Monday, July 18, 2011
Vineman 70.3 Race Report
If something could go wrong during the week leading up to the race, it did. You can read below about my misadeventures in the ocean from last Sunday. That managed to truly screw up my left shoulder, and on the following day while swimming with my niece I felt pain with every single stroke in the water. Then shortly thereafter I got sick with a cold. Coach Gerardo basically had me stop working out, which of course was the right thing to do, but when I go from my usual daily exercise to zero exercise, my mood changes and I feel like a sloth.
On Sunday, my shoulder still felt a little funny. I joked that the worst case scenario would be that I would do a 1.2-mile one-armed drill. Or, since the Russian River, where the Vineman swim takes place, is so shallow, I could walk the whole thing. And, though I felt better from my cold, I was still bringing up some funky-colored mucus.
My goal was 40 minutes. The swim start was a mess as usual. The shoulder felt a little funny at first, but any discomfort was gone within ten minutes. I finished the swim in 39 minutes.
My weakness. I was consistent, but I got passed all over the place. One woman in my age group decided to pass me on the right. When I suggested that was unsafe, she yelled "Bitch!" at me. I love our sport most of the time, but such unsportsmanlike conduct is just unnecessary. I have never had so much snot come out my nose during one bike ride.
I'm a decent runner, and in a sprint or olympic race I can fly by dozens of people on the run. But, my runs during my last few long races have been less than stellar. Coming out of T2, I felt great. I ran the first mile at what felt like a comfortable pace, which ended up being 8:50. Mile 2 was completed in 9:30. Mile 3 was 10:00. And my mile splits got worse from there. I didn't feel tired, but my pace fell. The balls of my feet hurt like hell, especially running the trails around the vineyard. Gradually, as we got back onto solid pavement and downhill running, the feet hurt less. Then my stomach began to grumble. For those of you who don't know, distance running increases gastrointestinal motility. My stomach grumbled more. Then, around mile 11, I made a rather urgent port-o-potty stop. Thereafter, my stomach felt so much better, and the last two miles flew by.
I was grateful to see Fortius teammates Mike, Karen, Joe, and Ray just around the corner from the finish line. Their encouragement really pushed me, though I had to ask Joe and Ray to stop running with me so I didn't get disqualified for outside help.
My Finish Time: 6:27:08.
That's eight minutes faster than my previous attempt at Vineman 70.3, and my best half Ironman time ever, all in spite of still being sick and injuring my shoulder. I wanted to go 6:15, and under better conditions, I could have done it. But I also want to troubleshoot my run, why I'm so much relatively faster running a shorter course than I am on a longer course. That will come next season -- I'm done with long course triathlons for the year. I have two shorter races, Hansen Dam and Malibu, and plan on running a fall marathon.