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