I decided to do the LA Tri on a whim. I registered less than a week before the event and was unprepared to say the least (I hadn't swam in over a year, hadn't been on a bike for over a month, etc.) and was a little nervous going into the race. This was only my third Tri ever and my first ocean swim. I decided that the Sprint distance was the only one I would be able to do (aka finish).
I got to Venice bright and early and was amazed at how much larger this race was then ones I had done previously (Utah Summer Games, and Lake Arrowhead). It was very humbling to see all of the pros, elite amateurs, etc. But it got me very excited for the race. After watching all of the Olympic distance athletes go, it was finally the U-39 Sprint group to start (I'm am 22). The waves were not that bad and the swim went better than I thought it would. I don't know what number I was out of the water, but I was towards the front (12:15 for 600 meters).
I got out of T1 in a decent time and jumped on the bike. I felt GREAT on the bike. It was fun to have big LA streets that are usually filled with cars be closed down all the way to the Staples Center. I was passing a lot of people on the bike, and actually managed to not get passed by a single competitor. I averaged 22.2 mph for the 34 km course. I finished in 57:34 I believe. It was relatively flat but did have a couple good sized climbs. The only difficult part was weaving in and out of the traffic of other riders (i.e. Olympic competitors) I also had no idea what place I was in for the sprint division. Oh well....
I entered T2 ready to do some damage. I am an ex-NCAA D1 cross country and track runner and knew that I could gain the most ground on the run. If you would have asked me previous to the race what the slowest I would have ran for the 5k course, I would have said 18 minutes........Was I ever wrong. The run started fine. My legs felt good, I was going at a pretty good pace. Then it happened......right before I reached one of the hills on the run I went to grab water from one of the people handing them out; I could have sworn he said water...The next thing I know I have just swollowed a mouthful of Gatorade Endurance Formula. I have never been able to drink Gatorade during a work-out, and this stuff was 10x worse in my opinion. The second it hit my stomach, I knew I was going to throw up.
I had to slow down to try and keep the contents of my stomach in....but it didn't happen. As soon as I reached the top of the hill, I had to stop and proceeded to "let it fly" If I had to guess, It took about 3 minutes to get it all out and get to a point where I could run again. I got a few cheers from a group of cyclists that were watching the race, and I laughed and moved on. I felt great now since I had rested and my stomach was no longer upset - In fact I felt so great that I decided to run off course 400 meters because I didn't realize where the Sprint turn around was. Remember, I signed up on a whim, and didn't study the course map at all (Whoops). There were signs that said Olympic turn-around, but not sprint. After realizing my mistake, I stopped, walked up to a police officer who pointed me back on course. So I ran about 800 meters out of my way. Oh well again I guess. The last 1 1/2 miles I set a good pace and was able to finish strong. Still, my 5k time was 23.?? (my PR
in a 5k is 15:11) haha My final time was 1:38.07 (I think).
I have to say I was very dissapointed in my performace considering all of my problems were my fault and just "Stupid" mistakes. I did feel like it gave me some great experience and I did have a good time overall. I won my age group (20-24) by ~7 1/2 minutes and missed out on the overall podium by less than 5 minutes. I just had to laugh knowing that I probably would have been in contention if it was not for leaving breakfast on the course and getting lost.
Anyone else have any fun stories about times you made mistakes in races that cost you? Take care!!!