Tuesday, July 19, 2011

La Jolla Swim & Run 2011 - Race Recap

by Rachel

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team puts on a lot of different types of races around the world, and this particular race was a perfect training race for my TriRock olympic triathlon in September. Not only that, it was only $40 - which is a STEAL compared to a lot of other races - especially triathlons...

So the race is a 1 mile open-ocean swim, followed by a 10K run - this type of race is called an aquathlon - and it was my first aquathlon, and first open-ocean race swim. My other races have been in a bay, lake, or river.

I tried to compile a Google Map that would give you a decent feel of what the course was - it started at the lower left - at La Jolla Cove. Then we passed by three buoys in the ocean, then headed inland to the shore. After that was 6 1-mile loops on the beach. Obviously the line through the ocean is a guess, but the last buoy was a decent way out from the shore - I'd say it's a pretty close representation.

Saturday night I made Sweet Potato Lasagna (from Engine 2) - it wasn't done until 10PM! Scarfed that down, then went right to bed - sat there for a little while before I finally fell asleep...

Sunday morning up at 4am - had toast with PB&Applesauce, a banana, 1cup of water, and coffee with almondmilk! I wanted to give my body some time to wake up and start processing. Did some morning yoga poses, and yep - my body started processing ;)

Woke everyone up - then had a fig with sunflower butter and 1 more cup of water.

Left at 6am - got to La Jolla Cove and checkin was really easy - there were less than 200 people in the race so it was a very small group. This, to me, is crazy for a San Diego race!

We all gathered at the beach, watching sea lions in the water, while they made their announcements before the race:
1. 3 bright orange buoys - follow them on your right
2. white shark sighting the day before at Scipps Pier
3. moment of silence and contemplation
4. Get ready Go!
wait - white shark??!! Well, at least I knew about this already, as we had spent Saturday at La Jolla Shores and were there when the sighting occurred. Nobody saw the shark during the race as far as I know...

I swam at La Jolla Cove several times before, but this was the first low tide swim - we had to walk out over the seagrass till we were far enough out, then the swim starts!

Only 3 buoys for a 1 mile swim meant that for a lot of the time, you couldn't see the buoy you were swimming towards - it would be interesting to see how far offcourse I was throughout the swim...

I was correct in my assumption that swimming with others would diminish the fear in my mind about swimming here - knowing that everyone else was doing the same exact thing helped a lot! Also, focusing on what everyone else was doing keeps your mind off of fear.

I swam past many kelp plants reaching up to the surface - it helped a lot to get around those without freaking out - another step to conquering this fear I have of the open ocean.

I didn't see any wildlife while I was swimming - guess they all knew well enough to stay away from all the splashing idiots in the water :)

There were lots of lifeguards out on ski-doos, surfboards, and even a boat - so that was always nice to see as you swam by them.

Like I said, I'm sure I was offcourse a lot - can't be helped much when the waves are always changing your line of sight. It was not a windy morning, but the waves were hard to deal with - but I just kept going - no laying on my back to rest - in fact, the only rest I took was to try to ride the waves up to gain a better view of where the next buoy was!

After the last buoy, we turned to head right into shore - but it was hard to see where we were supposed to be heading - so I ended up veering off - but corrected myself... that probably added some time to my swim.

I got out (finally!) and the time on the clock said around 45 minutes - which was more than I had wanted, so I was kind of bummed but had to keep going!

Transition was a little difficult because I hadn't really practiced a swim to run transition - but got through that in a few minutes, then off to my 10K!

6 1-mile loops - time for some transcendence!

If I'm going to run around in circles, I'll always enjoy running with this beautiful scenery! :)

I walked through the aid station 3 times... and I'm OK with that... dangit - I'm OK with it!

By the last lap, I was getting a blister on both balls of my feet - so I stopped and took my shoes and socks off! Ran the last lap barefoot - and it felt like my fastest lap!

Finally I was done! 1:47:37 was my final time - I loved having my family there to cheer me on - they are my cheering squad!

Initially, I was kinda bummed about my time - my swim took longer than I wanted, and my run was a little slower than my 3mile pace has been... but it was my 1st open ocean race - and I had never raced in the waves, or with buoys so far apart! And my 10K was just about the same time as the 10K practice I had done the week earlier.

So, I am happy with this race! I would definitely do it again - it was low-key, and I got a cool shirt with the following on the back:

"Always take the mind's positive thought-road" - Sri Chinmoy

I definitely walked the walk with this quote during the race - and during all my races - so many times in my races, my mind is telling me that I can stop, or slow down, or take a little break - or any number of negative things - but I choose to take the positive path!


  1. this is my fav-race and I esp. love the few people,the kind people who put it on and esp.the prizes!!!!Their resturant in Normal Heights is my fav. in Sandiego-Oh,I saw a huge jellyfish by the 1st. white buoy!!!Time 1:33 Place 3rd. 50-59 and I'm 59 but don't tell anyone!!!Sandi R

  2. That is crazy - I am not sure how I would react to seeing a huge jelly fish... :)
    I love Jyoti Bihanga - two different people have taken us there to eat and we're definitely going back!

  3. great recap! I've been considering this race so I'm happy to hear how great it is!

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