Wildflower 2009 (and part three of the Neuschwander Family Challenge)

Another Wildflower come and gone. Tim and I have decided Wildflower is a family tradition. Readers if you want to know the real results go to the Wildflower homepage. It is the plight of a nurse to double chart and I've been spending more time functioning as a nurse than riding my bike lately ( GASP!!!) Anyway, I'm not going to publish all the race splits on my blog when they are published someplace else. I would rather give honors for categories that don't exist at the actual venue.

Awards are given for the following categories:

Wildflower Winners

Wildflower Wash Ups

Wildflower Wash Outs

Once again for more accurate race day information go to Slowtwitch.com. or somebody Else's blog. Thank you

Wildflower Winners:
Wildflower is one of the hardest halves known to man. I swear it is and I am not being my usual drama queen self. WF has a sweet spot for somebody each year. A sweet spot for somebody who has worked really hard and is really fit and has the mental toughness to do it. On this course, known for making large men cry, this person puts it all together. They execute all three disciplines to the best of their ability. At the end of the day she or he crosses the finish with the biggest smile and maybe a few tears of joy (even the boys would cry for this finish). S/he may be tired for weeks afterwards, but for months or maybe even a year they will float on air. In 2007 it was Tim's year. Tim PR'd at WF in 2008 but I'm claiming the honors. 2008 was my year...After the error in entry to Oceanside and the poor prior performance at WF I desperately wanted to prove myself. I had to show I had a good handle on a half as I was doing in a full Ironman in a months time. I think it was heavy on mind that it would be hard to outdo the happiness I felt on that day last year. Honest exhilaration is hard to recreate. I knew that from the start. There is a difference between being satisfied and finishing well ahead of exceeding what you thought possible you anticipated.
This years top honors goes to my friend Stacy. What she did at Wildflower simply validated what she was capable of. She deserved it. She worked hard and had huge improvements in swimming and biking on top of an already stellar run. She was set to have a really great race at Oceanside and just plain had bad luck. Aspirated salt water on the swim and dropped her salt tabs on the bike. That combination leads to a long day. No fair. While it may not seem fair, there is no guarantee that hard work and talent will equate with good race results. Yet as athletes we take that chance. We hope at the end of the day we will feel validated and accomplished. I'm glad this time things worked out for Stacy....I can't say I'm surprised.
I am also glad she had a good race for selfish reasons....Ummm ....On the way to the port a potties that morning I nervously tripped up the steps...Twice...and stepped on the back of Stacy's foot (twice). She was wearing flip flops so her foot flopped forward and she had a bruise on her foot before the race even started. The other reason is I gave her a blow by blow of the course. I specifically told her that no matter how hard or steep the hills seemed on the run she needed to think of the course as 12 miles. The last mile was all down hill. You really can't see the descent ahead until you are there. I saw people giving up and starting to walk when just ahead was the downhill. I think if they knew it they would have dug a little deeper. Mile 12 IS all downhill. The problem was the sign was misplaced. At the mile 12 marker, it was really only mile 11. She had a mile to run up where she thought she should run down. When I got there I knew she must have been cursing my name. Worse, I worried she would think I was pulling and underhanded maneuver. I think what happened is one of the mile markers was taken as a souvenir by some overenthusiastic racers. They probably view it as art. It's probably hanging in their garage. Of course my father in law Bruce get's male top honors....2nd place finisher in his age group. Top honors and yet again bragging rights. Oh dear, he doesn't even need to get the age graded champ award. Too bad his Splish Speedos already say "AGE GRADED CHAMP." By the way thanks for taking several minutes off your bike split....I was going to go with the theory that the course conditions/wind direction caused me to ride 2 minutes slower than last year. You had to go and mutilate my excuse by riding super fast.....jeesh. I never get a break do I?

Winners of bragging rights....Bruce and Stacy

Stacy going really, really fast

Wildflower Washup's:

Well that would be Tim and Jen. Apparently we have been nesting since we got married in September and really let ourselves go:) Tim didn't go sub 5 like last year and I was two minutes slower. We both went slower than last year. Tim has an excuse, he works more...I have none. My base is bigger, my training quality better but truth be told I didn't start the race with the attitude that I could outdo what I did a year ago. I was really tired from a bunch of work days that separated me from all the great training I had accomplished. I had a pleasant race, a comfortable race, but all in all I think my efforts were a bit mentally mediocre. I just needed another day or two to shift gears and refocus. It's hard to PR on mediocre efforts and attitude. I am not sure what this was all about but it was like I just got tired mentally. I had a great block of training after Oceanside. Moments where it was clear to me that if I went for it I could smash my time from last year. I swear. I have witnesses ;0) Moments on the track and trails at UCSD...running Soledad and doing the GWL/Laguna loop later that week. I was so psyched and my body felt capable. Not too tired, then I went back to work for a strecth of busy days and lost my focus. The thought of racing seemed so far off and my mind was a million miles away from visualizing an excellent race. All I could think about was working, sleeping, making coffee, packing, and needing more coffee. I felt run down and sort of blah. Clearly I was in bike withdrawal. Tim asked if I had the swine flu...because I looked bad in the car. I wasn't sick. I was quiet because I was tired and anguished because I had to PEE so bad and we were in LA stuck in traffic. Talk about an exercise in managing your suffering.
I love to train and find it rewarding in many ways that never ever are measured by races. The training you've done is meaningless if you can't balance other parts of your life and execute it. Some people learned everything about life in kindergarten...I learned a lot there but more riding my bike...You've got to know what gear to be in, when to change, how hard to push, when to coast, and how to roll with the least amount of resistance. This is a good lesson to learn in racing and life.
All in all I am happy with my day.....The real kicker is that something went wrong with the timing computers. I have a total time, Swim, T1 time, and Bike time. I have no T2 time or Run split....I think my run was 1:55, which would be 2 minutes faster than last year and the same run split as Tim and Bruce but I have no way to confirm that my assumption is correct. This is sad..because maybe, just maybe, the loose change after the 1:55 would be less than Tim's and Bruce's. If so I could bellow "I drop boys" to them over and over again....I could also pep myself up with the whole...."my run was faster than last year" I'm still processing how I feel about my race results. Currently I think the no run split is due to bad karma. I would use it to taunt Tim and Bruce relentlessly. I am not sure which head trips me more....the thought that I am slower than last year or the thought that I deserve bad karma because I talk "smack" to my husband and FIL (Father in law).
While we are there my race report.
SWIM: disappointed that the lake was full of algae this year....last year it was so nice. Worried I had moss in my teeth. Worried this would do to me what drinking super greens does....make me want to vomit and give me runners D. Happy I was not swimming alone. Disappointed when I found myself swimming alone....sighted and found myself off course. Got a little down...tried to get up, swam a little harder. Exited slowly since Andy Potts the pro had fallen on the algae and I don't transition to land gracefully. Frustrated when I saw the time on my watch....2 minutes slower than last year:0(
BIKE: Tried not to get down about swim. Felt sleepy tired and flat in my head. Thankful my muscles felt great, strong and fresh. Concerned I felt like I needed a nap in the aero bars. Supplemented with a little Motivator for motivation....It was just enough to stop me from sleeping in the aero bars. Noticed the scenery , the horses, cows, and how green it was. The course went by quickly and pleasantly. Kept up on my nutrition , hydration, and lytes...yeah I got it right. Chilled up Nasty Grade: it wasn't so bad as I remembered. It really wasn't bad at all. Didn't go to fast down the steepest hill as it dog-legged at the bottom and didn't think I could handle the change in wind direction with a disk. Stoked it for a few moments at the base and caught up with the cyclists who passed me before. Finished feeling better than at the start.... knowing my time was similar to last years. Not thrilled or dissapointed with the time just ready to run.
RUN: Surprised....my legs felt great. Like I hadn't even ridden the last 56 miles. In disbelief I could be feeling more energetic than I did a swim and a bike a go. Ran steady the first few miles. Braced myself for the "hard hellatious hills." They must have eroded. They didn't seem so big this year....I repeat they couldn't have been as big this year. They shrunk....Charged down the downhill and was happy when I hit pavement in the camp ground. It was easy to pick up the pace on steady footing and with the crowds howling....NO EARPLUGS FOR THIS GIRL. It has been advised to wear earplugs to drown out the distracting crowd. That's crazy talk to me. Prepared for the make work section ....miles 9-11. Where you run down a mile grade then back up it. The whole way down you see what you will have to come back up. Was ready for it...got a little fire. Planned to think if the grade coming back up as HOOKER HILL. I was going to kick that Ho Ho of a hills butt. I picked it up coming up the hill and before I really had to dig deep and resist the urge to throw in the towel the grade was behind me. It wasn't bad at all. It's like all day I was bracing myself for something really bad, really hard and something would fail at. It was all behind me and late in the game my it finally hit me that I could possibly beat last years time. I picked it up and really worked it the last 4 miles. The last mile I dropped 6 guys going down the hills. One guys ran up next to me and asked if I wanted to race to the finish. I choked out, "What do what you want, I'm passing every man in front of me." That was pretty fun. I finished strong. Happy only wishing I would have had my confidence earlier.
In retrospect even if my brain seemed to be absent I don't think I could have gone much faster even on my best day.

Wildflower Washouts:

That would be Seth, Val, and Cindy.Sorry guys. Val actually deserves the biggest award for the weekend. She hosted us and made us homemade BUTTERMILK CAKE. Yummy.
You know I am in dangerous territory call my mother in law a washout. She can handle it. Whenever we visit and go to masters I swim in ladies lane with Cindy. My mother in law laps me relentlessly over and over again. There is no mercy. Cindy was planning to do the Long course with as a relay with Val as the runner. Seth and Val are now expecting so it was decided that Val might not want to run 13.1 miles on unstable and brutal terrain. Gee, I don't know why. Cindy isn't "supposed" to run due to some orthopedic knee issues. She's hoping Tim will hook her up with a replacement knee guaranteed to run a sub 3 hr marathon. She is wondering what is taking Tim so long. Anyway Cindy changed her entry to the Olympic. After getting up before 5 a.m. and being at the race course until after 7:00 p.m. she wasn't feeling so great. She had to wait for Bruce to claim his award. (Some people and their never-ending spot on the podium). Anyway by Saturday night she was feeling pretty bad and looking pretty dehydrated. She spent the race counting calves for Bruce....So dedicated to the job she didn't drink much. She might have to go to the bathroom and miss a calf. She promised me someday if I get fast she'll count calves for me too. ....right now there are too many calves age 30-34 in front of me. She should probably get an award for her support but this family is tough. You know the T-shirt....so and so went to Aruba and all I got was this lousy t-shirt....Well I think a Splish suit stating Wildflower Washout would be just the ticket. How about that for Mother's Day. If it's a problem we can have it changed to "Wife of the age graded champ"
Seth has been having some knee problems as well so he called it a day after the bike ride. He exited the water in 26 minutes. Second in his age. That's fast.....he doesn't go to Master's. We were questioning him on how he does it. Then I saw a picture of him swimming as a lifeguard. I asked if it was really hard to pull people. His answer was not as hard as swimming while pulling a boat, which is how we train. No more questions. I say I want to swim faster but if pulling a boat is the secret I guess it's not that important to me after all.
The aftermath:
Sunday was Funday. In all honesty this was why Cindy didn't race. She cared more about hanging out with her family then hammering on the course. After all she can hammer any day hanging out with Bruce (my FIL) ....."Sprint Jen, you're almost to the top, it's just around the corner"....said 5 miles from the top of Mt. Diablo. Sunday we slept in then headed to downtown SLO for breakfast. Cindy bought some material at a craft shop to make Tim some OR caps. Tim entertained himself by purchasing a funny cap with hippie hair sticking out. It looked quite real. My eyes were really red from the wind and pollen on Saturday so I looked like a druggie. We walked around SLO hand in hand for a while. What a sight. Later visited one of the vineyards. It was nice. After that we packed up for the long drive home.

Seth with the transition rack all to himself...must be nice to be ahead of the pack!

Sunglasses to hide my bloodshot eyes and match Tim's new hair

1 comment:

tim said...

next time the hair will be worn under the helmet.