Redondo Beach Triathlon – 11 June 2017

This was my 5th triathlon of the season and 2nd sprint.  I’ve been just maintaining since Santa Rosa 70.3 so not much progression outside of the swim.  I was rested up going into this race but legs and glutes were still a little tight.  I managed to do better at this race this year compared to last  year and had a big breakthrough in the swim, but I got crushed on the run and dropped, so I still need to lose weight and keep pushing towards race weight for the rest of the summer.

Redondo Beach Triathlon – 1000y swim, 6 mile bike, 2 mile run

Pre-Race – Since this was a fast sprint, there wasn’t much prep.  I had one banana then biked down to race start since it’s about 3 minutes away.  I racked up on the closest rack to bike out and on the end of the rack so I had plenty of room (always get to transition early).  I saw a bunch of my friends from the local SB Tri Group, SMOG swim group, and Equinox team, so I spent a good deal of time chatting with them.  I went down to the beach after transition closed then got in the water to test things out and loosen up.  We then made the long jaunt to the other end of the beach close to the rocks and got in our corrals.  I did some pushups and band work beforehand so I was ready.

Swim – The gun went off and my wave hit it hard from the start.  We smashed through the breakers and hit the first turn buoy very fast.  The group then split up and it was a free for all.  There was no real melee here as most of the folks in SoCal are decent ocean swimmers so everyone seemed to know what they were doing.  I just focused on hitting it hard, sighting, and continuing to push.  This was the hardest I’ve ever pushed on a swim in any race, so I was pleased I was able to hold it together.  I managed to draft off a young kid towards the end and we came in together.

Final Swim – 15:09 – Link here

**Note – My garmin times are different than the official times.  I stopped my watch as soon as I hit ground, but I think the timing chip portion was a little bit north of the swim exit.  The “official” times on the website stand, but these are what I have based on what I hit on my watch.**

T1 – This is usually a long run up the beach and around the stairs to get into transition.  I pushed but everyone is hurting at this point so I just focused on moving forward.  I got to my bike, stripped off the wetsuit, put on shoes and helmet, then rolled out fast – no real issues.

Final T1 – 3:24

Bike – I pushed very hard on the bike.  I only wore a pair of shorts, so no t-shirt and no heart rate monitor.  I tracked everything on my Forerunner 920XT watch.  For some reason, my power meter didn’t sync up so I should have done that beforehand just to make sure my watch picked up the PM.  I just focused on pushing as hard as a gear as I could.  I burned through probably 10-15 folks so almost everyone who swam in front of me got dropped.  There were a  few who escaped my wrath but not many.   I’m still pissed that I didn’t capture any power data because I think I was holding at least 300-320 watts based on how hard I was pushing…I’ll have to wait until next year.

Final Bike – 16:01 – Link here

T2 – No real issues here.  My rack was right next to bike in so I rolled in, dropped off the bike, ripped off my helmet, put on my shoes, then grabbed hat/glasses/belt and put them on while running.

Final T2 – 1:06

Run – The run is usually my strength but I had pushed very hard on the bike and I was bagging.  I caught the first 1-2 guys in front of me and just kept a good rhythm.  However, I got caught about 0.5 miles into the run at the pier by another dude.  I worked to keep him in sight so I could surge at the end, but I was gassed so just held on for dear life.  I had no one behind me so just kept working on trying to catch anyone in front of me, but it was game over.  This was probably one of my shittiest runs at a sprint race.

Final Run – 13:18 – Link here

Overall Time – 48:57 (per Garmin) – link here

Results – 2nd AG, 16th OA – link here

I didn’t have any expectations for this race so getting on the podium was a surprise.  I had to pop smoke and race to LAX to catch a flight to Ohio, so my friend Christine picked up the medal.

Here are some key takeaways:

  1. Race weight – I’m still too heavy and I think that cost me my run and first place.  I talked to the guy who dropped me at the end, and he commented “You move pretty fast for a bigger guy.”  After hearing that, I knew that I could have had him and need to square this away.

2. Sprints for breakthroughs and experience – I’ve long been a proponent of racing sprints for race experience.  When I started triathlons in 2008, I raced sprints and didn’t even do my first Olympic until 2011, then Half Ironman in 2012, then Ironman 140.6 until November 2013, so in 5 years I would say I raced far more sprints and Olympics than anything.  This has given me a lot of race experience so I’m relatively unfazed in adverse conditions and I know how to push myself.  A lot of folks dropped me on the swim as usual, but I was able to come from the back and start dropping folks.  I also saved time over others due to race transitions as I chalk that up to experience.  I find that I’m unable to push myself to my true max on some types of events unless it’s at a race, so I encourage newer triathletes to race often and have fun for the first few years to get some quality experience.  I’ve seen plenty of folks get into the sport and immediately start to tackle half ironman or full ironman distances wanting to get a certain time or goal, but ultimately fall short and get burned out and disappointed in themselves.  Triathlon is a process sport, so if you don’t love the process of training, then you’ll never be happy in triathlon.  Race often, have fun, and over time, the results will come if you put in the hard work and enjoy the sport…extrinsic rewards are a poor driver for success in triathlon.

3. Swim Breakthrough – I pushed as hard as I could on the swim and wasn’t too obliterated at the end.  I saw my swim time and was pretty thrilled.  I credit this to consistent hard work in the pool and things finally clicking where my technique is starting to catch up to my engine.  I still have a lot of work to do, but things are moving in the right direction on the swim.

I had a great time seeing my other SB Tri, SMOG, and Equinox friends, so congratulations to everyone who competed in the RB Tri!

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