Vineman Ironman 70.3 - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Guerneville, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
85F / 29C
Total Time = 7h 37m 11s
Overall Rank = 1802/1870
Age Group = F 25-29
Age Group Rank = 81/91
Pre-race routine:

The pre-race routine really started when my Mom and Dad arrived from San Diego on Thursday night. They hadn't been up here to San Francisco to visit since our wedding (in 2008) so when I signed up for the race I called them and told them that I wanted them to come. We decided to make it a long weekend.

We left for Sonoma on Friday afternoon. Drove up in traffic and got to the vacation cottage that I had rented for us around 6pm. The cottage was amazing! We had a really nice BBQ Friday night and relaxed and hit the hay early.

Saturday morning we were up around 7:30 and out the door around 9 to head to packet pickup. Went to the pre-race meeting at Windsor High School, got registered for the race, dropped off my run gear in T2 (since this is a point to point race) and bought a Vineman Ironman 70.3 hat.

After checking in we headed over to Hop Kiln Winery which is on the bike course for a picnic. Each time I've ridden by the winery on my training rides I've wanted to stop since it is so pretty, so I thought a picnic the day before the race would be perfect!

Spent the rest of the day napping, hanging out and eating at our vacation house. Iced my foot a bit, packed my bags, did my normal pre-race race kit modeling and did a mental walk through of how I wanted the day to unfold.

Woke up at 5am on Sunday. Got ready to go, ate my pop tarts and a banana and headed over to the starting line with the family in tow. Parked about a 1/4 of a mile away, and put air in my bike tires. Had a mini freak out when my husband broke off the top part of my valve stem but we were able to get it fixed with no issues. I didn't get to see the pros start the swim like I wanted to but that was ok.

Got body marked, set up my transition, said hi to some of my teammates and found my coach hanging out on the beach. Finally got into a porta potty line and waited FOREVER. Got done with about 15 minutes to spare before my wave and ran down to the beach to put on sunscreen and wiggle into my wetsuit. Said good bye to the family and ran to get into the water.
Event warmup:

Did a few strokes across the river since my plan was to start on the far right where the water is more shallow and the current isn't as strong.
  • 47m 12s
  • 1931 meters
  • 02m 26s / 100 meters

Great swim! The start wasn't too crowded and I was able to settle into my groove in my own little patch of water pretty quickly. I've swam the course 4 times before so I could do it with my eyes shut. Sighting was good even though there was some steam coming off the water which made the buoys hard to see. There was a girl from my AG who was matching me stroke for stroke for awhile and we would breathe facing each other at the same time which was a bit weird. We could have been synchronized swimmers!

Made it to the turnaround and prepared for the fun and fast swim to the finish since the current is against you on the way out and with you on the way back. There were some people walking and I just shook my head at them since I was swimming way faster than they were walking. The fast men in the wave behind us started to catch us at this point so there was a bit more contact. I tried to find some feet to draft off of but didn't have any luck. Cruised back to the finish.

As I was prepping to stand up and start running up the beach a guy from the wave in front of me almost punched me in the face with his flailing hand, so I swam over his legs to get around him. That was the most eventful part of the swim!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, this was a great swim.
Transition 1
  • 03m 51s

Yuck. Both my transitions for this race were horrible. There is so much more to plan for in point to point races, and being my first HIM I had a lot more nutrition to deal with.

First I had trouble getting my wetsuit off. Then I had to shove all my swim gear in a bag and throw it over the fence to my husband so that I didn't have to deal with claiming it at the finish line. The transition areas was dirt and gravel so then I had to try to clean off my feet, while putting on bike gloves and stuffing my inhaler into the pocket of my tri top.
What would you do differently?:

Not do a point to point! Practice transitions more, I hadn't practiced since before Wildflower and I didn't even do a mental run through of my plan for transitions for this race.
  • 3h 52m 30s
  • 56 miles
  • 14.45 mile/hr

I never thought I would ever say this, but the bike was my favorite part of the race!

Started off on River Road and it was still overcast and I was cold. Turned on my Garmin since I forgot during transition and just tried to forget the cold and focus on eating my Larabar and starting out the ride nice and easy. My plan was to stay as far right as possible, let the millions of people who were going to pass me pass me and RIDE MY OWN RACE. That mantra stuck with me throughout the entire bike ride.

About five miles in there is a very dangerous turn and then a short but very steep hill so my first goal was to get through that part safely. Then I would be on more familiar territory so I could increase the pace. Did fine through there and before I knew it I was getting into the first section of rollers on the course hear Hop Kiln. I took the uphills easy and tried to push the downhills to let momentum work for me. Got passed by a few GGTCers and cheered for them.

Before I knew it I was at mile 18 which was the first aid station on Kinley Drive. I was astonished because at this point I was still averaging almost 15mph which is way better than all of my training rides. I got some more water and headed off for my favorite part of the ride. Cruised along with no problems with a hug grin on my face for the next 10 miles or so.

Got to Canyon Road which is a looong but very gradual uphill. Discovered that they decided to re-pave the road during the last week with CHIPSEAL! Ugh. The next few miles on Canyon Road were painful from all the vibration and I was pretty annoyed. Finally crested the top and screamed down the descent to the turn onto CA-128. And just like that I was at the second aid station. Stopped to use the porta potty there and stretch my back but I was feeling awesome. Was there probably 2 minutes and then jumped right back on the bike and headed out.

The rest of the bike was a blur of happiness. Cheered for GGTCers and other racers as they passed me and just worked on riding my own race. It was hard to not get discouraged by people passing me but as time went on the field started to thin out and around mile 35 I finally passed someone! That made me feel good. Got to the third aid station at the turn onto Chalk Hill Road and mentally began to prepare for the next 10 miles which is always the worst part of the course for me. But surprisingly I felt awesome the whole time. Focused on fueling and getting ready for Chalk Hill. Got to the hill which had me in tears three weeks before and just spun right up it, passing 4 people in the process. The beauty of having a triple! Once I crested the hill I knew that barring a mechanical issue, I was having the ride of my life. Cruised the last 10 miles or so and came into T2 with a huge grin 8 minutes faster than my goal time.
What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. This was the perfect ride given my current ability on the bike. I know I have lots of room for improvement here but I'm super happy with how this went. Also my nutrition was spot on. Glad I figured out ahead of time that I like solids (Shot Bloks) and water rather than all liquid nutrition.
Transition 2
  • 04m 59s

Again, a crap transition. They blocked off the aisle I thought that I would be able to run down to get to my run gear and I had to run alll the way around to get there. Then my bike would not rack because since I am so tall the seat will not fit under the rack. Took a lot of fiddling to get it to work. I also decided not to run with elastic laces for the HIM distance since they allow my shoe to flex too much so I had to take the time to tie my shoes.
What would you do differently?:

Do a better job figuring out which aisles will be open and which will be closed off when walking transition the day before. Not be so damn tall.
  • 2h 48m 39s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 12m 52s  min/mile

Went into the run not knowing what to expect. I hurt my foot about 5 weeks before the race and couldn't run. My longest run before I got hurt was 10 miles the day before the injury surfaced, but since then I had been only water jogging for about 2-3 hours a week. The doctor had cleared me to run and said I wouldn't damage my foot at all but I was still uncertain. I started the run at 12:30pm so I knew that I could probably walk the run and still finish within the cutoff in case it started hurting.

I started off with a slow, ginger jog. I felt great. Picked it up a bit and still felt great. Realized that I had rocks in my socks from T1 and decided to stop there and dump them out rather than having them become a bigger problem later. Probably lost a minute or two there but it was worth it to be comfortable.

From there I just ran. My plan was to try to hold a 10:50-11:50 minute mile while running. I would walk the aid stations and the hills. I just wanted to finish, it didn't have to be pretty or all that fast. I felt absolutely great for the first 4 miles and was elated to roll into the GGTC aid station and see all of my friends. I could hear them from a 1/4 mile away screaming "Margot, is that Margot!?!?!" Two of my best friends from my Wildflower training group (who I'm doing Barb's Relay with) had made a sign for me and were there with water and hugs. At each aid station I drank a cup of water, had a few pretzels and threw one cup of ice down my sports bra, another down my shorts and a final one in my hat. It was hot!

From there the course moves into a hotter and totally unshaded section out to La Crema. I was good until I got to the winery but then they were cruel and made us run loops around these little ponds in the winery before we could head back. It was hot and I needed ice more frequently than every mile. I walked more than I would have liked on this part but got a second wind around mile 8.

I started chugging along and made it back to the GGTC aid station and my friends at mile 9. They were playing my favorite Lady Gaga song for me and it perked me up a lot. From here I knew I had just a bit more to go. At mile 10 one of my training partners both from TAG and HIT caught me and he pushed me to run the next mile or so. He is a strong runner and I just tried to hang with him as long as I could before I told him to go and that I would see him at the finish. At this point my right foot was soaked from the ice melting down my legs and I was getting painful blisters. I decided to stop and take my socks off and that helped a ton.

The last two miles were not pretty. I was running a 13:00 mile which was physically the fastest I could go at that point. At the one mile to go marker I started crying because I was so happy. I was shocked that after being worried about the run for the past 5 weeks due to my injury that I was able to put together a pretty good run for me. This was only 25 minutes off my stand alone Half Marathon time.

I turned the corner into the high school and I knew that only a parking lot stood between me and the finish line. I got choked up knowing that four years ago I was sedentary and 55 pounds heavier, and now here I was about to finish my first Half Ironman. I had a huge smile plastered across my face as I ran across the finish line.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, I ran as well as I could given my limited run training leading up to the race.
Post race
Warm down:

Crossed the line and got my finishers medal and my finishers picture taken. Found my husband and parents and gave lots of hugs all around. Saw my coach, started crying again and gave him a huge hug and thank you for seeing me through the training. Went to look for food but all they had left were bananas and cookies. Sat in the shade and ate a bit then got my stuff from transition and headed to the car to head back to San Francisco.

On the way home I bonked hard. We decided to wait till we got back to San Francisco to eat dinner since they were out of food at the race. Big mistake since there was traffic and the drive took two hours. Ended up feeling like I was going to throw up/pass out the entire ride home. Once I got some food at my apartment I started to feel human again. Definitely a scary few hours though.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Time in the sport. I'm still a newbie and I know I'll just get faster the longer I do this. Also, losing the last 10 pounds will help with both bike and running speed. Finally, my run training suffered since I was injured, so I just did the best I could.

Event comments:

Amazing race. They do a great job with organization and logistics, especially given that this is a point to point. If I had a wish list I would wish for carpet in transition so that we didn't have to deal with the rocks but that was ok.

The only main oversight I saw was the lack of food available for BOPers like myself. When I rolled into the food tent they had stopped making hamburgers and just had bananas and little cookies left. It looks like people who finished earlier got hamburgers, pasta salad and a bunch of other stuff.

I finished at 3:15pm and the course was officially open until 5pm and there was still a string of people coming in after me. It was stupid of us to not stop for food, but I know my bonk on the drive home would have been avoided if there was a bit more substantial food available at the finish for those of us who were done late in the day.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2009-09-27 12:00 AM
00:47:12 | 1931 meters | 02m 26s / 100meters
Age Group: 71/91
Overall: 1717/1870
Performance: Good
Suit: Xterra Vortex 3 Full Sleeve
Course: Out and back in the Russian River, starting at Johnson's Beach.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 70F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:51
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:52:30 | 56 miles | 14.45 mile/hr
Age Group: 80/91
Overall: 1843/1870
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Point to point from Guerneville out River Road through Sonoma County finishing at Windsor High School. One sharp turn and hill on Sunset Ave and another hill on Chalk Hill Road. Other than that mainly rolling hills with some flat stretches.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Average Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:59
Overall: Below average
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Below average
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:48:39 | 13.1 miles | 12m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 81/91
Overall: 1802/1870
Performance: Average
Course: An out and back from Windsor High School to La Crema Winery. Lots of rolling hills.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 5