Wildflower 70.3 2012 recap

Got up, ate a PB&J sandwich and a Clif bar with a double espresso. Rolled on a foam roller and was out of the door. Was one of the first few to get into the transition area. Setup, stretched and ran a little bit around the area. It got really crowded quickly, and so I sat down and enjoyed the glorious morning.

I actually improved from my last 1/2 IM swim last year. I wanted to swim my pace but try to draft more consistently. I could not find anyone to draft off for the first 2/3s of the swim - I passed the slow swimmers, and then caught some from the previous wave only to get passed by fast swimmers from the following wave. They were too fast for me to draft off. Finally, with about 700 yards to go, I caught someone from my wave who started good, but slowed down to my speed. The rest of the swim was a breeze. I was disappointed when I saw me going over the 41 min mark, as I was hoping for a 39 min swim time. I guess that I gave up too much time early on trying to stick to the back of the wave. Still a good 1 min improvement from last year.

I spent a little bit more time in t1 for 2 reasons - I had to pee bad coming out of the water (peed while changing but still took time:)), and I wanted to re-apply sunscreen as the sun was already getting hot. The exit of T1 got crowded when I got there and I had to let a couple of folks out. I should make sure to pee in the water before exiting, doh!

Gotta say that coming out of the water the first hill really f..cks with your heart rate. I believe that it set me back in terms of pace for the next 10 miles or so. I recovered after we got out to the Interlake road. The wind really picked up there and it alternated between headwind and crosswind with appreciable gusts. Then 2 mishaps occurred.

I wanted to refill my Gatorade section of the aero bottle and overfilled it. The smaller bottle popped out on the next downhill and flew out. I had to turn and pick it up/set it back up. That took a good chunk of time. After that the course got boring as we rode the back roads. The rest of the course was uneventful, the hills were fairly mild, except for a scene of a nasty crash near mile 50 or so. Some poor dude went down hard and the ambulances were streaming in. The last downhill was super steep and I really rode the breaks down to the lake. Lesson learned about the way aero bottles work. I also am now thinking that the cadence was a little bit low - perhaps I could benefit from a compact crankset as opposed to 53/39 upfront? Bike time 3:25.

In T2,  re-applied sunscreen a bit, and was trying to find a clif bar, but one of the folks who racked next to me pushed under a towel. I had to grab gu drops to go, which I did not plan on. Is there a brand of sunscreen that's not nasty smelling, can be sprayed on, won't eat through the swimsuit and will stay effective for 5hrs+? Google search does not reveal much. Open to suggestions here.

Coming off the bike, I felt great and immediately started hammering 8:10 miles. All was well until I hit the nasty grade and suddenly 2 things happened. My heart rate shot up to 210, and my right calf started to literally pulsate. I was half way up, and had to stop, pee, and walk the next mile and a half. The HR went back to 160, and the calf felt ok. By that time I was thoroughly cooked, as it always happened when allow yourself to walk. Best I could was 9:30 miles, and the last hill after the loop I had to walk a bit too. I ran down to the lake, but the calf started to protest again, and I had to throttle it back.

I underestimated the impact of Nasty grade. I did a few bricks, but I did not do any combo bike climb/hill runs. That was a costly mistake - I was really trying to keep it under 6 hrs (yes, mentally I was subtracting the flat/bottle incident from my bike time:)). Oh well, lesson learned - I will be back next year, and will know how to train. Run time 2:10. Ouch.

After the finish, sat down, drank Gatorade and water and ate munchies/fruit. Thought about race, felt that for training you need to do combo climbing bricks to be successful on this course. It helps to know the course too - I read/discussed it, but you must ran it to appreciate the challenging landscape.

Overall - a great race. Everyone was super nice, and volunteers were exceptional. The only thing I wished for was for the setup when leaving the race site to be different. I get the fact that we were encouraged to to stay at the festival area and the organizers not want to let the tired peepz walk the beach hill back while the runners are still coming in. However, making us wait 45 mins for the bus to come and take us a mile up the hill is just dumb. I could have walked/rode the hill in 1/3 of the time. Please consider opening the back trails to those of us who do not want to drink $10 wine glasses after the race.

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