Well, That Was Exhausting

Yesterday afternoon, J and I drove down to Redondo Beach. The day before a race, we like to do a practice swim and practice bike ride, to get more familiar with the course. I suppose we could do a practice run, too, but that way lies madness.

So we got to the beach and I decided very quickly that if the surf didn’t go down by morning, I was going to skip the race. It wasn’t stormy, but the water was pretty choppy. I really didn’t think I could cover 1/2 mile under those conditions.

And I was probably right. The water was much calmer this morning–the waves were breaking fairly close to the beach, with rolling surges beyond that. It turned out, though that the rolling surges were much more rolling than I thought. In spite of the short distances, this was the toughest of the triathlons I’ve done, and that’s all due to the swim. The ocean was cold, murky, and dynamic (and it tasted bad–I don’t know what’s in the water in Redondo Beach, but it can’t be good).

When I finally emerged from the water, it was with the slowest time I’ve gotten (30 minutes in the water, and my official time will be longer than that)–and a charley horse. My calf muscle loosened up over the bike portion, but then I developed a stitch in my side. Everything evened out a bit during the run (which I walked all of, except for the finish chute), but on the whole I’m amazed that the right half of me was able to finish the race.

Of course it helped that I had a lot of support. My dad and stepmom and J’s parents came out in the wee hours of the morning to cheer us on, and after he finished his race, J walked the run with me. Interestingly, the run may have been my favorite portion. The company, of course, was excellent, but the course was fun too. It wound through the Redondo Beach pier and by the neighboring lagoon, which has been turned into a saltwater pool with slides.

After the race, we all adjourned to the Redondo Beach Cafe for brunch. The service was really slow, but everyone seemed happy with their various entrees. I was quite happy with the Kitchen Sink Omelet, which had cheese, avocado, ham, and onions; other dishes at our table included French toast, multigrain pancakes, a tuna melt, a chicken-salad croissant sandwich, and a French dip. The whole wheat orange pancakes and the crepes sounded good, but what I wanted most of all was protein.

In the end, I finished dead last with a time of 1:52:35–but I finished.

Not bad for someone who, after waking up this morning, was so tired that she couldn’t focus her eyes.

Contentment

The meatball sub was delicious.

I may be a bit too content, however. My goal for the evening was to pick out clothes to wear to my luncheon tomorrow, pack swim and bike gear for our test runs tomorrow, an outfit to wear to dinner with my dad and stepmom, all of the race gear for Sunday, and another change of clothes for after that.

But what am I doing instead? Blogging.

Swimming and Biking and Cupcakes, Oh My!

One of my friends describes a cupcake as “the perfect ratio of frosting to cake,” and I think she’s got a point. She also describes my brother as “a sweet little cupcake baked by the devil,” and I think she’s got a point there, too. Someone’s got cupcakes on the brain, and I’m keeping her company.

A few weeks ago I made a trip to Sprinkles for cupcakes. Today I continued my unofficial cupcake tour of Los Angeles with a visit to SusieCakes on San Vicente. Our refrigerator now contains three cupcakes–one vanilla, one lemon, and one coconut. I, on the other hand, contain one vanilla cupcake. SusieCakes describes their cupcakes as “frosting-filled,” and based on the one I’ve eaten so far, I have no idea what that means. It was delicious, though, and I’m looking forward to the other flavors.

The cupcakes came on the heels of a strenuous afternoon. J and I did our first ocean swim in preparation for the triathlon (less than two weeks away! Aaaaagh!).

Here’s what I learned today: sixty-degree water is very cold. It’s extra, extra cold when you leave your wetsuit at home. But I steeled myself to the cold water and swam. I actually did get used to the temperature, but I missed the buoyancy provided by the wetsuit.

After that we went biking on San Vicente, which has excellent bike lanes–even for me and my fear of biking downhill. San Vicente is not at all steep, but I’m a downhill wimp. I admit it. Oddly, I’m not bad on the uphill portions.

Oh, yes, I earned these cupcakes.