Santa Cruz 70.3! A weekend full of diversity! A Colombian who is capable of giving the expression “uffff” endless meanings, a Canadian, a Persian that grew up in Sweden, a Mexican or two, a few “blondies”, a Japanese, a South Korean, and more. I might have missed an ethnicity but needless to say we were a diverse group and laughed our asses off the whole weekend. When it’s FREEZING cold and you chose to put yourself through hours of self-induced torture you must have a sense of humor and our various sense of humors made it all the better.
So the race…It wasn’t Ironman’s fault the water was somewhere below 59 degrees but it was my fault I swam super slowly. Honestly I don’t know why. I swam a 39:32 and for as much swimming I’ve done this year that was not a good swim for me. When I checked my Garmin leaving the water my heart sank a little but the painfully cold .4 mile run on cement quickly made me forget about my swim. Despite the long run to the bike, my transition time was decent compared to my races last year. I’m not really sure what I was doing last year during transition but they usually took about 3-4 minutes too long. That was something I worked on this year and will continue to work on.
Once I was on the bike course I started to get a little nervous about the next few hours. My feet were NUMB. As in, I feel like I have no feet numb yet they are still incredibly painful! My legs too. They were frozen and didn’t feel like they could go any faster. My core and legs warmed up pretty quickly. My feet never did. The bike course was good. It was hilly but not too hilly. We drove it the day before and our amazing Sherpa/driver/support gave us little reminders of when to be prepared for a sharp turn and steep incline. When I started seeing Organic Apple signs I kept hearing Ricardo say, “When you see the Organic Apple sign, get into your small ring.” So I did. Between his advice and Monday night hill repeats, the climbs were comfortable. I actually felt like the PCH portion of the ride was harder but that could have been the cold. I ended up with 2:53:07.
Coming into bike to run transition I was still concerned I was not going to be able to run. I couldn’t feel my feet and my knee was hurting from the cold. I only did one 10 mile run leading up to this race. I did a few 5-6 mile runs as well, but overall my running has been very limited. My lack of running mixed with walking pneumonia the past two weeks could have meant disaster. Surprisingly I was able to run immediately and by mile 3 I felt like I had feet again. Despite the gray, rainy weather, Santa Cruz is a beautiful course. I have to say the volunteers on the run were my favorite. A big shout out to the 2 girls around mile 5 and 8 (we passed them twice) as they were SO entertaining and encouraging. We need more people like you in this world! I saw a majority of our crew on the run and that was fun too. I was very pleased that I was able to actually run the entire course and I finished feeling like I could have went harder. I was okay with that since this race was just practice. It gave me confidence that my knee can handle Florida and I really needed that confidence builder. The run ended up being 2:06:04. My overall time was 5:48:59. While this is definitely not my goal time, I am so thankful that I was able to be out there with all my friends AND that my knee is likely strong enough to get me through Florida.
Overall this weekend reminded me why I love this sport so much and why I have so much to be thankful for. I am able to train and prepare for IM Florida with one of my best friends (who by the way also killed this race but I will let her write her own race report) and that alone makes me smile every day. It’s amazing how you can bring together a random group of people with the same interest and create a bond that is much deeper than the sport itself.
I also need to give Ricardo some love. Having someone at your race that is not racing but understands all the gear, nutrition, etc. that go into race day really makes a difference. He continues to be so supportive and takes away all my pre-race nerves. He equally provides support for all our friends racing. He made me lay everything out the night before, went over the contents of my transition bags again and again, he made sure Marjan’s bike was ready, he plans out the day so he can capture EVERYONE on camera, he drops us off so we don’t have to walk, and the list goes on. He may or may not take lots of beer breaks throughout the day but that’s okay, that’s why he does this sport! He literally runs for beer:) Our friend Kenji was also amazing support and always brings such positive energy! The rest of the crew had a great race as well. A few of us were not happy about our swim but overall the group seemed pleased with their times.
The only recommendation I have for this race…figure out a new check-in flow. It was terrible! The volunteers were super friendly and helpful but the flow for getting you race packet…needs improvement.
So…are we ready for Florida!? The countdown is on! #Ufffffff