I came into this years race having put in many miles and feeling good. I felt confident that I could finish the race with a PR beating my 2:51 2004 time. Coach initially wanted me on a taper coming out of my last sprint race, but I pushed back saying I needed another hard week. This was mainly due to my “a” races being Boise 70.3 and Vineman 70.3. The week before Wildflower, I did taper and it helped as I was travelling for work. Coming into this race, I felt I had lost some fitness and gained a few pounds while back in NY.
This was my 6th race here at Lake San Antonio and I love the atmosphere and the race itself. After a few years of camping out and driving the RV down, I found myself back at the Days Inn in King City. It is only one exit down the highway from the turnoff and about a 35min drive to the lake. I arrived Sat afternoon and was able to see many long course racers finish and a few brave souls still fighting on the challenging bike course! I was able to get in the water for about 20min and felt strong for the race.
My wave wasn’t until 9:35, so I worked my way down to transition around 7:30 to set up. I had my typical peanut butter cliff bar, banana and english muffin with peanut butter. This was my second race drinking my firstendurance EFS and I drank a full bottle before the race. I tried to hunt down Nina, but she was in a much later wave.
I was able to get in some sprints before my wave went off and I felt warmed up. This race is known as having one of the most violent swim starts, due to the narrow boat ramp start. I picked my line to the left and didn’t have any problems. I was off to the left side until we hit the first buoy and had a nice rhythm going for the long straightaway. I really focused on my breathing and felt good in the water. Every year, I look at my watch at the farthest buoy as we turn back. My goal was around 26min, so I was hoping for 13 min or so. When I saw 16min, I was pissed and hammered to the finish. I ended up with 27:58, but at least the 2nd half was in 11:59. I do feel I could maintain that pace the whole race and need to focus on maintaining that speed… I did finish in top 21% of all athletes in the swim piece.
T1 was ok in just over 3min. I usually just use body glide to help get my wetsuit off, but this year I wanted to be faster and bought some “Trislide”. I was amazed at how much quicker my wetsuit came off and I will never go back to just glide again!
The bike course is 40K (24.8 miles) long and is considered relatively difficult given the hilly profile. I felt good coming out of T1, but “Lynch Hill” crushed me right away at the start…
This very steep climb is about a mile long and I just couldn’t get my rpms where they needed to be. Being passed right of the bat is always frustrating for me, especially having trained so much on the bike this year. Note to self that I need more steep hill work…ouch! I’m a bigger guy and can hammer the rolling hills and found myself making up some ground on the way to the turn around. I was hoping for 1:20 on the bike, so I was again frustrated at the turn around when my lap was 1:44. That would have the downhill at the end to help, but I was still frustrated. I hammered and was only passed by 10 people on the way back. I moved my avg pace up to 16.60 for the bike finishing in 1:29.
My t2 was fast at 1:26 and I was off. The run starts with about twenty stairs to test you…at least it’s not the 400 stair Alcatraz sand ladder! The first 2.5 miles are small rolling hills and I wasn’t finding the speed I needed. I knew it was much slower than the 7:30 pace I had a couple weeks back at my sprint race. I just cruised along knowing that my pr way out of reach today. Mile 3 is straight up a hill and I’ve learned that you can pass a ton a people by just pushing through and keep running. I wasn’t in pain, so I just hammered up the hill. I just didn’t have any power to go faster and it felt strange. The crowds were great including the college kids at one aid station yelling “show me your chest hair”. Then you had the college girls in bikinis on the steepest part of the hill with water hoses to cool you down. A few runners up from me asked if they could spray each other down…classic!
I was pushing hard the last two miles and passing a number of people. No one passed me those last 2.5m and my last mile was 6:51, and yes it was downhill. I finished at 2:57:20 and was content with my time. That brought me to top 30% in my age group and top 19% overall. I checked times later and if I had finished at my goal time, I would have been top 15 in age group. I feel I was close and just need to fine tune a few things. The good news is that I was able to have negative splits on all three disciplines and my t’s were fast.
I have four focus points to fine time before Boise and Vineman:
1. Need to get leaner in the next 5wks
2. I need to work on my swim focus the whole time, as I have swim speed…
3. Get my run speed back
4. Work on hills on the bike