Monday, July 20, 2009

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

I went to Vineman this year knowing it is my final 1/2 Ironman of the season and really just wanting to finish off the goals I had set for myself this season at this distance. I started with five goals and there were only two that were still illusive after the previous 70.3 races: the sub-30 swim and breaking into the 4:30s.

I also went to Vineman to hang out with my friends and try to defend all the trash-talking that went around. The night before the race we all had dinner (Thank you Ian!!) and multiple bets were placed. I spent much of the day trying not to lose bets with my friends, and laughing whenever I saw them out on the course.

I love the Vineman swim course - it reminds me of growing up going to the river in the summers when I was young. The water was calm and warm.

I do not wear a watch when I race, so I didn't know my swim split (29:30) when I came out of the water. However, my arms were still aching when I started riding, so I figured I would take that to be a good sign that I swam hard.

The bike course is beautiful. Vineyards, some rollers, and a day that would turn downright hot, but fairly wind-free. The Kestrel seemed right at home on my new Zipp disc. I had not done much practice on the disc (I know, you're not supposed to try new things on race day, but somehow my busy schedule didn't allow for disc practice . . .) but it was FAST, and FUN!!

One of my bets had been with Ian - whoever made it to mile 19 on the bike first won. At mile 16 I realized I better step it up to ensure I did not lose. Seriously - if you need some motivation at your next race just bet with a bunch of friends. Oh - and I won, I won!

I actually did not think I was having a very good bike split while racing. My heart rate seemed low in the middle of the race and although my legs felt fine something just seemed a bit off. But apparently the bike really is fast, and coming in for a 2:32 bike split made me smile.

Going into this race I was more concerned with my own personal goals than the other girls I would race against. I knew Meredith and Kathleen would both be there and figured I would be racing for 3rd, as they are both super fast girls, who both tend to out-swim and out-bike me.

The run was hot, and fun, and hard. I knew if I could lay down a solid run I would most likely reach my final goal of breaking into the 4:30s. On the final 5k I ran with Chris (who I later found out lives near me) and we worked together. I would start to slip back and then grab back on. He would start to fall away, then grab back on. It was awesome to be able to push each other.

I ended up 2nd amateur with a time of 4:35:09. Kevin PRd with a time of 4:23, and Ian nailed his estimated time (a different bet) of 4:12. I find myself extremely lucky to be able to train with such nice and talented guys. They are my heros and I was almost more excited for Kevin's PR than for my own because I know how hard he has trained this season.

Jeffrey really enjoyed the race. Except for the part where his legs turned evil on him and started cramping. He finished and still set a PR.

Beggy and Steven were our amazing support / photography crew. Every time I came through transition Becky was yelling "GO CHA BOOM BOOM!" and making me laugh.

In another of our bets Sean and I were estimated to finish at exactly the same time (we started in different waves). Our plan was to skip across the line together. I never saw Sean on the run and was hoping he had blown me away with an ultra-fast time. Unfortunately his derailer broke and he had to spend over an hour getting it fixed. He by far wins the best-attitude-ever award. After getting his bike fixed he went on to finish the bike and smoke the run.

I can't say enough how fun my friends make this sport. I was happy to be able to meet both Meredith and Kathleen after the race. They both inspire me - as we all work full time, have families, etc., and then push each other on race day. We finished 1-2-3 amateurs and 1-2-3 in our age group. At awards the announcer said to us "Ladies, you know there is money to be made on the pro circuit."