I don’t even know where to begin because the weekend was full of so much awesomeness. Desert Triathlon is an awesome early season race, and I’m so happy to have done it again! Here’s the recap:
Topher and I drove out Friday and caravanned with Jim and Kris (Topher’s parents), who raced on Saturday in the sprint. Topher and I were doing the Olympic/International distance on Sunday. I just love the drive to Palm Springs. Through the mountains. The roads are so cool. We started the weekend off with a laugh and a little hiccup. I booked the room on AirBnB, and well even though I typed in “La Quinta, CA” we booked a room in Palm Desert about 35min from La Quinta/Palm Springs. At first, I was annoyed with myself, and I’m sure everyone else was kind of like…hmmmm. Well done, Katie! (sarcastically). But, it turned out to workout just great. We stayed away from all the hustle and bustle, and our little pad was pretty awesome! (If you want to read my race reports from previous years you can do so here from 2013, and here from 2015.
Food Highlights from the Weekend
- Panera – chinese chicken salad and chicken noodle soup
- Islands – gilled mahi mahi fish tacos + french fries
- Solanos – egg sandwich + sweet potato fries
- Cooked at airbnb pad – salmon + sweet potato and yams + rice + salad
- Solanos – breakfast burrito + french fries
Workout highlights from the weekend
- 25min shake out ride after drive on Friday
- 35min shake out ride Saturday after running around and cheering at the race all morning
Shake out rides on Friday – Chasing Daylight
Saturday was really fun cheering on Jim and Kris in the Sprint Triathlon. It was Kris’s “first” triathlon ever. She trains like a rockstar triathlete, but has only ever done one other triathlon and it was a very long time ago. Jim did his first triathlon in 26yrs. He has completed Kona twice and has a lot of experience, and trains like a triathlete, but again, it was practically like his first one after being in triathlon retirement for 26yrs! That alone is an inspiration. But, of course, Kris and Jim took it to another level. Kris took 2nd in her AG and Jim took 4th! WOW! (Fun Fact: Toph guessed Jim’s exact finish time. It was mind blowing).
Woke up at 4:30. This has become a regular wake up time for me, so it makes race day really easy! I don’t care about hitting the snooze button anymore. I had a banana right away, and finished up any last minute get ready stuff, like water bottles. I was having some gear issues, so Toph helped me make a minor adjustment real quick. It’s not so easy with Di2, because you can’t just spin the little thingy (I’m sure you can tell right now how well versed I am in bike jargon) by the back cable to adjust gearing, so you have to take the Di2 out and click some buttons and hit the buttons on the handle bars, and voila it got fixed! We then packed up the car and headed out on our 35min drive to Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta, CA.
There was a wind advisory but we kind of just shook it off, but when we got there, there were these big gusts of up to 50mph that was practically tossing people’s bikes off of the racks and blowing expo tents into the lake. We knew with that the morning was going to be anything but normal. After we set up our transition, the swim course buoys still were not out on the lake, and we were wondering what was happening. We went for a quick warm up jog for about 20min, and came back and that’s when they told us, the race was still on, as the winds have died down on the bike course, and now all they had to do was get the swim buoys out. Phew! I have never had a race cancelled, and I definitely was looking forward to this one. It’s a short, fun one and kicks off the season in a nice way. So, I was thankful when they said it was still on. The winds really did die down, and it was the perfect window to squeeze in the race.
About an hour after the original start time, we kicked off the swim. Toph was in the first wave, and I was in the 3rd wave starting about 6min behind him. It was still windy, but manageable. Here’s how the race played out:
I was eager to really give this race all I have and try to go as hard as I possibly can. I have nothing to lose. I have completed 4 ironmans and 12 half ironmans, and I have done this race in particular 2 other times, so I’m familiar with it. It’s time to really push it, and if I bonk, I bonk. So, I decided to start in the front line of girls in my wave, and start on the far left to give myself some space. When the gun went off, I sprinted into the water, diving in, and first thing first, my goggles fell off. Ugh. Seriously? Swim swim, stop put them back on, swim, starting to fill up with water, stop readjust, okay SWIM!!! I started sprinting, and breathing every stroke which I never do, because I have no experience doing that, I ended up not really exhaling and hyperventilated myself into a panic attack. I suddenly couldn’t breath! How is this happening? Why is this happening? I started doing breast stroke, and tried to catch my breath, when I thought I had, I started trying to swim, but still couldn’t really exhale under water. I was freaking out. Why am I doing this? I have done plenty of these. Maybe I should just call it quits and go cheer Topher on. No, you can do this! Just be patient. You know you can swim. You swim all the time. You have done ironmans and half ironmans. You just need to get into your rhythm. Don’t worry about the people around you, and don’t even worry about being fast. Just start swimming. Nope, still not great, started doing breaststroke and ended up taking in a big gulp of water, uh oh. I’m feeling nauseous. Here it comes. Blah. Thrown up. Okay, maybe I just needed to throw up? I feel much better. I had a ton of burps that suddenly came up. Wow. Okay, now I really feel okay. Start swimming! I started getting a little bit of a rhythm, and but now I’m freaking out about losing so much time. I floated on my back for a little bit, and then I suddenly felt totally okay. Wow, how much time has gone by? Don’t worry about it! Just start swimming and move on! After about 7min of friggin dealing with a panic attack brought on by my own excitement, I was actually swimming! I have no idea how far back I was, but at this point, when my feet hit the ground, I was happy it was all over.
Swim Time: 29:18 – 2:13/100yds
I have never seen that slow of a swim per 100yds in a race. ha! Wow. Who knew that even after all of that, you can still have freak outs and craziness. That’s the beauty of sports though. Anything can happen.
T1: 2min – obviously needed some extra time to get ahold of myself 🙂
I was ready to crush it! I hopped on my bike and off I went. I just told myself to give it all I have. Right as I finished the swim, Jim and Kris were there to cheer for me. I’m so thankful for them because instead of saying something like “Oh, it’s ok Katie” or something that pitied me, Kris said, “Never give up”! And wow, that made me go. Seriously, never give up. If all I do is walk away with my best bike split from today’s race, then that’s what happens. So, I hopped on my bike and didn’t mope for one second. I just got after it. I started chasing girls down, and picking them off one at a time. I counted that I passed 7 girls in my AG in 24 miles. The whole time I just told myself “push, pull, push, pull”. I have never used my hamstrings so much on the bike, but damn, when you engage those muscles you can FLY!!!! I took in some Skratch every 20min and about 3/4 through I ate 2 gatorade chews – orange flavor. Before I knew it, 2 loops was over, and I was back at transition!
Bike Time: 1:06:37
Avg speed: 21.7mph
Avg HR: 172 (max 186)
T2: 1:27 – a bit faster that T1, but usually I’m even faster. I debate every single time whether I should leave the shoes on the bike or run with them. I’m just afraid of stepping on something and then cutting my foot.
On to my favorite part of the race. Although, I’m still building my speed back up and after riding harder than I’ve ever ridden, I was unsure how the run was going to go, but just thought to myself, run hard and run strong. Make every step count. And that’s exactly what I did. The course is really tough because a lot of it is on uneven ground, sometimes running on a slant, sometimes running in sand, or sometimes running on rocky paths. When I ran out onto course, I saw the back of Topher, and I knew he was on his 2nd loop. I cheered from afar and hoped he heard me. And then proceeded to get after my run. As I passed people or people passed me, I said, “nice work or keep it up”. This is a competitive sport, but more than that we are all out there trying to prove to ourselves that we are tough enough, that we can do it, and that we can finish what we start. It is about community, and I hope that we can all be out there supporting one another every single race. Sometimes I was out of breath and it was a quiet whisper, but I wanted to try to say something to everyone I saw. As I finished up my first loop, there was Kris, Jim, and Toph cheering me on! It gave me a little extra boost for my 2nd loop. The fatigue started to set in, but I told myself that no matter what you keep giving it all you’ve got. You are almost there! As I turned the corner for the last straightaway toward the finish line, the wind picked up. I was being blow backwards practically, and thought to myself, just keep moving forward, it doesn’t matter how slow, and get yourself to that finish line. Come on! When I crossed the finish line, I saw Topher and fell into his arms. As he lifted me up, tears streamed down my face, and I my heart poured over with love, gratefulness, and pride. Proud of him, proud of myself, and happy that we gave it all we had on that day. I have never had someone to share my love and passion for this amazing sport with, and I can’t even put into words what it’s like to have your PIC there at the finish line. To see Toph handing out waters, and cheering on all the competitors who crossed the finish line was the true joy in my day. I thought to myself, he gets it! He really gets it. Wow. Him giving and truly demonstrating community is an inspiration to us all. To be better, do better, and to give more. Life isn’t easy. We all face demons every day, internally, and externally. And that is why, in this special group, for him to show us all what it’s really about at the end of the day – Giving Back. <3 #myheartisfull (Side note: I’m so proud of Toph for giving it all he had. After coming in off the bike and having a minor crash, he never gave up. He is a light in my life, and he has truly touched my heart. Thank you Toph for sharing your light with all of us. #forevergrateful)
Run Time: 49:14
Avg pace: 7:55min/mile
Avg HR: 172 (max 191)
Total Time: 2:28:37 – 2nd AG
Thank you first and foremost to Toph for helping me beat my bike time from last year by 3+ min. His support, love, and encouragement means more to me than he’ll ever know. To my family for cheering from far away. And of course, to the two kiwis, Jim and Kris, for all of their cheers all day! <3 Much love!
And one more thing: Kudos to everyone out there on Sunday braving the wind and giving it all you had! Happy to have shared that day with all of you, and look forward to seeing you out on another course soon!
And now a rest day before we are off to Mexico for a four day weekend!