Wednesday, July 15, 2015

10 years in a row, VIneman 2015

Wow, hard to think that I've been doing triathlon for more than a decade, and that I've spent a weekend in July every summer for that decade racing in wine country with friends at Vineman.  Vineman was the first half where I qualified to 70.3 Worlds and outside of Kona, is my favorite race. There is something about racing close to home, on a familiar course with tons of friends on course for support.  When I go to visualize race day each year, it gets easier and easier as I know the course so well that it's just fun to go through the day in my head OK maybe not fun to go through the part where I get RUN down but we can talk about that later.  I've been super pooped the past few days, but am excited for the recovery to be over and to start the build to Kona!

It had felt like an odd build for Vineman as I took 3 weeks off after Texas (May 18th), and then did a small 3 week cycle for Vineman.  Last year was different as I raced in early April and not May, so had a much more robust lead into the race.  Needless to day, I wasn't sure what was going to unfold on race day.

best Air B&B house ever
I was excited to race, and just as excited for the post race activities- we were going to stay over and do a wine tasting and have a fancy dinner with friends.  YES, please!  I had made Kayla and I pre-race salty balls but kept them in the freezer and on my mental checklist of "things to grab as we left the house".  Guess what's still in the freezer?  Kayla got the ingredients and I made a new batch Saturday night at our most excellent and retro Air B&B before we went to bed.  A pee strip to check hydration levels (how proud are you Stacy?!!) before bed and we were ready to (try to) snooze.

Breakfast- Rice, 2 eggs, avocado, bottle of active and a vita coco coffee (very tasty!).
On way to race: bottle of pre-load, spoonful of PB
Right before race: half banana
Coeur Teammies and CG!
Total AM kcals:  ~850

Swim:  EXCITEMENT...shiny new BIG 70.3 swim PR of 27:30, 2nd in the AG
I got in the water and knew that the goal was going to be to stay with friend and Stanford Masters lane mate, Christine.  CG is such a fast swimmer that I thought this would be s stretch goal, but it's only a half and I needed to be comfortable being uncomfy.  So I lined up next to her and then after the gun went off, we charged and were quickly in the lead.  We swam side by side until the turn around, where we were running into more and more folks from the previous waves.  After the turn it became harder to stay with her due to congestion...and her speed, but I kept her in sight and knew that I was having a good swim. I didn't look at my watch or the race clock (who can do that math when you start 60+min after the first wave?!) as I knew if we were the first out of the water, the time didn't matter too much.  I hit the line just :24 after her for a PR of almost a minute in a 70.3 swim.  Maybe I should only go to masters 2x a week all the time and have Christine at all of the same races? BIG thanks to the Roka team as the Maverick Pro is obviously a huge advantage in the water!!

T1: Rookie alert...I had run the transition that morning and felt confident of where my bike was, but somehow went down the wrong row and ended up searching around for it for about a minute :(  I left T1 JUST behind Christine and it was time for us to ride!

Bike Nutrition: 3 bottles Osmo Strawberry Active, almost half recipe of salty balls ~301kcals/hour

Bike: 2:35:38
The bike loves its vino too!
Good new for Vineman this year?  The normally really terrible West Side Road had been GLORIOUSLY repaved and we would have smooth tarmac for about the first 40 miles and then a bad few before hitting the last 6 of smooth pavement again. This was amazing as the road surfaces are typically pretty bad and it affects how/when you can pass.  No issues with that this year and I set out of T1 chasing Christine.  Girl was PUSHING the pace which was good as I had wanted to go HARD on the bike this year.  Mission accomplished!  I passed Christine for the lead maybe 10 miles in?  I kept telling myself there were only 56 miles and I needed to be working all of them if I wanted to have any chance of winning this race.  Around mile 40 I made sure to have food as Chalk Hill is at 42 and you need to be topped off to do well on the remaining miles.  I got to the top of the hill and saw Mark in his usual spot waiting to cheer me on.  He encouraged me ok, shouted at me to throw it in the biggest gear I could and hammer home.  By the time I came off the bike, I had about a 3 minute lead on the next gal in the AG. Would it be enough?

Run nutrition: bottle of half scoop pre-load and 1 scoop active on the way out of T2 to top off hydration in order to avoid on course gatorade,  5hr energy on way out ot T2, 1 pack Muscle Milk energy chews, cups of coke at most aid stations, glucose tabs over the last 10k. ~300/kcals/hour

Run: 1:41:10, pace of #notawesome
Photo Cred: @heatherrosescott
Thanks @heatherrosescott
Not much to say other than the run will continue to be a focus of mine as we head into Kona.  I struggle as soon as the earth even points remotely up to keep up a good pace.  On flats, I can run ALL day long STRONG, but this course is far from flat and I will need to improve my run to improve my placing here next year.  I don't know that I've ever come off of the bike in 1st place.  Mark was there but would have to take off at some point to go race his own race (best husband/coach ever award for getting up at o'dark thirty to get me race ready, cheer almost all day long and then go race his own race).  Mark was able to get some splits and Sonja was 2nd off the bike and was going to be hard to keep away.  We have been racing together for years and it is great to finally be on the same team this year. I headed into the just over a mile loop in the La Crema vineyard around mile 7 and then hit the out and back where I would finally see what was coming.   Around mile 8, Sonja was closing in quickly and I knew that the pass was near.  Just behind her was Jen (who had a baby only 18 months ago?!) who was HARD charging.  Sonja ran with me side by side for a while and wanted me to go with her, but I just didn't have it in me (maybe mentally more than physically?) to go with her.  Being in fight mode with friends and people I love is hard for me.  I tend to just back down...can't seem to want to "kill, kill, kill" some of my dear friends!  This is obviously something to work on and thankfully I don't know most of the girls in Kona, so I can mentally do a bit better.
Bad Ass W35-39 Podium

Shower in a box!
I hit the line in 3rd, about 5 minutes back from Jen and 2 back from Sonja.  It was awesome to hang with them post race and then cheer for Kayla as she crushed it as well with 2nd in the 30-34 AG just two weeks before Lake out ladies of Placid!!  We bought some wipes from the corner store (shower in a bathroom for the win!) got a quick snack before the awards and then it was officially time to celebrate by wine tasting and dinner at a nice restaurant. Mark made it back from his own race with just enough time for a wipe shower of his own before our dinner reservation.  It was an awesome way to celebrate the days accomplishments...good friends, food and vino.
ewww, what was that?!!

His and hers vino awards