Being out in the middle of nowhere at a reservoir means that everyone camps! A festival like atmosphere, with 8,000 triathletes all out for the weekend. Everyone from the pros from all around the world to competitive age groupers (myself) and the ubiquitous Team in Training athletes.
I have always raced Wildflower as a collegiate athlete, on the short course (Olympic distance). This year I am bumping it up to the half ironman distance- why? I am questioning it a little myself this morning as I work up the motivation to head out for my 13.1 mile testing run.
My goal this year of qualifying for USAT age group national championships, held August 20th in Burlington, Vermont- means that I need to place top 5 in my age group (F 25-29) at Wildflower. My backup qualifying race is the San Francisco Tri at Treasure Island, July 9th.
So- last year the girl who won my age group finished in 5 hours and 5 minutes (to give a little perspective, the first pro woman finished in 4 hours and 27 minutes!) which broke down to 37 min for the 1.2 mile swim, 2:43 min for the 56 mile bike, and 1:40 min for the 13.1 mile run.
I have 7 weeks to go and am testing myself at each distance this week to get an idea of where I am. Which brings me back to this morning's run! I will head out the door in just a moment.
Why am I racing the long course this year? Well, according to my "coach", Joe Friel of the "Triathlete's Training Bible" if my peak is going to be in August for nationals, then a longer distance event early in the season makes perfect sense. I will not be peaking for Wildflower, but the longer miles will be perfect training in this base building period. I also want to see what the long course is like! I have raced olympic distance there for the past 4 years and am ready to see what I can do over a longer haul.
Okay, now I am ready to go! Sometimes all it takes is watching a you tube video of the pro women hauling ass!
Here it is if you'd like a little inspiration:
(By the way, the tall skinny guy in the video at minute 5:30 or so in the red speedo and cowboy hat is my friend Jay, a pro cyclist he wasn't there to race, just came along to give a little extra, um, motivation to the competitors!)