I had an awesome day yesterday at the UCSB Sprint Triathlon. The weather ended up being nearly perfect after some minor predictions of rain for the previous two days, and, as always, I learned a few things from the experience.
The UCSB Sprint Tri, aka Kendra’s Race, is a 1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike, and 3 mile run. The most unique part of this race, in my opinion, was the swim. The bike and run routes were great- fast and mostly flat. But the swim start from Campus Point had three unique elements that some may not normally think about- 1) it has about 50-60 yards of 3 feet deep water to run through before you can actually start swimming, 2) It was high-tide with noticeably big waves coming in (the volunteer paddle boarders were surfing in-between wave starts), 3) Kelp, kelp, and more kelp.
It’s the final race of the collegiate season, so naturally, there were a lot of “kids” there from all over California; UCSB, USC, CAL, Cal Poly, etc. In addition, it’s one of the few races that you’ll see a large group of high school athletes. Hell, there was an even an 8 year old racing that day- very, very cool.
What’s also cool is that I figured that 1) with the amount of training time I have, 2) the fact I don’t have to sit in class from 8:00 am – 2:45 pm, and 3) that my only time to run isn’t called “recess” or “P.E.”, that I’d have the upper hand on 100% of all triathlon elements. Probably a fair assumption, right? *****
Nope! I got smoked at the sprint start of the swim. Unofficially official- they were the fastest kids on the planet. They were fearless of rolling their ankles or twisting their knees- almost a reckless abandon. I’m not even sure they were dealing with the same current, water conditions, and beach holes that I was. In fact, now that I think about it, they might have been running on top of the water like one of these:
30 yards into the 60 yards of knee-high water sprinting, it was clear that the high school athletes had divided my wave start into two groups, with myself leading the slower one- “Damn, I need to go back to playing kickball, packing Luncheables, and playing video games”, I thought.
The kelp played an interesting role for the swim, too. Every once in a while, you’ll get an element of the sport that you’re only going to learn to overcome by doing it. It’s not like I’m going to say to a client, “Hey, today for your workout, we’re going to go swim in kelp”. Now, one may experience kelp in more ocean practice- I get that, but yesterday’s kelp-ness is significant for one simple lesson:
In a triathlon race, you either learn to adapt, orrr… you learn to adapt.
You tell yourself that it’s not a problem, just like you would tell yourself when you were a kid that there are no monsters hiding under your bed. Luckily, it was high-tide, so the kelp was just beneath the surface, and not in your face enough to make one panic. There are worse things that can happen during a swim start! Grab a hold, pull through, and relax- it will all be over in 12 minutes.
The rest of the race went great- as for all of the greyhounds that bolted on the start? I got them on the bike and the run. Maybe when they have another growth spurt and get some longer legs, they’ll be able to hold their lead!
Now- who wants to go play some kickball?
*****Like you may notice from some of my previous posts, these events that I write about usually contain lessons I learned from being wrong, and this case is not any different. After all, I started this site to spread positive information that I learned the easy AND the hard way. If a coach doesn’t do anything to teach you lessons learned the hard way, they don’t have any business trying to relate to your beginnings in any sport.