So, I REALLY did not want to do Wildflower! I've never had a good experience there and I've been convinced that it doesn't like me and I don't like it. I was sick in the beginning of the week which didn't help my confidence, not to mention my allergy attack the last time I was in the water AND not to mention me rolling my ankle and having to hobble for most of the run last year. And did I mention the weather? Weather forecast predicted rain and wind- not ideal for any race but definitely not the Wildflower Long Course. So, like I said, I didn't want to do this race! I was scared of it but Coach recommended and said it'd be the perfect prep race for IM CDA so I did it and am happy to say that I think the Long Course and I have made amends :-). Or maybe, three times a charm?
Did I mention that I also got my race plan from coach two days prior where he specifically said to not treat this race like a training race? He did! He told his to give it our best and leave it out on the course! After I read that email, my immediate thought was, "He totally botched my race plan!"
Leaving the city at 5:30am on Friday morning got down to Lake San Antonio at 8:30am. It was sunny and warm when I arrived! Went for a quick bike and a quick swim to test out my new Sailfish Attack wetsuit and to make sure that I would have no signs of an allergy attack! Well, check and check! Love my new wetsuit and no allergy attack granted the amount of algae in the lake was disgusting! I kept my head above water during the swim back because of the amount of algae 200 yards in was disgustingly thick! Anyway, sunny and warm quickly turned into rain and wind! Wind and rain would continue up until about...oh Saturday morning! Perfect! We couldn't have asked for better race weather- sunny, not too warm although it cooked on the run but hey at least it wasn't raining!
Swim- 0:47:12- I positioned myself on the left side/back and somehow that allowed to make a bee line for the first turn buoy. First part of the swim felt really good. I got into a good rhythm but coming back, the water got a bit choppier, got a bit more crowded in the swim and my right calve started to cramp up- didn't stop though.. just softly kicked it out- cramp didn't last too long! Close to the finish got more rough because of the mountain bike folks!!! I think I have my open water confidence back :-).
See all the buoys for the 1.2 mile swim?!
Bike- 3:36;06- Getting to Beach Hill was really chaotic with all the Sprint Mountain Bikers. They had to go left and we had to go right to hit Beach- like I said chaos! I paced myself up Beach Hill the best I could. Most of the ride was good- nothing felt too hard- must be the tough CT classes that coach has been putting us through lately! Descended down Nasty Grade at 43.8 mph- holy moly (keep in mind, I weigh 119)!! Just tried to stay focus from Bee Rock Store to the finish!! Almost ate it towards the bike finish because the girl in front of me kept veering left while getting out of her pedal. I kept yelling out to her, "left left left!" Really, pick a side and stay! Highlight of the ride, we I was heading out, the Pros were coming back in and let me tell ya, it was like a Kona video. They were all bunched, coming up, out of saddle, all I was missing was music and maybe a camera! Ha ha. I spotted Chris Lieto and yelled out, "Go Lieto!!!" Realizing Andy Potts was right next to him, I then thought, "Uh oh, Potts is going to smoke him on the run!" I am a fan of both, but Chris is local so gotta support!!
Run- 2:34:50- Oh goodness it got warm! Off the bike, my legs felt dead, heavy, tired, you name it, they felt it. My survival mode for the first 5 or so miles was walking the hills! I also walked the water stops! My run didn't get going until after the fall into the meadow. I felt pretty good on the run after that, down and up the pit wasn't that bad but the mile markers on the run course was off and that really frustrated me off because I knew it might have been possible to break 7 hours but I was never really sure how close since the mile markers were off- especially mile marker 12. Ran with a couple of developing big blisters on my pinky toes- very apparent by the time I hit the pit. That last mile down Lynch Hill seemed never ending but it was a great feeling running down that hill feeling good about the race! I did the best I could and thinking back on my day, I am not sure where I would have found those 6 minutes I would have needed to break 7.. perhaps next time! But next time would be awhile from now..maybe a long while!
Overall- a really good Wildflower experience- finally!! 7:05:58- over an hour improvement over last year and compared to Oceanside, 8.5 minutes longer here, but considering this course profile is much tougher, I'll take it!!
Photos below- more next week!
Smiling in the midst of morning chaos!
Kara and I- this is my "I'm not nervous, nervous smile." Ha ha.
Inside of a chaotic transition!! All 2,000 of us!
Here's my transition area- with my new Sailfish wetsuit that I love! Bike stuff in the front of towel, run stuff in the back!
Swim- 1 hour and 57 minutes
Bike- 7 hours and 36 minutes
Run- 3 hours and 35 minutes
Total Workout- 12 hours and 58 minutes