I have had this race on my bucket list since I started triathlon. San Diego is the birth place of tri and I can see why! Also, I went to UCSD for my undergrad, and save for a wedding about a year after I graduated, I haven’t been back since. Well, I have been missing out! This coming week being Annies spring break I decided to bring the munchkin. Mom and Dad flew down from San Jose to make the trip complete. Oh how I wish Troy had more vacation days!

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The day before the race went fantastic, I felt good, had fun training with Ron, but I did get a flat on my tubular at the end of our ride. Crap! This is where mom and dad and Nytro Multisport saved me. I called the guys at Nytro, Chris I believe, let them know what happened and they made me feel totally at ease. My parents drove down and dropped off the wheel, and an hour later, they were done and had taped on a new tubular. I’m speechless at the great and quick service. Love this shop (and I haven’t even been there). Thank you big time to ma and pa for doing my dirty work while I was able to sit by the pool with Annie and relax!

Pre-race logistics…Oceanside is a course that is tough to get your head around. Steep learning curve for the first timers!

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Race morning I was a little nervous. I was trying to do a new breakfast but just couldn’t get it down. Mix1 kinda went out of business, so I need to find a replacement, and let’s just say I’m not there yet. Also, my daughter was asleep next to me (where she spent most the night elbowing me in the ribs) and she was so peaceful. I just stared at her, and reminded myself that I needed to be not just a good but a great example for her, both on and off the court.

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Mom dropped Ron and I off at T2 at 5:10am and it was go time! T2 set up, ride bike to T1, set that up, walk around nervous like, run around nervous like, wait for your wave to go off. I was literally 50 minutes after the PROs, which is fun when you get to see them all come out of the water. But sad too because they have crossed the line before you are even off the bike. I also ripped a big hole in my freak…doh!

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After a nice little chat with myself, I started to get excited, to get my game face on. I realized that I wasn’t fearing anything. I was ready. I wanted in that water, I wanted to see where I was at. They let us in, we swam over, I tried to figure out where to line up, and in the process off went the gun. I was in a good spot, got off the line well, got clocked a few times, clocked a few ladies. Relatively damage free.

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The first thing I noticed was how awesome the water was. I was prepared for cold temps but I found them to be positively perfect. Refreshing, and cooling. I must say, I hit my groove. I just had a really successful swim. I swam straight, I focused on the form things I needed to focus on, and I was in control. The biggest difference was that I felt STRONG. I have put on 10+ pounds since Kona, and I’m loving every one of them. I’m leaving the lean to the gazelles, embrace the strength!.

At the end of the swim you can see the clock and you get really excited. It was a fast swim for everyone so seeing that I was swimming a 27…..and then 28 made for a sigh of relief.

Out of the water and onto the bike. Transition was long, but I made my way through quickly and got into it. Soon after transition I was told to “GO AFTER IT” and I took that to heart. Today was the day for boldness, after all, I have NOTHING to lose. No ego that hasn’t been crushed in Kona, no expectations to uphold from myself or others. There was only opportunity in my hands. The bike is mostly on Camp Pendleton, so you aren’t allowed to drive the course. It was 100% sight unseen. Once I got going on the bike and I felt my legs under me, I could tell they were there, I just decided that I was going to put to use my new strength, my new muscles. I rode and I rode hard.

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I figured Christine was first out of my AG from the swim, so I was looking for her. Plus, she’s one of my FAVORITE new friends (Coast Ride bonds you) and I just wanted to see her familiar face. She’s getting married in two weeks, so everyone wish her a happy wedding. Found Christine, that rocked, also found Rebecca Travis and let me say she kept me HONEST out there. We definitely used each other for motivation and it was all so positive. I like that. Two thumbs up for her. Also I heard her chew out some boys for sitting on my wheel, now there’s a girl after my own heart. Boys on my wheel, totally allowed in training..not allowed in racing!

Huge thanks to Quintana Roo for the new Illicito. It was my first race on the new frame, and it was good for the fastest amateur bike split. Major ups to QR!!

My legs were under me, so I went for it. I wasn’t letting up until I hit the wall. Coming into T2 I felt fantastic. I heard my parents and Annie cheering up a storm and I was on. I decided to put on socks and so Rebecca got out of T2 in front of me.

I took off and I was on. I felt good, I felt solid, and I was holding myself to 7 min pace. I slowly caught Rebecca and I just knew I was in the lead in the AG and the amateur race, mom confirmed this. I just had to hold on. I calculated time gaps. I had this, just had to run a lot of 7s. I run 7s all over this earth. I had this.

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And then I looked down and I ran an 8min mile? What’s happening? Oh no. Okay, limit damage. I start running through my calorie count. Then I start cussing. I’m low, I’m bonking, I’m REALLY bonking. I dig out my emergency gel with caffeine. I get that down. I go to coke.

And I only had one choice left. Fight for every inch. The girls were coming, and I was not firing on all cylinders, so I just fought for every inch. It wasn’t pretty but my mind was strong and I was going to limit any and all damage that I could. Rebecca went back by me and gave me tons of love and support to hang tough. With about two miles to go Kendra went by me as well. I fought with all I had at the moment, shoving down the coke, trying my best to limit the carnage.

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The finish could not come soon enough. I found that line. Yet another line, another line in my life that I crossed, totally exhausted, exhilarated, and feeling so raw and vulnerable that I can barely look into the eyes of those around me. Putting yourself out like that, fighting for every inch, coming into the finish totally spent and dog tired is HARD. It takes recovery from both emotionally and physically. I went for it, spent all I had, and I came up a tad short. Did I give a shit about that…hells no.

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About an hour after the race, after many cups of salty recovery drink (thank you med staff) and a large lemon aid, I’m sitting there cheering for everyone still out there doing battle with the course. I’m looking at the ocean, the blue sky, I’m hugging on my daughter and sitting next to ma and pa, and I was just overcome with JOY. You can take the dog out of the fight, but not the fight out of this dog.

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My fitness is where it is, my nutrition needs some tweaking. All of it is very early season (blah blah blah). I have (or can get) help with all that, but the FIGHT, you can’t buy that. You gotta make that, it comes from inside, and you can really only appreciate it after you lose it for awhile. The fight is back in this girl, like a shark, I tasted blood out there, I glimpsed greatness, and although all the accolades belong to others this weekend, I found my fight, and it aint going anywhere.

3rd AG, 3rd Amateur, 4:48:17, swim 28:05, bike: 2:37:40, 1:38:05

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Congratulations to everyone who found their own greatness out there. Keep pushing, keep smiling, keep appreciating the fact that you are capable enough to compete. I know I will!

Thank you to: KompetitiveEdge, Quintana Roo, Amrita, Punk Rock Racing, and NUUN. Also a huge thanks to SOAS for their love this weekend, such a great group of women!

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1/2 Marathon, Race Report, Triathlon

13 Comments

  1. I’ve been dealing with major attitude problems this early season and your blog lately has been EXACTLY what I’ve been needing to read. Great race Sonja and congrats on getting the fight back!

  2. “but the FIGHT, you can’t buy that. You gotta make that, it comes from inside, and you can really only appreciate it after you lose it for awhile… I found my fight, and it aint going anywhere.” Dude, this motivational stuff is pure gold for me right now. I love your fire and passion and it inspires me beyond belief, and believe me, I’m soaking it UP being only 2-weeks out from Boston right now.

    Congrats on a balls-to-the-walls race, and a speedy one at that!

  3. sonja! what a great race! congratulations! i had a similar race there last year so i can relate a little bit! i have been reading your blog for a while now and just LOVE it. i am really looking forward to (hopefully) meeting you in st. george! 30-34 is the best!

  4. Love it! I think it’s the only way to race. And soon enough, you’ll tack on that monster run to the awesome swim/bike and have an AMAZING race through and through! Big congrats!

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