This week ended with my first big test to see how my training has been going. From this point on, almost every week will include a new maximum of something or longest distance. This was the Vineman Full Aquabike race in Sonoma, CA. Never before, have I recorded these distances in a race and although it was just a training race, there was certainly quite a bit going on in my head. I knew I could swim the distance in the pool, and when the set is broken up…but wasn’t sure how I’d do with swimming straight through. The 2.4mile swim was about average. (Although all of our Garmins indicated a slightly longer course than is should have been at 2.7 –which then means my time was great not just average).
The 112 mile bike course (2 loops of a 56 mile course) includes some of the most beautiful scenery and rolling hills throughout northern Sonoma County in the Napa Valley Region. Those “rolling hills”, however, are deceiving. I’ve done the half Ironman course here on two previous occasions and knew what to expect for the first loop…but definitely new territory on the 2nd loop. Feeling good through about 65 miles then the combination of increased temperatures (up to about 97 degrees) and some winds picking up for a while, really slowed me down. Obviously, this is where you benefit from the longer rides and time in the saddle for training. The legs felt very heavy and toes were numb for the majority of the second loop. This was a challenge – slowed me, but stopping was never an option. I really had to see how my body would do handling this distance. Nutrition was much better overall for this race, but I can see that it still needs serious attention in order to have enough stamina to handle the 26 mile run off the bike. Finished strong, which is one of the things I’ve always prided myself on doing.
Although, I’ll do whatever it takes to finish. I may have to walk or even crawl to the end, but finishing is the target.
This turned out to be much more of an emotional race than I expected since I broke down some more mental barriers dating back to my accident in 1987. I’m not really concerned about posting times here; I know where I am and where I want to be. I’m not racing against others, I’m racing for myself. I may never win in the sense of being first over the line, but for me, I win every time I show up to a race. As you learn more about my story and what drives me, you’ll understand better.