Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Cindo De Wildflower!

Wildflower Long Course Triathlon - May 5th, 2012 – OFFICIAL RACE REPORT

It was actually a pleasant experience with little discomfort - My 2nd Half Iron Distance Triathlon!

We arrived at Lake San Antonio for the 30th Anniversary of the Wildflower Triathlon early Friday morning.  Upon arrival we set up our campsite, chatted with a few IronTeam friends and then decided it was time to head to the check-in.

Tyza Garcia from San Jose - Race #2497.
Lucky #11's! 2+9 = 11 and 4+7 = 11  
Tyza Garcia - Participant #2497
Transition Area

Race number and shirt

Swim Start

It wasn't until the evening before that my nerves began to elevate.  It was like someone had just snapped their fingers and it hit me, I have a long course event in the morning and that is when it set in.  I was glad that we had a team meeting that night so Coach Ron could go over some of the logistics of what to expect at tomorrow's event.  My question was what time we should be there since my wave time was 9:25am, an hour and 25 minutes after the 1st wave.  So I decided to not stress so much about getting up too early. 

The next morning I began getting ready about 6:15 and prepared myself to head down to the transition area by 7:15.  I didn't sleep sound since I had to use the restroom 3x in the middle of the night, the weather was cooler than expected and I had a monthly visitor arrive that day (yes ladies you know what I mean.) An element I never have encountered in any of my races.  The anticipation of the race gave me the extra adrenaline I needed to get past the lack of sleep and as for any other elements I was faced with, I knew I just had to deal with the it.

We got a little taste of the bike course in the AM as we had to ride our bikes down to the transition area.  Lynch Road would be the final part of the bike and run course so it was neat to ride it prior to racing it.  When I got to the transition area, I quickly found my area and set up my bike, shoes, etc.  I then proceeded to get body marked and put on my wetsuit.  One of my Iron buddies, Laarni, was racked right beside me, which also meant we were in the same wave start.  We eagerly awaited for our 9:25 start time.  I quickly became more nervous and Coach Ron gave me some very helpful advice.
- As soon as they allow us to get in the water, do it.  Allow your body to adjust to the water temperature, and when you are in the water, look back into the crowd and  just take in the whole experience from that perspective.  

Arriving at transition, getting ready for the BIG event!

My Transition Area
Me - #2497 & Laarni - #2496
Me & Matt before the swim sporting PINK caps
SWIM - 1.2 Miles -  00:47:44 - 00:02:28 Pace
1st wave began at 8am.  My wave (age group 40-44) began at 9:25.  I was nervous and felt sick to my stomach. Getting into the water prior to the start helped ease the nerves but I still felt a great amount of anxiety.  When it was our turn to get in the water and I could hear the countdown, 10, 9, 8.....1, I allowed the majority of the swimmers to go ahead of me.  I placed myself in the back of the pack.  I was okay with being last in the water because I was confident I wouldn't be last getting out.  The first 100 yards were brutal for me.  As much as I tried to keep distance between me and others, it was impossible.  I was breathing rapidly and knew that I had to slow it down.  I had a few people hit me and had a hard time putting my face in the water because I had panicked.  Once I got far enough into the water, I began to relax, and focus on my breathing and strokes.  For a moment I felt as though I had forgotten everything I had learned with the coaches, but once the nerves calmed down, it all came back.  Once calm, I had a rhythm going.  I could hear myself breath at a steady pace, and kept focus on the buoy's on my right.  I thought about what I had been taught in the pool and concentrated on placement of my arms, pulling and kicking.  I felt great and then it happened - the "Re-layers" began to pass me, several of them bumping and climbing over me, which broke my concentration.  Once again I panicked, stopped at one point and had to tell myself to relax and focus on my swim.

As I was in the water I kept thinking of my goal.  It  was to finish the swim in less time than I did on practice weekend which meant, less than an hour.  Doing so pushed me to continue swimming, focusing on my strokes and breathing.  I remember seeing the turn around point and knew I was halfway there.  I kept telling myself, I won't drown and I got this!  When I heard the guy on the paddle board yelling at several of us, "Head left, you are almost there" I briefly looked up, saw the arch of balloons at the finish and stepped it up to a level 7 swim!  When I looked at my garmin, it read 47 minutes.  I was very pleased. As I stepped out of the water I saw and heard the cheer from Coach Ron and knew the hardest part of my race was behind me.

The smile says how happy I am to be out of the water!
T1 - 00: 05:33
Most racers ran up to the transition area.  I walked as I stripped off my wetsuit, goggles and cap.  When I got close to the top of the transition area I began to jog.  I was surprised I found my area as quickly as I did with so manu participants in this race.  Although, I did have to look at my hands to remember what race number I was.  Once I arrived at my area I quickly put on my bike jersey, helmet, gloves, glasses socks and shoes.  I ripped open a Gu and ate it,  unracked my bike and off I went.

Downhill - My Favorite!
BIKE - 56 Miles - 04:12:37 - 13.30 Pace
4 weeks prior IronTeam had a practice weekend on the Wildflower course giving me a slight advantage as to what to expect on the bike course.  The one thing everyone talks about at Wildflower in regards to the bike course is the difficulty of  "Nasty Grade" and "Big Brother."  But the prior weekend our team rode Metcalf Road in San Jose which was probably the hardest hill I've had to climb - EVER.  I believe the grade is about a 2 mile climb at 13%-15%.  Therfore, I wasn't concerned about Nasty Grade or Big Brother, but was excited about the descent and that I would actually be able to enjoy and experience it as I should, in dry weather!  I didn't go 100% off the start.  I knew I had to save my legs for the hills to come during the course.  Additionally, I knew Beach Hill was going to greet me early off in the ride, at about a mile and a half.  I began my ride just peddling  to wake up my legs, get my heart rate going and to get my body used to being vertical. 

20 minutes into my ride, I began to fuel my body.  I drank a little and began eating my PB&J.  The words of one of my coaches kept echoing in my head, "You should be eating or drinking every 15 minutes" which I made certain I did.  It was already warm out and I didn't want to dehydrate.  I knew I had a 13.1 mile run ahead of me and didn't want to crash on that. The remainder of the ride I finished, 3bottles of water, 2 bottles of electrolyte drinks, 4 salt tabs,  the remainder of my PB&J (leaving some for the last 5 miles of the ride), 3 Gu packs and a pack of Gu Chomps.  I felt that I did well on my nutrition. I didn't feel full nor did I feel hungry, just satisfied.  

For the most part, I had a very smooth ride.  My chain did get stuck while changing gears early on at about mile 8 which forced me to get off the bike and fix it.  I was met with some wind but it didn't compare to the wind, rain and cold weather we encountered at practice weekend.  My only other hiccup on the bike was that I had to stop at around mile 19 to use the port-a-potty (yes, sometimes it sucks being a woman.)  I have to say that for the most part, I was happy with my performance.  I think I could have pushed harder, but I kept reminding myself that this was not my "A" race.  My overall objective  on the bike was to better my time from practice weekend of 4 hours 30 minutes and not burn out my legs for the run.  I was passed by several but also passed some people as well. Another goal I had for myself was to stay peddling on Nasty Grade.  I saw several people walking up and I kept reminding myself to keep peddling, and whatever you do, don't stop.
Once I reached the park entrance, I knew I would have a couple climbs but knew I only had a few miles to go until I was done. This time going down Lynch Road, I flew.  Did I mention how I love the downhills?  I was 2/3 done with this race!
Right from the start, a climb of Beach Road!

T2 - 00:05:17
Trotting to my transition area, I quickly racked my bike, threw off my bike shoes and slid my running shoes on,  ripped off my bike shirt, grabbed my tank top, hat and Gu packets.  I quickly had a Gu at my transition area, and it was straight to the port-a-potty.  Grrrrrrr!!!  This was the most frustrating part of my race.  I know I could have gone the entire race without using it and probably shaving off a good 8 minutes total from my time, but again I am happy with my overall performance.

RUN - 02:32:56 - 11:40 Pace
Off the start I felt strong, my legs didn't feel wobbly like they have in the past as I transition from the bike to run.  I set my watch to do 4 minute runs and 1 minute walks - and it worked very well for me.  I was one of the several who didn't run the course on practice weekend so I had no idea what to expect and it was so much MORE than expected.  I did okay the first 3 miles as there were some small climbs, descends and flats.  But once I hit about mile 4 I had no idea how difficult it would be the next two.  I even recall when we saw the mile marker "5" a gentleman said, "We are barely at mile 5?"  The spectators who were sitting by the sign said, "I know, that hill should of counted as two miles."  I walked the entire hill.  I didn't even try to jog.  I think I knew that I could make up some time on the downhills.  My pace went from about a 11 minute mile to a 24 minute mile on that part of the run.  It was more like a hike than something that you could run and I don't think any amount of training could have prepared me for that.

I was extremely thankful there were plenty of water stops along the entire course.  I made sure to stop and grab 2 waters each time.  One for drinking, the other to pour over my head.  We were also fortunate enough to  have the volunteers equipped with a hoses at the water stops and they spayed us at our request.  Each stop that had a hose, I was sprayed.  At miles 4, 8 and 12 I took a Gu and strategically consumed it as soon as I could see a water stop ahead of me so I could wash it down with water.  I stuck with the chocolate outrage since I knew there was caffeine in it, my stomach would tolerate it and its my favorite flavor. 

As soon as I hit the "PEAK" of the climb at about mile 7 I allowed gravity to do it's job and pull me down the hill.  The trail was warm, dusty and to my surprise my breathing hadn't been effected at all by the dry, dusty and allergy prone environment.  I was pacing about a 11 minute mile by that time and kept that pace until I hit the top of the "Pit."  As I began to descend, I looked at my watch and was running a 9:24 minute mile.  I did so until I hit the bottom, came back around and walked up the hill.  The next mile or so I went to a 14:30 minute mile.  But once I hit the top I began jogging again.  When I finally saw the mile 12 sign, I no longer listened to the Master (my watch - as my team mate Marc called it.)  At that point I kept running and once I hit Lynch Road I knew, it was all downhill from there.  To my surprise I increased my pace to a 8:25 minute mile for the remaining mile.  Would I do it the same way again?  I can't say because as soon as the course plateaued, everything slowly began cramping.  At the bottom of Lynch there were volunteers cheering me on, telling me I'm on the home stretch giving hi five's and making a tunnel for me to run under.  This 39 year old felt like a kid at that moment. My downhill sprint quickly turned into a slow jog.  My intention was to sprint through the chute once I entered it,  but when I tried my entire lower body began to cramp.  My sprint turned into a slow jog and then into a slow gallop.  I could feel my knee, hamstring, quad and glute's all begin to tighten but the cheers of my boyfriend, Matt pulled me through it.  I heard, "Here she comes....Yaaaaa Ty!!!" 
My entire right leg cramping - I didn't stop!

And the further down I got to the finish line I could hear  Coach Ron cheering my name.  But the best announcement I heard was when the announcer said my name, "TYZA GARCIA" and he even pronounced it correctly! I did it!  I finished one of the toughest courses I've competed in.  I was a FINISHER at WILDFLOWER!!
I did it in 07:44!!
I feel like I can fly!

Wildflower Finisher 2012!

***Highlight of the run...about mile 9 I ran into a young gentleman wearing nothing but a airman's hat, hold a beer in one hand and asking for a "Hi Five" with the other.  What inclined me to smack that hand of his, is beyond me.  I blame it to the heat, the hills, lack of oxygen.  I have to say that this is one of the most spectator friendly courses I've ran.  They all were very encouraging, willing to help if you needed it and cheered loudly for you! ***

 Immediately after crossing the finish, my entire right leg cramped to the point where I could barely move.  I was asked to lift my leg up so my timing chip could be removed and I couldn't even do that.  A volunteer removed it and then another helped me over to the first aide tent.  They placed me on a cot and about 5 minutes later the cramping  subsided.  The volunteers were all very helpful and I'm very grateful to them.  

Feeling recovered, I made my way over to Matt (who has always been my #1 cheerleader in all of my events) and the rest of those who had finished the course.  It  felt great to be surrounded by everyone. Going into Wildflower I didn't put too much pressure on myself and only set only a few small goals.  The first one,  to finish with times better than practice weekend.  And secondly, to beat my time of my 1st Half Iron that I completed in May 2011.  The Auburn Triathlon - The World's Toughest Half-Iron.  My finish time on that event was 08:33.  It was a great feeling to achieve both of those goals.   I did better on my  swim and bike time from practice weekend and I beat my time from my 1st Half Iron by approximately 49 minutes!!  
AVIA 2012 Wildflower Finishers - Matthew Montalvo & Tyza Garcia
Other than my anxiety prior to the start of the race, the rest of the race went smooth. I kept the voices from my coaches in my head, the image of my Honoree in sight and the support of the rest of my IronTeam in my heart and it pulled me through my event. 

It was a great experience and even better practice.  I'm confident that come July 28, 2012 not only will I FINISH my 1st full distance Ironman, but can do it with whatever reasonable goals I set.  

Until next year Wildflower........Yup I think I may even be "Double Dipping!"
A little fun the day after our event

Statistic Recap:
Overall Time: 07:44:07
Overall Rank: 1583
Class Rank: 55
Gender Rank: 338

Swim: (435 calories)
Rank: 1808
Time:  00:47:44
Pace: 00:02:28

T1: 00:5:33

Bike: (2230 calories)
Rank: 1820
Time: 04:12:37
Pace: 13.30

T2: 00:05:17

Run: (1550 calories)
Rank: 1396
Time: 02:32:56
Pace: 00: 11:40 
Lap 1 Time: 01:56:33 (10 mile mark)
Lap 2 Time: 00:36:23 (Last 3.1 miles)
Here are a few more pictures of the weekend.  It was a great weekend made better by the company - m y IronMatt and Iron Family! 

Franny, Laarni, Me & Matt
Good Times - Great Friends ♥

Body Marking Time! 

On our way down to see the Olympic Race.
Ummm, Recovery Food!!

The Greatest Coach! 

Woot Woot - I Finished!

Laarni & Beth

Setting up Camp

Meeting  Chris "Macca" Mc Cormick!
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