Monday, July 23, 2012

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

Another 70.3 into my little personal record book!  I love this race and cannot wait to do it again next year!  It is quickly becoming my favorite race, and I'm trying to convince Derek that we need to make it an annual event.  It's a gorgeous, challenging course, and your in the wine and foodie mecca of CA!  What's not to like?  This year we really wanted to go wine tasting and float down the Russian River (after the race of course!)

We left on Friday morning to drive up to Ripon to break up the long drive from Pasadena to Sonoma and get a little family time in along the way.  As always it's good to see family and have a visit.  One day soon we will be living back in Northern CA and I can't wait!  On Saturday morning we were up early, did our shake-out ride/run and were on the road to Sonoma.  As usual, I was a little slow getting ready and we were on the road later than Derek wanted to be.  Once there we checked into our cottage and went to the race expo.  I will say that the expo a bit disappointing, there were far fewer vendors this year.  We had to sit through the 30 minute video presentation on the course, and I'm curious to know how many people crashed on the right hand turn onto Sunset after we were told multiple times to be careful there! 

We went to Kin for dinner, it's an awesome little restaurant in downtown Windsor.  Love the sweet potato tater tots!  We were back in our room early to get everything ready and go to bed early and for the first time ever I slept really well the night before a race!  That never happens!  I'm usually lucky to get a few hours of sleep. 

Race Morning:

The alarm had us up at 5:30!  It was almost like sleeping in! For pre-race breakfast I ate 2 big bowls of Corn Flakes with whole milk, a banana and 1 packet of honey peanut butter on the banana.  Normally I don't want to eat in the A.M. on race day, but today was different, I was hungry! It was cold and foggy early but started to clear up once we arrived at Johnson's Beach.  Vineman is a point to point event and I think that T1 and T2 are separated by 15 miles or so.  Basically you only bring what you need.  I wasn't nervous at all, that is until Derek's wave went off, which was about a half hour before mine, his @ 7:50 and mine at 8:22.  My goal of the day was to try to catch and pass him but I knew that I had my work cut out for me.

Swim:  30:03 14th AG

I was able to get in the water a couple minutes early and get a decent warm up in.  I loved my 2xu wetsuit, I can't remember the style but it was sleeveless and awesome!  The water was a balmy 72.  It's a floating start and I took my place front and center.  So when the gun went off I was able to get out in front and find feet to follow.  For a tri start it was really mild and I never was touched or man-handled the entire swim.   I was in the midst of a pack of about 6-7 girls who were swimming well, but just a little slower than I would have liked.  I couldn't force my way through them because they were swimming shoulder to shoulder and I thought it would have taken too much time to go around them.  At the turn around I was able to get through the pack and saw a girl about 15 yards ahead of me, I swam hard to get on her feet and followed her all the way into T1.  Gotta love not having to sight at all, I just trusted her that we were swimming straight.  Overall I'm happy with my swim, I wanted to go under 30 minutes.  I missed it by 4 measly seconds, but I'll take it.  Derek ended up swimming 43:03 which for him is better than last year, but slower than he is capable and he's a bit disappointed in his swim and said he could have swam a lot faster.

Bike:  2:57 29th AG

Since my wave was one of the last to go off it meant that the course was full!  I love this bike course because it's super pretty going through all the vineyards, but it's pretty much either uphill or downhill, nothing if flat!  Right out of T1 the road was packed!  The first few miles were the worst and it was hard to make totally legal passes without drafting, but eventually around mile 35ish it cleared up a bit, but then got clogged up again at Chalk Hill.  I passed a lot of people over the 56 miles but passing legally made it really hard to get in a rhythm.  I'd have to soft pedal a bit behind a line of people and then surge to get past all of them.  I felt really strong the entire way through and probably could have pushed harder, but ever since my incident with the "bee" two weeks ago I've become a little more timid on the bike.  Again at Chalk Hill I thought, "is that it?"  It's a nasty little hill but not as bad as it's made out to be.  I did follow a girl for about 20 miles and we just passed and repassed each other.   Finally I lost her on the descent coming down CH.  I picked it up heading into town but apparently I was not going as fast as I would have liked or thought!  I'm pretty happy with my bike time, but my goal was to go under 2:50 and I know that I am capable of doing that on this course.  I really think that my little accident a few weeks ago made overly cautious.  I averaged around 19mph on a tough course and improved 7 minutes from last year.   Derek and I both rode on IRT Wheels for the first time in a race and I must say I loved them! They were awesome! I like having something that is different than all the Zipps you see. It's a smaller company based out of SoCal and they have a great product, loved it. 
My trusty steed with IRT wheels, before we left.
Not race day, but this was my race outfit.  Love Betty Designs!

Nutrition;  I pretty much ate the entire time on the bike!  I was a moving buffet.  I had 2 apple cinnamon Honeystinger bars (180 cal. each), 2 packets of orange blossom Honeystinger engery chews (160 cal. each), 3 Salt Stick salt tabs, 3 bottles of Skratch Labs lemon/lime mix (80 cal. each), and 1 bottle of water (total 920 cal).    I was not going to make the same mistake as last year where I was starving for the entire run!  I've discovered that I need to eat a lot on the bike to have sufficient energy to run afterwards.
FOOD!  Yea, I ate pretty much all of that on race day
Derek's bike was another frustrating ride.  Last year he lost a contact and he literally cannot see without contacts, and this year his aerobars came loose on a descent and tilted dramatically down!  He said he almost went over the front but was able to save it!  Disaster averted!  Once he was able to get the bars in a semi-correct position he was able to ride again but couldn't stay in the aero position on any descent for fear of going over the front.  Apparently, when the bike shop installed his new aero bars etc. they should have put a carbon compound between them and the stem, which they didn't! 

T2/Run:  1:58

My AG had a much better rack placement this year as opposed to last.  I was lucky enough to be in the first 3 racks this year and didn't have to run all the way to the back.  I was in and out in a hurry!

My legs felt really good coming right off the bike and I was ready to run.  I think a lot of that has to do with my new fit, it really has made a difference.  I didn't have dead, heavy legs for the first mile or so.  I realized at the mile one marker/aid station that I forgot to start my Garmin, oops!  Not really sure what I went out the first mile at, but it felt like low 8s? It was pretty hot  and I made sure to get lots of water at every aid station, one to drink and 2 to pour on myself.  Usually I do not do well in heat and I really wanted to do my best to stay cool.  I was able to keep my pace in the high 8s and low 9s.  The hills around mile four are the worst and my pace crept closer to 9:30 but I did my best to recover on the downhills.  My HR was good and I was able to keep it in the 160 range for most of the course.  I had a high point around mile 6 I saw Derek as I was entering the vineyards at La Crema Winery and there was a misting tent!  I was so excited to see both!  Derek looked good and I knew that I needed to turn it on if I was going to catch him (he was about 1.5-2 miles ahead).  The loop through the vineyards hurt!  All of a sudden there was no breeze and it was HOT with no water/ice to dump all over myself in sight.  This year we made a right out of the vineyard to the turnaround point and I saw Derek again this time he was about a mile ahead of me.   I was catching him but I knew that time was running out.  My right hip flexor started hurting around what I thought was mile 8 but was really mile 9 (not starting the Garmin had me all confused, I couldn't do basic math), but I just pushed through.  I was not slowing down, I had to catch my husband!  The last few miles I was able to get down to the low 8min/mile pace but I didn't have anything left.  I was tired and ready to stop moving.   I was also in no-mans-land as far as girls from my AG, all the fast girls out in front so I didn't see or pass but one or two girls from my AG the entire run unless you count the girl who had "26" on her calf that passed me in the finish chute but turned out to be in my AG Turns out Derek was able to hold me off and finished 7 minutes before I did.  I did negative split the run course, so I'm really happy with that!

Overall 5:33:33 27th AG.  A new PR for me!  Derek finished in 5:57:57, and I'm really proud of him.  He did great and it was so nice to have him standing on the finishing line waiting for me.  I'm pretty happy with my performance at this race.  I know that I could have done better and have a much faster 70.3 in me, but I did the best I could with what I had to work with on race day.  I know that taking 6 weeks off from running and only being able to run the last month of training is not ideal, but out of my control.  Next year I will do better! 

My parents were at the finish too!  It was nice to have someone there to cheer you on.  I love that they drove all that way to see us.   We went to dinner in downtown Healdsburg and the Healdsburg Bar and Grill, which was so yummy!  Derek was in beer heaven and I swear that was one of the best martinis I've had in a long time.  Plus we had chorizo corn dogs, talk about fat dipped in fat and then deep fryed in fat!  Pure heaven.  We stayed several days after the race to go wine tasting, shopping, etc.  But I'll save all that for another post, this one has gone on far too long!  Sorry I don't have many pictures, I forgot the camera pretty much every day.
Just a few of our wine country purchases!
In front of our favorite winery!

Here is the link to my official race pictures, I will warn you they are bad! But then again I don't think anyone ever likes theirs.

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