As a training day for IronMan Santa Rosa 70.3, I decided to enter the Ice Breaker Triathlon. I wanted to see just how cold the water would be and get a little Open Water practice. My goal for this race was to “race but not race” I wanted to push my aerobic capacity, but not get anaerobic. My plan was to save my legs for the 3.5 hour bike ride I needed to execute the next day. I showed up at Granite Bay Beach about 90 minutes before race time. It was another wet week in the Sacramento region. I ws informed that the bike course was to be shortened to 10 miles. The distances for this race were now as follows: Swim 1/2 Mile Bike 10 Miles Run 4 Miles.
Prior to the start of the race I spent some time getting reacquainted with my wetsuit and transition setup. I was debating on what to use for the swim. I was told that the water temperature was 52 degrees and I could see lots of debris in the lake. I decided to wear my gloves and neoprene cap. I passed on the booties since the swim was so short.
Swim: I entered the water 5 minutes prior to my wave going off. I wanted to get acclimated to the freezing water temperature and try to get my face over the shock. I immediately realized that not wearing my booties was a tactical error. I couldn’t feel my feet because they were so numb. In addition to being numb, there was lots of tree branches and a rough path back to T1. Once my wave went off, it was my goal to take the swim slowly at first to try and get some comfort from the cold. After a few minutes I was able to keep my face in the water without a problem. My feet on the other hand felt weird. I was able to lay down a time of 16:48 which was an average of 1:47 per 100. This was slightly faster than the 1:55 that I was averaging in my pool swims. All in all I was pretty happy with this swim. It gave me an opportunity to swim Open Water prior to Santa Rosa and practice my sighting.
T1 was a pretty slow effort for me. The hike up the hill from the lake was pretty painful on my feet, so I decided to take my time. When I got back to my bike, I spent a good amount of time drying off because it was in the 40’s and I didn’t want to freeze on the ride. I actually threw a winter cycling jersey on over my Tri Kit to keep warm. At this point my feet were still numb, and I was off to the Bike course in 5:29
Bike: My goal for the bike was to put down a harder effort since the course was so short. I averaged a low Z4 HR and was able to average 212 watts. Both of these were well within my goals. This little course probably wasn’t really setup or beneficial to use my TT bike. There were lots of curves and i couldn’t be aero as much as I would’ve liked. My total time was 32:23 and I averaged 18.9 mph. I still couldn’t feel my feet on the entire bike course.
T2 I didn’t fly through T2. I wanted to see if I could get some blood flowing back into my feet before putting on my running shoes and gathering my gear. My goal was to run with my water bottles and everything that I would carry in Santa Rosa. I made it on to the run course in 1:44
Run: I must start off by saying that I was not a fan of this run course. The course weaved us back and fourth on single track trails. I didn’t feel like the course was safe. There were many areas that were flooded and muddy with no traction. I almost went to the ground a couple of times. The goal for this run was to put down a low Z3 HR effort and run a similar pace that I’ll be shooting for in Santa Rosa. about 1 mile into the run I was finally able to feel my toes again so that was good. I completed the run in 37:13 which averaged out to be 9:46 per mile, and my fastest mile was the last one at 9:16
My total time for the race was 1:33:37 and I took second in my division. Not bad for a training day
Starting out 2017 to be my first real Tri Season, IceBreaker is only the second triathlon I have done. I was excited to get a shorter distance in before Santa Rosa HIM in May. I thought I was definitely trained and fit for the day. Oh boy did it go quite different for me.
This is not my strong suit to begin with and truly was looking to just get on with it to get to the bike and run. Now the words Ice Breaker should have been my first clue. I have not swam any open water since last September and I knew it was gonna be cold. Countdown comes and I run into the chilled water and start my stroke. After I raise my head for my first breath I feel like I cannot breathe…this was not part of the plan. I always knew I could do breath-stroke if I got tired but even that was a struggle.. starting to panic I thought what am I going to do. So I flipped to my back, kicked my legs and asked Jeff in the safety kayak if I was moving at all. He said you are clipping along great. So although I did make multiple attempts to try a freestyle stroke I ended up doing all 912 glorious meters on my back! Not being able to see where I was going I added on additional meters to my swim 😜. So happy to see the shore I was out much later than expected.
Ok now that I had that hideous swim behind me I went into T1 getting ready to start my most comfortable part which was the bike. I don’t have a TT Bike but love my Liv road bike from Folsom Bike so was looking forward to making up some ground here. The ride was good but have to admit a bit too short. I did get my head back on straight and was ready to keep going.
After a super fast T2 transition I was out to do my run. I have to say i forgot most TBF races are trail and this was no different. I prefer the hard asphalt to run so really did not train for the hills and uneven ground. After submerging my right foot in one of the many puddles I just wanted to get to the finish. When I crossed the line with more in the tank I knew I could have performed better.
After the race I felt a bit defeated since my day went completely different than I had set in my mind and a little disappointed in myself for not pushing a little harder. I was standing with my teammate Bryan Wertzer who is also my good friend after he had a podium 2nd place. Standing there I hear them call my name over the speaker.. I poked at my husband and said did they call my name. They say it again and I think maybe I got a sportsmanship award – I did do the whole thing with a smile after all. I got 2nd place in my Age Group. So even though it was a wild day I was on the podium for the first time in my life.
In reflection I am glad I did have some struggles so that I could learn from them and be even more prepared for Santa Rosa……
Welcome to the 4th edition of Oceanside 70.3. Second edition Folsom Bike Triathlon team. We did the red eye drive to lovely Oceanside to miss all the crazy LA traffic. Good choice as we pulled into town in about 7.5hrs. Did a 7 hours snooze and was ready for our Thursday. To start of we did a killer breakfast. Anyone ever have Honey Bunches of Oats French Toast. Well you have not lived until you have.
Fast forward love this venue. We checked in and I had the best check race packet. So good vibes. We love Oceanside so we checked out the strip and then took a long walk in the harbor on the rocks to see the new outline of the course. Gorgeous late afternoon. Mentally prepping the turns and trying no to think about how cold the Ocean water would be race morning. All the chatter was about the new rolling start, how would that play out with such a large field. Instead of swimming to 100+ meters to the line you would self-seed and off you go.
Fast forward bikes checked in on Friday afternoon and anticipation of Saturday morning. We walked from our hotel to the harbor—about 1.5miles. It was brisk out about 48. However I have to remember a few years back it was 29 at the start of my Ironman Lake Tahoe…so 48 is like balmy.
Scott and I had some nice bike positioning being AWA Silver and AWA Gold. I can see my competition that also ranked in Gold…let’s say they were not very friendly. It’s time to head to the swim start and we both go together. A kiss and hug and I drop to the 40-45 min group and Scott advances to the 30-35 min.
Get the water bottle and load the inside of my suit with water to seal it up. It took about: 20 minutes to get finally to the start and once you hit that pier it is swim time. Water was 62 and it was actually warm compared to the air. I felt good and got into a rhythm. But contact and then around the turn around sun.
Swim time 47:26—I can do better. 31/62 AG
Long transition to the bike. Start pulling down the LS wetsuit and focus on not wasting time. 6+ min transition, I have to do better.
I know this bike course and now I have awesome Sram Etap thank you Folsom Bike and I am ready to tackle the bike course. I know this course having raced the last 3 years. Just have to be careful around mile 40 you do not speed past 25 Mph or you face DQ. I was overly cautious as my Garmin setting missed MPH! Yes stupid is on my forehead! So I really hit the brakes. The last 10 miles of the course are fast but also windy. I was focused on under 3 hours as that has been my norm…pushing hard. However 3:04:18 was the time. 10/ 62. AG
I knew I had to use the bathroom so I scurried to get shoes, hat and off I went into the bathroom and out. About a 7 min transition. Not good. So run like I stole something. The first bright spot was seeing teammate Brian Skehan. Great to have the mutual encouragement. I’m running and feeling good. This is probably one of the prettiest runs along the ocean for several miles. Finally about mile 3 I see Scott. That brightens my day seeing him happy and running. My goal, no stopping and just get stronger. I ran happy. I saw my good friends the Burgesses who moved to San Diego a few months back cheering me on! How cool they came to watch and see their 1st triathlon! This is a two-loop course and based on my 1st loop I was in good shape to be under 2 hours and stay under 6 hours, as I had never done more than 5:54 here. So I pushed and felt I was tracking to be under 6. Home stretch and fighting the time. I gave it my all and crossed the line super spent and sun drenched! Thank goodness Scott was waiting at the finish! I ran a 1:56:44. But that was not good enough. Final time 6:01:42. Racing my new AG was not certain how that would play out. Top 5 are podium.
1-minute difference from 6th.and +15min from 5th. My transition time was about a 3 minute factor and a potty break and too conservative on bike to be ready for a good run.
Final 7th/62nd AG. 168th/928th Gender and 995/3430 OA.
Thanks to Folsom Bike my bike mechanically was flawless!
Nutrition was dialed with Vespa and Clif gels and Gu Blocks.
Congrats Brian Skehan and Scott Williams on great races. As a result our Tri Club Division V ranked 9 of 67!
Next up IM Santa Rosa 70.3
April 1st was our fourth time racing here and second round racing for Folsom Bike. I was super stoked because this year picked up a brand new BMC TM01 from Folsom Bike and was ready to set a new P.R. We arrived 2 days early and had all our race morning gear set well in advance so we could rest up and relax before the race.
The morning started with cool temperatures at 46 degrees at 5 a.m. It was expected to warm-up, be sunny and reach the high 70’s before the end of the day, so I lathered on the sunscreen. The water temperature was a warm, 62 degrees. As we made our way up we were able to see the pro’s finish their swim and run into transition. What a thrill it was to see the determination and focus on their faces!
2017 the swim was changed to a rolling start. It was as usual with people all over and you just swim while everyone is hitting everyone. My mindset was good and I pushed through. The yellow sight buoys were nice since they were fairly close, so it was pretty easy to see where to go. The course was a narrow “horse-shoe” out-and back type route. I could tell as we moved our way out we were getting close to the mouth of the harbor as the water became choppy. On occasion a swell would rise and I would catch it in my mouth and take a hard swallow of very salty ocean water. At this point I just wanted to avoid people, which is impossible in a large race like this. Some were swimming fast over people, others swimming slow doing the backstroke and some were completely stopped. I just tried to move forward and swim around people. No luck, the bright sun just made it difficult to see, so I just swam with the crowd and stopped on occasion to see if I could figure out if I was going straight. It seemed to take forever to get the finish dock and I felt a little like a pinball going right until I hit someone and then going left until I was blocked by someone else. I found it hard to get into a rhythm and my timing was off for breathing.
As I started the ride it was congested once again with lots of people around. There were many turns and a quick steep climb before we entered Camp Pendleton. I was going a slower pace than I had hoped for but would rather not blow-up on the hills later. I tried to stay positive despite my slow swim start and concentrate on what I was doing at the moment. I was pleased to be passing people the entire ride despite not holding my numbers so I felt good about that. I was grateful the course was well marked but was still anxious to ride around other riders and the traffic. As we approached the first major hill around mile 28/29 I was excited to do it. I have been training for hills and there are a lot of them where I live in Folsom so I was pretty sure I could handle anything that was thrown at me even though I had only done a handful of outdoor rides this year. I tackled the hill well and passed many people. It was challenging, but I loved it. On the decent I tried to continue passing people and keep “pressure on the pedals”. I get a little nervous at the high speeds but tried to embrace it as I knew that I needed it to increase my average to finish in a decent time. I continued to try to ride strong but found it difficult to push myself. Just a few miles from the cycling finish while we were riding around a bumpy section behind some buildings I lost my tool box for the second time today. I was now nervous that my bike split was going to be even slower than ever.
Now it was time to get running as I had planned to hold a 7:55-8:05 minute per mile which is very doable considering I ran a 2 half marathon conservatively 2 weeks before the race, but through the next few miles I realized had better make a pit-stop rather than have an “accident”. I felt better and worked my pace back up to goal pace for a short time, then realized I needed to hold back a bit. At this point I spotted teammate Brian Skehan and Karyn Hoffman. I hit the 10K in an okay split, much slower than planned, but still okay. I continued plugging along taking minimal nutrition and tried to close the gap on my teammates. I took in the scene; all the people, we were running by ocean and I was doing an early season Half Ironman. Even though my race didn’t go as planned I was pleased to finish and have my love Karyn Hoffman to share it with. It is disappointing to perform below my potential and not have anything to show for hard training effort. I ended up with a time of 5:48:20. So not terrific, but not horrible either. I am learning and will continue to try to reach my goals. Next up Ironman Santa Rosa 70.3 May13th.
Thanks Folsom Bike for all the support for 2017
Swim 00:43:53 Bike 02:46:55 Run 02:03:27
I returned for the 4th year in a row to race in beautiful oceanside California. I couldn’t ask for more fantastic weather and awesome volunteers to make this a special place to race.
Swim– Past years ironman corralled every athlete by age group for start times. This year they changed things up a bit and experimented “ the roll out” by expected swim finish. I seeded my self with the 30-35 min group, but i didn’t expect to finish with that time frame at all. This strategy payed off for me in a few ways, one, i did swim faster knowing I’m with faster swimmers and, secondly i pretty much swam freely without to many athletes swimming over me and knocking me off my groove. My sighting was dead on, for the first time ever. My swim went as planned and even better as expected. I did PR on the swim for this race.
Swim time 43min.
Went as planned, nothing really to report other than its a long transition to the bikes. Took a tad longer than i wanted but i was happy with it.
Bike– The bike course hasn’t changed from when I first started racing here four years ago. Its fast and slightly down hill for the first 15-20 miles until you enter camp Pedleton. once you enter the base the bike becomes more challenging with rolling hills and eventually climbing a couple decent hills that can be challenging, if you don’t train for them. I felt really good on the bike, but not as strong as i raced a few years ago. The second decent climb, a female racer was in distress with a mechanical issue. I asked if she needed some help and she said yes, I pulled over to help. It took me a few minutes to resolve her issue and I went on my merry way. I quickly sped off, pedaling as fast as I could to make up some time lost, but I was careful not to blow out the legs. Mile 45 on the bike course can be a bit tricky depending on the year. Last 10-15 miles can be very windy with winds coming off the ocean. This area acts likes a funnel right into the base. Luckily, this year the winds did not surface and it was easy riding into T2. I missed my target of riding in the 2hr 40 range, which I’m plenty capable of doing. Not my strongest bike performance but ill take it.
Bike time 2hrs:57
Went as planned, but it’s a long one back into T-2 where the run gear is placed. Once I found my location on the rack, I needed to pay attention to a blister I had from a previous race, two weeks ago, slapped a pre cut piece of mole skin on, and off I went.
Run-This year i spent a lot of time working on my run. My run has suffered the last two years with the lack of mental toughness and overall run fitness. I felt pretty confidant that no issues would arise that would slow me down. The first 8 miles I ran strong without any issues, however at mile 9 I needed to make a pit stop for hunger pains that a few oranges helped resolve this. I felt strong on the run this year, compared to last races. I was happy with my outcome, however I did fall short of my run goal, of 1hr 51 min. Run time 1:56
In conclusion- I set a pretty ambitious goal to finish around 5hr 30min this year. I fell short by 20 min. I now know where the weak points are, ill defiantly be focusing on those before the next race in may. Oceanside is defiantly a great place to race, volunteers are awesome and you get to see some pretty cool military equipment while passing through the base. I want to thank Folsom bike for allowing me to wear the logo once again.
Over all time 5:51
I’ve been racing long course triathlon for the past 2 1/2 years. Vineman was my second full IM, my first was IMAZ ’14. I’ve also done two 70.3’s. Training started out slowly in 2016. It wasn’t until my coach switched to a short course plan, and eventually a 12 week IM Advanced plan that I started to see my form finally come around. When it did, it was fantastic though. Eventually, only one or two of my regular ride buddies could hang and I started consistently dropping guys who were even with me just a year ago.
Priority one was the bike where I have the most room to improve, then running and last of course swimming. I made sure to hit my volume goals in the camp/ RR weeks and to really push myself on those Wednesday & ABP rides Solid race rehearsals and knowing what to expect this time compared to the great unknown of my first IM gave me confidence that I could beat my first IM time of 11:58, despite hillier bike and run profiles
So that’s the background, now about the race.
The Vineman swim takes place in the shallow and relatively narrow Russian River, making navigation straightforward. Based on RR times, I went between the 1:00 and 1:05 groups in the self-seeded start. I mowed over some slow guys early, was kicked once or twice by guys passing me, but otherwise just held position. It was shallow enough in some spots to stand and walk but once I figured out that a super-high elbow technique had me passing the walkers I went with that. The turn around seemed to come up quickly and I still felt good and in control so I just kept pulling long and strong all the way home. Noteworthy; the new sleeveless wetsuit really helped free up my stroke since I have more muscular arms and shoulders. My wife was pumped at the swim exit so I figured the time was solid.
Swim time – 1:02:36. Six minutes faster than IMAZ ‘14 despite averaging just 2 swims and 8k yards/ week. Solid ROI
T1 the volunteers were great at stripping wetsuits and clearing the way. I sat down in the changing tent just long enough to put shoes on, the remaining admin was done on the move. From recon, II know there’s a steep hill right at the mount line and predictably tons of guys fighting their machines struggling to mount and start climbing that quickly. As planned, I ran clear up the first hill and past a couple riders before mounting. A spectator yelled, “smart, very smart” as I was clipping in and I almost crashed turning to say “thanks”!
T1 time – 3:05
My weakness! As mentioned earlier, I put in a ton of seat time getting faster on the bike. As the bike leg unfolded, predictably rider after rider passed me. VM is a rolling course with a few bigger hills where everyone seemed intent on dancing on the pedals and racing each other uphill in the middle of nowhere. At times, I was going so easy that I happily whistled a tune as folks whizzed by me. If they were more experienced and faster, then I had no business chasing them, if they were overcooking the bike then I would run them down.
By mile 90 I was still doing well, still staying aero and even starting to catch people. so different from IM #1, where I had lower back problems all day long and sat up for most of the bike. The regular strength and core training really paid off.
With 7 miles to go, just as things were looking good and I was sure I would break 6 hrs, disaster struck. I punctured my rear tire on a nasty little tack. I sprang into action quickly but try as I might I could not get the tire changed. Everything that could go wrong in that moment did. First I couldn’t get the spare tube out of the aero bottle where I had crammed it for the first time ever (never try new stuff on race day, I know). Then I couldn’t remount the tire on the rim. Each time it was almost on, it popped off again and again four, then five times? I lost count then I lost it. I freaked out I admit it. Seven agonizing minutes later the wheels were finally rolling again.
Officials reported that multiple athletes flatted in same area. Allegedly some clown intentionally spread tacks on the road. If that’s true, words fail me especially since it happened at other IM’s this year.
As I finally got back up to speed, I glanced at my HR which had hung around 140 bpm all day and it had spiked to over 170 just standing there wresting that freaking tire! Those last five bike miles gave me just enough time to slow my pulse and get my head back in the game.
Bike time – 6:06 all in. 13 min improvement. (Did I mention 7min tire change?)
As I finally handed off my bike and ran to the changing tent I kept repeating my mantra; “get your sh#*t together, it’s an Ironman.” I had a zip lock go-bag inside the main bag with my visor, race number, salt tabs and the Coach Patrick run-saver bag. Once the shoes were on, I was out and moving quickly, doing the admin as I went.
It was a hot day my friends; 85 degrees, no shade and borderline muggy. The course consists of 3 out and backs with one significant half-mile hill in the middle, meaning we climbed that sucker 6 times total, and yeah that got old quick. Lap one felt ok but seemed to take forever. Only 4 miles in I got my feet wet aggressively dumping water on myself. Then the special needs guys missed me twice and I never got to the dry socks or those skittles I was dreaming about. But after that nightmare flat, I figured if some blisters where my second biggest problem, then it was still going to be a good day.
As the miles ticked by, my wet left foot really started hurting and I knew I was tearing up my sole but I just didn’t care about anything but the finish. Keeping the run-saver bag full of ice and staying wet at all times were crucial to surviving the heat. That, and knowing that I had followed the bike plan almost exactly.
By lap two I really found my rhythm and focus. Coming through the bottom of the course again I yelled to my cheering section “I’ll be right back!” In that moment, I knew I had it in the bag even with 8 miles to go because I was winning the mental game. It was highly satisfying passing so many familiar tri kits from the bike leg as they shuffled or worse, walked slowly along. Failure to plan is preparation for failure.
Run time: 3:56:48 – 23 min improvement
Total Time: 11:11:38. Hoped for a 10:XX but I will take the 45 min improvement.
All day long I was so fortunate to have my family cheering me on and to share the day with so many peeps from Endurance Nation and Folsom Bike Tri Team all supporting each other. That support and camaraderie meant the world. I won’t pretend to have this IM thing figured out, I know better. But that’s the beauty of it, so much left to learn, so much room to get faster and smarter. Now I do know I’m not a “one and done guy”. 2x Ironman sounds so much better.
Thanks for reading. Exorcise with Exercise.
Having done this event several times I keep trying to raise the bar in time performance and AG placement.
The race logistics are a bit challenging since this is a point-to-point event with 19 miles between swim start and T2- T3. This year was the new bike check in the day before. So that involved 1st checking into Windsor HS and then driving down to the start in Guerneville’s getting parked and the walk to the river. It kind of makes sense as the race logistics and single lane entry and exits from this area backs traffic up. We both got racked and then put our toes in the water, which felt nicely cool considering warm temps. 3 weeks ago they dammed up the swim start so the hot temps had not heated up the water temps yet. It was likely wetsuit legal but no confirming till AM. We checked out the pro racks and saw our friend Jim Lubinski and Robin Pomeroy spots. So back to the hotel and the fueled up with some amazing wood fired pizza at a local joint.
Race morning comes quick and another drive to Guerneville in the dark and a long walk to transition from parking. We wanted to connect with our fellow teammates Robert Peterson and Brian Skehan pre race. We were all pretty spread out in swim waves with birthday boy Scott Williams super early and Brian and Robert in the middle and I was more than an hour after Scott. So plenty of time to have stray thoughts and watch the Pro’s exit from Swim and hop on bikes. This is the latest start and also facing the heat of the day could really change my day. Thank Marnie Skehan for cheering us on and taking pictures!
The F50-54 AG was now getting close to the waters edge and with 3 min in-between waves we swam in to the line up and off we went. This is a fairly “easy swim” but swimming is never that easy for me. I felt like I was moving until I felt the next group starting to pass me…stay focused. Counting buoys and I knew I was close to turn around. The sun was rising and I felt it in my sleeveless suit. I could hear the cheers at the shore and tried to beeline straight there. Exited the water and glanced at time clock…41:34 came as a surprise as I felt faster. 3:24 Transition
Quickly transitioned and hopped on the bike. I know the course pretty well but riding it 1x a year there is always something you don’t remember. My goal is to try to be less than 3 hours. The temp was already warm as I rode and started to pass people in the first few miles. I was conscious of the calves looking for F50-54’s. That’s the hunter in me. I tried for a good portion of the race to stay aero. Watching my speed and cadence. Came to the notorious chalk hill which is now nice paved and is a bump considering we ride Costco Hill and just because. 10 miles to go and I was projecting to be under the 3 hr. time.
Bike 2:54:43 3:12 Transition
Now to get in and out of transition and off to the half marathon. I like this run as it does have hills and dirt path thru a vineyard. It is exposed but there are patches of shade. All I need to keep under 2hrs to make my sub 6hr finish.
Saw several friends running as this is a loop course and it helps to keep each other motivated. This is a very competitive race so you were seeing some very fast athletes late in the race as they had the later starts.
I doused with water and continued to hydrate, trying to smile. I did see Brian Skehan as he was trying to work out his hamstring. I encouraged him and continued forward.
Made my second loop start and tried to maintain my pace. Doing the math it looked like a 5:45 finish. I focused and ran and headed back to the finish. Making that turn into the final turn into the high school and into the finish shoot. Hearing my name over the PA and pushed across the line. Exhausted and spent, the volunteers kept me upright and then I saw both Scott and Robert. Relieved. Got me out of the hot sun and doused with water. The guys seemed happy. 3 of 4 of us were finished. And Brian was not too far behind.
Run time 2:00:05 Final time 5:42:58 8/89 AG and 587/1996 OA
Happy for another opportunity to race and complete this great event. It was great to be here participating as a group representing Folsom Bike Triathlon Team. The four of house combined scored enough points to be 2nd in Division V for Tri Teams! Way to rock it!
Thank you Folsom Bike and the fabulous service staff that again had my bike dialed in!