So, yesterday was my second half Ironman length course of 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a half marathon run up in wine country during the full Vineman Ironman. Everyone else did this 70.3 a couple of weeks ago, but this one's a special "ladies only" race where half of the entry fee goes to fight breast cancer. I'd been feeling a little nervous about this race, as my past few weeks have been filled with work and mourning and moving, and also pizza and beer, so I didn't know how good my conditioning would serve me. (Though I was prime to win a triathlon of pizza, beer, and hanging out.) The long drive up alone seemed daunting, and I wasn't sure I'd get into the headspace for racing successfully. But I friggin rocked it, getting PRs in every leg of the race and overall doing what was to me unimaginable in breaking six hours. It reminds me of the first time I broke six minutes in running the mile. "Five? Really? Moi?" Very exciting, and of course encouraging. And totally crazy, considering the weeks, days and hours before. Take THAT, cancer.
In terms of drama, there were a few moments that could have fouled things up... I toppled off my bike at the first aid station in trying to get my Gatorade and water, but only resulted in looking like an idiot and getting a tiny blood blister on my middle finger, so no harm there. And towards the end of a bike an effing bee hit me in my face, ricocheted off and stung my [incredibly well muscled] thigh. Which is annoying, but dude, at least it wasn't my face. Yikes. And when I got to T2, I racked my bike one rack ahead and had to move it, which delayed things a little. And took a pee break. So that transition was a wee bit longer. Pee bit longer. Heh. Dork.
An assessment of what was what: The swim for Vineman is in a river, even though everyone I told that to was like "whaaat? You must be mistaken." Yeah, that's all the water you can find, yo. They put a temporary dam up, and there's a very innocuous current upstream, you turn and then it innocuously helps you back to the finish line. It's very shallow at points, so much so that your hand scrapes the bottom when doing freestyle, and some people stand up (which I think is cheating). I'm not sure what magic pool fairy blessed my LA Fitness training, but for some reason I did better on the swim by nearly a full five minutes, and I thought I would never get better at swimming, ever. So that was a delightful way to get into a positive mindset.
The bike course is waaaay more forgiving than Oceanside, with its evil hills and headwinds, and paired with the glory of my new loaner to purchase hand me down from Kevin Pearce, I finally had an efficient machine to ride upon, and it made a world of difference. I could perhaps have kicked it up a notch, but those rolling hills alongside gorgeous vistas of vineyards encourage one to take it easy, and I didn't want to burn out before the run, which was considerably MORE challenging than Oceanside. Running rolling hills ain't as fun as biking them. Despite the run being a harder course, I also beat my old time there by about five minutes, which is raaaaaaaaaaaad, and finished strong, as I like to do, when I saw by my watch that I was very tangibly going to be under six hours, and did the whole "gonna cry I'm running so hard, hope I don't throw up when they're taking off my timing chip", which was very nice. Hee.
I probably did so well because of the 4:40AM wake up, eight hour drive and wine drinking with my incredible hosts, Dan and Julia, the night before. (Read: that does not seem to be responsible athletic behavior, but it's how one must roll at times.) Sometimes you gotta max out and play ukulele songs before bed, and then you'll do well. Maybe. I don't know what happened, but I'm very pleased. And now I've seen the course, and am planning on doing the full Vineman (full Ironman length) next year. Because the Barb's Race medal looks like a blue light catcher windchime, and I want a hardcore awesomeness one. (There are better reasons. But I like that one.)
Overall time: 5.54.41
Swim: 00:35:44. (instead of 40)
Bike: 03:04:33.4 (instead of 3.38: yes it IS all about the bike)
Run3: 02:06:01.4 (instead of 2.11, dag yo!)
I also ranked pretty darn well out of women in general, though nothing like top five. (My age group is effing fast... one person got a 5.12, holy crap. Makes me feel slightly less impressed. But that's just because I'm stupid.)
I finished 12th in Women's 25-29 out of 40 women (wow, not bad) and 42nd out of a total of 372 women (aka I was on the upper half of page two of a twelve page race result. Nice.)
Of course, many of these women just wanted to cure cancer and do a leisurely race. But I say, cure cancer with some EFFORT, people. :-)
So, all in all, a crazy good race. Followed by an ice bath, a great nap, and an amazing gourmet dinner and enough wine and cocktails that I'm walking lopsided this morning, but not too bad on the soreness side! Bring it, Ironman!