It has taken me a long time to write this recap for no other reason than I have been busy enjoying summer!! The week before was all “race focus” and the week after making up for everything I didn’t do the week / month before! Now moving onward to trips, hosting family, and kids!
Vineman 70.3. I love that race. I have done it several times, as my first Ironman, as an Olympic during my younger years, and a few years ago as a Half Ironman (70.3 and same as this one). Two years ago it was tough mentally and physically. My father had passed away just two months previously and I probably would’ve not made the trip had I not chosen to raise money for Team PC (Prostate Cancer) months and months in advance. I had to do it, I wanted to do it, and I was pleased I did. I believe I raised something like $4k+ towards a cause for Prostate Cancer. KILL CANCER.
Moving on to 2014. I always struggle with memories of my father through the various courses I do and this was no different. But at the same time I have learned so much the past few years and racing has become something entirely different than it used to (a pastime, a love, vs…. ? well… a BIG HUGE RACE).
On to raceday.
I think I start with the highlights (spoiler alert ha ha), in no particular order:
1) With no family in tow, I got to stay with a good friend and fellow triathlete of mine all weekend, one I don’t get to spend much time with due to.. Well, life. We stayed at a lovely couples home just minutes from the finish line (thru AirBNB) – wine and hammocks included (two favs of mine!). Cortney was also racing, and was going after a ‘repeat” of winning her age group last year. Yes, total bad-as* and I am a HUGE fan of hers.
2) I got to see one of my college besties and her two sweet little twin girls born just a few months ago. I had been trying to see her for months now but to no avail… with my schedule and hers, it became difficult to make it happen. I was thrilled when she said she was driving up the day before the race for lunch and an afternoon walk (aka wine tasting) in Healdsburg. Yes, I was wishing it was AFTER the race not BEFORE but it kept me from indulging too much (as she knows me all too well)!! But, none the less, it was an amazing few hours and got my mind a little ‘away’ from the big race the following day (in a very very good way).
3) On to triathlons (what?!) – I achieved my goal I set earlier in the year, to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships in Mont Tremblanc, CA (whoop!). I missed it by one place in St. George, so my chances were reasonably good, but you just never know….. But here it happened. Good things happen in wine country.
On to the day.
The swim is in the Russian River and like no other swim (that I’m aware of) on the IM circuit. The announcer always says at the beginning, “if you run into trouble, just stand up”. Yes, it’s shallow. In fact, at the turnaround there was a section of 100-200 yards of knee deep water. No joke, it is THE race for the paranoid ocean swimmer! At the turnaround, I could see the men from the wave in front of me standing up, walking around the buoys. Did they forget this is a race and it’s actually faster to swim? Oops, my competitive soul got the best of me. At this point I was swimming right w a fellow 40 something female and we were trying to maneuver our way thru the calves around us… At some points the water was caressing my elbows so it’s no surprise people were walking. Just when it was getting frustrating and no longer funny, it got deep. Yeah!! Got out of the water several minutes later and made my way thru transition. No idea what place but I was thinking 4th/5th (those ladies in the lead know how to swim in shallow water!). And, they know how to swim quite well and fast! 29:51 (slower than 2 years ago – wait what???. Don’t let it bother you. Time to bike)
Bike was fairly uneventful, apart from the gorgeous scenery, the traffic (from being in one of the last waves), and the several bumps / potholes along the route. No complaints, you got to love riding through wine country and can’t help but notice how many vineyards you pass that you love their wine! I had a decent bike split (7 minutes faster than last time) and while I did manage to pass a few people in my age group, there were several others who were on me like white on rice. 2:43 (7 minutes faster than 2 years ago – yeah!)
T2 (no idea but not fast)
My transition is worth mentioning only because it wasn’t my best, nor one I’m proud of. Not sure I want to make this public but I guess if you choose to blog, you choose to expose. Let’s say one of the reasons is I was very hydrated and needed a little relief before running. The other? Well, on my way out of this extremely long winding transition area, I heard a volunteer say (in a very quiet matter of fact voice) “miss, your still wearing your helmet”. Wait WHAT?!!??? Duh. Was the thing so incredibly comfortable I wanted to wear it during the half Marathon! I think not. I ran it back to my bag and said thanks in passing….. Grrrrrrrr
Headed out on the run w/ high expectations. I was close to goal time but needed the run to be “perfect” (aka fast). Well, it was close to perfect (no stomach issues, no cramping, no injuries) just not in terms of time. Needed, wanted, worked so hard for a faster split!! Minor details. It was a beautiful run, part of it even though La Crema vineyards. I channeled my friends back home that have shared in a drink (or two) of that lovely wine with me and smiled at their support. The course was also more hilly than I remembered, and way more hot than I had imagined. Once again, the downfalls from starting towards last wave because of my age. See? AGE isn’t just a number! 1:47 (not what I would have liked, or wanted… but leaves room for improvement, right?)
I hate to admit it, but I was a little bummed when I crossed the finish line. While I didn’t know how I placed, I did know my run wasn’t “on par” with what I wanted. That feeling of disappointment soon erased as I sat on the grass and contemplated the day. I felt extremely fortunate for even being able to race. On that course. 70.3 miles. We don’t know what will happen day by day. Sometimes just doing what we love is enough. I train to race, I race to train. And I absolutely loved being out there in one of my favorite parts of Cali! See? Even positive affirmations help post race too! I was better instantly.
I finally tracked down my transition bag (peeee ew!) and was trying to find my phone. I still had no idea what place I got hours later…. and I needed to find Cortney to see how she did! Amongst all my sweet texts of people tracking me online, my moms was the best. “Congrats!! Great time 5:07:26. Third overall. Proud of u and luv u!!” She gets it! She knows how random the results are and most of the time athletes are stuck in limbo guessing how they did. None of this BS, cut to the chase alright already! She was there two years ago w/ my sister and I and it felt like they were on the course with me again today. Oh how I love them….
3rd??!!! Yeeeehaw!!!!!! Psyched and no longer bummed. 🙂
Post race is always worth mentioning. I finally tracked down Cortney (my lucky young friend who started wayyy before me and finished wayyy before me) who had the car all ready to make a getaway. Love that girl! Cortney also got third (and not what she had hoped) but I still think she had a hell of a race. We always learn something and can take away something, even if the results aren’t quite up to par, we were able to laugh a bit which is always comforting.
Cortney and I made it back to our place and within minutes of walking in the door we heard “do you want a glass of champagne or Sauvignon Blanc?” YES! The owners of the house we stayed with (and just met) were superb. Sitting in the backyard, chatting with them and a lovely cold glass of wine was something I had been looking forward to….
Unfortunately (or fortunately, ha!) we had an awards ceremony to get to so we had to leave our hammocks and head back to the finish line. My hubby called us the Netherlands with our 3rd place finishes. Yes, the race took place the same time as the World Cup finals – lucky me 🙂
The awards ceremony was hot (please Vineman hold this thing outside next year!) but surrounded by friends, it was really fun. We endured the entire thing, staying till the bitter end not wanting anyone to feel lonely or without cheers on their big day.
As luck would have it, the three of us each won ourselves a bottle of wine (La Crema thank you, I guess I love you again).
Let’s just say its nice to celebrate. There is always an excuse but this was a pretty good one.
See ya in Canada, eh?
Je vais mondes! (I am going to Worlds!)