Although some of my non-triathletes’ friends found it irrational (not the exact word they used!) to do this race on my birthday weekend, I was really pumped and ready for it. I couldn’t find a better way to enjoy my birthday weekend doing three things that I love (swimming, biking, and running) with people that I love, my super awesome teammates!
4:00AM alarm went off and 4:20AM I am driving on empty streets of LA on my way to UCLA. I was probably the first one at the race course which means no line for packet pick up and being able to pre-ride the course, warm up properly and get mentally ready for the race! Yaay!
I rode the bike course once and thanks to Katie and Dustin I was able to spot the tricky turns. After they cut the bike course short (due to rain), the bike course seemed really nice and it was clearly marked with cones. An hour later, T2 was filled with hundreds of triathletes ready to race but this doesn’t mean I couldn’t spot my fellow teammates, thanks to the super-doped design of our race suits and of course onesies (our very own Mermaid, Dinosaur, and Fox!). Quick warm up run, putting running gears at T2 and bike and cycling gears at T1 then heading to pool for swim warm up.
We warmed up at Family swimming pool (which I had no-idea it existed 10 min before the race and Captain Dustin to our rescue!) and came down to competition pool to get ready for the race! Katie led the cheering and our team was ready for a great race. Tyler was the first one to start and I was 7th. DIVE FEET FIRST! I can’t express enough how much I hate this! Right before it was my turn, I had this dilemma that whether I should jump as far as I can or just simply jump in and push off the wall as hard as I can! And of course the 5 secs that I had to get ready for my turn was not the best time to think about it! I ended up diving in the same way I do for swim races and while I was up in the air I remember FEET FIRST! I tried to bring my feet down and as you can imagine turned into a terrible start! Throughout the race, I was a little worried that I got disqualified because of it but I didn’t let it bother me too much so I can enjoy the race (Thankfully, I didn’t get disqualified!). Swim went well. I got passed by Zach and Barry and man I wish I could cheer them up but let’s be real we were swimming and communications aren’t that easy underwater!
T1 went well and in couple of seconds I was biking downhill to get started with five laps around UCLA campus and one of the hardest things right now was to keep count the number of laps that I have done so far! Bike course started with a downhill and that helped me a lot to get settled on my bike. Bike course was getting busier after each lap but it wasn’t packed. The roads were a little wet but it wasn’t terrible. I was even able to pass some people on some turns while trying to slow down reasonably before each turns. The big downhill before T2 was fun for two reasons: I was going really fast without worrying for a sharp turn and Joanna was waiting for us to take awesome pictures (Thanks Joanna!). My fingers were freezing during the bike and this turned taking off my feet out of my cycling shoes to a big challenge! Before the dismount line I was able to take off my right foot but oh no, my left hand fingers are not functioning and I need to stop before I pass the dismount line! I was so happy that I didn’t fall down and I was finally able to be out of my cycling shoes and start running to T2.
Transition went well and I felt ready to push hard on the run. First mile was slightly down hill and this helped me to get into a good pace. I was so happy that I didn’t have cramps in my legs and then boom half way into the run in an uphill suddenly I felt little spasm in my hamstrings. I had enough cramps during my previous race at UCI and didn’t want to happen again. I tried to lengthen my strides to avoid cramps (Not sure if it was the right thing to do!) and it worked. During the race specially in run course Kim, our amazing coach, was cheering us and that definitely motivated me to push harder and run faster and of course finish had!
Every one of our team did a great job and it felt nice seeing them finishing the race with a beautiful smile on their faces. It is always nice to see someone from our team on the podium and this time Zack was first in male collegiate division (Yoohoo!) and B got third in female collegiate (Great Job!). This year and these races are very special for me since this is my last year as a student and I am sure soon I will miss all these moments and these amazing teammates. Thanks for being awesome!