Wildflower 2010 Race Report


Pre Race

Woke up @ 3:45 (7.5 hours sleep).  Drove 3 hours down from Pleasanton to Lake San Antonio with a Micky D’s rest stop / coffee top off / leg stretch.  Checked in (my “purple cap” wave was to leave at 8:35 as I already knew).  Set up my transition.  Did a little jogging & stretch cordz to warm up.  I got to the swim start area a hair over 10 minutes early.

SWIM START

When I arrived I saw the purple caps about to start!  The announcer started counting down.  I KNOW that my wave is supposed to leave at 8:35, but it’s only 8:25!  I ask someone “I thought the purple caps were leaving at 8:35?”  He looked at me like I’m crazy– “No, we leave now.”  I asked someone else “Is my cap the same color as yours?”   He looked at me like I’m crazy “yes.” The announcer started the wave.  I had to decide now!  I looked behind me– it didn’t look like there was another wave of purple caps back there getting ready to leave in 10 minutes.  I made a split second decision — better to go with the wrong wave than to risk missing my wave altogether!  And I went!
It was a case of absolutely perfectly bad timing.  If I was one minute earlier I would have had time to investigate and think to ask the RIGHT question (i.e. “What age group is this wave?”).  If I was one minute later I wouldn’t have even seen the other purple cap wave.   Turns out I was in the wrong wave (what the program called the “cardinal” cap wave which had 100% identical caps to my purple wave), so I left 10 minutes too early (which is why my swim was originally listed on the site as 21 minutes instead of 31!)

SWIM

Started pretty far back in the pack because I had to get up there at the very last second.  Didn’t go anaerobic at all at start since I wasn’t very far up in the bunch.  I was able to draft for maybe 5 min of the race; otherwise I swam on my own.  On the way back in I stopped for a second to look around for other purple caps and didn’t see any so I gave up on drafting.  On the plus side, it freed me to take the best line back in.  On the swim to the boat ramp I made my annual mistake of aiming at the start banner instead of the orange exit banner (remember this for next year).

31:48 (rank: 195) SLOW!  I now realize I swam at my regular default OW wetsuit pace (IM intensity).   I have to admit I was distracted thinking about whether I had left with the wrong wave.  I didn’t get to start my watch, so I didn’t know how slow I was, which was good.  I sighted well, but I need to work on my drafting skills before IMCdA.

T1

I walked up the boat ramp a little then took my wetsuit off.  Then I jogged / walked up the rest of the ramp & jogged into transition.  (I used to run up the boat ramp, which is very tiring). A little sloppy in transition, but not bad.

BIKE:

This was my first WF with power.  The biggest value in having a power meter was holding back on the early steep hills even though it felt super easy and I was going the same pace as everyone else around me (racers of all shapes and sizes).  I spent the first 10-20 miles a little preoccupied with whether I had started in the wrong wave and I even asked a couple of people if they were in the purple cap wave, but I couldn’t find anyone who was (the “cardinal” caps were the 30-34 “B” wave).  It became obvious that I had been in the wrong wave when I only ended up seeing a couple of other people in my AG the entire time I was on the bike course.

My wattage caps were 290-300 on the hills 250 on the flats.  I eased off the power every time my speed was over 25 mph and coasted when my speed was over 30 mph.   By coasting and soft pedaling at higher speeds I got 45 seconds of “rest” (biking in my easy zone), including 15 minutes of coasting.  On the negative side, I spent almost 15 minutes above 300 watts (my wattage cap), which is surprising since I made an honest effort to stay below it!  This was truly a solo TT effort, and I didn’t benefit from any legal (or illegal) packs for even a second.  From what I saw it was a very legal race and I saw the draft marshals at least 10 times during the ride.

In the past I had tended to ride somewhat conservatively in HIM races, but today I thought I’d try to ride very close to my wattage caps, to see what I was capable of.  In reality, the course undulates so much and my speed changed so much that I was varying my wattage almost constantly based on my speed.   I did sometimes push HARDER (than I would have just based on PE) based on my power—I wonder if this is healthy.

I remember thinking after the ride that 230-240 watts on the flats and 270-280 on the hills would be my “green zone” for this course. (i.e. my absolutely safe wattages).  Anything above these wattages might be in my gray zone.

Time: 2:42:03 (rank: 55)
Wattage: averaged 220 watts (240 NP)
Nutrition: 600 cals of heed washed down with plenty of water.  1 1/3 cliff bars.  So approx 900 cals on the bike.  (I tend to eat at IM levels at this race to test my IM nutrition strategy)

T2:

Had a pretty good flying dismount.  A bit of a sloppy transition (overshot my spot, then starting going w/o garmin so I had to go back and get it).  But I was still 1 minute faster than my SUPER sloppy transition last year.

RUN:

I was concerned about the run because I’ve been having mysterious troubles with my running in training in over the last couple of weeks.  I started out running relaxed and my speed was good.  I forgot how many little steep hills there are in the first few miles along the lake.  I was running at my normal HIM effort.  I noticed that I was feeling a little weak on the uphills, but I wasn’t too concerned because I tend to get stronger as a HIM run goes on.

On the big uphill part of the course (mile 5) I realized I didn’t have my run legs and that I was going to have to adjust my strategy and expectations.  It was disconcerting be in survival / conservation mode so early in the run (I am accustomed to be the aggressor on the latter parts of the run.)   But I went to plan B and started walking short parts of the steep hills.  When I got to the top of the big hill, I was able to FLY down the hill and I realized that I would still be able to run the downhills quickly just on the basis of good technique.   Miles 6-10 are primarily downhill and I was able to keep a decent average pace (6:30s) by slogging through the flats and uphills and running the downhills very quickly.  I was able to muster a decent effort running out of the pit and held it together until the big Lynch Hill descent.  I ran quickly but controlled down Lynch Hill then ran pretty strong to the finish, but not all out.  I wish I had sprinted to the finish line (I missed 4th in my AG by just a few seconds).

I was only able to average 166 BPM on this run (last year at WF and at Big Kahuna Half this year I was able to average 171 bpm).

NUTRITION: drank 200 cals of heed in a ¾ liter bottle that I was holding in my hand.  Finished the bottle by mile 6.  Started to feel some hints of nausea, so 200 cal of heed per ¾ liter might be too concentrated for IM run.  After this I had a couple of the small cups of water and 1 cup of Gatorade.  So all in all I had a little over 200 cals on the run.

Time: 1:27:06 (rank: 14)

Finish: 4:45:19 (rank: 19th overall, 5th 35-39)

SUMMARY / LESSONS:

• Get to the swim start earlier (or later!)
• Swim a little more aggressively in a HIM.  My default pace is my IM pace, so I’ll need to concentrate a little bit.
• Work on my swim drafting before IMCdA.
• Watch my wattages more carefully.  I shouldn’t have spent almost 15 minutes above 300 watts.
• I’m not sure if my sub-par run was a result of biking too hard or if it was a continuation my poor running legs that I’ve had for the last couple weeks, or some combination of the two.
• On the plus side I was able to adjust and hold it together and put together a respectable run despite my not having my best legs.  I probably should have adjusted earlier and started walking parts of ALL the short and steep uphills on the first few miles.  It’s good to have the run/walk in my repertoire for such an occasion!
• Never give up hope!  Even though I was a bit distracted and bummed out by my mishap at the start (and a little concerned I might be DQ’d), and even though I didn’t have my usual strong run legs, I ended up having a much stronger placing than I would have hoped!    By the way, the WF people were very organized and nice about fixing my snafu.  (Although it was nice to see a 21 minute swim for a little while in the results.)
• 200 cals of heed for .75 liters might be too concentrated for a run drink.

About Coady

Lucky to be coaching some really awesome & fun people!
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Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Tell me more about this perpetually shaved neighbor.

  2. admin says:

    Ha! Your interest disturbs me!