So going into this race I was pretty confident in the training that I had done. Everything had gone well. No injuries or anything like that. The biggest thing I was nervous about was the distances. Big surprise I know. The furthest I had swam (that I was keeping track) was 1 mile. The furthest I had cycled was about 70 miles. The run I wasn't worried about. Because earlier this year I had completed a 100 mile foot race that lasted 23 hours. So I knew that no matter how tired I was that I could keep moving and finish the race. We packed up and headed out on Thursday the 25th of July. It was a long rode trip.
With a mud slide on I-80 that added an hour and a half to our 12.5 hour trip. Car sickness and all that fun stuff that comes with traveling with kids. On Friday morning at breakfast we found Zach who is a good friend of my little brothers from high school. He was there with his mom and little brother. I went with them to go do a practice swim at the Russian river at Johnson's beach. On the way there we saw lots of cyclists that were riding the course. When we got to Johnson's beach there were lots of people there going the same thing we were.
Got our numbers and time chips. Watched the prerace video. And got outta there. I never like spending too much time at the expos. We also had to set out our T-2 transition stuff at Windsor High school. It's was the first race that I had done where the two transitions happened in different locations. It was kind of hard deciding which off the little things I would need at which location.
We went out for a nice big pasta dinner at Olive Garden
and went back to the hotel to try to get some sleep. Went to bed pretty early, so it took quite a while for the kids to calm down. Finally they did I and I was able to get some sleep to. I always get so nervous for any race that I'm in. Wether it's a 5k or a marathon. This race was no different. Anyways got some sleep, woke up at 3:55 am. Had some eggs and a has brown that I had saved from the hotel breakfast the previous morning. It didn't taste very good. But it was good enough. I had woken up with a little bit of a cough, like I was getting a cold. Wasn't too excited about that. Got all my stuff together and grabbed some cough drops to help out with this little cough. I had 3 water bottles on the bike. One up front that was easy to refill through the top and one I filled with Gatorade, and one I filled with this nasty tasting stuff called EFS. Which was full of electrolytes. So I loaded up my stuff into Zach Pendeltons car. Who is good friends with my little brother and who came out and paced us for a while during the 50 miler last October. So his little brother drove us to the start line at Johnson's beach. We got out of the car and it was pretty cold. The humidity was so thick that you could see the water falling in the air but it wasn't raining. Lots of athletes there. The race was very organized. They guided us down to the transition area, where we got all our bike stuff set up.
Got our body markings, made one last trip to the porta pottys and put on our wetsuits. The hour passed very quickly and it was time to start the race. I was in the first wave -35 and under with the elites and pros. I was nervous but excited to get the race underway. We had just a couple minutes to tread water before it started. I was about middle of the pack to start. It was ptty crazy at the beginning. I kept hitting people. It didn't hurt but wasn't really something I was totally comfortable with. In my other triathlons I would just let people pass me and swim on my own. But I just kept swimming and dealing with the people on both sides of me in front and in back. The swim was - two out and back loops. So .6 miles up and then back then do it again. I had some comfort in knowing that if I get too tired I could just swim to the side or stand up. I was able to swim all the way to the first turn around which I was pretty happy with. At that point the water was about two feet deep so you pretty much had no choice but to walk for about 10 meters. Then it was time to head back. I was a quarter of the way done with the swim. Hit a few shallow spots that I wasn't even able to do a full swim stroke but just kept swimming thru it. Every once and a while moss would get caught in my mouth. Kinda gross. I pushed all the way to the half way point without stopping and was pretty happy about being half way done with the swim. I was thinking this was going way better than my half iron man swim went. Way better. I wasn't the same swimmer as I was last year. All those 5:30 am swim classes were paying off. With no rest at the halfway point I headed back upstream. Sometimes people passed me. By I found myself passing people quite a bit. Which I was lovin. Made it all the way up to the other turn around without stopping. I was 3/4 of the way done with the swim. I walked around the extremely shallow part and headed back downstream. I love swimming in the wetsuit. I can keep a pretty constant pace with barely even using my legs. Crossed under the last bridge and could see the end. I swam till the very end. I got out of the water literally bursting with joy that I just swam 2.4 miles with no problem. I had come a long ways from a year and a half ago not even bring able to swim once across the pool without being completely exhausted. So when I exited the water the crowd was real quiet. I let out this loud victory yell as loud as I could. The crowd went crazy and cheered for me all the way up the ramp. I think I even yelled I am a swimmer or something like that. As I was running to transition I was a little off balance. Seething about swimming for that long then breaking into a run made my balance off a bit. Luckily I didn't fall over though. I quickly made my way to where the "strippers" we're waiting. I sat down. They stripped the wet suit off. Helped me to my feet and I not over to find my bike in the rack. I was on the front row so u thought it would be easy to find. But I got a little disoriented and stood for like 20 seconds not finding my bike. After I found it I started to get ready for the bike. I was oozing with heat so I started second guessing wearing the under armor shirt that I had bought. I decided to wear it cause I knew it was only like 50 degrees out there. I mounted my bike and I began the 112 mile bike ride. The first few miles I was smiling big. I the past it has been because I was so glad the horrible swim was over with. This time I was smiling so big cause I was so happy at how the swim went. I even beat Zach out of the water. In the first few miles I was so glad to have that extra shirt on. It was cold and humid out there. The course was beautiful. Lots of rolling hills. Wineries around every corner. So much green. The bike portion went exactly like I thought it would go. I train at about 17 mph and that's ptty much what I did the entire race. People passed me constantly. It felt like all 1000 people in the race passed me. Each person that would pass me I would look at their bike and how big their calves were. Both were ridiculous. Every 15 miles or so there was an aid station. I was very grateful for my aerobar water bottle that I was able to just dump the fresh water into. I ate lots of bananas and clif bars. About every mile I'd see someone with a flat tire. I kept hoping that it wouldn't be me. Around mile 40 or so I hit my "so low you wanna cry or die " stage. My butt hurt and it was hard to imagine riding 70 more miles. But I just kept chugging along. After the first 56 mile loop i started to get hot. But I didn't know what to do with my long sleeve shirt so I just kept wearing it. I also figured it was great sunscreen, with my fair complexion I need all the help I can get. I had to pee for about 3 hours but I didn't want to stop at any of the aid stations cause the was always a line. My garmin died at about mile 102. Which I wasn't too happy a out cause I never run without my watch. The last 10 miles were hot and hard. My butt was so sore. All I wanted was to get off that bike and start running. After 7 long hours I reached Windsor high school for transition. This was also the first time I got to see April and the kids. Which was so great to see their smiling faces. I put on my running shoes, applied a thick layer of sunscreen, took some electrolyte pills and headed out on the 26.2 mile run. Saw the family one more time and started off on my journey. It felt so good to be off that bike. I was flying by people for the first few miles. I had no idea how fast I was going without a watch but it was fun. The run course was a 3 loop out and back. After each lap you get a wrist band. If the whole race passed my on the bike I was going to catch a lot of them on the run. I didn't feel like eating guy's anymore. S I started drinking coke at every aid station. They also had juicy California peaches that really hit the spot. The first lap felt like it took a long time bt Hink I was around a 7:40 min pace. I saw Zach at about mile 2 so he was probably about an hr ahead of me. So I knew I wouldn't catch him. After the first lap I saw my family. Once again after I saw them I got all choked up like a little girl and had to hold back the tears. The 2nd lap was very long. I was slowing down and had to go to the bathroom. It was also starting to cool off which felt so good. That chilly humid breeze was perfect. Saw the family again at lap two. So much fun seeing them. The last lap was tough. I knew I could do it. But I was slowing down a lot. It was fun running the last four miles knowing I had my two wristbands and I was on the home stretch. After over 12 hours of racing it was time to sprint across the finish line. I let out a yell threw up my arms and ran across the finish line. They gave me my finishers medal. Zach was there to congratulate me. I grabbed some food and went and found my family. April could see me getting choked up when I saw them. What can I say. I’m kind of a baby. But seriously that’s one of my favorite parts of racing. Is seeing my loved ones when I cross the finish line. What an amazing day. I can now check off an ironman from my bucket list. A few short years ago this race was completely inconceivable. But here I was at the finish line after a long hard day.