First off, let me tell you that Lake San Antonio has the best tasting water I've ever swam in...and did I mention warm? This is only my 9th triathlon and only my second in the past 18 months. Although I’m more confident than I used to be, I still get butterflies. I told my wife Liz when I stop getting nervous about triathlons, that’s when I need to start doing something else. After setting up my transition I walked down to the boat ramp to prepare for my wave start. The lake was calm and peaceful with the exception of the athletes who had already started swimming.
|Still smiling leaving T1|
|Climbing out of transition|
|Must go faster than guy in pink!|
literally hundreds if not thousands of people cheering and encouraging you on. I can't DNF here... too embarrassing...so I kept pushing on. If you're wondering why I'm smiling in the picture its because of the slight downhill and all of the people cheering me on. I was not feeling that great. In fact there is very little shade in the last six miles of the run and with the temperatures now in the high 80's instead of running the apex of turns to save distance and time I would run off on a tangent that would take me to the most if any shade. By this time I figure I'm past the most difficult part of the course and I need to just finish. At mile nine the course drops down in to the famous "pit" which is a 6% mile run down hill that you have to turn around and run a mile back up. I resorted to mostly walking up out of the pit. I wasn't the only one. Almost everyone was walking. Once you're at mile 11 it's fairly flat with a steep mile run down Lynch Hill to the finish line.
As I approached the finish line the race announcer not only called out my name but did a shout out to the Alzheimer's Association and how I and other athletes at this event were racing for a greater cause. Hearing the announcer say this at the finish helped put my race in to perspective.
Liz's Time: 2:10:27
Goal Time: 2:08:00
Actual Time: 2:33:53
Liz Overall: 6:35:43
Greg Overall: 6:52:36
This race was very humbling for me. I ran my slowest half marathon ever and although I've been doing hill work nothing prepared me for the hills I faced on this course. This was a good reality check for me as I look towards the difficult run course at the Ironman U.S. Championship race in New York. One of the important positive takeaways from Wildflower...I visited the "Pain Cave". I stayed for a while and then I came out of the cave to finish. As hard as it is to spend time in the "Pain Cave", when you emerge, you're mentally and physically stronger for the next time it calls to you to enter.
|Liz with Jesse Thomas|
|Liz and Heather Gollinic|
|This is a real smile not a race smile|