8/6 - 8/12/2012 Santa Cruz Sprint & International

This week started off rough as I had to work a lot and it was BUSY!!!! Mélisande and I were also fighting off something most of the week so I was feeling run down and tired for most of the week but I stuck to the plan and got some good recovery in thursday and friday.

Saturday was the Sprint Triathlon and I felt good waking up early and enjoying my coffee while catching up on the olympics. Transition is less than a mile away so I wasn't in any hurry. I cruised down to the race through the sleepy downtown streets and as soon as I got there I started seeing familiar faces. This is the reason why local races are the best! I knew so many people racing and working the race that it makes it so much fun. I jogged around a little to check out some of the course changes and the fog line. I decided against swimming before the start because the buoys were not set and I wasn't sure about the start time. The race start was really mellow because of the small field and so we all got off clean and quick to the water. In the first straight of the swim Dylan McNeice moved up on my left and Tommy Zeffares  on my right as we approached the first turn. Being with those guys at the first turn was great because they usually put so much time into me in the swim. The two of them started stretching out a gap to the far turn buoy and just after I made that turn Barrett Brandon passed me and I just tried to sit on him.

I exited the swim and began the long run back to transition with Barrett in sight and with the other two around a minute ahead. I was feeling a little disoriented as I have not done a hard transition in a while and when I dropped my goggles I just turned around and went back to pick them up. While doing so the two women leading the race passed me and at that moment I remembered that I was supposed to be racing...oops! I overtook the women in transition and with Barrett still in sight put my head down to begin the chase.

Near the turn-around I figured Tommy was a little over a minute up and Dylan was only forty five seconds up. Barrett was leading me by about two hundred meters and as I was setting up for the left on Swanton I realized that he was going to miss the turn so I started yelling "TURN" and so id the volunteers but he didn't hear and continued on. At this point I was in third and he was going to loose a minute at least so I figured I would chase on the bike and then reassess the gap. At the second turnaround the gap was about the same and I knew that was not coking back on the run so I settled back into tempo to save my lungs.

Out on the run with the gaps in front of me and behind me too big to worry about I just tried to keep my leg-speed up and after the turn around shut the pace down to conserve energy for Sunday. I really like the opportunity to do the sprint first and make sure the kinks are all worked out before the olympic distance on sunday. Several of my friends had awesome races and one of them actually beat me on time and it was so fun to be out there pushing it with all of them and encouraging each other.

I went home, got some good food in my belly and did some stretching and massage work to keep my muscles loose for sunday morning.

Sunday morning there was a bit of a change because John Dahlz was in the field and he is super strong!  Everything went smoothly geting set up for the race and I felt good once my coffee kicked in :) The swim lead out the same with Tommy, Dylan and John slowly pulling away in the swim and Barrett and I working together to keep the gap from stretching out too much. I felt good in the water and I am glad that I got in to swim beforehand. There was some jockeying because it was a two lap swim and a quick beach run in between but that was nice because it was easier to keep track of the gaps.

My best estimate was that we were just over a minute down exiting the water and I knew we had some hard work to do. We smoked through T1 and Barrett set a screaming pace for the the first lap of the bike when he eased up I came through and put my head down to set the pace. My legs felt good and I was pushing a big gear. At the second turn around I realized that we were bringing them back and that feeling spurred me on through the bike. I gritted my teeth, got low and grabbed a deeper gear whenever I felt like I could. Barrett fell off the pace but by the last section of the bike I could see the guys up the road.

I caught Tommy and Dylan in the last mile of the bike and because of a course snafu John came in right behind us. We all exited T2 within 15 seconds of each other and I kept calm knowing that they would go out hard but my best chance would be to run my own race and hope that one of them cracked. I put myself on the limit for the first three miles and the gap to Dylan then John then Tommy slowly expanded and with barrett a good ways back I eased up for the second half of the run to conserve my place. Expecting one of those guys to crack is a little unrealistic but it was fun to finally be in the race. I am still making good improvements and I am feeling good about focusing on some specifics to dial in for the rest of the season.

Swim 13,000 yds
Bike   6.5 hrs
Run    22 mi

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