Ironman 70.3 Vineman - Triathlon

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
80F / 27C
Total Time = 6h 06m 23s
Overall Rank = 1166/
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 59/140
Pre-race routine:

We dropped the bikes off with Tri Team Transport on July 6th (eight days before the race), so they could be transported to the race site. It was not ideal to not get to ride them at all the week leading up to the race, but it beat transporting them ourselves! I would definitely do it exactly that way again if we decide to do another destination race. Picked the bikes up Friday evening and planned for a short ride Saturday morning to a) wake the legs up, and b) make sure everything was working fine. Also went for a quick swim Friday morning....and I did a tiny bit of running (first running I've done since April) after the ride on Saturday morning.

Saturday afternoon, we did race packet pick-up, set up T2, checked out the expo, and laid low for the rest of the afternoon/evening. Had our typical rice dinner and hydrated throughout the day.

Managed to sleep reasonably well and woke up just before my 5am alarm. Had two pieces of wheat toast with peanut butter, one banana, and a little bit of water (the color of my pee told me that I was pretty well hydrated from the day before....and I like to try to minimize the number of "nervous pees" I have to take pre-race!).

Event warmup:

Jen and I were in the wave that left at 8am, Stephen was in the 8:30 wave, and Pete and Chris were in the 8:36 wave. None of us wanted to get to transition super early, so we left the house around 6:30am and rode (~2 miles) to Johnson's Beach. I wouldn't really consider this much of a warm-up as it was chilly and we weren't really working at all.

Picked my T1 rack spot and eventually got into my wetsuit. After the 7:54 wave went off, there were six minutes to warm up, so I got in some easy swimming, with some harder efforts mixed in. And for the first time that morning, the excessive nervousness finally went away!
  • 33m 59s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 37s / 100 yards

This is definintely my favorite race swim so far!! Easy to navigate, perfect water temps (not too cold, not too warm)....only thing I could ask for is good visibility and beautiful sea creatures ;)

The air temps were quite chilly, so stepping into the warm river felt amazing. I've heard lots of complaints about the river being narrow and shallow. I felt like the contact was minimal (only had a little bit of contact for maybe one minute) and I never once hit the ground or had to get up and walk. It's probably beneficial to have short arms, but I'm pretty sure that most people could probably make due reasonably well with high elbows while swimming.

Anyways, I stayed as close to the center of the river as I could, hugging the buoy line the whole way. I jumped on a girl's feet for a little bit, but then she veered off the line I wanted to take, so I let her go. After the turn-around, I found another set of feet and stayed there for a little bit, but we eventually started coming up on purple, green, and white caps (and people walking), so we got separated and I continued on alone for the rest of the race.

My goal was sub-35, so when I got out of the water and saw sub-34, I was extremely pleased.

What would you do differently?:

For this particular swim, I'd probably do very little different. For future swims, I'd like to be able to get more time in the wetsuit before racing. My shoulders always feel very fatigued while swimming in the wetsuit, and I suspect that's because I do such little time in it (hard when all the local lakes are 85 degrees!).

Transition 1
  • 03m 10s

Ran out of the water from swim into T1 while unzipping my wetsuit. Pulled my watch off my wrist and held the strap between my teeth, then pulled my cap and goggles off and yanked the top down, leaving the cap and goggles in the sleeve. As I was running to my transition spot, I put my watch back on. Made it to the spot and yanked my wetsuit off (no issues), stepped onto my towel, sprayed the dirt off my feet with the water bottle I'd left in transition, put on my socks and shoes (without sitting down) and sunglasses and helmet, grabbed the bike, and ran out.

You can mount your bike either at the bottom of the hill or up at the top of the hill coming out of T1. Before the race started, we watched a bunch of people (including pros) -- it seemed that most people ran up the hill, but that it was manageable to do it at the bottom. I decided to play it by ear -- if it was clear, I'd consider mounting at the bottom and riding up, but if it was a cluster, I wasn't going to chance it. When I got there, there were about a million people running up the hill (pretty sure no one was mounting at the bottom when I was going through), and I decided it was definitely smarter to run it up, which I did and was glad I made that choice.

What would you do differently?:

I could probably move through a little quicker, but I was not too concerned about a few seconds in what I was assuming would be a seven hour day.

  • 2h 54m 51s
  • 56 miles
  • 19.21 mile/hr

I had noticed when we went for our ride on Saturday that an equivalent RPE to what I had trained at gave a HR about 10bpm higher than normal. I wasn't sure if I should try to keep my HR in check, like I did on training rides, or if I should just keep my RPE at a "comfortably hard" level. Since I have no run training and wasn't expecting anything on the run, I decided to stick with RPE and just kind of see how I felt throughout the ride.

The first part of the course is along the flat (false flat) section of River Road. Unfortunately, it's also an area with a lot of vehicle traffic, which ended up making it slow and difficult to pass. When we made the turn off River Road, the traffic was pretty minimal and the rolling hills started.

After about 20 minutes on the bike, I wanted to start eating and drinking. I had three Honey Stinger Waffles cut into quarters in a ziploc bag in my bento box. I hadn't really thought about it when I zipped the bag closed the night before, but I really struggled to get the bag open with my fingers being wet and cold! I thought there was a good possibility I was going to have to stop to open it, as I knew the nutrition was absolutely necessary! I eventually pulled the entire bag out of the box (while managing not to lose any of my Gu's!) and pulled it open with my teeth. Little things that are non-issues when your hands aren't cold in training!

I had been somewhat concerned about how I would fare on this course, as we have almost no hills to train on in Houston. I was pleasantly surprised that the hills didn't seem too difficult and that I appeared to be fairly strong at climbing them. While climbing Chalk Hill, I kept assuming it wasn't Chalk Hill yet and that I'd be in for something really hard a half mile later....nearing the end of Chalk Hill, there were some spectators in Angry Birds costumes ringing cow bells....and I realized that we actually were on Chalk Hill! Again, I was pleasantly surprised that the hills weren't as bad as I'd made them out to be.

After Chalk Hill, I knew I only had about 30 minutes left on the bike. I finished off my second bottle of Skratch with a couple miles left to go. I realized that I was hungry, so I ate one of my back-up Gu's, and reached back to swap my Skratch bottle with my water bottle....and found that I had apparently ejected my water bottle at some point on the course. Lame! Not too big a deal as I only had a few minutes left on the bike, but kind of disappointing to lose a bottle that was not planned to be a throw away bottle!

On the bike, I ate three Honey Stinger Waffles (480 calories), one Gu (100 calories), and had two bottles of Skratch (160 calories). Calorie-wise, this is a little more than I normally take. Hydration-wise, it was quite a bit less than I normally take, but I attributed that to the fact that it wasn't anywhere near as hot or humid as Houston, where I do all of my training. Also, given the fact that I had to pee on the run, I don't think I under-hydrated....I also never had GI issues or anything, so I don't think I over-fueled.

What would you do differently?:

Remember to leave the ziploc bag open when putting it into the bento box and try not to eject a bottle! I was pretty happy with the ride and don't feel like riding based on RPE hurt me on the run.

Transition 2
  • 02m 33s

I pulled my feet out of my shoes WAY too early. I really should have paid more attention to how far the school parking lot was from a notable landmark. I ended up riding with my feet on top of my shoes for over half a mile, which was annoying, but probably didn't slow me down too much. Got to the dismount line and slipped my leg over the top tube and dismounted quickly. I got stuck behind two guys who were lolly gagging up the sidewalk and in the way. I called out "on your left" and the guy who was directly in front of me said (probably sarcastically), "Yes, ma'am" and moved out of the way. Made it to the transition area, 180 degree hairpin turn, and to my rack. I had an outside position on the rack and no one was there when I got in. I racked my bike quickly and easily and then kind of had a brain fart.

I took my helmet off and put my hat on right away, then sat down and put my shoes on; grabbed my race belt and ran out. I normally pull my helmet off and put my shoes on right away, then run out of transition while putting my hat and belt on. I have no idea why I put my hat on first!

I had two Gu's and a Honey Stinger sitting at transition, but completely failed to notice them while I was there. I wasn't too concerned as I knew what was on the course was fine for, with my lack of run fitness, I wasn't expecting to really need nutrition to get me through my long walk ;)

What would you do differently?:

Skip the brain fart....remember to put shoes on first, grab nutrition, and run out while putting my hat and race belt on. It was still the 12th fastest of my AG, so not awful, but definitely could have been more efficient.

  • 2h 31m 50s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 34s  min/mile

I had a couple goals for this race: 1) finish swim, T1, and bike within 3:40 (actual time was 3:32), and 2) try to move fast enough through the "run" to finish the race within 7 hours. My plan was to run when I could and walk when I couldn't....and to listen to my body so I didn't hurt my knee any worse or come out with any new injuries.

I ran/jogged for the majority of the first 6.5 miles, with the exception of walking through aid stations, stopping at mile 4 to use the porta potty, and walking up the two big hills as I knew I didn't have the run fitness and didn't want to blow myself out.

When inside the winery, you get to run on a dirt/gravel path for about a mile. I was thinking this would be my best mile, but at 6.5, I got gnarly side stitches in both sides. I tried to run through it, but it was clear that I was in pain. I figured it was purely due to my lack of run fitness, so I began walking at a good pace (as I had trained for!). I walked a full mile, grabbing some coke at the aid station to see if it would help. I'm not sure if the coke helped, or if just walking and giving it time to subside helped, but the side stitches eventually went away and I was able to start doing a run/walk thing -- "run when you can, walk when you can't". That was my mantra throughout.

The aid stations and all of the volunteers along the run course were amazing! In addition to the normal junk (gels, blocks, gatorade, etc), they had some really great snacks on the course -- nectarines, grapes, cookies (I didn't eat any cookies, but definitely ate some fruit!).

With just under a 5k left, I noticed that if I were able to do it within 28 minutes, I could come in under six hours. I briefly thought about trying, but the moment I started running again, I realized that my knees were screaming at me and my fitness just was not there. I decided to take a leisurely pace and run when I could, walk when I couldn't.

Finally, when I could see all the orange cones lining the road and going into the chute, I knew I was just about there. Somehow, though, it felt incredibly long while running that section....but then I saw the finish line and the clock and heard the announcer calling my name and nothing mattered anymore! They strung up the finisher's ribbon and I was able to break through it, arms held high! It may not have been a blazing fast time, but I was incredibly proud of myself for finishing the race! Although I have zero interest in doing a full Ironman, I can only imagine the emotions of someone running through the finisher's chute, as I was feeling a little choked up running through it myself -- I really was not expecting that at all.

What would you do differently?:

With sufficient run training, I think I could probably take off about 40 minutes from this time. I'd be very happy with a) my run time and b) my overall race time if I were able to take that much off my run.

However, all things considered (injured knee, no run training), I'm quite happy with how this run went. I was able to run a lot more than I had expected; the first 6.5 miles were even at a reasonable (for me) pace. Cardio-wise, I left a lot in the tank....but in terms of my joints being happy with me, I did exactly what they allowed me to do, and that was good enough :)

Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the finish and grabbed a couple glasses of water and stretched (a good amount) while waiting for Stephen and Pete to come in. At some point, Chris and Jen disappeared and I told Stephen that I was hungry and needed to get something in me, so we headed over to get food. I had a piece of chicken, some cantaloupe, a pluot, and a delicious chocolate milk.

I had really wanted to get a massage after the race, but Chris ended up in the med tent and our dry clothes bag (with money) was in Teresa's car, which took us a while to in the end, we just took off to get some real food with C&J and Cody and Leslie who happened to be there (since Cody had flown another athlete to the race -- small world!).

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I got hit by a car while out on a training ride on the 4th of July in 2012. I've now been struggling with this (still undiagnosed) knee injury for over a year. I did physical therapy and ART, tried to run through the pain, had my knee scoped, did more physical therapy and ART, tried running through the pain again, found a new doctor and started doing physical therapy / ART / Graston -- all with minimal relief. I'm not sure what to do about my knee, but it seems to be a difficult freaking injury to get through.

If I had not been injured, I know my run time could be quite a lot better. However, not spending any time on the run meant I had ample time to swim and without the knee injury, I might well have been just as slow, but with different splits. So I continue to try to look at this as some sort of blessing in swim and bike have improved significantly, so when my knee is better, I hope the cardio base I've worked up will allow me to add running to the mix fairly seamlessly....just gotta find a way to get rid of the injury!!

Event comments:

This was a perfect race for my first 70.3 -- everything was on time and organized, and the volunteers were amazing and plentiful!

Last updated: 2013-04-01 12:00 AM
00:33:59 | 2112 yards | 01m 37s / 100yards
Age Group: 21/140
Overall: 436/
Performance: Good
Suit: TYR Hurricane Cat 5 (Rented)
Course: Out and back in the Russian River, always keeping buoys on the left
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 03:10
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:54:51 | 56 miles | 19.21 mile/hr
Age Group: 23/140
Overall: 810/
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Winding course with rolling hills through Sonoma wine country -- two rated climbs, one of which didn't really register as a "hard" climb while riding it, and one which was a notable climb, but very manageable. Road surface was mostly decent, but did have some significant rough areas (nothing that caused me to flat, but I did see a number of people on the side fixing flats)
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: 92
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:33
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Average
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Below average
02:31:50 | 13.1 miles | 11m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 112/140
Overall: 1709/
Performance: Average
Course: One loop course with some rolling hills and a one mile section through the La Crema Winery
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 4