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.

26 comments:

Beth said...

Congrats Charisa!! Another awesome race! Darn wetsuits - I always have the same problem. ;) Sounds like a very fun weekend.

D said...

And that's why I like Ironman... strippers!
Great work out there!! Looks like it ended up being a nice day too.

t-odd said...

What a fantastic race. You getting that wet suit off was the funniest thing. I thought you might fall on your face the way that first picture makes you look. Just think how well you could have done if you didn't look at the scenery (nice backhanded encouragement, right?) Great report. Way to go!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Yeah - that's exactly how I do my "wetsuit dance" as well! ;) WAY TO GO!!!! Wow - an hour improvement over 7 years... That's like taking 7 or 8 minutes off per year - NICE! I'm so stoked for you!!!!

Mama Simmons said...

Awesome job! And cool photos of the race too!

I was checking out the race results last night and telling my husband that I'd like to go back and do that race again one of these years. I did it 5 years in a row from 1996-2000 when I was living in AZ. SO FUN to hang out all weekend camping. Although I totally remember finishing and not knowing how I was going to get my bike back up that huge hill to our campsite. I think I literally sat on my bike and held onto the back of a pick-up truck who pulled me up! HA! ;)

Congrats again!!

FLATOUT JIM said...

Veggie hot dogs? You gotta be kiddin me.

I think this one is on my to do race list along with St. Croix.

Excellent time. Imagine if you could get the wetsuit off, you would have shattered 5:00

Running and living said...

Congrats! I am amazed with your run time, 1:33 after swimming and biking for hours! Do you follow a specific running plan?
Ana-Maria

solarpowered said...

Wow! This looks and sounds like a fun weekend. Awesome job on the race! Congrats on your placing!!!

Jennifer Harrison said...

WAY TO ROCK IT! I looked up the results yesterday and was happy to see you up there, WAY TO GO!!!!! :))) Cute pics too! Congrats!

Cy said...

Nice job-That race is on the must do list!!

Hooterville Mayor said...

Congratulations on a job well done! It looks like you all had a fun time, and that is the most important thing.

Alaskan Assassin said...

Great job out there. That does sound like a fun weekend.

I love how positive you are and do not let yourself get down about wet suit or other issues. It is all about having fun.

I also am a bigger dreamer and sometimes forget I am in a race. My mind wanders and daydreams way to much. Maybe that is why I prefer ultras.

Roo said...

If I come next year am I allowed to eat real hot dogs the night before?

YAY for a great race!

Maggs said...

Wow...great race. Hope you are having some awesome recovery time now. One of these years I'm going to do that race.

Ordinarylife said...

Well done! the race looks awesome.

I have similar problems with my wetsuit.

Teresa said...

Fantastic race! Love the action shots!

Kathleen @ ForgingAhead said...

CONGRATS! Awesome race! I love how upbeat you are about all the hills and the heat and the things that can really bring a person down. You totally find a way to thrive on those. Love it!

Kim said...

So fun! Great Job!! Love the pics!

kera said...

Love the removal of the wet suit photos, made me laugh this morning!!! Looks like you had a great weekend! What a trooper you are to camp and then race hard! I don't always sleep the best in a tent on the ground.....then to race???!! YOU'RE AWESOME!!!

Bob Almighty said...

Awesome race...I think I'm going to have to put it on my shortlist.

Also awesome job almost breaking 5hrs. maybe next year they'll have wetsuit strippers for you ;)

Kiet said...

Good Job Charisa, they were calling your name at the awards and it reminded me of a movie: Bueller, Bueller, Bueller... I think they were in denial that you really weren't there.

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on an awesome race!! I love all the pictures of you getting your wetsuit off.

Elizabeth A. Rich said...

CONGRATS!!! You are such a stud :-) Can't wait to follow you through Kona! Oh and next time I have issues with something so simple like a wetsuit I will tink of you and laugh, those pictures are priceless!

Chloe said...

Holy cow! Congrats on the great race! Love the wetsuit pictures :) Veggie dogs? YUM!

ADC said...

Yay, way to go. Shaun and I were looking at the results on Saturday and he was soooo impressed.

BreeWee said...

Oh man, GREAT race, I finally caught up on your posts, LOVE the new bike too, but this race, incredible!

WHAT A GREAT way to lay down the law!