Ironman Vineman 2016

We headed over to Santa Rosa, California on Tuesday this week with this race being a Saturday Ironman.

It was nice to explore such a beautiful, relaxing and not-quite-so-Tucson hot climate in the days leading up to the race. If you have never been to the wine country you should put it on your list!

Swim-55:38 8th out of the water

The swim took place in the picturesque Russian River which is a small, narrow, dammed river which in some places is only 1 foot deep.  As we entered the water I was shivering violently. It was a small pro field and most of the guys were fast swimmers so I was happy that I didn’t end up swimming alone! The monotony of a very comfortable effort on the swim was only interrupted by “running aground” and then dolphin diving until we made it into deeper water once again. As the swim finish drew near I tried to prepare myself mentally for the pain that was about overtake me…I’m talking about another bike ride in 50 degree temps…and the punishment my poor legs would certainly be receiving.

 

Bike-4:33:41 4th off the bike

Getting on the bike I knew the ground lost on the swim would have to be made up here. I put my head down and got to work with Chris McDonald keeping me company. The watts were high, my heart rate was low and the distance to the front of the race was slowly coming down. I have never felt so comfortable on the bike in an Ironman which I know is due to two things, all the time spent working in the gym trying to fix muscular imbalances/building strength and having the absolute fastest equipment available! This was another very honest/difficult bike course with tons of turns, small and large hills and several long flat sections through the wine fields. The roads were either freshly repaved asphalt or just plain bumpy as hell! I have to say that entering T2 I was happy to be off my rocket ship, I mean my bike!

 

Run 3:05:11 4th starting the run

Starting the marathon, the temperature was now climbing into the eighties and I could finally feel my fingers and toes again. The beauty all around me was now a blur as the realization of how difficult this run course was going to be set in. It was three loops with a long hill at the beginning and an out a back flat section to the turn around. My pace through the first few miles wasn’t great and mentally I was struggling a bit until I made it to the first turn around and realized I was actually gaining time on the two guys in 2nd and 3rd  (Richie and Chris). Thoughts of a podium lifted my spirits and put a spring in my step and right on que my legs started to loosen up and it was go time! The miles ticked away and by the end of the first lap I found myself in third place. I have to say that this race is the first time I had absolutely no stomach issues at all (thanks Infinit for helping me get it dialed in perfectly). Toward the end of the 3rd lap I was feeling good (relatively speaking), I knew I had a bit of time between me and 4th place and I could see Chris was just a couple of minutes up the road in 2nd. I decided to throw caution to the wind and put in a surge on the uphill section to see if I could catch him. I made it to within 30 seconds and then it happened, my legs started getting tight and the pace that had just felt manageable now felt extremely difficult. I would like to say I found another gear or managed some Jedi mind trick but honestly my thoughts at this point were just keep it under 7:30, AND DON”T WALK! The up hill section to the finish felt a little cruel but the last few miles melted away as the cheers from the finish line carried me home! I am very happy to have another race with very few mistakes, to make the most of my present fitness and grateful for every opportunity to get out a do what I love!

Finish 3rd place overall 8:39:24

Our streak of amazing homestays goes on. Thank you Layne for welcoming us into your home and making us feel so comfortable!