Chula Vista Challenge: Sprint Triathlon Recap… MY FIRST TRI!

Good morning friends! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend swimming, biking, running, and spending time with friends and family. The day is finally here… I CAN FINALLY CALL MYSELF A TRIATHLETE! It has been a long time coming with a lot of bumps and bruises along the way, but happy to bring you all my first triathlon race recap. Spoiler alert: I am pretty hooked. IMG_1167Saturday morning started with a course preview with Jason. Before we started our ride, I got hopelessly lost three times until I found our meeting spot, and we also ran into another triathlete wearing some pretty cool pajamas…

Seeing the course ahead of time definitely made me more excited to race on Sunday. I knew what to expect and what to avoid (lots of cracked roads and potholes). On our way back, Jason had to get in some speed work, so we split up. I had one job only: to turn left onto a street to get back to where we parked. Turns out I missed that street, ended up on another bike path headed to National City, and if not a text from Jason checking to see if I was alive, could have taken a lot longer to get back. Oh, the joys of learning how to cycle!IMG_1178We got our race packets, and I rushed home to get ready for my first bridal shower!! One of my teammates, Talia, is getting married in 3 weeks and we were so excited to celebrate with all of her family and girlfriends. It was awesome seeing everyone out of spandex and running clothes. The BT girls clean up nice :) I attribute a lot of my Sunday racing to all the great food at the shower and advice from these kickass women!! IMG_1188Rest of Saturday was filled with Elle cuddle time and dog park fun. IMG_1185Plus carbo loading with the roommates. Pesto pasta- you really hit the spot. IMG_1190The big day! I was kind of freaking out the day before because I had heard some rumors that the race would not be wetsuit legal. I really like having that extra protection and buoyancy from the wetsuit and didn’t know what to expect with swimming in just my tri kit. Jackie gave me a lot of advice the night before on how to navigate the waters and my coach said that the salt water should add more than enough buoyancy to survive 500 yards. Despite their reassuring words, I was pretty stoked when I arrived Sunday morning and HALLELUJAH! It was wetsuit legal! Thank you water, for being 76 degrees instead of 78! By the way. I feel like I look like a Teletubbie in the above picture.

I got caught up with talking to Anthony and Elle before the start and didn’t realize all the orange swim caps (the wave I was suppose to start with) had all headed out to the starting buoy that was about 100 yards out. Got a little bit of a sprint in before the race started and when I arrived, the woman had already started counting down from 10 and BOOM. We were off! I had my goggles knocked out of my head the first 2 minutes into the swim and after that I worked pretty hard to just keep to myself. My only fear was that my Nemo fin (what I call my bad arm) would get knocked my someone in the water and would make the rest of the swim more painful than it needed to be. Swim goal: to not be the last orange cap out of the water. Goal accomplished! IMG_1223Out of the water embarrassingly slow but tried not to think too much about it since swimming has still been tough since I broke my collarbone. I quickly got out of my wetsuit, got my bike gear together, and it was time to start the bike leg! The first part of the course consisted of extremely narrow bike lanes that I was not prepared for. A bunch of speedy cyclists were yelling and trying to get past anyone that was in the way. I told myself to breathe and prayed the course would widen up. People who put the cones together: I have some complaints! Once we got onto the main road, I was able to breathe again and settled into a pretty good rhythm to crank out the rest of the 14 mile bike ride. It was pretty great seeing other friends and teammates on the course- thanks Tony for the shoutout and encouragement while you were working on the Half Aquabike.
IMG_122214 miles later and started the run leg with my helmet on my head. Thank you kind volunteer for chasing me down so I didn’t look dumb the last 5K. I was finally in my happy place: onto the run and having both feet planted firmly on the ground. I didn’t know how the length of the bike course was going to affect my running since the last duathlon I did, the bike course was a lot shorter. I started counting my “kills” and seeing how many people I could pass on my run, a habit I picked up after doing SoCal Ragnar 2 years ago. I cheered on Bernardo as he started the second lap in the international triathlon run, and focused on making sure I didn’t get passed by anyone. I felt like a turtle moving through peanut butter for the majority of the 5K. Heat and I do not get along. Towards the mile 2 marker, I noticed a girl that looked like she could be doing the sprint triathlon too and from the back, it looked like we could also be in the same age group. Even though it was hot and my legs were on fire, I had to get closer to see. Slowly, started gaining on her and yup. 20 years old was clearly written on her left calve and I made it my goal to catch up to her, if not pass her for that podium spot. Caught up to her the last quarter mile in the race and it was a hardcore sprint to the end, but she passed me the last 5 seconds with a nice elbow to the face. We hugged it out at the finish and just like that, my first triathlon is in the books! 1 hour and 34 minutes- DONE! IMG_1191Some cute faces I was excited to see after the race! IMG_1212I was pretty convinced the girl that passed me in the finisher chute booted me out of a podium spot in my age group but was happily surprised when Jason called me to the results table to see that I squeezed myself into third place for my first triathlon! All three of us finished with 5-6 seconds between all of our times so it was definitely a close one. Maybe one day, I’ll be on the podium where all three spots are filled? IMG_1211Special thanks and shout outs to the original tri family :) So thankful for all the Karavidas for supporting me at various races and for being there for my first tri! Happy that Striker and Elle also have each other now so they aren’t bored out of their minds during a race. Jason killed the international duathlon with a first place overall finish, despite a hot and long day! Thanks for letting me bug you everyday at work about triathlon related things. I’ll try aero bars eventually.

I really could not do any of this without the best coach in the world, Felipe. Even though this is my first tri, I’ve noticed major improvements in my fitness and mental strength since I started training under his guidance and with our team. Not only does he tailor my workouts to work on my weaknesses and strengthen my strengths, he is there for every physical, mental, emotional rollercoaster we all have for him! Seriously. Need a coach? I guess I’ll share- check out Breakaway Training! IMG_1206I think Elle had a great time at the race too. She got an award for digging the most holes at the beach. It was really impressive to hear all about it from Anthony. And of course, what would I do with the greatest boyfriend in the world? Thanks for supporting me on this journey and telling it like it is- CAN’T WAIT TIL OUR FIRST TRIATHLON TOGETHER! IMG_1220Celebrated the best way I knew how: food and beer. Starting with trying Tacos El Gordo for the first time post race since we are not down in Chula Vista.. ever. IMG_1227To burgers and beer for dinner. IMG_1229Followed by more beer. Don’t worry. Salads and kale start again today! Also, this IPA and Coffee Stout from Rip Current Brewery in North Park are both delicious!

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Solana Beach Duathlon Race Recap

Hi friends! How was everyone’s weekends?? I hope you spent a lot of it swimming, biking, and running! Remember how I told you last week I was really nervous for the Solana Beach Duathlon? Well turns out it wasn’t so bad and I’m so happy cause it’s been forever since I’ve done a race, let alone a race recap!IMG_0949Let’s rewind to Saturday night and the foods that attributed to Sunday’s race day success. Anthony and I went out for Italian food with a couple of our friends. Decided to play it safe and stick with pizza with sausage and bell peppers. Not pictured: the three loaves of complementary bread they brought to our table. I definitely accomplished all of my carbo-loading goals. IMG_0950Normally I wouldn’t eat dessert the night before a race but a trip to Hammond’s for ice cream flights was too good to pass up. Plus, everyone knows ice cream and donuts are my biggest weaknesses so it’s really everyone else’s fault for suggesting it. Not my lack of self control or anything… Four flight flavors were: birthday cake, blueberry cheesecake, cinnamon swirl, and butter pecan. Two of my friends got PB Oreo and I’m still kicking myself for not adding that flavor to my ice cream flight. IMG_0970Boom. Race day. I was kind of freaking out about the bike portion of the race since I’m still not very good at shifting on my TT bike and don’t even get me started on how much I struggle with making right hand turns. A bunch of my friends and teammates have done this race before so as I was racking up my bike, they gave me a course overview and told me what to expect for the turns and where to pick up speed on the run. I headed to the start for the duathlon and for the first time in my 4 years of racing, the race did not start on time! We were set to start at 6:50am but because the street patrols were late, we started almost at 7am. There is a first time for everything. IMG_0969One of my girlfriends who lives in Solana Beach texted me the night before telling me she was going to come watch me race! She is the reason I am on Breakaway Training (her bf is one of the coaches and a pro triathlete), my advisor at UCSD, and since I’ve graduated, one of my sweetest and most supportive friends. I didn’t expect to see her until the finish line but there she was, waiting at the start of the duathlon before I even got to the start. Now that is friendship! IMG_0968After catching up with Kristen for sometime at the start, we were off! Since we started the race late, I felt like I lost some of my warm-up and the first quarter of a mile of the duathlon mile run did not feel so great. My hat was falling off, my quads were tight, and oh yeah, did you know San Diego gets humid nowadays?! Then somehow, half way through, my body decided to wake up, remembered it was in a race, and I finished the first mile with a 6:24 min/mile. IMG_0967Note to self: take out your sunglasses before the transition, not during. Spent a little more time in struggle city than I would like getting my bike, helmet, shoes, and sunglasses on before heading out to the mounting area to start the bike leg! The goal of the bike part was just to build confidence. My coach and I talked about pushing the run beyond my comfort zone but staying safe when it came to the bike. That meant getting passed A LOT but also building my confidence in racing on a bike again! After two scenic loops from Solana to Encinitas along the 101 highway, I finished the 9 mile bike leg in 33 minutes and it was time to bring it home with the final 5K!IMG_0972The second transition to the run was a lot smoother than the first. By the time I started the 5K, the humidity had really started to set in but the overcast made a world of difference. For all of you that know me (or follow my blog), heat and I are mortal enemies (this is going to make my triathlon in 2 weeks super fun). I would take humidity and overcast over humidity and heat any day. I know, I’m the worst Floridian ever. One thing I started to do more during hard runs and races is looking at my pace on my Garmin. I don’t know why I didn’t do it before but it has helped me make huge improvements in my training when I know there are certain numbers I want to hit. I told myself I was not allowed to go over 7:30 minute miles during the 5K and finished the last duathlon leg in 22:18. IMG_0956My cheering squad at races just got even better with a puppy to greet me at the end! Elle’s first race and I think she’s going to like this sport considering every triathlete brought their dog to the race. Finished in 1:05:08, which is a 5 minute PR from my last (and first) duathlon in October. Once I start making improvements in my cycling, I think duathlons and I can become great friends! IMG_0971Just some of the coolest coworkers ever at the race. Both Carlos and Jason did the triathlon and braved the open water ocean swim that I had zero interest in. IMG_0954Finished 8th female overall and 1st in my age group. I promise there was another girl in my age group but I guess she didn’t want to stick around for the awards? IMG_0962IMG_0966I have some of the best friends and support systems in this sport! Ever since I joined Breakaway Training, I constantly have friends who challenge me and make me a better athlete everyday. Not to mention friends like Jason and Kristen who give the best pre and post-race pep talks. Can’t imagine what I would do without this community.

Thank you Breakaway Training, Coach Felipe, and all of my orange family teammates! It was awesome to hear people cheering and yelling your name, high-fiving people on the 2 loop run course, and wishing each other luck once you saw them on the course. Special thanks to Jon for his thumbs up when I felt like my legs were going to fall off in the last loop of the run. IMG_0959I think it’s safe to say the dogs had a great time at this race too. IMG_0965And of course, the perfect recovery involves a huge chocolate donut.

Healthy Friday Finds and Weekend Plans!

Hello everyone!! Happy Friday! Anyone else super excited for the weekend? I am starting this Friday off with a Healthy Friday finds and then stick around for me to tell you all about my weekend plans (it involves a race… FINALLY). IMG_08981. One thing I need to really work on is fueling DURING a workout. It is so important to keep up with the calories you are burning and to make sure you don’t bonk midway through a workout or god forbid, a race. When I was training for marathons, I started to HATE all forms of fuel from GUs to Chomps to some flavors of workout energy bars. Then last weekend, one of my girlfriends and teammates SAVED me during a long workout by introducing me to the above Clif Bars: Berry Pomegranate Chia and the new Nut Filled Clif bars! Boy, are they both game changers!

The Berry Pomegranate Chia Clif bar is less sweet than their other flavors like Toffee, Chocolate Chip, etc. and is easy to take down during a run or a ride. Then the Nut Butter ones well… are just delicious. I’ve only tried the Coconut Almond Butter one so far, but reassured for those of you who do not like coconut: there are some that are filled with peanut butter and one that apparently has a filling that tastes like Nutella!!! I have to get my hands on one of those ASAP. FullSizeRender (1)2. A positive attitude going into a hard workout. How is this a Healthy Friday Find? Because health isn’t just about your physical well being but your mental and emotional. I’ve realized that the more negatively I approach a workout or the more I dread something hard that’s on my training schedule, the worse the workout feels. The above photo was taken during one of our hardest team workouts, Black’s Beach Hill Repeats. 1500 feet of elevation gain while running is definitely no fun. But last weekend, I decided to change my outlook. I was excited to run with the two friends above, I was excited to get back into my training routine, and I was excited to challenge myself again. Was I nervous and scared? Yes, because God knows when the last time I ran 10 miles was before. That day, I ended up cranking out 11 miles, first double digit run since breaking my collarbone. It was so unbelievably hard but at the same time, easy. Weird, I know but I think I was just happy to be doing what I love and it made a world of difference. IMG_09323. Continuing the mental Healthy Friday Finds. Having workout buddies that are good for your soul. Besides my teammates, there are two coworkers and friends of mine that I absolutely love running and working out with. One of them is pictured above. We have the best conversations when we run during breaks at work and it makes the time fly by. It’s also perfect for recovery workouts because it reminds me to not overdo it and enjoy spending time with good for your soul people :) Yesterday, we were both changing at the same time to go to different workouts (Thursdays are BT track days) and when we walked out of the bathroom stall, we were accidentally matching. IMG_09094. Finding new places to run. There is a canyon near work that I wouldn’t normally run on my own just because I really don’t know what I would do if I came across a sketchy stranger or a sketchy snake… but my coworker and I went on a run there on Monday afternoon. I absolutely love the view from our turnaround point and love finding new places to run!  IMG_09175. I’ve had some really great salads this week. Also, because it is summer, I’m on a huge salad kick, so expect a lot of leafy greens to end up on the blog. Anyway, back to the above salad. It is from a restaurant in San Diego called the Opera Cafe. Our team at work went there for lunch on Tuesday to say goodbye to one of our coworkers. She is retiring and we wanted to thank her for all she’s done for us and the organization. Salmon and shrimp were a great choice. IMG_09316. Told you there were a lot of salads in my life this week, not to mention the ones I’ve been making for lunch. Above salad really hit the spot after track practice last night. Also, if you haven’t tried mango and melons on your salad, you are missing out. Make them your next salad topping as soon as possible!

So my weekend plans. I’m actually extremely nervous. There are fun things planned like babysitting tonight, a bike ride tomorrow and dinner with my roommates, visit to the dog beach, and obviously plenty of quality time with Anthony and Elle. But… I have my first race since April on Sunday. I would feel fine if it was just running, but we are adding biking back into the mix. Thankfully, my coach and I have discussed this is a survival race. Hammer on the run portions of the duathlon and be comfortable on the bike. It will be interesting to see how the last couple months of forced off-season, poor nutrition choices (DONUTS AND ICE CREAM ARE GOOD FOR THE INJURED), and family visiting will play into Sunday. Regardless, I am going to stick to this positive attitude for hard workouts and let you know how it goes ;)

What are you doing this weekend?!

What do you do when you’re nervous for a race? 

Favorite foods now that it’s summer?: Salads and a ridiculous amount of fruit.