Wildflower Triathlon - Long Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Bradley, California
United States
Tri-California Events, Inc.
75F / 24C
Total Time = 8h 33m 12s
Overall Rank = 1616/1800
Age Group = F 30-34
Age Group Rank = 97/115
Pre-race routine:

This was my second time at Wildflower and my first attempting the Long Course. Got up early and drove down to Lake San Antonio on Friday morning. Met my parents there (they came up from San Diego to spectate), set up the tent and headed down to packet pickup. Walked around the Expo a bit, got a 10 minute massage and helped my parents get the lay of the land for spectating the next day. Hiked back up to camp, had gnocchi and red sauce for dinner and headed to sleep around 10:30. Slept pretty well considering my tent was on a bit of a hill. Was up at 6:30 Saturday morning feeling good and ready to rock and roll.
Event warmup:

Got my stuff together and rode down Lynch with a bunch of the ladies from my tri club who were also racing. On the way down we had to be diverted a bit to ride single file since someone had already wrecked on the hill before the race even started. They were loading the person onto a stretcher, they looked to be in rough shape.

Got down to transition and set up my rack. Turns out one of my rack mates just moved to the Bay Area and is also doing IMAZ. We chatted about that for a bit as I set up transition. Left to go find my parents, the meeting spot I gave them ended up working perfectly. Hung out for a bit before I realized I wasn't wearing my timing chip so I went back into transition to get it, then got in line for the bathroom. By the time I was done it was 30 minutes until our 9:15 wave start so I got the wetsuit on and headed over to the start. Got in the water a bit after the wave before us went off and it was TOASTY WARM! Good omen.
  • 46m 33s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 12s / 100 yards

I started on the left in the second row because the wind was blowing down the lake and I knew it would blow me perfectly towards the first turn buoy. This was a really, really physical swim start. Probably the roughest I have experienced. I didn't let it bother me and just let myself be bumped and jostled. I couldn't see the first turn buoy so just followed the other white caps out into the middle of the lake.

Hit the first turn buoy in no time and was perfectly positioned. Stayed in on the inside hugging the buoys to avoid the fray on the outside, and just flew with the current down to the end where we turned to do the short end of the rectangle. I knew once I turned I would have the chop to my right for a short while and then have it directly in my face on the way back. I ended up getting a mouthful of water after the second turn buoy but otherwise I was ok in the chop. I made sure to breathe high and tried to time my breathing for when I was in the trough of the chop. I passed a lot of people the second half of the swim who were breast stroking and freaking because of the rough conditions. Sighting was really good and I made the final turn buoy perfectly and headed for the balloon arch. And soon enough I was done, with a 1 minute PR over Vineman in MUCH harder conditions!
What would you do differently?:

Nada! Given the conditions this was a fantastic swim. Can tell that I am much more consistent than last year and I was really happy to come away with a small PR.
Transition 1
  • 04m 30s

Long transition but I felt controlled and organized. It was a long run to my bike since I was on the other end of the transition area.
What would you do differently?:

Go faster?
  • 4h 38m 51s
  • 56 miles
  • 12.05 mile/hr

Oh the bike. I knew this would be my undoing in this race. To say I dislike this bike course is an understatement. It does not play to my strengths (flats) and I climb like a rock.The whole day I was focused on one magic time, 2:45 pm. I knew I had to be off the bike by that time or I would miss the cutoff and my day would be over.

The course starts really technical along the lake and then up Beach Hill. The mountain bike race goes the same direction and it was a MESS with mountain bikers passing on the right and basically riding like jerks until the courses split off. I saw two long course riders go down in front of me right before Beach Hill after they got cutoff by a mountain biker. It was UGLY. My recommendation to TriCal - do the mountain bike on Sunday since it doesn't interfere with the Olympic course!

I took it easy up Beach and out of the park I was feeling pretty good and got a pickup at mile 5 when I rode by where the GGTCers were cheering. Got out to Interlake towards the Olympic turnaround and the headwind started. Ughhhhh. Not as bad of wind as when I rode the course in training but still no fun. Turned right on Jolon and got a bit of a break cause the wind turned into a cross wind. Whee.

Around mile 20 my bike starts making a loud clang clang clang noise that sounded a lot like a popped spoke. I started to freak out thinking that my race was done, so I stopped to investigate. Turns out my rear bottle cage had broken and the metal was clanging when I rode over rough road. Phew. Luckily aid stations were every 8 miles so at the next station I ditched that bottle and ran with just one water bottle in the front. Worked out great.

I had planned to stop once around the halfway mark to pee and stretch and did so around mile 26, had a banana too since my tummy was a bit upset. It helped a lot and I felt great getting back on my bike. The next section is a long gradual downhill and then a flat part that is my favorite part of the course. Flew through this part and before I knew it I was turning right to head towards Nacimiento and Nasty Grade. Kept the effort steady through here and was feeling good, and was on pace to come in ~15 minutes before the cutoff.

Then I got to Nasty Grade. My hips hurt and I needed to use the bathroom again so I opted to stop to pee and stretch at the bottom before tackling the hill. Nasty Grade itself was a lot easier this time than when I rode the course in training, I just spun right up passing a lot of people walking their bikes. It just took soooo long. After the long descent on the backside things started to get ugly. The climb had taken so long that the cutoff was now looming and I had a horrible case of hot foot on my right foot and everything just HURT. I sobbed from mile 47 to mile 52 thinking that my day was done and just being so ready to get off the bike. I was resigned to the fact that I wasn't going to make the cutoff.

When I got back into the park I had sobbed myself out and I realized that with about 3 miles to go that if I really pushed it I could make the cutoff. I started sprinting. I don't think I have ever ridden that hard in my life. I bombed down Lynch Hill screaming "on your left" to everyone finishing the run course. And I rolled into transition at 2:44:40, 20 seconds before the cutoff. Turns out they added 10 minutes to the cutoff time but I had no idea at that point.
What would you do differently?:

Not stop 3 times. Not cry. Lose 15 pounds. Learn to climb. When I get down I have trouble picking myself back up again. I'm amazingly tough when swimming and running but something about the bike makes me doubt myself a ton.This ended up being 46 minutes slower than my bike time at Vineman and I am in MUCH better cycling shape now which is a testament to how hard this course is.
Transition 2
  • 05m 53s

Heh. So for the last hour I had planned to end my day in T2 and now I had made the cutoff. "Wait, I have to run now? Shit." I was dazed and confused and exhausted from sprinting the last bit of the bike. I took my time and fumbled around with all my stuff, had a really hard time lifting my bike onto the rack and then walked (yes, walked!) out of transition. I was so tired and not mentally prepared to run a half marathon.
What would you do differently?:

  • 2h 57m 25s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 32s  min/mile

Onto the run. "Ok, you have 3 hours. You've got this." I am still not a fast runner but since CIM I've begun to consider myself a strong runner, and I am getting faster. As my husband says I'm stubborn and I know how to push myself when running. I gave myself the first 3 miles to work my bike legs out and get into a groove. I had run the course in training so I knew which hills I would be walking, and when I walked them I power walked. This would turn out to be an amazing strategy later in the race.

I was starving and wanted some real food but the first 3 aid stations only had Gatorade and water. Fail! I finally got to mile 4 and the CalPoly guys there had oranges and bananas. They became my favorite people. I spent a good 3 minutes at the aid station sucking down orange slices and a banana and started to feel better immediately.

The next part of the course is really hilly but I just got into a groove. Run when I can and power walk the rest. I'm talking arms pumping, speed walking sort of power walking. I felt pretty good and was in good spirits. Before I knew it I was at mile 7 and saw one of my best friends and training partners running towards me with a big sign. I was elated to see her. She stuck with me for the next mile talking to me and encouraging me until I got to the GGTC camping area. She told me everyone was waiting there for me but I didn't believe her considering it was 4:45 pm. But there they were! It was a huge lift running through there. The next few miles were pretty flat and this is where I started passing people. I was just chugging along at a 11:30 pace picking off the walkers left and right, feeling great.

Got to the pit and ran down as fast as I could, passed a lot of people who were walking down. Hit the turnaround and started power walking. Ended up passing 3-4 people coming out of the pit who looked like they had been broken, I just powered on by. At this point I could taste the finish line, and I just started running. I flew down Lynch and through the finish chute! Second Half Ironman DONE!
What would you do differently?:

Not much. Considering I cooked myself pretty good on the bike, this was a good effort. Only 9 minutes slower than my Vineman run on a much harder course. My power walking strategy worked well and I felt good all the way to the end.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the finish line, got my medal and wet towel. Saw my coach and told him "never again" will I be doing the Long Course. The bike is just too darn hard and not fun at all. Met up with my parents, had some pasta and enjoyed being DONE! Watched some of the final finishers come in.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The bike. I'm much stronger than I was last year but this course is just so, so hard. I'm sort of embarrassed by how slow my time was, but I think it is like that for everyone. I have no doubt that training for this race got me in a really good position fitness wise to be ready for IMAZ after another focused block of Ironman specific training. And I can say I finished one of the hardest Half Ironmans in the world!

Event comments:

Love this race. Love the weekend and the atmosphere. My parents had a blast and I loved cheering on the Olympic course on Sunday. I'll be back next year even if I'm not racing!

Last updated: 2010-12-02 12:00 AM
00:46:33 | 2112 yards | 02m 12s / 100yards
Age Group: 83/115
Overall: 1480/1800
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex 3 Fullsuit
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 68F / 20C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:30
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Good
04:38:51 | 56 miles | 12.05 mile/hr
Age Group: 106/115
Overall: 1730/1800
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Below average
Race pace: Too hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 05:53
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Bad
Racking bike Bad
Shoe and helmet removal Bad
02:57:25 | 13.1 miles | 13m 32s  min/mile
Age Group: 94/115
Overall: 1615/1800
Performance: Good
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5