Half Vineman Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Sonoma, California
United States
Total Time = 8h 30m 17s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Headed up to Santa Rosa early on Saturday morning for check in. Some how (gee… I wonder…) everything was delayed and we got a late start. On top of that, Eileen (housemate, friend and training partner) had a hole in her tire, so we drove up to the LBS that I use. Eileen was a little leery because it’s the LBS for the hard-core, elite, we-floss-our-teeth-with-tire-tubes cyclists. Pretty funny all in all. Eileen was looking at a couple of the tire options, and pointed to some that were slightly less expensive and asked how they were. His response? “Oh, you mean the Michelen knock-offs…” Hmm. Well I guess we know now! In any case, we got out of there with our wallets relatively unscathed. I was chastised (deservedly so) for the antiquity of my bike helmet. I’m not sure what I was thinking… confessing that my bike helmet was (ahem!) well over 5 years old. But what can you do? It’s an expensive sport… oh forget it—there is no good excuse. At least I can get a better looking helmet, no? I’ve been looking like a girl with a giant button mushroom on her head for too long.

Checked in, and since this is my second time around, we skipped the talk, and went straight to lunch (fish tacos) and a movie (Must Love Dogs… which was just about the yawn-iest movie I’d seen in a long time. And I like a little light hearted romantic comedy now and then! And can we all just say that John Cusack is not aging as well as he might have?).

Next we set up our bike to run transition area. It’s weird. You set up your stuff the day before, but you just don’t count on what the transition area will look like with hundreds of bikes there, and it’s nearly a certainty that EVERYONE’S bike will be there by the time I get off the bike course. So Eileen broke down and bought a balloon. After much consideration, she went with “It’s a Girl!” over the “Get Well Soon” balloon. Then we ended our day with sushi and Elf.

For the first time ever, I actually slept pretty deeply. I was a bit nervous, but pretty content with the training I’d had. No regrets, so perhaps that led to better sleep.

Toast with peanut butter for breakfast, along with fresh fruit and a bit of yogurt. (My mother is so good to me!) And then we were off to the swim start. We got there at about 6:30 am, which gave me just over 30 minutes to get marked, go to the bathroom, set up my transition area, eat a GU, go to the bathroom again, and warm up. Fortunately, I found a body-marker person in the line for the bathroom, and ate my GU. Chatted with the other ladies in my transition area. It gives them confidence to see me there! (o: Nothing like a someone lugging around an extra 70 pounds to make you feel like you won’t be the last one across the finish line!

Got to see Tim DeBoom and Peter Reid come out of the water (after completing the 1.2 miles in less than 30 minutes). Their transition times are no more than 1 minute or so, including the time it takes to run to their spot and to run to the dismount line. Amazing… 1 minute is the amount of time it takes me to put on one of my socks!

Oops! No time for that second bathroom stop, guess I’ll have to… well you don’t want to know do you! Couldn’t find Eileen anywhere to wish her well, but I’m pretty sure she knew I was thinking it.

Event warmup:

Had about 4 minutes to swim around a bit, use the ‘restroom’ and then get myself seeded before the horn blew for our wave. And then we were off! Note to self—everyone has a wetsuit but you! But just remember, when you are finally able to afford one, how much of a lift it will be!
  • 53m 49s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 33s / 100 yards

My swim is so slow! But it’s confident and steady. I was very conscious of how many swimmers were passing me, but at some point I just began to repeat to myself over and over again, “Swim your own darn race, Dana.” And I did. It was great! I finished the swim about 3 minutes faster than last time, which (for me) is terrific! I was so excited, because I was sure that I was going slower. I actually swam pretty straight for the first time, and it’s getting easier and easier to get out of the water and run to my bike! Good job, me!
What would you do differently?:

I’m thinking about starting to do a weight program, which I haven’t done before. And then of course, there is the infamous and long-awaited purchase of a wetsuit. That would be lovely! But mostly, I just need to put in the time. But I still feel happy about my swim, all things considered. I meant to start training sooner, but honestly, I didn’t fit into my bathing suit and didn’t want to buy another one, so I began swimming at the beginning of June. I didn’t exactly fit into my bathing suit that well then either, but it was time to get a move on, and who needs oxygen flow to their lower limbs?? I tell you, it’s over-rated!
Transition 1
  • 05m 1s

Did I mention that I ran to my transition area? Oh well, then. Everything was fine. My heart-rate was really high. Adrenaline mostly. It’s really hard to get my socks and jersey onto my wet body, but after I struggled with it a bit, I was off. My time was under 5 minutes and that seems pretty respectable. I could probably take some time off, so I’ll work on it, but you know… when I get that wetsuit, I’ll probably just add it back on! I also ran to the bike mount line. Yay!
What would you do differently?:

When I’m a little thinner, I might buy something that I could wear directly from swim to bike, then I wouldn’t have to deal with putting a jersey on a wet body. I need to work on bike skills, so that I can do some tasks on my bike, like putting on my bike gloves. Also, shorter socks might help me too. I think I’m a long way from attaching my bike shoes directly to my pedals, so that’s just gonna be an issue for a little while.
  • 3h 49m 9s
  • 56 miles
  • 14.66 mile/hr

I’ve biked this course a bunch… although only 3 times before the race. In fact, I think we (Eileen and I) only did 3 rides over 40 miles before we got to race day, but I still felt good. A couple of weeks ago, I discovered that I was making serious mistakes with my nutrition, and tried to correct them before race day and it made a big difference. It’s hard to figure out, though, when you are actively trying to lose weight, exactly how much to eat on the bike ride. I mean between drinks and gels, you really pack away a fair amount of calories, so I tried to keep it to that. But I was always struggling at the end of the ride, so I boosted my calories by trying to eat 2 bars on the ride as well. It really made a difference. At the beginning, I could tell my heart rate was really elevated (despite the decision I made to not wear my monitor) so it took a while of concentrated effort to regulate it. In the end, my time was about 10 minutes faster than last year. I was so excited about that! I mean 10 minutes is not huge, but considering that I weigh more now than I did last year, I felt terrific about it. My health trend is better now, of course (losing instead of gaining weight…) but I just felt like I couldn’t take the smile off my face during the entire ride. My mother was going to watch at the finish line, but the rest of my family could not make it this year, or so I thought! My brother works near the bike course, and he snuck out and caught me at about mile 12 on the bike. I was so excited! And my mother changed her plans and showed up at mile 30. That was such a surprise and you know… I felt really loved!! All right, sap aside… my friends (Martin and Sarah—who I knew where coming) cheered me on from the JimTown Store and the transition area. I had told Sarah that if everything was going perfectly, I would be at the transition area at 12:15 but not to count on perfection. I came in from the bike at 12:08, and Sarah was screaming, “You’re early! You’re early!” like a madwoman. And in an equally insane manner, I screamed, “I know!!! Can you believe it?!!?” Lastly, I ran like crazy from the dismount line to my transition area. Sometimes it’s the little things that make you feel like your doing better. One of the things that I know: I’m getting stronger and stronger.
What would you do differently?:

I have a really hard time with solids on the bike, but I need to figure out a way to consume them, because the GUs and Accelerade really upset my stomach (during the run… and the next 2 days as a matter of fact). I wonder if I would benefit from having a banana or something. Sort of a smoother solid? I’ll have to try a couple of different things. Again, more training is an obvious thing, but I’m doing what I can—and again, no regrets. One thing I should consider is some mechanical upgrades. My LBS did comment on the ‘entry-level’ aspect of my components. He mentioned that the difference would be extraordinary if I started to upgrade. Hey, Christmas is coming, right? And lastly, there’s that bike helmet issue…
Transition 2
  • 04m 4s

Sometimes I crack myself up. This year I found my stuff a little easier. I’d recalled several geographic elements to help find my spot. So, no problem. Last year I was right at the bike entrance and all of my friends were standing about 5 feet away from me screaming their heads off. It made me have the fastest transition ever! This year is plunk in the middle. I considered the advantages of this, as I could not find my race belt and had no place to carry my GUs. I decided to just shove them in my jogging bra, like I do on long training runs. So I started to reach in to place them when I heard (and saw) my friends Sarah and Martin through the alleyway of bikes. And Martin was snapping pictures. I can just imagine me trying to explain these pictures to someone: “Oh and here’s the one where I’m feeling myself up…”
What would you do differently?:

My transition time was fine. I had left a bar at the transition to eat, but decided against. Now think that might have been a mistake. Because all I consumed for the next three hours was 3 GUs, H2O and Gatorade.
  • 3h 38m 11s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 16m 40s  min/mile

I knew this would be hard. The longest run I’d been able to squeeze out was about 6 miles… and that was not after 57.2 miles of other things! But I was ready to do my best. I had to use the bathroom like nobody’s business, but there’s something about using the one in the transition area that just seems… wrong to me! So I decided I’d use the one at the first aid station, which is at the first mile. Ran past 3 or 4 port-a-potties in a construction site on the way to that first aid station, but I thought, “Hey! No need to use those! They’ll have tons on the course for our use.” At mile 1, I asked where the bathroom was, and the lady said, “Oh, maybe at the next aid station, but you could just go back to the…” BACK! BACK??! Are you kidding me? I am NOT going to add even .1 kilometers to this run if I can help it. Ah well, onward ho? Let me tell you it seemed like a REEEEEEAAALLLY long time until that next aid station! Those GUs and drinks on the bike were doing something to my system… I tried to hold to a steady run with 1 minute walk breaks. That worked well for the first 3+ miles. They slowly started to extend from there. Sometime around mile 6 it was probably about 50/50. My housemate, Eileen caught up with me just after that, and she was having a great race. My spirits were high and off she went. I kept trying to run, but I must acknowledge that my run was not much faster than my walking at this point. But it was just a point of honor to run when I could even if it wasn’t doing much for my time. Had a good laugh at mile 7 when this guy passed me. He had passed me twice on the bike, and I had promptly passed him twice. It seems that each time he passed me he got a flat. The first was about a hundred yards in front of me, the second one was about 5 feet in front of me on the crest of Chalk Hill. He laughed about it, and I warned him about passing me on the run. Told him to look out for cars and man-eating lions. People are so encouraging out there. I know I looked a wreck, but I was dogged. Mile 7-9 where almost entirely walking. I got a bit of a second (third, fourth, fifth?) wind and was able to go back to about 50/50 again. Crossing the finish line felt great. No prizes, no podium places for me, but man—I felt like a million bucks! And no serious injuries!! Yay!! About 4 blisters, but hey? What’s a blister?? I really look forward to doing this race next year. I hope to stay focused on weight loss, and can only imagine what it would be like to do this race without being 70 lbs. overweight. (o: In the end, my run was a few minutes faster than last year, though I fully anticipated that it would be much, much, much worse!!! Yippee!!
What would you do differently?:

Hydration was a serious issue. I was very dehydrated. I was not sweating or anything. Panting and serious energy loss. Of course, it could have been that I was just plain tired. But since I didn’t pee since that one pre-swim experience, I’m not sure about that. Training, of course. Equipment? Well, there’s that too. The rubber sole of my shoe… uh… disengaged from the rest of it about 8 days before the race. Yes, they were old. Yes, they needed to be replaced. But I was hoping that they would make it through this race. Of course the fact that my shoe split just before the race was extremely unhelpful. Can’t replace them right before the race, can I? There would be hell to pay! Of course, when I came out of LaCrema, I had rocks the size of gumballs and small tree branches sticking out from the gaps. I had to do a little deforestation at the aid station! (o:
Post race
Warm down:

Ummm. Collapse, take pictures, eat food, reminisce. Was I supposed to stretch or something???

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Need I repeat myself? 1) training 2) nutrition 3) over-frugality with my equipment!!!

Event comments:

Event comments

Nothing I don’t like about this event other than the food and beverages on the run course. Puey! Clif Shots! And what flavor is that Gatorade? (o: As you can see I really have to make an effort to find something to complain about! Great volunteers, great course, great day.

Personal reflections

Everything about doing a long-distance triathlon where everyone seems to be the epitome of fit and athletic and sleek and toned brings out the sense of my own discomfort with myself. Just a heart-beat ago I was 283 lbs. Although I weigh 228 now, no one will look at me and say, “amazing”. They don’t know where I’ve come from or what I’ve struggled to overcome. Only I can know these things—and they have to be more important than anything else. They are more important than looking like I belong. But I like confronting my deficiencies—and my past failures in this manner. Because it’s in this moment—this Kairos moment—that I know the power of what is happening in me, as I don’t let the superficial and the ‘outer’ control the choices I’m going to make for my life. Sure I don’t look like I belong, and maybe I don’t… but I’m going to find my own place no matter what. Well, IMAZ here I come. (o: Watch out!

If you read this far, I'm shocked! And grateful!

Last updated: 2005-08-12 12:00 AM
00:53:49 | 2112 yards | 02m 33s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Suit: No!
Course: Swim is in the Russian River in Guernville. You head upstream and return downstream. Current is negligible, and yet, your negative split is sooooo much better! River is especially shallow, but due to short arms and murky water, it could have been 20 feet deep and I would not have known the difference!
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 05:01
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:49:09 | 56 miles | 14.66 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Bike starts on a little hill, which always seems precarious for some people. Rolling hills through a pretty glorious setting. Some poorly paved roads, but pretty darn nice. There’s a bit of a hill at around mile 44, but it’s short if a bit steep. 4 aid stations, which was luxurious. I only used 2 of them, myself, but well supported! Some of the motorists were kinda mean though. Let’s see, there was a couple of SAG wagons providing repairs which I did not know that this race had. Fortunately I had no need of it, but that’s pretty cool that they have that.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 04:04
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:38:11 | 13.1 miles | 16m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Course: Hot and hilly. Lots of aid stations. Turn around is a mile through the LaCrema Winery, which I don’t really like that much—too dusty. But they have a lovely (ahhhh!) water spray corridor. Of course better to use it on your way out, than on the way into the dusty vineyard!
Keeping cool Bad Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4