It’s three weeks until Barb’s Race (Half Ironman triathlon) in Sonoma County. Caryn and I drove to the race site to ride the entire bike course and part of the run course on June 30. I still have a bad taste in my mouth.
Yeah. It was bad.
But first things first. Barb’s Race (and Vineman) is a two-transition-area race. The swim and bike start at Johnson’s Beach in Guerneville and the run start/finish is at Windsor High School (about 17 miles away). The swim is in the Russian River. The bike course takes you through the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valleys — to say it is stunning terrain is an understatement. The run is hilly.
Caryn and I were prepared. We met at Windsor High School, put her bike and cycling gear in my car and drove together to Johnson’s Beach to get a true sense of the course at the actual distance. We were all ready to go — bikes put together, directions taped to aero bars, nutrition on board — and Caryn made a glaring discovery:
I hadn’t left my running gear in her car at T2!
We figured out a way to get my shoes and visor there, though it wasn’t pretty. I’m just so glad she thought of it before we left my car! It would have been heartbreaking to have gotten to the high school and not been able to run. (Actually, maybe that would have been better.)
The ride was fine. Nothing spectacular (other than the views – which I did not slow down to photograph for your benefit), but not horrible. Both of our legs were tired from previous workouts, so we weren’t killing ourselves. I rode this race course last year when Greg was training for Vineman, but my intention this year was to figure out my nutrition, when it’s beneficial to be in the aero bars, and how much Chalk Hill will hurt this year. Mission accomplished on all three: 1/2 PB + apple sandwich and two hydration bottles, miles 20-40, and mildly.
A few additional notes about the bike course… 1) The roads are rough. It’s very hard to relax because the roads are full of potholes, repairs, and cracks. 2) I hope the race officials minimize car traffic on race day because there is no shoulder/bike lane in most places and it’s a little scary sharing the road with drivers who have been wine tasting all day. 3) I also hope the race officials have the roads swept before race day. The amount of broken glass and loose gravel on the road is bad news.
We got to Windsor High School and made a not-so-quick transition to the run. I had been talking about how much I didn’t want to run since about Mile 22 on the bike, which certainly didn’t help. It was hot and later than we intended it to be. Quite simply, I was over it by that point. I stopped at 1.5 miles and declared, “I don’t want to do it anymore.” Caryn concurred and we turned around, cutting our intended distance in half.
We headed back down to Johnson’s Beach to retrieve my car and I drove the run course. HILLY. Now, I’m totally psyched out. Also, I did not do enough research on the Barb’s run course versus the Vineman run course. For Vineman, the course is a loop that includes running through La Crema winery. It’s hot and exposed, but not hilly. Barb’s Race is an out-and-back that does not run through La Crema. In addition to having to run all of those hills twice, we have to run clear back to the transition area and then head back out onto the course for 2.2 miles before finishing. I just can’t imagine how defeating it will be to run to the finish area and then have to run back out.
So now I’m contemplating going back up to Windsor for a day trip that will allow me to run the course and properly set my expectations for how bad it’s going to hurt. I just don’t want to defeat myself before I even start, which is pretty much how I feel now. I did a 54-mile ride + 2 mile run this past Sunday, talking myself out of the prescribed 4-mile run. I have a mental block on running.
Any one up for a trip to wine country? My run will take about an hour and then I’ll treat you to a tasting!
Weekly Workout Wrap-up
Sunday: Active recovery – 12 mile bike ride + core + massage
Monday: 2000-yard swim + 4.5-mile run
Tuesday: 90 minutes cycling (45 mins SFRs)
Wednesday: 1750 yard swim + core
Friday: 2000-yard swim
Saturday: Active Recovery – 2 mile walk + a few laps in the pool