Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wildflower Race Report

Seven years ago I raced my first half ironman at Wildflower, on the Softride, in 6 hours flat. I had not been back to race there since. All the rain fell in the 24 hours before the race. Check out the special tent just for our bikes!

Kevin and I roasting veggie hot dogs over the campfire.
This is what everyone eats the night before a race, right?!

Race morning fog above the swim course.

My goal in the swim was to break 30 minutes. I came 6 seconds shy. Close enough, I was happy with it. Since I can't run fast in my wetsuit I took it off on the swim exit ramp, right in front of all the spectators. Except the speedy suit would not come off.

At this point a guy in the crowd starts yelling "Get that thing OFF!"

"Come ON, you can do it!!"

I was completely laughing by now. I finally got the wetsuit off to cheers from the crowd. The bike course is beautiful. It is: up, up, up, down, down, repeat. Despite all the hills I really enjoyed it. My coach might say I enjoyed it a bit too much - I tend to start looking at scenery and forget to continue pushing hard and keeping my heart rate up. I had fun though, so it was worth it!

This is a sequence of my amazing bike dismount. The guy at the dismount line was awesome - completely intense and was yelling "DISMOUNT!! Now GO GO GO!!!" He rocked!

I was not really sure what place I was in coming off the bike. I had been told 7th, 10th, 6th. And then there was the fact that a wave a women started in front of me, so I had no clue if the girls in front of me were in my wave or not. If not, then I had 5 minutes on them.

The run course is awesome and brutal all at the same time. The trails are beautiful with big oak trees providing a little relief from the hot sun. The hills are steep. A few times I wondered who designed this course and thought they were definitely cruel. I figured I would run somewhere in the mid to upper 1:30s. So my 1:33 run split was surprising and a nice way to finish the day.

The finish reminds me of Escape from Alcatraz - lined with flags from around the world. If you have never done this race I highly recommend it. Tough course, fun atmosphere, and combined with the camping it makes for a great weekend.

I had been hoping to break 5 hours and finished with a 5:00:07. I'm blaming the wetsuit issues!! I am happy with the result. It was good for 2nd in my age group and 3rd female amateur.

Brian and Kevin (along with our friend Emily) rocked the relay and came in 1st. It was so amazing it deserves its own blog post later this week.