I can’t understand why I both love and loathe this event. In the last 3 years, using several different training strategies, my times have all landed in the same 4 minute window. This year, I finished in 6:24.
And of course, the inevitable BUT.
I had a great swim, totally relaxed and this year I decided to hammer my transitions — amusing but true. I flew out of T1, managed not to lose my biking gloves which I had planned to put on while riding, and attached that heinous first hill up from the lake. It was then, Wildflower through a new curve. Sure, I was prepared for heat and excited that temps were going to stay near a reasonable 80 degrees, but I was not prepared for wind! No, please not wind, and please not the first relatively benign first 20 miles of the race into a head wind. Ugh.
I would persevere, keep grinding and watching solid bikers of all age groups pass me like I was on a beach cruiser. I hit the nasty grade feeling ok and actually passed like 30 people on the hill and if not for some cramping in my left hip I would have mashed my way home a bit faster. Unfortunately, the bike time was mediocre (I blame the wind — the pros were even 10-15 minutes slower this year), and the wind sucked the moisture right out of me so I think I was a bit dehydrated.
The run is always mental, and this year, I pretty much phoned it in. I was in far better shape than the 2:22 I walk/loafed to. I was a bit queasy and my legs were spent, but I am realizing to get myself under 6 hours, I just need to raise the pain threshold and bear it.
That said, it is always gratifying to finish this beast of a course and my finishing mile was quite speedy if for a few hop skips due to sudden cramping in my calf.
Oh, and my transitions were my best EVER. Amusingly, I took off my bike gloves with a mile to go and jammed them into my tri-shorts. Around 4 miles into the run, I discovered them working their way down my backside.
My brother Durdam turned in a fine performance for his first Wildflower (and first half IM) finishing just 2 minutes behind me and he had the guts to run the entire way!
I will break 6 hours at some point.