This past weekend, I raced the Wildflower 1/2 Ironman. Being only 6hrs from where I live, it was a good chance to get an early season race under my belt before I tackle an Ironman in a few weeks time.
This was my third time racing Wildflower so I know the course a little by now. The swim was cold as I had expected (well, 59 degrees is cold for me compared to the bath tub temperatures in Thailand). I came out of the water in 6th position, and almost right away the hills started which are almost a constant at Wildflower. I think I warmed up by about 60km on the bike, and re-passed a few girls that had passed me early in the ride while I was still an icicle.
I came off the bike in 10th position with the goal of aiming for a top 10 finish. 60% of the run course is on trails with some very steep climbs and descents. My balance is not great in the best of times, and I’m sure I could have been mistaken trying to stay upright. Not to mention that my last trail run was a year ago at Wildflower. Anyway, despite the lovely terrain, I was feeling pretty good on the run and thinking that I would have a good finish. Unfortunately, with about 4km left to go, the steep downhills earlier in the run sent my quads into a screaming fit. I have mostly been running flat since my knee surgery 6 months ago, and my quads were protesting very loudly. The last km on the run is a winding downhill, and I have to admit my legs have never been in quite so much pain. I was very happy to finally see the finish chute, but not very happy to hear that there was a chase coming from behind. I sprinted as hard as I could, and crossed the finish line 1 sec ahead of the girl behind and 3 sec ahead of the next person.
One of the great things about Wildflower is how tough the course is, and how much fitness you take away from it. 4 days later, and my legs have still not forgiven me, but they will thank me later. The cobwebs have been cleaned away and now it’s time to get on with the rest of the season.
It was also great to see Amy and Brandon at the race giving it their best, and to have the support of Avia who did a great job as main sponsor of the race.