Last month I went to Colorado for Boulder 70.3. I had put in a lot of training and felt like I deserved to have a good race in CO, but when race week arrived, I felt exhausted. I had to work up until the day I left so I wasn't getting much rest. I thought since we were flying out on a Wednesday I would have a day or two to rest up. When I arrived in CO I went for a run in the evening, after a mile I was so tired and felt like I couldn't breathe well. It seemed to be a combination of the altitude change and not feeling 100%. Race morning I woke up... tired. Since I had been in CO I couldn't get through a 4-6 mile training run without being exhausted and having to stop. Boulder ended up being the worst 70.3 I have had in years. I thought CO was gorgeous and it was a beautiful venue but I walked away very disappointed. I learned from that race I need to make sure I get more sleep leading up to race week. Before Vineman I focused on getting enough sleep, especially the week of the race.
When I got to CA on Friday, I felt rested and excited to race (and see my sister!)
My brother-in-law had decided to do Vineman as his first 70.3 (he says it is also his last but we will see!) My sister and her husband (who live in OR) met us in CA, it was great getting to spend a little time with them over the weekend.
Vineman has a big purse prize and is in a beautiful location (Sonoma County). This race usually sells out within 15 minutes.
This years pro start list had the names of some of the best pros in the world. They were close to having 65 pros signed up. I believe there were about 24 female pros at the start line.
Last year I did this race and ended up being 4 seconds faster than I was the previous year. How do you even do that over a course of 70 miles, a year apart? ! I just wanted to be faster this year and by more than 4 seconds!
Race morning I arrived around 5:15 at Johnsons beach. The swim is up and down the Russian river. It is a calm river, not a noticeable current either way. I had just enough time to set up my bike, go for a jog, stretch and get on my wetsuit. I went for a short swim. The water temperature was 67 degrees and the air temperature was around 60 degrees. It was perfect.
After the men started I was very cold just hanging out in the water. We had 5 minutes before we started, I couldn't wait to start swimming so I would warm up. Once we started, I tired staying focused on swimming my own pace and not starting off too fast with the lead girls. I have done that before and halfway through my pace falls off and I am just surviving to the swim finish! After about 500 meters I had a few girls around me but a couple were slowing down and a few were picking up the pace. I tried catching the girls in front of me but didn't really swim very close to anyone until the last half mile. As I exited the swim I heard some people yelling out to the girl behind me she was around 28 minutes so I had an idea of what I swam.
The pro rack is right next to the swim exit, I took off my wetsuit and tried to have a fast transition but it was a bit of a run through transition with your bike and there is and short steep hill right after the mount line. I decided to run up the hill with my bike instead of mounting at the bottom of the hill, which I had tried one year and it didn't work out so well.
I started out on my bike with one girl in sight. I don't have a power meter on my bike right now and I felt a little lost as to how I was pacing myself. I used a little guess work and went more off of how I felt and I kept an eye on my speed. The bike course is quite hilly (for a Florida girl) with one bigger hill (chalk hill) towards the end of the ride. I caught up to the girl in front of me and passed her then there was nobody for miles. Around 40 miles I passed one of the pro guys but that didnt help me much since I am not racing the guys! There was an occasional media motorcycle taking pictures and a referee passed ever so often but other then that I rode alone. It was a beautiful morning, sunny and cool.
Since it is split transitions and we bike to T2 when I arrived at T2 there were hardly any people there either, most spectators were pry driving over from the swim start. It was very quiet and I saw one girl running out as I was biking in. Once I started the run about a half mile down the road I could see more of the pro girls riding in on the bike course. I had a little time on them but needed to have a good run to make sure none of them could catch me. I stayed relaxed and focused on the run. There was no one on the run course. You run through some country roads, a few ups and downs, passed some vineyards and fields of cows. The volunteers at the water stops were great! I did find one girl on the run course around mile 2, I passed. Around 4 miles you make a turn towards the La Crema winery, at that point I saw a couple pro men running back. At about 6 miles you run through La Crema winery. It was very quiet thru the Vinyard as well. Just a few squirrels to keep me company! It is a dirt/gravel road you run on for a little over a mile. After the winery you get back on the road for a out and back portion. At that point I could see who was ahead of me and who was behind me. The first 9 miles of the run seemed to go by really fast. I saw a girl who wasn't too far ahead of me and I really wanted to catch her. At that point I was starting to feel a little tired. I was running as fast as I could at that time and she got a little closer but not close enough. I ran through all the water stations and just grabbed water as I was running. The last mile seemed very long. I could see crowds of people towards the finish line and lots of bikes were coming in and people heading out on their run. I wanted to be under 1:30 for the run but ended up running 1:32. Didn't quite get the time I wanted but it is getting closer. :) As I was running up to the finish line I turned the corner and looked up at the clock- whew, I was faster this year... by almost 6 minutes! I finished in 12th place (4:38). I was happy to see improvement and enjoyed the race.
I saw my sister at the finish line. We hung out for a while and watched people finish while waiting for her husband to come in. My boyfriend and her husband had great races as well.
Thanks to my sponsors, coach and support from many people who help me along the way, making my journey in this sport possible. I really do enjoy training and racing- (the good and the bad) looking forward to a few more races this season!