As a new team member who has never done a multi-sport race before, Coveskipper was my very first official aquathlon! I had to use a (!) mark because I never thought I would get into a multisport race so it was a big deal for me. I see Coveskipper as my initiation to the triathlon madness. So YAAAYYY!! I also need to give a shout out to Zack Goodman (who is also a new member in the team) for his persistent push on making me come to practices. If it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t try to get into this madness or be aware of all the meetings and events.
Up to the race day, I had been practicing with the UC San Diego triathlon team which is an awesome group of people (including our coach Kim McDonald). Those practices helped me understand the feeling from water to ground transition which was a part of the Coveskipper aquathlon. I wasn’t quite sure if I wanted to race at first because I guess I didn’t want to embarrass myself (which is not a healthy thinking so I highly suggest you to NOT do that). I also had no strategy in mind for this kind of race. However, three days before the race, I changed my mind. UC San Diego triathlon club was hosting the race so we all had to help set up the race. I think I was also more about getting to know the team rather than trying to finish with a fast time.
I have to admit that I was not in a race mentality when I arrived to the La Jolla Beach to help set up at 8:00 am. We were put in different groups to set up different sections of the race. I was in registration which I think was the hardest of them all (because you could face some impatient racers at the check-in table if everything doesn’t go smoothly). Luckily, we didn’t have any major problem, and once we got the hang of the check-in process, the line moved pretty fast. Although, I suggest people to register before the race day because it just takes some time to do payments and that can be stressful. After the check-in was done (I checked-in myself after everyone was done), I finally got into the race mentality. I started to feel the adrenaline building up which kept me warm because I was wearing a one piece instead of a wetsuit. I warmed up with sweet Maggie by running about 5 minutes and swimming for 2-3 minutes. As we lined up at the start line, everyone started asking about the swimming course. I thought this was funny because when people get excited, they start questioning more and loose focus. I had to explain two other racers the swimming course over and over again. But it was fine because it made me not think about the temperature of the water that I was going to dive into in a couple of minutes.
Once Katie (our president) gave us the start, I realized I was too far out from the optimal swimming path to the first race buoy so I sprinted to get in line with others. This wasn’t too hard to do because I was freezing already so I had to move fast to warm up my body anyway. My experience in open water swimming thought me well so I kept my distance with others during the swim to prevent accidental kicks and drags. The visibility of the buoys and the shore was good so I didn’t have to follow people to find my way and instead I worked on my speed. The safety guards near the swimming course were also helpful for me to understand where I was supposed to go. After the second loop of the swimming (end of 750 m swim), I was happy to feel warm again. I had nothing to transition out of or into so I just threw my cap and goggles somewhere and started running. Running is not my strongest field so I started slow. The sand was soft and the sun was warming so I was okay for the beginning. But then, my calf muscles started giving in. Thankfully, I found another racer (he was in his 50s) whose pace fit mine perfectly so I followed him the whole time. He actually got me running a little faster than I would by telling me “C’mon, don’t let a 57-year-old man run faster than you!” (I made up the age, he might be younger). Also, I get bored easily during long distance races so every time I saw a UC San Diego triathlon club member I cheered for them. For the last half a mile, I tried my best to go faster but I guess that’s something I need to work on more because people actually started passing me towards the end (sad).
As I passed the finish line, I walked straight to the grill where our awesome team members were preparing burgers for us. I ate my burger less than a minute, and then started treasure hunting my cap and goggles. I regretted not throwing them to a more distinct corner during transition because it took me some time to find my goggles (they were hiding underneath the timing carpets).
I couldn’t pay too much attention to the award ceremony because the lactic acid build-up took over me. Stretching helped a little but I needed a long nap. This was my first distance race after a 9-month of doing nothing after all. Later on we stayed longer to clean up and pack the race course which didn’t take that long since everyone helped again. Overall, I am very glad I raced this Coveskipper Aquathlon. It gave me a good idea of where I stand in terms of endurance and fitness as well as getting to know the team a little better. I’m still bad with names (I’m better at face recognition) but as I practice more with them I’m sure I’ll get it soon enough. Thank you to the team who made this event possible and let me into the club and Coach Kim for his valuable suggestions on my form during the race! Until next time…