Despite this being a bit late, I still wanted to recap my 2010 Wildflower experience.
This year, I elected to begin my training with some high altitude training in South America. So instead of doing a bunch of preparatory triathlons leading up to Wildflower, I went on a month-long trip to Venezuela, Peru, Bolivia and Chile. After I got back, I had 3 weeks to get ready. I pretty much started immediately by riding my bike to work every day. The 10 mile (each way) commute definitely allowed me to get comfortable on the bike and to keep a record (via My Tracks) which allowed me to strive for specific time and speed marks.
I did a little bit of running here and there, and a little bit of swimming. But for the most part, I went to CrossFit and rode my bike. Finally, and I think the most important part of the training was the motivation to try to beat my sister and friend Margo. However, with so little prep time and after a 6 mile practice run with Amy where I almost cramped up, I relegated myself to third place out of them.
As with last year, we went down Saturday morning and got to watch the long course athletes finishing on the bike. There were four of us that went down: Margo, Amy, Mike and myself. Margo's roommates came down later in the day. Once cars were allowed to enter the campground again, we drove down, found a spot to camp and proceeded to check out the starting line and the festival area. The evening was uneventful with a great dinner and sitting around the BBQ grill for some warmth before heading to sleep.
I woke up early, ate, and then Amy, Margo and I went down to the transition area. Luckily, my shorts this year didn't have a giant hole in them. Which allowed me more time and less stress. My goals for the day were to finish the swim in 40 minutes, the bike in 2 hours and the run in 1 1/2 hours. I figured that since I hadn't done very much swimming, I'd be slow, my bike would probably be faster than 2 hours because of all the practice I'd had, but that I wouldn't be able to run the whole time and have to walk a majority of the race. I was hoping for under 4 hours. Because the guys go first in the race, my start was a good hour before Amy and Margo started. So I was just dreading the possibility that I'd see them on the run.
With wetsuit and swim gear on, I was ready for the race to start. The swim ended up being a lot more choppy than any other lake swim I'd done. It took me back to my days doing the Santa Barbara and Carpinteria Triathlons. The best reason I could figure for the extra chop during the swim was the huge increase in number of boats and ferries in the lake this year. The swim seemed to last forever, and a lot more people passed me than I remember in the previous races. However, I pressed on at a pretty steady pace. Getting to the finish was one of the best feelings ever. I checked my watch and saw a time of 30 minutes 10 seconds. That totally surprised me and pumped me up a bit.
My T1 split was probably pretty slow, but I got on the bike and started up the hill, at about the same pace as everyone around me. Once at the top, I was even able to continue at a similar pace to people around me. I just kept trying to stay near the couple of guys in front of me, passing or gaining ground on the flats / downhills and losing ground on the uphill segments. Because of the massive hydrating I'd done on Saturday and that morning, I had to stop and pee at the second aid station. Once I got to the turn around point, I realized that my bike was actually going pretty well. I was somewhere in the mid 40 minutes for the bike. On the ride back, I kept looking for Amy and Margo, expecting to see them flying along, but never saw them. The bike ended up finishing in 1 hour 33 minutes, which meant, that if I had a 50 - 55 minute run, I'd finish in under 3 hours. And I still felt good.
The run started hard and slow, but I got into a rhythm. The possibility of finishing sub 3 hour was become a greater and greater motivation for me, forcing me to push on. I felt like I had to walk a lot more than last year and it seemed hotter on the run. Finally, at the top of all the hills, I checked my watch. 2:55 with just a run down Lynch Hill and 1km to go. I started to sprint down Lynch Hill as fast as I could, passing a bunch of people, watching the time get ever closer to 3 hours. My mistake was to not leave anything for the flat section right before the finish, which is so much longer than I remember. All I knew was that I hadn't broken 3 hours. I finished in 3 hours 1 minute and 5 seconds and then almost puked all over the volunteers.
|Split||Distance||Time (min)||Pace||Rank (overall)||Previous Wildflower|
|Swim||1.5 km||30:10||32:11 min/mi||808||29:52|
[Official Results Here - Bib 5630]
Obviously, I did better than my goal. Though I figured that Amy and Margo were killing the course. I couldn't look up their splits while they were racing, and had no idea where they were. So I had to just sit and wait. I first saw Margo, who, depending on her start time, finished in just over 3 hours (in front of me) or 3 hours 5 minutes. I turned out the latter was her start time. Margo finished in 3 hours 5 minutes 13 seconds. Meaning that not only had I destroyed my goal, I had also beat Amy and Margo, with tons less training. Amy finished in 3 hours 22 minutes 59 seconds. They both did awesome in their first Olympic races after I introduced them to the sport last August.
The free post race massage was so worth it and was pure amazing. However, my biggest regret is not getting a massage the following day though. Every Olympic I do from now on, a post-race massage is going to be included. As long as I'm not doing some other international trip just before next year's race, I really want to attempt the long course.