Sunday, July 30, 2006

No, not public relations – personal record! Doing my fifth Vineman in a row, I turned in my best time ever – 5 hours, 34 minutes and 31 seconds. The old PR, from 2004, was 5:38:23.

The difference this year? The swim. My split was 37:14, more than three minutes better than my best-ever swim, and six minutes better than my '04 swim. I kept my head down, I reached and I kept my elbows high. Still much room for improvement, but isn't that always the case.

I need to point out, as well, that this Vineman -- renamed the Ironman Vineman 70.3, part of Ironman's much-hyped half-iron series -- was not in fact 70.3 miles. Ironically. A bridge in Geyserville damaged by the floods this past winter still hasn't been fixed, we were told, so the course had to be shifted and it grew to 57.5 miles instead of the usual 56.

Overall, it was a very satisfying race. Sure, there weren't enough porta-johns before the start, causing lots of anxiety among the racers; and it sucks to finish a hard race and then have to take a school bus a half-hour to Guerneville to get your car, then drive drive the car back to Windsor to get your bike, then drive home for more than an hour, taking measures to avoid the inevitable last-weekend-in-July traffic at the raceway in Sonoma; and it would be nice if there was more shade provided at the end of the race; and the pre-race talk the day before, does it need to take more than an hour?

All that said, I realize putting on a split-transition, three-discipline event for 2,000 hardcore athletic types is a challenging proposition. And the Vineman 70.3 folks did a good job. And you really can't beat the location. Riding through all those great, beautiful wine valleys on a Sunday morning is just a treat. I think it seemed even better this year because we knew how awful it would have been had the race been a week earlier, when temperatures along the course were over 110 degrees. There was something deeply disturbing about that heatwave, coming amid all the talk of climate change, and with so much of the world unhinged (due in no small part to our country's botched reaction to the outrageous acts perpetrated against us). Or something. I don't know. I just felt lucky to be out there today, even when it began to hurt.

I will say that the National Weather Service completely mangled the forecast. The high for Santa Rosa was predicted to be 72. It was 88. But I was fortunate to go in a pretty early wave, so I was done by 12:53 p.m., when temps had probably not even hit 80. Still, I was hot and thirsty at the end after going hard the last two miles – really hard the last mile. The effort left my stomach not eager to have anything more thrown into it, but I sipped water and juice and an hour later, my appetite returned. Been eating ever since.

The numbers:
Swim (1.2 miles).….37:14.5
Bike (57.5 miles)..2:56:06.3
Run (13.1 miles)...1:51:23.7
TOTAL: 5:34:31.1

83rd/222 in the male 40-44 age group
496th/1,221 finishers (1,950 entered)

1 comment:

dan said...

Hey, Pete: Congratulations on the PR (and when you think about it, that extra mile and a half is probably worth about four and a half minutes; pretty amazing).