Saturday, May 5, 2012

Wildflower Long Course (Troy)

May 5, 2012 – Lake San Antonio, Bradley, CA
1.2mSwim - 56km Bike - 13.1m Run

5:10:04 (31:40-3:04-2:56:08-2:46-1:36:26)


21st, M40-44


Ben Lee, Bruce Belden, Clyde Floyd - FCA.Cory Floyd - FCA, Dale Jackson, Dan Perkins - FCA, David Blackmon - FCA, Dennis Lee, Heather Gollnick, Jim Grant, John Wilson - FCA, Reynold Lewke - FCA, Richard Craft - FCA

My goal today is to match last year's time of 5:10 (turned out that 5:10 was last year's goal time & I actually got 5:18).  I'm going to need a good run but that's the part that feels slow and sluggish.  Maybe because after the Boston Marathon I never ran farther than 5 mi.

As I ride down to transition, it's a beautiful bright day, but I'm still concerned about the swim.  I have a problem getting cold.  And I'm not very confident about the bike.  Although I've been riding often, it hasn't been on the tri-bike which isn't as comfortable and takes some getting used to.

I set up transition and call my Dad.

On all of our hearts this morning is the passing of our cat, Brooke, last night.  Our neighbor's son, Sam, has taken care of her for years when we go on these trips, so she was in good hands, but had decided it was time to go.  She was 15.  She always seemed happy but did have a thyroid condition that rev'd up her metabolism and put extra strain on her body.  Despite her difficulties, she was always sweet and eager to be wherever family was.  She got to experience Auburn and the girls getting old enough to know how to really love her.  In return, she slept on Anna's bed at night.  When I was a kid I enjoyed my cat sleeping on my bed.

My Dad's a veterinarian and gives me good advice for Brooke's plans.  (After returning home we had a nice burial in the back yard with our neighbors in attendance)

I'm waiting in my group for the race start.  I don't see my FCA Endurance teammates but do see 2 MultiSport Ministries guys (They are a partner Christian men's triathlon team).  The 3 of us pray together before our race.  I bump into Jim Grant, doing his 20th long course in a row.  We raced together as friendly competitors for years!

Before the start I'm noticing I feel cool.  I can feel the chilly morning breeze through my wetsuit arms.  Then I notice all the cuts in my worn-out wetsuit.  Oh no, If I'm getting cold already, I'll be shivering by the turn-around buoy and I hate being cold.  I pray that the Lord will somehow keep me comfortable.  It's my main concern.

Swim: Go!  For some reason I lined up right in the middle near the front.  This is the battlezone.  Maybe I thought being 44 yrs old everyone would treat me with respect and kindness.  No, they're swimming on me from behind, hitting me from the sides and trying to kick me in the head.  Deep down I know it's nothing personal, just some of the fastest athletes in California exploding with energy they've built up over the last 3 months.  As long as I keep my head down, protected by my arms, I can take the beating.  But I have to drop my cover every time I breathe.  for a split second I witness the chaos above the water and then quickly duck down, thankful to still have my goggles and nose in tact.

After 20 yrs of racing, this is probably the closest to a panic situation.  Despite putting myself into this position, I wonder "why is God having this happen?" Quickly it hits me, "oh!  All the adrenaline may be going to keep me warm!"  Sure enough, after a good swim to the turn-around buoy, and finding some drafts, I realize I'm not chilled.  I'm going to make it!  On the way back I get to work, looking for drafts where I can but mainly I'm on my own, passing through the stragglers of the wave ahead of me.  Surprisingly I feel pretty good pushing the final stretch to shore.  I'm not shivering!  My wetsuit comes off fast as I hear announcer, legendary Julie Moss, saying, "Troy's showing how it's done!"  Wetsuits are hard to get off unless you do it right when you come out of the water.  Robin & I always do this, and people clap when they see it, but for some reason we hardly ever see anyone else doing it.

31:40.  56th of 278.  This is good for me!  Jim Grant is 4min ahead. (Bruce Belden 2min ahead, Dale Jackson 1.5 ahead, Dan Perkins 30 secs ahead)

T1: 3:04.  Goes smoothly.  I put on a jacket which takes a little more time.  It's to fight the chill.  I'll take it off after an hour.  In 3hrs, I'll be wishing I was cold again.  Wildflower for me is about extremes.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_bikeBike: I struggle to get my shoes on as we mount and frustrate some other guys as I swerve around.  I need to practice this again.  Finally I'm riding and feeling good. I'm breathing better up Beach Hill than previous years.  But out on the open road I see my speed is not as fast as the good ole days.  I average 17mph to Jolon Rd instead of 19.  But I'm riding smart, efficient and drinking Sustained Energy and Perpetuem Solids for proper re-fueling.  I love the Solids.  There has been some head wind which will be a blessing on the fast back-side.

On the rollers I use my usual technique: rest on the ups and push the downs.  There's not many others around me which is good.. I don't have to deal with avoiding packs forming.  I'm focusing on lifting my legs and maintaining good cadence.  I'm drinking well and peeing often.  Finally, my favorite part, the 10 mile backstretch.  It goes well and I get my speed up to 18mph.  Turning right at Hwy 101, we go into the canyons and the wind is behind us.  Great!  I hit my stride here and make up more time.  Robin rode this course 2 days ago and gave me an optimistic report, but this canyons section was not her favorite.  It's a real boost feeling good here and getting my speed up to 19mph average.

Nasty Grade.  It's hot.  But I have a bigger cog on the back compared to last year.  It really helps.  I pass a lot of people.  It's blazing hot at the top and there's the Eveready Battery Bunny banging on his drum in that hot costume!  Flying down the long descent the wind is blustery.  We come around the danger-zone.. the section where the worst crashes happen and I thank the Lord for keeping me safe (moments later there was a bad crash which our friend Bruce Belden witnessed and assisted at).

The last climb into the park.  This is the section I've been visualizing all week. It makes a difference.  I bear down and make it my best effort yet.  Great!  Into the park, through the cheering crowds and down Lynch Hill to transition

2:56:08. 44th of 278. Not bad compared to my 2:53:36 average for the last 4 yrs, but 16min slower than my 2:39:53 average for my first 7 years.

T2: Good 2:46 transition which puts me 3 min behind Dale and 9 min behind Jim and Dan.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_runRun: I quickly estimate that I need a sub 1:40 1/2 marathon to be near my 5:10 goal.  That's going to be hard.  I anticipate this run being a struggle from beginning to end.  But the first mile starts off ok.  It's hot so I adopt the Boston Marathon plan which worked so well.. get doused with water at every chance and drink plenty.  They have a hose at mile 1. Yes!  Wow, my split is sub 8.  Better than expected.  Mile 2 I start feeling pretty good.  I'm enjoying this.  Mile 3 I push the downs and run the tangents, even when everyone else is running in the shade.  The warm Boston Marathon run really helped for this.

After 3 miles my average is 7:20, much better than expected.  The best part, which I thank the Lord for, is that I feel confident.  It's hot and the trail is tricky but I'm on top of it.  I'm drinking and taking Hammer Gels.  I'm tackling every hard section.  I do walk on the 2 short steep parts on mile 5 but that's it.  The dreaded pasture section I actually look forward to.  I run it hard.  But then I start feeling it and back off a little.  After a lot of water and another gel, I'm getting back after it.  I'm passing a lot of guys but they are from other waves.

After 7 miles my average is 7:46.  This is an important milestone.  There's a tough climb in Redondo Vista but with all the cheers of the campers and supporters, this is a great part of the course.

Mile 8 hits the dusty trail again and can be a downer but I've had some great splits in years past here so I stay optimistic and run well.  I go by the tree that I stopped to rest at my first year doing this tough course.  I never did get my rest as a spectator quickly cheered me back into running.  I'm glad they did.

I take the hill starting Mile 9 easier and let some guys get ahead.  But at the top, I remember John Dougery's advice to use the free speed so I fly all the way down to Mile 10 turn-around, passing each guy I let go ahead.

Now is the key mile.  Robin told me to own this mile, to push the whole climb.  I can't let her down.  My legs & knees have started hurting on the descents so I have no excuse on this climb.  It's tough but I pump my arms, smile a little and get to work.  I recite each FCA Endurance Bible verse that's posted along the road.  God does give us the strength to do everything He sets before us.

Yes!  At the top and still at 7:42 average.  On track for a 1:37 1/2 marathon!  The top is the longest mile.  But, as I told a friend we met at our campsite, the finish is really at mile 12.  I make myself believe it.  I'm running well and not overheated.  I even skip the last aid station and charge the short hill.  I praise God at the top, tell myself good job and let the downhill take me to the real finish.  The announcer, Will, at the top of Lynch Hill shouts my name and shares about the FCA Endurance ministry that we're apart of.  How great that God can be glorified over the loudspeaker.

120504_wf_longcourse_troy_finishwannaI maintain a controlled "fall" down the steep hill.  I have to go fast as 5:10 is going to be so close.  I run down the chute as fast as I can.  I'm so happy because this run was a blessing, a complete turn-around from what I expected it to be.  There's Anna ready to run with me.  Running together is great but I have to slow down a little for her.  I miss the 5:10 goal by 4 secs but it's ok.  I thank God and kiss Anna. She's such a great supporter.  I'm exhausted and sore and she goes through the line and gets all the food and water for me and tells me where to go.  She took good care of me.  How fortunate I am to have a whole family and the Lord that takes good care of me.

Run was 1:36:26.  13th of 278. 7:37 pace.  Total time was 5:10:04. 21st place.

Name Age Group Place Swim Bike Run Time
Heather Gollnick WPro 17 26:40 2:55:00 1:42:41 5:08:41
Troy Soares M40-44 21 31:40 2:56:08 1:36:26 5:10:04
Jim Grant M40-44 23 28:01 2:51:06 01:46:24 5:11:38
Dan Perkins - FCA M50-54 7 31:22 2:53:38 ?? 1:47:14 5:11:56
Dale Jackson M50-54 12 27:13 2:55:08 1:21:08 5:24:25
John Wilson - FCA M45-49 31 30:35 3:03:23 1:45:00 5:30:07
David Blackmon - FCA M45-49 63 34:53 3:06:01 2:09:27 5:57:37
Reynold Lewke - FCA M55-59 27 37:50 3:21:36 2:36:48 6:51:31
Cory Floyd - FCA M25-29 133 34:05 3:42:59 2:34:30 7:01:11
Ben Lee M60-64 22 42:40 3:41:56 02:31:51 7:09:40
Dennis Lee M60-64 23 38:12 3:39:52 02:46:39 7:18:33
Clyde Floyd - FCA M50-54 98 40:13 3:34:22 2:56:55 7:19:32
Richard Craft - FCA M50-54   53:52 4:32:15