Thursday, July 23, 2009
Last Sunday, I took the last step to validate my lottery entry for Kona. In order to race, you need to complete a half-length Ironman race within a year of the event. I started with the last wave start of the morning at 8:30AM with a 1.2 mile swim in the Russian river. Our wave of 45-49 year old guys was the largest (219). Laurie and Forrest were there to wish me well and stayed for the swim to bike transition. I was out of the water in 39 minutes and then on to the bike for a 55 mile ride through the lovely vineyards of Sonoma county. At about 35 miles, I came across a fire crew removing a fallen tree limb. I learned later it had pinned three riders, stopping them in their tracks. Two suffered broken collarbones and one is still in the hospital! I finished the ride in 3 hours, 11 minutes at the town of Windsor. I then started the 13.1 mile run in 95 degree heat. The road wound through country roads past farms and pastures to the turn around at the La Crema winery. It is an out and back course so you see the other runners going the opposite direction. The nectarines at the water stations were to die for! Part of the body marking for the race is your age written on the back of your left calf. At the last mile of the race, I came upon a 72 year old man (who likely started with one of the first waves around 6:30 AM). That was an inspirational moment. Laurie and spent the day at the Windsor High School in the heat waiting for me to come in from the ride and then the run. Tavo, Robin and Benjamin arrived a couple of hours before the finish. It was so nice to see all of those friendly faces at the end of the race. Laurie dropped Forrest down into the chute as I was finishing. I didn't know other parents had been picking their kids up to cross the line with them. I waved and ran to the finish and then turned around to see Forrest crossing the line after me! What a treat! I finished 114 out of my 219 person age group and 1361 out of the entire field of 2286. From what I have heard, you double your 1/2 ironman time and add an hour and this prety much predicts your full ironman time. If that is what I can expect, I should be able to complete the Kona race well ahead of the 18 hour cutoff.
Aside from a need for a good sleep and a little lightheadedness from dehydration, I felt pretty good the next day. We drove up the California coast, stayed the night in Crescent City and then drove up the Oregon coast as far as Coos Bay, then over to I-5. Forrest was a real trooper for being in the car seat for so long, thanks to Thomas the Tank Engine, Blues Clues and Shaun the Sheep DVDs. Laurie was a great help and support for the whole trip. I could not have done this without her.
Now its back to training...