprint
Race Date: 11/07/09
Submit Date: 11/11/09

Waking up Saturday morning at about 4am was a bit rough. I was excited and ready to go though. We packed up and drove to Long Beach to take the ferry over to Catalina. The ride over to Catalina was smooth and calm. I would like to think that I could have slept if I wasn’t so excited.

When we arrived at Catalina the first thing we noticed was the water. It was dark blue and clear. So clear and blue it seemed fake at first. Like one of those ponds they have in an office park with dark blue (died) water. So clear we could see the fish hanging out near the rocks. Seemed like a good sign.

The two other triathlon races I completed were fun. My first race was tough because well, it was my first triathlon. The LA triathlon was tough because I was slightly injured and could not go 100% but somehow managed to finish well. I was very excited about Catalina because I was injury free and ready to rock!!

Catalina race info – 1/2mile swim, 9.32mile hilly bike ride, 3.2mile hilly run. Personal race goals – 1) Swim as fast I can and try to be under 14min; 2) Complete the entire race under 1hr 30min; 3) Place in the top 10 for my division (Clydesdale).

Swim – Warming up in the cool clear Avalon harbor water was great. So nice to be able to see all around without taking my head out of the water. I felt like a kid in a pool. Once my groups turn came up to start I felt ready as ever. I had my good luck kiss and smile from Pamela as well as my mind set on going all out. At 914am, I was off into the dark blue waters of the bay. A mass of about 50 arms and bodies cutting through the water. About 40 yards off shore I looked straight down in the water only to see sand and kelp. I smiled and just kept moving as fast as I possibly could. The great thing about the clear water was that I could see others around me. This helped me avoid getting kicked a couple of times as well as allow me to see a clear path to get around people. I felt really good rounding the buoys and heading for the shore. Near the end of the swim, it was like going through a funnel. All these swimmers heading towards a single beach exit. It was a little tough but I was able to navigate through it and get out of the water. Swim time – 9min 13seconds!

Bike – Who the heck put these hills here!! That is all I kept saying to myself as I went through 3 loops of the bike course. A lap was basically 1.5miles uphill (5% – 8% grade)and then 1.5miles downhill, rinse and repeat 3 times. Going down at 35mph was fun, going up at 9mph was not. Add in trying to pass people uphill, getting passed uphill and you get some burning leg muscles and lungs that felt like they would come out of my chest. Why would I do this to myself? Life is way too short to sit on the sidelines and wonder if I could have done it. Bike time – 39min 19seconds.

Run – You have to be kidding me!! What is up with these hills!! I paid money to do this? Those were my thoughts as I put one foot in front of the other as I ran up a hill for about a mile. Getting to the top felt good as I knew I would get to run down hill now. Great, this is not too bad I thought as I got to the bottom of the hill and knew I was heading back into town. Heading into town on flat ground was great so I picked up my pace a little. I wanted to put on a good show after all. When did San Francisco start renting out its hills? That is what I thought as I rounded a corner heading towards a relatively flat finish or so I thought. This thing (I refuse to call it a hill) was a little over a quarter mile long at about a 12% grade. Are these people insane? This is torture!! I was not in the best mood as I started the hill. Instead of going up angry I just thought about all that has gone on this past year. I decided that this challenging hill was a reward and that life will have many more hills for me so I might as well enjoy it. Soon enough I was at the top and heading down towards the finish. Seeing the finish line and hearing Pamela yell my name as I crossed was awesome. I had just completed my third triathlon!! ? Run time – 29min 49seconds.

Total time – 1hr 23minutes 44 seconds! Division place – 14th out of 38. I was in the Clydesdale division (those of us who are of the larger body type).

Goals 1) Swim time under 14min – DONE!!! 2) Finish under 1hr 30min – DONE!!! 3) Place in the top 10 for my division – Almost. I finished 2minutes behind the 10th place finisher.

Although I did not meet all of my goals, I have come a long way since my first triathlon (SB, 8/09). I left it all out on the race course and walked away completely drained. I wonder what next year will bring??

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