Is it just me or do you do it too? Do you assess the competition before every triathlon to see who you’re up against?  Somehow it helps me mentally prepare for the race.  Since my first full Ironman in 2011, when I stood on the podium for the first time, I began to pay attention to who was standing next to me.  One hundred and seventy six women were registered for Santa Rosa 70.3 in my age group and 25 of them are All World Athletes (AWA). Needless to say, I was not expecting to podium Saturday, but I knew the competition would fire me up!

SR 70.3 has a double transition, which requires athletes to catch a bus in downtown Santa Rosa at T2 to get up to Lake Sonoma. The first bus left downtown at 4 a.m. and the last left at 5 a.m. The race stared for age groupers at 6:20, an earlier start than normal.  The night before the race I fell asleep at 9:30 and woke up at 1:30 and never went back to sleep.  On four hours of sleep, I prepared for a day that started with cold temps (45 degrees) and quite a bit of wind (10-15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph). Although the morning conditions were a little brutal, I knew the cool temps would be welcomed later in the day.

Kelly and I at T2 for bike check in at Lake Sonoma.

The race was huge, second largest 70.3 Ironman according to the race announcer!  With more than 2500 registered, shuttle bus logistics, and T1 closing at 6:15, there were not enough bathrooms to accommodate the number of athletes. If you plan on doing SR 70.3 bring a pair of extra shoes for T1 transition, it’s a long transition and only a short part of it is carpeted.

Lake Sonoma was gorgeous and the water was not too cold.  Race officials moved the swim to less choppy waters after the weather predicted high winds, I for one was grateful! The vineyards along the bike course were beautiful and the hills were still green and full of life. The wind was heavy but mostly at our backs with just a few gusts from the side and bit of occasional head wind.  The run is flat and fast, it meanders along a creek and it’s mostly shaded.  Personally, I loved the course and I would recommend SR 70.3!

I have the best fans EVER!  Aly tracks the leaders in my age group and she lets me know how hard I need to push to catch them.  When I started the second run loop she told me I was close to two girls but she still wasn’t sure my place.  I passed one girl with about a mile left and then I could see the second girl a few hundred yards ahead of me.  With the finish line less than a half a mile ahead I caught up to her.  I told myself be patient, don’t pass her, just wait until you’re closer to the finish line.  I couldn’t wait, I got too excited, I had never been this close and I felt strong. I surged ahead and passed and as soon as she saw my age on my calf she dug deep and picked up her pace. We battled through the chute to the finish line and in the end she beat me, or so I thought. I really learned my lesson, it’s not just who is in front of you, it’s also who’s behind you. Race as hard as you can and finish as fast as you can because you never know how the cards will fall.  I took second place in my age group at SR 70.3, a whopping 16 minutes behind first place and only 25 seconds ahead of third place.

Thank you Freeplay Magazine for your support, I’m proud to represent the magazine and the team! Thank you Sacramento Running Association (SRA) for your support, such a great group of people with many killer events!

Now back to BIG training, 2 ½ months until Santa Rosa Ironman. Live your Passion, make it happen!