Monday, July 18, 2011

Vineman 70.3 Race Report

NOTE: The $50 contest winner will be announced later this week. Jaclyn's race was so exciting it deserves its own post...

Vineman 70.3 is a race I really love. The swim in the Russian River reminds me of summers spent on a river in MI, flying off a rope swing on hot, muggy days. Going into the race I had a few specific goals of swimming under 29, running under 1:27, and finishing in the 4:2x range. I told Steven the day before that if I had my perfect day I would go 4:25.

Pro transition - I was lucky #44.

The swim was beautiful. After several minutes of elbows and feet in my face I found open water and spent the rest of the swim solo. I opted to wear my Zoot sleeveless wetsuit, which I always find works best for me when the water is warm. 

I'm in the middle here - chasing...

This is the moment I saw the clock and realized that if I didn't hurry, I wasn't going to get across the timing mat under :28, which meant my coffee bet that was put in place over a year ago was in danger of slipping away!

Sprinting for the swim exit... I made it! I came out of the water in 27:57 – a new swim PR, and (finally!!) I won my coffee bet! Whooooo hoooooooo yeah!!!!! I guess all that hard work on my swim must continue because it is actually working.

Onto the QR I found myself chasing Melanie. Until she dropped me. And then I found myself enjoying the awesome vineyards as they flew by, amazed that the misty drizzle turned to actual rain (this race is normally hot). 

Steven kept showing up at multiple places along the course – which was wonderful because he was able to tell me multiple times that the girls in front of me were putting more time into me! I spent 2:30 on the bike, entering T2 knowing that if I had a great run, I may just be able to earn my final time of 4:2x. Steven told me I was 3 minutes down on 8th place (the final $ slot). 

The first four miles of the run were lonely – just me and the wonderful volunteers that offered a variety of beverage options each mile. I did not run with my Garmin this time – I just ran. I wanted to run off feel and just run as hard as possible. Thankfully I felt much better than I did on the run at Boise last month.

When I entered the vineyard at the half way point of the race, I still had yet to see anyone running in front of me. And then finally, while snaking past the grapevines I caught a glimpse of a runner up ahead. It was a carrot for the rabbit, and I picked up the pace. It took another mile to catch up close enough to realize it was a guy. But thankfully, in front of him I could see a girl. 8th place and a paycheck wasn’t that far in front of me! Another mile or so and I made that pass.

Mile 11 = I could see Melanie running up ahead, and I was closing the gap. I checked my watch and realized my 4:2x goal was going to be close (while forgetting I had started my watch 2 minutes early when the men started racing…) So I tried to run faster in hopes of passing another girl, and nailing my goal time.

Mile 11.5 = dizziness, trying to slam a ZipVit gel (maybe a little too aggressively because then I thought I might throw it back up), and being fairly certain my legs might just fail me completely – all while watching Melanie open the gap between us, and feeling like time was racing by on my small wrist watch! Ahhhhhhhh do NOT fall apart now!!!

Mile 12 = a slight recovery, a glance at the watch (& remembering I had two extra minutes – OH FREE TIME – ha!) and figuring I could live with 8th place – no need to catch Melanie if it might mean complete combustion and losing my current paycheck completely.

I finished in 4:27 – to the announcer saying “Charisa Wernick is our 9th pro female today.” DOH!! (Actually I may have said another word here that my mother might not approve of). No paycheck for me.

However, a PR is a sweet thing – and today I got three of them. Swim, run and overall. For some reason after the race I thought Steven told me I ran a 1:27. About an hour later I looked at him and said “Man, I’m kind of stuck at 1:27 this year huh?” (I have run 1:27 in every 70.3 I have raced all season except Wildflower.) He looked and me and said “What are you talking about? You ran 1:25.” Ohhhhhh happiness! That was my favorite part of the whole day. One of my big goals this year has been to PR my open run splits at all distances in tris. I missed the half marathon split by only 8 seconds. 

These are the super stud girls I race against. Not only are they fast - they are also great friends.

A very huge GRACIAS to my super duper sponsors:
  • – you are like family, you carry everything & I am grateful.
  • Zoot – I love my running shoes, the clothes that make me look like I know how to dress in color coordination, and the wetsuit that I am only beginning to do justice.
  • Profile Design – My wheels are FAST and my aero bars just look freaking awesome.
  • QR – Love love love my bike!
  • Rudy Project – my sunglasses are the best out there and my head is protected in coordinating colors no less!
  • ZipVit – my gels and energy drink not only taste great, but it’s a huge relief to know I don’t have to worry about them upsetting my stomach.
  • XEndurance – I ran a 1:25 on a hilly course today – 4th fastest pro run time. Enough said. Thank you.
  • SableWater Optics – I can see when I swim. Always. This rocks!
  • K-Edge – Haven’t dropped my chain once all year – thanks!
  • – I love my job, thank you for always working around my crazy training & racing schedule.
  • Steven – you dream big with me and are the most supportive and loving person I know. I am one lucky girl.
  • Mom & Dad – thank you for teaching me how to work hard for my goals.
  • My training friends – you push me, encourage me and make me laugh. Training hard would be no fun without you!
Next up is NYC Triathlon where I will once again pretend I’m not terrified to race against short-course fast girls and well hey – I get to race around Manhattan on my bike without taxis getting in my way – that’s just pretty exciting right there!