02 April 2008 By Rachel’s

REAL Xterra Tri

Cool. So I’ll give the results first and then give the details. 6th woman overall, 3rd in age group. So that is the short version just in case you don’t want to read my book.
I did this triathlon for the first time last year. I wanted to do it again as a season opener and also because I just plain like it and I think the race promoters put on a fantastic race! Now that they put my picture on their home page, I LOVE them even more!!!
I flew into Reno on Thursday afternoon and my friend Lance picked me up and I stayed at his cute house in Minden that night. On Friday morning I decided that I needed to go for a little run before the 2 hour drive to Sacramento. As per my usual, I proved I have absolutely no concept of navigation what-so-ever! I meant to go on a 25-30 minute out and back. I decided at the 20 minute mark that just turning around would be sooooo boring. So instead, I was going to make a loop. Now, in my perfect world, all streets would go through and not dead end or in this case twist and turn and go on and on with no outlet for way too many extra miles. By the time I decided that this was a bad idea, I also decided that turning around would be even worse, so kept going. I finally ended up out on the highway on the far side of Gardnerville which is the town past Minden. Oh sweet. I was also already at the 50 minute mark. Oops. Hmmm…. Luckily I knew in this case that if I ran straight back through the main street of the towns, I couldn’t possibly get lost again. This was true. But, by the time I got back, I also had run over 10 miles instead of the 3-4 max I set out to do. So if you ever wanted to know why I am a decent runner, this is why. When you get lost or distracted or both (much worse) almost every run or bike ride you go on, you will either get faster or give up. I got faster!!!

So once I finally got back to Lances and showered, I thought we were ready to go. Wrong! I went to put my bike together and realized that I had no saddle or seat post. My friend Adam teased that I should just ride the whole race standing up. Now Adam, that was tempting as on one hand it would make a much lighter bike, on the other hand, I would either have very tired legs the next day, or forget during the race that I had no saddle and rub my little ass raw on my back wheel. That visual made me determined to find a saddle and seat post. So Lance went out chasing a seat post. The saddle solution was easy. This is why sometimes it is good that I forget to take home half of what I bring with me every time I go somewhere. I had left another one of my saddles at Lance’s place last year and forget it was there. How convenient! After an hour, Lance found a seat post and brought it to me. Then I remembered he had another bike with the perfect diameter and length of post. It’s amazing how I came with no post and ended up within an hour 2 seat posts and a saddle that I knew I liked. Well, thanks to me, we finally got on the road towards Sacramento right on time, three hours late!

This triathlon is held just outside of Sacramento near Folsom (think famous Johnny Cash song–as Art reminded me). Anyway, the area is soooo beautiful. This year was different from last year as We arrived two days before the race to cool temps and lots of rain. Sometimes I wouldn’t have minded so much except for two things. Lance wanted to camp and I didn’t, and I am an entire winter’s worth past ready for warm air and sunshine. So this started me out a little more down in spirit than I can be when I am out traveling to races. I am usually soooo excited to be somewhere living an adventure away from the normal (although my life is hardly normal—-thank God!) day to day things I typically entertain myself with. I think I just plain old brought my bad attitude and didn’t want to camp. I did the first night, slept not well at all, and woke up with a sore hip and tired eyes, and more RAIN. Well here is where I am reminded AGAIN that I am the luckiest girl in the world. I talked to Art and he told me that I can’t camp in the rain that night too because it would mess up my race. Uh, duh! That made me frustrated as Lance was bound and determined to camp (like a tough Marine–I reminded him that I was not a Marine. I am a girl who only camps when I want to and there is a reason I didn’t join the Marines—I like to do what I want to do when I want to do it, and I didn’t want to camp). Luckily though, Art had a solution. His friend Bob lives right in Folsom and invited us to stay at his place that night. BTW. I LOVE YOU BOB, YOU ARE THE BEST IN THE WORLD. THANK YOU!!!! So here is the funny thing. I went and told Lance I was going to stay at Bob’s that night and he could stay and camp in the rain if he wanted to. Well, I think Lance was more excited to have a bed to sleep in than me. What happened to tough Marine mentality, I don’t know. What I do know. Men confuse the heck out of me (and they say women are hard to deal with?!?—I beg to differ!).

My initial plan was to pre-ride the course that day. Leaving out all of the details, what ended up happening was Lance left to ride the course (Danny you might understand) and I didn’t want to do a 35 mile + ride to get to the course, ride it, and then ride back. So instead, I decided I would do an hour road ride out and back to shake out my legs. To make a long story short, I got distracted, and lost, and only after climbing almost 2000 vertical (wore my new Suunto watch!)— yep they’ve got some good hills!—and even finding some really sweet and muddy off-road sections, did I accidentally make it back to Bob’s house. This time I only rode for 90 minutes which was actually perfect. It was funny, because I was deciding whether I should call 911 or find a friend who could map quest me and figure out where in the world I was, when I realized I was back riding on the street Bob lives off of. Now that was lucky!

So that night was awesome. I slept in a nice warm house, in a soft bed, and woke up the next morning to sunshine and a ready to race attitude!! Good thing, because the race was so much fun!! At the swim start, the water was soooooo cold! 53 degrees. I had no idea it could be so cold. That is the temp Lake Tahoe is at nationals in the fall. I was glad for only doing a 750 meter swim. The bike was fun and really not too technical. I think I need to just shut up and ride. But when I get ultra happy and am nervous, the jokes just start pouring out. I definitely need to work on focusing on what I’m doing a little bit more and remember I’m supposed to be racing. When I got to the run, of course it was great. I do feel as though I could have pushed more, but held back because I just don’ t feel quite trained enough yet. After the race, I did my usual running around way too energized and excited, bouncing around talking everybody’s ears off. Yeah, if I can do that, I should be able to race harder. But the good news is, I did kick Lance’s ass. The reason for this is he implied that he would kick mine (he forgets he hasn’t beat me for a long time). So of course I had to prove that wrong!

So overall my feeling remains, if I could only go where I go on the bike and swim as I do with the run, I would be absolutely unstoppable. It will come someday very soon. I can feel it. In hind sight, I wish all the way around, I would have pushed harder. I know I am capable of much more. So back in SLC, I am so hungry for my next race. I wish I was racing today.

I’ll post some pics soon. I’m tired right now.

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I will always remember waking up at the age of 12 to the pain I saw in so many while simultaneously realizing how lucky I was to feel fantastic.

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