July 16, 2011

This is it.

Right now, I'm relaxing (at least trying to) in our hotel room in Santa Rosa, packet picked up, gear laid out, a plan for tomorrow in my head. After countless hours in the pool, on the bike, and on the roads, tomorrow I'll attempt to cover 70.3 miles by doing a little bit of each. After my vacation the race definitely seemed to spring up on me, but I'm feeling ready. And while I'm of course a bit nervous, there's some excitement there, too. Earlier this week I came down with case of the taper sniffles - thankfully nothing worse than a summer cold - but I'm finally feeling a bit better and ready to tackle this thing head on.
We left Sacramento early this afternoon and after sitting through some pretty bad traffic we finally made it to the expo at Windsor High School. Before we could do anything we had to attend an athlete meeting, scheduled every hour. We just missed one so we headed back into downtown Windsor to get some lunch, then headed back an hour later, only to just miss that one, too! So we used the waiting time to peruse the expo booths and buy some race gear. I ended up with a bike jersey, a Headsweats (fave!) visor and hat, and a coffee mug : ) Finally we were ushered into the gym where we watched a 25 minute video on the course, race schedule, rules, etc. With so many athletes together like that you could almost feel the nervous energy! Everyone seemed to be decked out in gear from other races, as if to prove to others they belonged there, or maybe just because they are proud of their accomplishments. That fickle little M-dot seemed to turn up everywhere, too! Anyway, post-video we were finally able to pick up our packets.
loaded up and ready to go!

Vineman is a little unique in that T1 and T2 are in different locations, 17 miles apart. The swim start and T1 are at Johnson's Beach in Guerneville while T2 and the finish are at Windsor High School. This meant we had to drop off our stuff for the run at T2 today, so I did a mental run through of what I would need at T2, which wasn't much, and made a sad little pile at my assigned rack. I wish I would've thought to bring another bright towel to make it easy to spot, but oh well. The weather was looking promising with temps in the low 70s with a bit of a breeze. By the time we left the expo it had cooled even more - so much for my concerns about a hot race day!
ha, my sad little pile of stuff

So here I am, after fueling up with a nice Italian dinner, contemplating what is to come tomorrow. I know I've put in the training, so from here on out it's all about being positive and determined. Could I have trained more? Of course. Do I have fancy tri gear? No. In fact it was interesting to look around at all the bikes with there aero bars, racing wheels, and other fancy stuff, compared to my very basic road bike. I know I don't need that stuff, but I couldn't help but feel like I totally stood out as a tri noob. Regardless, I know I can do this. More than anything, I want to finish. Even better, I want to finish feeling good, with a smile on my face. And of course, if things go well, I have some specific goals.

For the swim, based on my Olympic tri, I'd like to finish around 40 minutes. It's a wave start, so hopefully it won't be too crowded and I can catch some feet to follow. It's an out-and-back in the Russian River, so sighting, one of my weaknesses, hopefully won't be a huge issue. Apparently the river is only 4-7 ft. deep, so it should be interesting to see if anyone just stands up or walks in the middle of the course!

I'm most nervous about the bike. I've ridden the distance once, so I know I can do it, but I'm a little worried about the nature of the course. It's got some rollers on it and some sharp turns, and it's on an open course. There will also be a lot of other athletes out there, and I don't exactly have a lot of experience riding in large groups. I also haven't had any practice fueling on the bike. I would always stop to fuel and stretch during my training rides, so I don't really know how to take a Gu on the move! I invested in a bento box that sits on my top tube right behind my handlebars, so I'm hoping to be able to access and eat my Gu with one hand...let's hope I don't crash! I'm a bit nervous about the aid stations as well, because once again, you don't stop. Volunteers just hold out bottles of water or electrolyte and you slow down and grab it. For some reason I see myself failing at this : ) On the bright side of things, I've heard that the course is absolutely gorgeous. It's a point-to-point through wine country, so there will at least be some nice scenery to distract me. I really want to save my energy and start conservatively, then see if I can pick it up it the second half. I'm hoping to average around 17 mph and finish in about 3:20.

For the run, I'm just going to wing it. I know I won't be able to maintain my usual running pace, but I don't know how much slower I'll be. I've done several bricks, so my legs know how to run after riding, but I've never run after such a long ride. And truthfully, I was pretty spent after my 45+ mile training rides. So I figure I'll give myself a little cushion on my time, walk when I need to, but try to just keep moving forward as fast as possible given the circumstances. With my half PR just under 2 hours, I'm hoping 2:15 tomorrow is doable.

Overall I want to finish under 7 hours. Pending no serious tragedy, I know this is doable. If I have a great day, I'm going to aim for 6:30. Either way, I'm going to try to have fun and soak it all in. I'm ready for the challenge! See you on the other side : )

p.s. If anyone is interested, athlete tracking can be found here. I'm bib no. 815, and my swim wave starts at 7:10am!


  1. Looking forward to the race report. I hope things went well!