This past weekend, I went to Wildflower to race the 1/2 Ironman. I did this race in 2002 and it was my first long course triathlon. I was doing World Cup races at the time, and it was a big turning point for me. I really loved racing the longer distance/non drafting format, and within a year I did my first Ironman.
Well, fast forward to 2009, and I was headed back to Wildflower once again. With IM China 2 weeks behind me, it was a good chance to get back to some long training and see where my fitness was. Wildflower is also an Avia sponsored event, and all of the athletes from TeamTBB were treated like royalty.
I stayed in a trailer in the transition area parking lot, overlooking the race start…I kid you not, I literally tumbled out of bed race morning and walked 200 yds to my bike rack!
There were about 25 women in the pro field, and I came out of the swim in 10th place. Not as high up as I would have liked, but still within striking distance of having a good race. I got on the bike, and headed out on the hills hoping to make up some time. It was about 60 degrees for the first half of the ride – not usually considered cold, but my thermostat seems to be out of whack after China’s 113 degrees! I shivered trying to stay warm, and my legs felt very stiff for the first 45km. Finally, the temperature started to warm up and for the last 40km my legs came back to life. I passed a few of the girls who had passed me earlier, and came into transition behind Gina Kehr in 11th place. 11th place is almost as bad as 4th (but not quite), and I was determined if nothing else that I would make it into the top 10.
The run for me was probably one of the better parts of my race. I say “probably” because it was 60% trails, and I am not the world’s best trail runner (hence the nickname ‘Stumbles’ by some friends who have seen me run on trails;-). I am sure I looked at times like someone who had stumbled out of a bar! I passed Gina at about 3 miles and shortly after passed Pip who later dnf’d. Then with about 4 miles left to go, Gina came back to life and passed me again. I was hoping to catch another couple of girls in front of me, but the finish line came a little too soon, and I came across the line in 10th place.
Wildflower was a tough, but really fun race, and a great weekend of camping out with the Avia crew. A big CONGRATS also to Erika and Rei for finishing on the podium, to Jonathan for having a solid race in a tough field, and to Jocelyn who won her age group in the Olympic distance. It was also good to see Angela in good spirits and on the mend – you’ll be back before you know it.
I drove back to San Diego on Sunday, and there was one last picture I couldn’t resist taking. It’s out in the middle of nowhere, and leads to who knows where.;-)