Wildflower Triathlon - Long Course - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Bradley, California
United States
Tri-California Events, Inc.
77F / 25C
Total Time = 6h 57m 48s
Overall Rank = 1093/1974
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 46/107
Pre-race routine:

My goal for this race was to break 7 hours. To do this, I knew I would need to avoid blowing up on the run. I've been doing trail runs and lots of hills. I worked hard to get ready for this race - my training is never optimal, but it was the best I've done so far.

We headed up to the lake on Friday morning, met up with other CCTC people, and set up camp. In the afternoon we went down to pick up packets and walked around the expo a bit, took shuttles to avoid walking the hill. Had some food and a few brews and s'mores around the campfire with the club, went to bed early. Didn't sleep well - nerves, and bad food choices - beer, giant sausage, hamburger - different than what I usually eat (well, not the beer) and just too much meat for the day before a race.
Event warmup:

Woke up early, made coffee, got my stuff ready, tried to get Tracy and Steve up and motivated to help me get ready and make breakfast. Rode down Lynch hill and waited in line with the masses to enter transition, then set up my stuff, got marked and met up with Tracy and Steve. I stood around with them for awhile, took a pic or two, and headed down to the boat ramp a bit early because I wasn't 100% sure what time my wave was going to start. Joined the rest of the white swim caps, got in the water for a minute or so, then got out and waited. Even though this was my 5th 70.3 and 2nd Wildflower long course, the nerves were still there, and I tried to push them aside and enjoy the moment before the start.
  • 42m 13s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m / 100 yards

The swim start was a bit more physical than I remember, possibly because I may have positioned myself closer to the front than I usually do. I quickly settled into a rhythm, but I could feel the loose end of my timing chip strap moving with my feet, so I would panic a little every time someone touched my foot. This made the first 1/4 of the swim very nerve wracking. I even stopped a couple times to check it (it was fine). Other than that, the out portion of the swim was uneventful. Once we rounded the furthest buoys and started to head back, we were swimming right into the chop. I kept getting mouthfuls of water and ended up off course a few times. I managed to get it together though, and exited the water only a little off my usual swim pace.
What would you do differently?:

Not freak out about loose ends on my chip strap. The velcro was fine and I need to stop being paranoid. I wish my wetsuit covered it, but it doesn't so I need to get over it.
Transition 1
  • 03m 29s

This transition wasn't as efficient as mine usually are. I usually have my cap and goggles in my hand and wetsuit pulled halfway off by the time I get to my rack, but this time I was running a bit behind. Somehow my time improved over last year, probably due to a faster run up the boat ramp.
What would you do differently?:

Cap, goggles, and top half of the suit off by the time I get to the rack.
  • 3h 48m 57s
  • 56 miles
  • 14.68 mile/hr

For the first 20 miles or so, I just focused on keeping a comfortable pace, particularly once the headwinds started near the north end of the lake. After I turned onto Jolon, the headwind turned into a crosswind. I decided to pick up the pace a little, but not too much to avoid frying my legs. I think I still have a slight fit issue on my bike - something is off with my right leg, and it was hurting from top to bottom. My other leg wasn't feeling great either, and I was frustrated. Around mile 35, I stopped at a port-o-potty (about 2 hours later than I should have) and a super nice guy actually let me go ahead of him and held my bike for me. I felt much better after my pit stop. I went up the climbs rather easily and steadily, and passed many people without too much of an effort. It was the best part of the ride for me, but I was not happy because overall I knew I was off my desired pace. After the climbs came the big descent, and for some reason, I was scared shitless going down those big hills. I braked a lot and couldn't get myself to go much faster than 35 or so. My frustration with my time continued to build through the last hills (and more headwind) coming back to transition. At one point near the end I was pissed and showing it and a girl passed me and said something like "I am SO OVER this bike ride" - that about summed it up for me.
What would you do differently?:

I'm not sure what my problem was with descending. I'm usually ok with it (not great, but ok) and while I do lose my nerve at times, it never happens during a race.

I'm also not sure why I felt so crappy during the bike, since it turns out I had plenty of energy left. I'm glad I didn't panic and start to hammer. No matter what, I wanted to avoid a repeat of the run I had last year.
Transition 2
  • 03m 20s

First I had to move someone else's bike (racked in my spot, and facing the wrong direction - thanks) and then I sat down to change shoes, which I never do. This was the low point of the race for me. I was thinking my goal was impossible - I was starting to give up.
What would you do differently?:

Never sit down!
  • 2h 19m 49s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 10m 40s  min/mile

I started this run with 2:23 to go and quickly figured out I needed to average less than 11 minutes per mile to break 7 hours. At first this seemed like it would not be possible. I was angry at the wind, heat, my legs, myself - and then I realized I was doubting myself for no good reason. I was failing to recognize that the work I had put in was enough for me to reach my goal, if I wanted it bad enough. If it was going to happen, my attitude needed to change - quickly.

I then funneled my energy into one singular goal - to keep running. No matter what the pace was, I needed to run. Walking was not an option. I needed to keep as cool and hydrated as possible. At each aid station, I drank gatorade and water, and dumped as much water on myself as possible. I focused on maintaining a pace where I knew I wasn't in danger of overheating. Sometimes it was fast, at other times excruciatingly slow - but I made sure to keep calm, and focused on listening to my body.

Around mile 3.5, I rounded the corner and saw it - the mile 4 hill. I smiled, told the hill it was going to be my bitch, then proceeded to run all the way up it - every step. At the steep parts I slowed to a shuffle, but I never walked a single step. When I finally reached the top and started the fast downhill around mile 6, I knew I was going to make it. Nothing ahead of me was going to be that difficult. I was only a couple minutes off my pace, and I knew I would be able to make it up. I didn't just believe it - I KNEW it.

At that point I experienced the normal highs and lows of running a half marathon. Sometimes I felt good, and I ran fast. Other times I started to feel not so great, and I backed off a little until I recovered enough to run fast again. I kept this up until I reached the pit - the last big obstacle between me and my goal. I ran down it as fast as I could, and I could feel my legs were starting to really ache. After the turnaround, I put my head down and ran back up. My spirit was lifted by a cute puppy around 2/3 of the way up - that was a nice distraction!

When I hit the 11-mile mark, I looked down at my watch and saw 6:37:XX. I knew I needed to pick up the pace to make sure I came in under 7. I was really suffering at that point, and I just ran so hard I could barely stand it, which at that point was pretty slow, but fast enough to hit mile 12 less than 10 minutes later. I booked it down Lynch hill, passing many people. My legs were screaming and I felt like I was going to throw up, but I was so close I could taste it. I hit the finish chute with over 3 minutes to spare, and at that point I knew it was mine. I ran and celebrated and crossed the line at 6:57:48.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing!!! I truly squeezed everything I could out of this one.
Post race
Warm down:

Found Tracy and Steve, had some food (after the nausea passed) and enjoyed a couple beers. Hung out at the club tent for a bit, then headed up the hill (ugh) and had dinner at the campsite. I was in the tent by 9, then woke up and watched Tracy race. Had a massage (awesome) and bought a bunch of stuff, had some more beer, and relaxed.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I'm still not quite sure what happened on the bike, but I'm so happy with my run performance that I don't really care at this point. I do know that I need to dial in my bike fit, and clearly I need to swim more or I'll never get any faster!

Event comments:

I love Wildflower. It's always a good time, and I plan on being back as much as possible in the future.

Last updated: 2010-12-03 12:00 AM
00:42:13 | 2112 yards | 01m / 100yards
Age Group: 0/107
Overall: 1191/1974
Performance: Below average
Suit: XTerra Vortex 3 full
Course: Running start from the boat ramp, L-shaped out and back course in Lake San Antonio.
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Below average Navigation: Below average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:29
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:48:57 | 56 miles | 14.68 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/107
Overall: 1302/1974
Performance: Below average
Wind: Headwind
Course: Clockwise loop around Lake San Antonio. After the initial climb up Beach Hill, the ride consists of rolling hills and relative flatness until around mile 40, when the climbs start. Nasty Grade, Polar heart rate hill, and a fast descent followed by more rolling hills on the way back to the lake, then down Lynch hill to finish things up.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 03:20
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal
02:19:49 | 13.1 miles | 10m 40s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/107
Overall: 1034/1974
Performance: Good
Course: A few miles of rolling hills, followed by a horrendous stretch of steep uphill trail. After mile 6 it flattens out a bit, until the pit from miles 9-11. After the 12-mile marker it's a fast finish down Lynch hill.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5