Before Santa Cruz I spent 3.5 weeks in Boulder. My coach and teammates are in Boulder and it was great having some group workouts each week. The first week being there I was definitely effected by the altitude and everything felt really hard, especially running. I also wasn’t used to riding hills every day on the bike. The first 5-7 days were rough! After that I adjusted and was having a great time training. Hills were getting easier, long rides were feeling shorter and I could breathe much better on my runs. I never felt too bad swimming, just had to adjust to some longer swim practices, which made me a little more tired than usual. I loved all the trails and dirt roads to run on and there are such great places to ride, it’s always an adventure! Thanks so much to the Parcell's for letting me stay with them during this time. They were awesome!
Towards the end of of my training block I was getting pretty tired and a couple workouts didn’t go as well as they should have, I was hoping I would be rested in time for Santa Cruz 70.3. Sometimes you just have to trust the process! Turns out, I was feeling good by race day.
I heard Santa Cruz was a beautiful course and it lived up to its reputation. Of the races I’ve done in CA, I’d have to say this one is my favorite.
I knew last year they had a shortened swim because of fog and they let us know there is always a chance of fog but they weren’t expecting it to be too foggy race morning. I really wanted a full swim since they cancelled the swim at my last race and I’ve been putting a lot of time into swimming and was ready to swim. Race morning fog was clearing and you could see the whole swim course. It was a beach start, not my favorite but it went well. We swam around the Santa Cruz pier, I can’t say the thought of sharks never crossed my mind while I was way out there at the end of the fishing pier! The water was 61 degrees and it actually felt great on race morning. I was warm the entire swim. My feet did get a little cold but that didn’t bother me. I hadn’t swam in the ocean for a while so the taste of salt water made me feel at home. My goal was to swim under 28 minutes and I got that done.
The transition between the swim and the bike was a long one... up the beach, down a bike path. It was over 3 min of running barefoot, in a wetsuit with numb feet. Finally I got to my bike and quickly made it to the mount line. I got on my bike but could not get my feet in my cycling shoes because they were numb from being in the cold water. After what felt like forever, I got them in and was on my way.
I had a few girls around me coming out of transition. My legs felt great on the bike, breathing was easy compared to being in Boulder and the hills didn’t bother me. It was a rolling bike course, lots of ups and downs, a couple of big hills in there. The view towards the turn around was amazing!
They also closed most of Hwy 1. No trucks and very few cars were on the road. I was having a great time on the bike. Highest power I’ve had in a 70.3 - I knew I had been training a lot and even if I tired my legs on the ride, I felt like I would still be able to pull off a decent run. There were a few more hills on the run than I expected.
I had to make a couple more changes to my bike fit while I was in Boulder but it seems like it is coming around and I feel like I finally have my fit right. Also, I’ve been putting in a lot of miles and I’m sure it all set me up for a good ride on race day. I know I can still improve a lot on the bike, came in around 2:27 and for a course with hills I was happy to see improvement. I’ve never been good racing in the hills and I feel like it is starting to get easier.
Coming into T2 I tried to make it a fast transition, having some girls in front and behind me, always want to take advantage of free transition time! Unfortunately, my feet were still numb and I was having some trouble getting on my running shoes. Once they were on I felt like I was running weird because I couldn’t feel my feet. Right out of transition there is a hill and I had some heavy legs! I wanted to keep my HR a little lower on the first 5k. The 2nd and 3rd mile felt better, then I hit some more hills. Around 5.5 miles we started running on a dirt trail around the cliffs next to the ocean. It was beautiful but I was having a hard time picking up the pace in the dirt. We ran on the dirt for a couple miles than a couple more hills. Fortunately, the last mile was mostly flat and then downhill. The finish line was in the sand at the beach. It was a really cool setup. I wanted to be under 1:28 on the run but was 1:32. I know I have to get my run faster. I was a little off on my run. Now that I am feeling better on my bike, I think my run will come around soon. I will be working on it for future races! Finished around 4:33.
Thanks to my sponsors for the support as always and to my husband for coming out to CA to be with me this weekend! It was a great weekend.