I had a big goal when I signed up for this race WAY back in November. I wanted to take off 25 min and go sub 5:10 to get a spot at the 70.3 championship in Vegas. I put up a pretty decent time when I did Vineman in 2011 and I thought there was nowhere to go but up. Boy was I wrong. This year has been very humbling.
So here is how it all went…
I got up to the race location in Sonoma California by Thursday evening so that Friday I could pre-ride the course with fellow Triathlete, Stuart, who was attempting his first 70.3 on his way to a full 140.6 in Arizona this fall.
We set out Friday morning and drove the whole course as well as rode the two major hills (which aren’t all that major). After a lunch break we scoped out the swim as well. The river was warmer than last year but had the makings of a great swim! Saturday was spent going to the expo for goodies and the race briefing, dropping off shoes in T2 (it is a point to point), prepping the last of the race gear to make the morning easier, and then trying to get a little rest! My wave was 4th so I would be starting just before 7:00 AM (last year I was 3rd from last!).
Woke up at 4:30 AM, took care of the necessary business, and walked to T1 by 5:45 AM. I didn’t have much time to waste so I got set up, met some other people I knew from the interwebs, and then got ready to race. I am hoping I scored some good race karma because there was a girl in transition who forgot goggles. I gave her my extra pair and she was VERY appreciative (even though she beat me out of the swim!). The mood was really nice and I met some super nice ladies while we got ready to swim.
I lined up at the front of the swim because I am a strong swimmer so it only makes sense. This was the only part of the race I thought I had a shot at doing well in so I really wanted to nail the swim. Gun went off and so did I. Only problem I had was a slightly leaky goggle but I refused to stop for it. I just put my head down and swam. 32:46 later I was out of the water getting ready to hit the bike. I had no idea of my time but when I found out later what I swam I was very pleased. Last year I swam 31:35 so considering all that has happened and how under-trained I was going into this race I was VERY pleased with my swim.
I saw Stuart leaving transition before me so I knew that was the last I would most likely see of him for the day unless we crossed paths on the run (I can’t keep up with him on the bike). I kind of dawdled in T1 and then got out of there. The ride is beautiful; rollers with two little hills that are more annoying than anything. I spent a lot of time aero and I had not rode my bike much before this race so I really started to tire around mile 30. It really was just due to lack of training more than anything. It was apparent, very early, that I would not be bettering my time on the bike from the year before which was a little disappointing. 3:22:48 and I was done.
I made my way through T2 but in no real hurry. I knew this wasn’t going to be a big day so I just wanted to have fun and enjoy it. Once I got to the run I knew it was going to take me some time to get through the 13.1 miles. Because of that I stopped around mile 3 to pee and pretty much just ran from aid station to aid station and walked thru them. I took some extended walk breaks during miles 6-10 but then managed to run the last three miles in. I did see Stuart once on the run which was nice. The course kind of looped a little so it wasn’t guaranteed that I would see him. 2:34:56 later I was crossing the finish line, nowhere near close to my 1:51:10 from the year before.
Overall I did 6:42:05 compared to 5:32:25 from the year before. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed with my time. But I am taking two positives away from the race. One, I still had a great swim which really makes me happy. And two, I ran pain free!! I miss running so much so to have a pain free run was very reassuring that I am on the path to running recovery!
It was AWESOME to see Stuart accomplish his first really big triathlon and I have NO doubts that he will hear his named called in the chute in Arizona in November. I feel very lucky to be a part of that journey with him.
So what is next you might ask? My next A race will be the Boston marathon in April of 2013. I would really like to PR there and run under 3:30. So my focus is going to shift back to running for the next 9 months. I have a 10K in October, a half marathon in December then it is all about Boston!