Barb’s Race (1/2 Ironman distance) Report
Barb’s Race is an all-women’s half Ironman race that’s done the same day as the full (Ironman distance) Vineman, the Vineman AquaBike (Swim + Bike, no run) and 1/2 Vineman AquaBike. As the name implies, it’s in Wine Country – Sonoma County. The start is in Guerneville and the finish is in Windsor. Barb’s Race has a very interesting history, which I recommend reading about here. The condensed version – race is named for a long-time Vineman volunteer as a means of helping to raise money while she was undergoing cancer treatment. Barb successfully fought the battle against cancer and the race has been going on now for 11 years and continues to raise money for local cancer charities.
Here’s what I had heard about the race (I didn’t get to do any recon ride/run for this one):
- The swim is in the Russian River, which is so shallow you can walk some stretches.
- Bike has been labeled “flat,” which can mean a lot of different things to us Bay Area bicyclists. Chalk Hill is the biggest climb on the ride and I was expecting it to start-up around mile 42.
- Similarly, the run is also supposedly flat and kind of boring, as it’s an out and back. (Full Vineman is THREE out and backs. Ouch.)
For reference, my times at BK were:
- Only two bathroom stops. Could have used one more. Luckily, this did not prove problematic.
- Bread w/pb, jam, banana
- Half a Clif Builders bar
- Sipping from a bottle of Gatorade Endurance the whole morning
- Also, always nice to race with Cara Peck, who’s got a great attitude and likes to take goofy pictures. Helps keep me from getting too nervous.
Oh dang. I went out way too fast. I am not in the Tour de France. I am not a professional cyclist. I’m barely even a decent rider. But C3P), my Garmin and kept on seeing 20+ mph, 19+mph average. Uh oh. I can’t sustain that for 56 miles and then go run 13.1 miles. But… I was in a group that was quick and did quite a bit of leap-frogging with four or five other women – mostly just trying to stay out of everyone’s draft area (I think some of them did get hit with a penalty at one point, but I luckily managed to stay clean). Again, this might have been helped by more time between swim waves… I think some of them were Barb’s Race people, others may have been doing the AquaBike. Whatev.
When I got to this “Chalk Hill,” two miles later, it didn’t really matter. I kind of knew I was climbing, but still kind of out of it. Guess that means it wasn’t too bad. I eventually decided to get myself back into “race mode” and make up the time I lost when I stopped, which turned out to be about two minutes. Stayed down in my aerobars for a while and put in a pretty big effort (PowerTap data would be interesting for this race). Thought about how it might mess up my run… but this is a training race, what better time to mess up by going too hard?
- Mocha Clif Shot at T1 – forgot to have it before the swim, wanted the caffeine buzz
- 1 Clif bar, consumed between miles 18-35
- banana halves at aid stations 18 and 38
- ~2.5 bottles of drink, Gatorade whatever
- Gross, nasty PowerAde gel shot – wanted the caffeine again (around mi 50). Do not get green apple flavor. Also, weirdly liquidy. (It was a freebie.)
- May have had a few Clif Shot Blox, don’t remember
- Tried to have another Clif bar, only got down a bite
|Elevation Gain:||1,509 ft|
Grabbed a sip of Coke on my way out and just started running. Legs felt pretty good (Wednesday bricks must be doing some good!) Streets were mostly empty and I was pretty much on my own between the aid stations – spaced about a mile apart. Tried to make it a little interesting on the first out and back by cheering for the winning ladies and then chasing down runners when possible.
No Garmin, just my stopwatch… first five miles indicated that I was somewhere between an 8-9 mi/mi pace. Pretty sweet, I’ve never managed to break 9 min/mi for a half-Ironman! Eventually, I had to stop looking at the time (Barb’s Race distance wasn’t marked for the last and just go off perceived effort (um, hard) and try to keep things steady. The run was not totally flat, just a few rollers that weren’t really bad… but I could see this being a completely different story if it was a very hot day. The sun came out somewhere during my second lap, but didn’t really warm it up too much.
Got really annoyed when no one could seem to tell me where the turnaround was for the second loop (full Ironman did 3 loops, so we did 1.5) Good thing I kept asking though – when I got to a spot where “BARB’S” was painted on the ground, the nearby volunteer said that was, in fact, the turnaround. (This was probably noted in the race guide, but I didn’t really study that – and I kind of like how you don’t have to think about anything while you’re racing. People tell you where to go. It’s nice. I also really like how usually there are mile markers. Last 2-3 miles of Barb’s were not marked.)
Generally had water at the aid stations, went through about four Clif Shot Blox. Stomach was mostly okay. Nice preview of Ironman aid stations – they were fully stocked with all sorts of fruits, cookies, candies, water, gatorade, Clif Shots, Coke – I’m sure I’ll be needing that stuff when it comes time for my full.
Got to see Steve and Zach twice out on the run! Loved running through the neighborhood right next to all of the spectators – especially after being out in no-man’s land. I tried my best to give them a smile and wave. Also got to see Cara out there, looking really strong – no surprise there!
Right hip, left glute were kind of sore. Need to get those worked out sometime soon.
Official time – 1:48:51 / 8:18 min/mi
Let’s keep in mind that this race is not nearly as competitive as Vineman 70.3, or any other big race. Still, it felt really good when I went to the results tent to pick up my print out (I was actually checking to see if I had gotten any penalties) and read that I was 4th in my division! I was 142/447 in the swim. 48/442 bike, 15/442 run. Man, I need to learn to swim. 4/68 in my age group, 18/447 overall.
And yes, I did, selfishly, think about how my place might have been impacted if I hadn’t stopped to help the rider who crashed. The third place person in my AG finished in 5:18, so my two minute stop did not hurt there. I might have climbed a few spots in the overall rank, but whatever. I feel like I did the right thing in stopping and would have wanted someone to help me right away if I had crashed. Karma.
Shout outs! To Steve for being so wonderful and coming up to cheer and take care of me, even though that meant he had to work all day Sunday. Zach opened up his family’s cabin in Healdsburg for us and Cara was, as always, a very fun race buddy. I am so proud of her for finishing her first half! She totally rocked it and finished with a big smile.
AM swim. Totally turned off my alarm at 5:50am. Woke up about an hour later at 6:50, 20 minutes after I was supposed to start my swim. Luckily, I had my stuff ready to go and was out the door and in the pool by like 7:30? (forgot my digital watch)
Found Kate, who was finishing up her set, and Rachel, who was also getting started. Rachel and I managed to get most of the workout in before heading to our respective day jobs.
400 (60%) + 400 (70%) + 100 ez + 2×200 (neg split) … and a bonus 50 b/c i can’t count + 4×400 = 1750 yards. Not very far, but I’ll take it. Arms and shoulders were tired. Probably partially from yoga, but also maybe recovering from Saturday’s 2.4?
Evening spin. Legs took a while to warm up, but eventually hit my targeted Watts. Followed up by a long (for me) brick. One hour. Felt pretty good.
Recovery day…even though yesterday was quasi-recovery.
45 minute spin (had evening plans and needed to jet out early, but did plenty of bike commuting to account for >60 min total on zee bike). Legs felt surprisingly okay.
Anyway, felt generally sluggish. Legs were beat up from yesterday, had a tough time keeping up. Almost got into a sad place, but then Ryan waited for me and the group walked for a little bit. Caught up and got back into a rhythm, but never really felt good on this one. Scary when that happens and I’ve got less than six weeks to go until The Big Day.
Pansy ass little 1h18m (negative split, at least) trail run out of parking area 35 in Woodside…. actually would like to try the Skyline Trail again when I’m feeling stronger.
Saturday 7.23.11 Catfish Crawl in Morgan Hill
And crawl, I did. For 2.4 miles.
Based on my roughly 30-33 minute 1500m and 39-42 minute 1.2 mile swim, I’ve been saying that the 2.4 would take me 90 minutes. Finish time at the Catfish Crawl in Morgan Hill? 1:28:xx. Good confirmation that I can do the full distance and that I was correct to expect a very similar time at Ironman Wisconsin on September 11. Yes, it’s a super sucktastic time, but I wasn’t super wiped out and just kept a steady effort.
The event also offered some key race simulations for me –
1. “Mass” start (probably about a third as many people as I’ll see at Ironman, but still more than my standard AG race start)
2. Treading water start, which I’ve never done before
3. Two loops
4. I’m fairly convinced that at least some percentage of stomach issues encountered on the IM bike course are due to inhaling too much air and “drinking” too much lake water on the swim. My stomach was kind of messed up – and partially fixed once I had a Coke (carbonation) and got a good burp out. (again, triathlons are gross)
Why my 1h30m estimate for IM is not foolproof –
1. I’m hoping that the course at IM will be much better marked – which will be really helpful. I definitely stopped a few times to try to find the next buoy and had a kayaker direct me more to the outside of the course.
2. If I hang back a little bit at the start to avoid getting pummeled, that will probably add a few minutes onto my time.
3. NERVES!!! I was not anxious about this start… but I’m sure I’ll be a wreck at IM start
THEN (after the longest transition EVER), a ride, of course 🙂
(no waffle sandwich. sadface.)
Clif bar, Mojo bar, bag of Fritos, small coke, two bottles of electrolyte drink, two bottles of water, couple shot blox
Heat was totally a factor today. Also, my sunscreen sucked ass – tried a new brand (scathing review to come) of environmentally/non-carcinogen sunscreen that made me sweat a TON, and kind of strangely so… like my shins were sweating (um, not normal).
Massive amounts of swearing on the giant ass hill (see profile), which ceased to be fun after about five miles (much love to Lena for letting me babble on and on during the climb until all of our conversation turned into swearing about the hill and the heat and our friend Kate for mapping the ride).
I suck so bad at downhills. And sucked even more than usual this time – I think that the two weeks off made me even more tentative. I am embarrassed and ashamed by my lack of skills and balls.
|Elevation Gain:||5,228 ft|
AM Group swim!
I don’t remember all of the gory details, but there were some fast intervals (50s and 25s), good long 1000 yd warm-up. Really liking swimming with a group. 3000 yards, something like 1h10m.
Evening – 60 min spin -> 60 min run, legs felt pretty good. Could have used something to drink out on the run though.
So, the usual noon yoga. Ahhh.
And then evening spin. Tougher than expected (thought my legs would have been totally recovered from Saturday), but stuck around for the bonus set.
Nothing. I had hopes for a swim or a spin class, but trying to organize with friends for other events and deal with hotel check out, airport stuff… not to mention general tiredness (thankfully, not hungoverness).
Looking back on the schedule for the weekend, I maybe should have run on Friday when we arrived, then pool + spin class on Saturday and then a short run on Sunday. Of course, that would have put my long run during the hottest part of the day on Friday when I was already exhausted and dehydrated from the overnight plane trip Thurs – Fri. Hmm…
16 mile run along the north side of the Allegheny and Ohio Rivers. (With a cold – hope it’s okay to run after taking a decongestant!)
Decided to go east so that I’d have to deal with the sun in my eyes on the way out. Was hoping, particularly when it changed from concrete to crushed limestone, that I’d be able to do 8 miles out and then come back. Unfortunately, around mile 3.5 the trail must have actually ended, because then I found myself next to a railroad track on a “path” that was much more rocky and a challenge to navigate. Made it to mile 4.5 and then turned around. It was also kind of lonely and creepy… not what one wants to experience when running in a new city. Turned around and went out past my start, hoping that the other direction would also be shaded and gravely. Nope, much more sun and concrete/asphalt the whole time. I did get to buy water from a kayak shop twice – my Camelbak came in handy on this hot (approaching 90 deg) day! I should have started earlier, but I really needed a solid night’s sleep after the red-eye and upcoming wedding festivities.
The river path seems like a great asset to the city. Lots of bikes (mostly families on hybrid bikes or mountain bikes, but a few roadies that had probably been up in the hills as well), runners and walkers. Plenty of signage showing designated parking areas for those looking to drive over to the path, which I’m sure helps to encourage use of the path for those that may live on the other side of town, or want to ride bikes but are scared of traffic.
I also saw an open water swim in progress… probably around mile 10 or so. I would have loved to be in the water! One of the organizers did offer me a set of goggles, but alas, I needed the run time. Still, 84 deg water – WOW! There were NO wetsuits out there, that’s for sure. I didn’t think to look for any sort of races while I was there, but I’ll have to keep that in mind for my upcoming travel to Oberlin, OH. Maybe there’s a race in the area. Will have to check.
Anyway, drank lots of water, 1/3 of a Clif bar, 6 Clif Shot Blox. Finished with a <9:00 min/mi average, felt good, but definitely affected by the heat. Legs felt surprisingly good after an ice bath – managed to stay in my heels all night at the wedding (and awake really late too, thanks to a coffee with dinner).
Red eye flight wasn’t very conducive to feeling like a good training day, but I managed (after some misdirection on the part of friendly strangers and Google maps) to get to the YMCA and do a 50 minute swim. 50 + 500 + 6×200 +3×100 +4×25 = 2150m
PM bike ride. Super windy, legs super tired. A friend was visiting and wanted to do a ride – unfortunately, it was pretty short. Just 20 miles in about 1h15min.
Still, good to get out on the bike during this two-week period when I won’t get out for a long ride.
Other (real) highs – not getting lost, finding some trails (albeit a little late in the run), beautiful scenery… trees, snow-capped mountains, cute cabins…having enough water and Shot Blox (one every 45 min, plus the last one to power me home), returning to find my friends sitting outside with their (empty) breakfast plates… and eggs and coffee waiting for me inside!
Evening… does dancing and walking in heels count?
Planned: short, sweet morning ride to make up for my no-ride weekend
And then… last night on my way back from my haircut (a little shorter, a little blonder, thanks for asking)… OMFG. The little saddle sore that has been bugging me for the past few weeks = agony. So I guess it’s good that I don’t ride for a few days.
1. Riding in aero position more = new spots are making contact with my saddle + just plain riding harder = more pressure on the saddle
2. First long ride in my new Voler M2 tri shorts (that’d mean I’d mos def have to do a wardrobe change for The Big Day) – 6/18 ride
3. Old Shebeest knickers – 6/25 ride
I will say that I wore my tri shorts to spin on Wednesday and had to be very careful of how I sat down on the saddle — which I’d say would mean that my answer is those shorts. However, my saddle is not the same as the (nice for a spin bike) CycleOps Power Tap bikes. But, I do think I’ve had similar, not as raging, issues in the same general area before. Oh man.
Yeah, it’s gross. But I already told you that triathlons are gross.
Spin. Tough Wednesday class, as usual.
Still in beautiful SB. Walked out the door into a slightly cool fog, bikes ready for an adventure.
1. Ride the coastline
2. Find a group ride about to head out. Discuss with them. Will follow them, they’re doing a 35 mile ride, but we can follow them to Carpenteria and then carry on to Lake Casitas
3. Get dropped in about 10 minutes
4. Feel crappy… about getting dropped like I was riding a kid’s big wheel, low energy, tired legs and body, want to turn around and go back to just lay on the beach
5. Carry on anyway
6. Woah. Sunshine. Heat. Is that the sound of my skin crackling in this desert heat?
7. Big climb. Legs come back to life!!!! There is much rejoicing.
8. Decent. I suck.
9. Ride past a water park. Wish we could go down waterslides. Instead, stop to fill up our bottles with water and decide not to wait in the long line for the bathroom. Onward!
10. Ride to Ojai, pronounced like “Oh Hai!” which provided me with much entertainment. Stopped for a Coke, bathroom, sunscreen application and to eat our pb&j (on pita, not waffle. waffle>pita, pita’s too chewy).
11. 30 seconds later, find a super cute coffee shop that *should* have been our rest stop. Espresso shots on ice. Ice that was made with COFFEE (OMG awesome). Worthwhile quick stops, both of them.
12. Find the Oh Hai! to Venture bike path. Best bike path ever! Very few folks on the path, great for leading the way in my aerobars, beautiful scenery and random industrial parks.
13. OCEAN! Ride the coastal route back. Some major suckage along 101 – it’s a big bike path/shoulder, but still, not very pleasant after our perfect bike path experience.
14. We’re at 75 miles right around home. I’d be cool with riding for 85-90, or at least getting 5 hours in. Steve tells me he’s never ridden a century. Game on. We ride to Isle Vista, home of UCSB. Rollers and bike path. Certain that I’m going to lose it somewhere between 85-100 miles
15. DO NOT LOSE IT! Totally felt great on the return. Aerobars are amazing. Legs still able to climb.
16. Immediate pizza, without having to even go back to drop off bikes and change totally wins out over doing a brick. Delicious (ok, mediocre pizza under normal conditions, but the salt was perfect for post-ride) and hot and we managed to not overeat.
17. Decide not to drive back home after riding 100 miles. Stay in SB another night.
18. Transformers 3 is not good, even if you’re pretty darn tired and easily amused.
Huh. I don’t think we really stopped for that long (C3PO the 2nd, my Garmin, thinks that it was a total time of 7:43, ride time of 6:16). 😦 Wonder if this is right – I really don’t remember when I turned off my Garmin. Think it was sometime into our pizza.
|Elevation Gain:||4,113 ft|
In Santa Barbara!
Got here late last night/this morning. Plans for a ride were moved to Sunday so we can get an earlier start.
1 hour ocean swim!
1. Following a stand-up paddle board makes for very easy sighting
2. Following a stand-up paddle board means that you have a quick place of safety in case the kelp just gets a little too scary (uh yeah, need to work on the fear of ocean plants)
3. 5 degrees = huge difference – the ocean was around 60 degrees F. Pleasant for swimming with a wetsuit, no need for neoprene cap. Could have easily done a little more without fear of my toes getting frostbite.
4. I am easily motivated by promises of Pinkberry
5. I’m super lucky that my boyfriend is so supportive of my training (and who can quickly pick up a new sport – he had never done a stand-up paddle board before) – who knew we’d be able to “swim” together?
Later that afternoon, while Steve was getting stuff ready for a BBQ with friends, I set out for a trail run. Trail map, directions, plans for a solid 12 mile run, potential to turn back earlier if needed.
And instead? I got so terribly lost. The trails weren’t very clearly marked, nor very conducive to trail running. I felt like I was going around in circles, forgot to enable my GPS right away… and eventually realized that I was nowhere near the trail. Ended up essentially climbing over giant boulders and crossing a small stream back and forth to try to make my way back to the trailhead. Luckily, I could get my location on my phone and was able to confirm which direction led me back home. Oh well. An adventure, and I was on my feet generally moving for over an hour.