||Wildflower Long Course Relay race report
||Half - Ironman
This might be a helpful report for those of you who cannot or do not want to (smart!) race the Wildflower Long course as you have other races scheduled in this busy spring...or maybe you just got back from running a marathon or two in the spring and need more prep before you can compete in the longer distance triathlons again.
Well, consider participating in a relay! You still get a medal, a finish time in your team's name, great training or racing plus the team experience! I could not do the WF long course as I have the Hawaii Ironman 70.3 coming up in less than 4 weeks..just training was on my schedule for this weekend and a couple of shorter races this month in prep for the 70.3.
Also, those of you who feel they are not ready but want to check out the bike or run leg, and others who are injured, this is a great opportunity to still experience part of the Long course and the WF Festival weekend! This is the place to get inspired! The Expo is excellent, too!...and if you like camping and adventure you should not miss this!
But here is how I ended up on a relay team named team "TRI-UMPH" this week:
I replied just days before the WF weekend to another clubber's email request for a long course running team member as I was planning on driving up to WF anyway. The atmosphere is so inspiring especially at the beginning of the season when you can spend a weekend with thousands of triathletes and the pros. I also love to run on the trails and needed a long training run anyway on Saturday before my long bike on Sunday. I just could not say no to the request and next thing I know I am driving up to WF with another mission.
Just in time before the race package pick-up and registration closed on Friday evening we arrived at Lake San Antonio. The transfer to a new relay team member and race package pick-up went smooth.
The only question mark was prep amongst some of the team members: The cyclist on the team told me that she signed up just recently and was not sure how long it would took her to complete the hilly 56 mile course. No problem, I said, it's a relay and we are all just doing the best we can. The swimmer was a young woman from Northern Cal who swam on a college team, but told me on race morning that she never swam in the open water before. We took our best guess in predicting when to expect our swimmer in T1 and when I could expect our team mate on the bike in T2.
I knew that I was just going to run in training pace but my biggest challenge was the wait for the start of my run until about 2:30pm. Well, I decided to just make the best of it and hydrated throughout the morning and stayed out of the sun and as much off my feet as possible after watching the swimmers at the start and in T1 and shopping at the expo. Another great advantage of being the runner was that I could also watch the male and female pros and age group winners cross the finish line. Samantha McGlone was amazing, so was my favorite Chris McCormack, the current world champion!
Well, it turned out the swimmer was faster than predicted and the cyclist had a good bike ride despite her doubts of being ready. I got to T2 a little earlier than we predicted but still way later than after the cyclist arrived. Team Tri-Umph did amazing though, our first time open water swimmer swam a great 28:33, our cyclist had a great ride with a 4:00 ride, and I ran in a comfortable training pace just a minute and a half faster than predicted in 1:43:30..a great finish time and splits for a team that did not know each other and a great 11th place in the open female relay division. Plus, extra fun for me was that I got to cheer on many runners on the run...and got to experience crossing the Wildflower finish line one more time.
If I don't race Hawaii or another Half again around this time next year, I plan on coming to WF and compete in the Long Course as it favors the cyclists and runners and those of us who love to climb hills and get technical on the bike and have fun climbing even more while running on the trails!
What a unique and challenging experience the long course is... but great prep for any race including the tough Hawaii race that is coming up!