Posted by: forgingahead | June 15, 2008

Santa Barbara Triathlon Training

We loaded Zinger the super cat into the car and road tripped down the coast to Santa Barbara this week. The goals were two-fold; visit mom-in-law Henny and scout out the Santa Barbara Triathlon race route. The race is a mere 9 weeks away!

Deciding that driving the 34 mile bike route was a good start, Henny joined us for the drive. About 5 miles into the route as we’re climbing the first incline (too gentle to be called a hill) Henny says, “you’re riding your bikes up here?” Yep, that’s the general idea. She would ask this question a dozen more times.

You know that anxious excited feeling you get on a roller coaster when you’re going up up up and you know that your heart is going to jump into your throat on the down side? Well, that’s the feeling I got as Hubby started DOWN a super steep, winding road (Toro Canyon Road). Why? Because on the bikes, we’d be coming back up that monster. About two thirds of the way through the ride. Oh dear.

In summary, there are 2 serious climbs (one long, one short) and a decent amount of up and down in between. When I did 20 miles of the ride (yes, on a bike smarty pants) the next day the first incline seemed manageable. And chicken that I am I avoided both big climbs. I really gotta train more. Like those teams wearing matching jerseys that were biking the same day, suspiciously on the same road. Suppose those are “real” triathletes?

On Friday I donned my wet suit and took the plunge into the ocean…well, first I stood around contemplating things.

Hubby asked what I was waiting for…I explained that Morgan Filler had coached me to take a good look at the water and figure out my landmarks, etc. I was doing that, honestly. Sure, I was also whining to myself about not wanting to swim alone with the big bad fishies. Seriously, there wasn’t another person in sight. Conquering fears can be fun, so in I went.

Hey, this water is not nearly as cold as the bay in San Francisco or even Tomales Bay! No cold ankles here. I’m so excited by this fact that I flip onto my back to wave to Hubby. He sees the giant wave coming up behind me and this is the last photo he took before I got swallowed up in the whitewater…he was too worried to keep shooting. Isn’t that sweet?

See that splashy part? Those are my feet kicking. I’m blissfully ignorant of the wave, at least for one more second. The good news is I didn’t get tossed too bad and it was a good lesson. Hubby tells me all the time, “Never turn your back on the ocean.” Boy was he right!

So off I went, swimming along the shore toward the pier. This is roughly the route on race day, minus the big orange buoys and the other 899 people. That’s my red cap out yonder – I’m looking around to figure out if it’s time to turn around. I really must purchase a waterproof watch.

So I get back to where Hubby is shooting photos and he flashes me 10 fingers telling me I’ve been swimming 10 minutes. Really? Oh dear. I would have guessed 20. Turns out time expands (or is it contracts) in the water. So off I go on another lap. I just love this photo…looks like I’m swimming on top of the wave!

This is a great place for a swim. Relatively shallow, gentle slope for going in. Waves not very big. Water warmer than SF – though I’m still wearing a wetsuit on race day. Lovely palm trees lining the beach. I only swam for 20 minutes but at least I did it. Set a goal, knock it out.

Coming back into shore I proved that I do learn from mistakes. This is me double checking the wave action behind me before I commit to standing up…

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