Irvine is traditionally the season opener for the UCSD tri team. This year was no different; we brought around 35 people to compete in the race and for many it was their first triathlon. The race course changed a bit from the previous couple of years – to a more beginner friendly course with many fewer 180-degree turns. What a relief (although we still had a few team members get too friendly with the pavement). Last year I opted to used a road bike with aerobars – this year it was my TT bike all the way I couldn’t be seen on anything else (more on the TT bike in a later post). It was a wise choice as the course was pretty open. However, I did have to fend off a flock of Stanford athletes so that I could get my bike racked properly in transition. Apparently they’ll all be sporting Specialized Shivs come nationals…
The race was a reverse tri; 5k run, 11mi bike, 400 y pool swim. Leading up the race, I had a fairly heavy training week (~140miles cycling the previous weekend and some intense track workouts during the week). I also started to feel a little cold/sickness set in. Nonetheless, I wasn’t going to let a cold stop me and Sergio has been coaching / training us to run fast and efficient on tired legs. I was fairly confident I was going to set a 5k PR at the beginning of the race. Confidence is an important thing in triathlon (and any racing sport) – but not too much confidence. I’m talking about confidence in your training – knowing you’ve put in the work and it will show up on race day. And indeed it did. 16:43 – a 40 second PR over my best high school cross-country time sophomore year. About time – that PR was set 10 years ago! The theme for my tri season this year is ‘finding my running legs’ - so this isn’t a bad start. After the run, I had a fairly strong bike to catch up to the race leader. We jumped into the pool together, but did not leave the pool together. Overall very satisfied with my race – mainly for the run split. The real highlight of the race, however, was seeing everyone on the team have such a great time. I hope many of the new members of the team are “hooked”!
My award: the infamous 'octojellycat' painting. Now sporting a triton in-tentacle. Irvine hasn't seen the last of this one.