The Triathlon at Pacific Grove caught my eye late last season and I had been anxious to race there ever since. Race day came and it didn’t disappoint. Here’s how my day played out:

Heavy fog rolled in and lingered, making visibility less than ideal, but manageable nonetheless. As my wave lined up under the arch, we could just make out the turn buoys in the distance.

Once the swim was underway, I felt good and really wanted to push the pace. The first turn buoy created congestion, so I tried going a little wide and getting around some people. That is the point where my swim got derailed. I hit a thick patch of kelp and had to fall back into a group. The size of the group dwindled, but the pace didn’t increase. Growing tired of slapping peoples feet, I tried passing again, but every attempt was futile. The thick patches of kelp made swimming impossible; hence the kelp crawl nickname. My frustration grew, because I wasn’t swimming nearly as hard as I wanted to and was losing time to the lone athlete who got away.

As usual, I was in and out of T1 and onto the bike, which consisted of four loops along the coast on a relatively flat road. The winds were gentle, with a slight headwind on the way out. I rode hard from the get-go wanting to get warm and make up time. By the end of the ride, I moved into 3rd position, just seconds back from 2nd.
I had cold feet coming off the bike and fumbled a bit with my shoes. I hit the run course just seconds after the 2nd place athlete and caught him within 30 seconds. My stride felt a bit off on the first lap (of three), but feeling returned to my feet and I was able to pick up the pace. The gap between me and the guy behind kept growing, but no one ever gave me a split on the athlete ahead. Regardless, I put my head down and ran.
I crossed the line 2nd overall. I had a good race, but the swim left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Had I been able to swim my swim, I think the race for the top spot would have been much closer, but that’s not to discredit the top amateur, who raced very well.
Overall, I’m very happy with my form as Nationals approaches. Now all that’s left to do is recover, stay sharp, and get on a plane. 
Ah! Pacific Ocean Ice Baths