You have good races and bad races, and then you have races that maybe you should forget about. So I’m starting to think this was Vineman 70.3 for me. The race wasn’t particularly bad or great, I’d probably call it average, but my prep leading up to the race and my pacing during the race were so terrible that I’m not sure it’s a fair reflection of my training and abilities, not to mention the entire race was so painful, it would do me good not to remember.
So what did I do? I took 4 days completely off for a work trip. This doesn’t sound so bad and actually at the time it felt fantastic, but when I started training again, I could tell this was going to be a struggle. My hamstrings were so tight, I could feel it from my lower back all the way to my heels. I had a week until the race and staying with Hillary in San Diego (Thank you!) and I was hopeful some good training would straighten me out in time. But by race day, nothing had changed, even still I put it all out of my mind and focused on having a great day.
The race itself was absolutely beautiful and I will definitely be back again in the future. The swim is so unique as you swim out and back in a narrow river, it was so shallow at spots we had to dolphin dive because our hands were dragging on the bottom. Overall I had a decent swim and left the water feeling pretty good. Out on the bike I went out too fast trying to stay with some women that I was in no condition to be staying with and at mile 20 I watched them slowly pull off into the distance. So then began the struggle to stay positive and keep pushing. I slowed down significantly on the second half and was using every trick in the book to keep myself on the right track. But I couldn’t help feeling like I had used up all my matches.
The run was rough. I went out just trying to find a sustainable pace but my lower back was killing me and my calfs were so tight every step was a nightmare. Luckily I loosened up about halfway and tried to pick up the pace, I entered a portion of road where I could start counting places and estimated I was in about 15th and likely 10 minutes down on 12th, not a good situation. Right after that I spotted my buddy Kelly who started 10 minutes behind me in the age group wave and estimated I only had about a 10 minute lead (so time-wise we were even). I wasn’t giving up that easy and put in another dig. A few miles later we did a short out and back and I was able to take stock of the actual situation, in front I didn’t have anyone within striking distance and behind me, it wasn’t good. I had quite a few age group women who started in the first wave chasing me down. While I knew I didn’t have the ten minutes I needed on them, I also knew mentally I couldn’t handle getting passed on the road, so my only goal was to make it to the finish line first, thus began the insanely painful last 3 miles just willing my body to move. Annoyingly, while i felt I was essentially sprinting, my mile splits were still holding even. Anyway, I made it to the finish line first only getting passed by one pro female who was running so quickly I couldn’t even see her name/number, which is probably good because if I had to do a sprint finish I would have ended up in the hospital.
Some takeaways from this race? Don’t take four days off. Right after the race I had to take five days off running because of a swollen achilles…yup. I can’t say I’m surprised. Also, I love Napa! So in all, I had a wonderful trip, and just a forgettable race. Luckily, Nate had a fantastic day and we were able to bring home at least one win! But it’s always better when we both have good races 🙂