Santa Rosa 70.3 Relay Race Report: Two Cocks and a Hen
This is my third time doing an Ironman race. It's comforting knowing exactly how packet pick up will go. Different location same pre-race logistics. It helped take the butterflies away. Ironman is super organized with lots of helpful volunteers. This was my first time doing an Ironman relay. Jake has done an Ironman race before, Lake Tahoe a few years ago. This was Jim's first experience of an Ironman race. We arrived just as the last athlete briefing was taking place. Unfortunately we had to miss it as we were standing in line to pick up our packets. We were feeling a little rushed. As I was standing in line I saw on Facebook that Women for Tri had a meet up with professional triathlete Rinny Carfrae. Another race, another time. Her husband Tim O'Donnell, fellow triathlete and Ironman Champion was going to be racing the following day. We were running short on time as we had to get Jim's bike to transition at Lake Sonoma before 5pm which was about 40 minutes away from Courthouse Square, where we were picking up packets at Ironman village.
The bike course was point to point. We hopped onto the interstate and headed out to Lake Sonoma to drop Jim's bike off at the transition. 3,500 athletes were registered for this race. This race made my first half Ironman in Victoria seem small. I had flashbacks of Ironman Chattanooga in September when I traveled with my friends for their first full. There were lots of athletes, bikes and the energy of pre-race day. Jake and I walked down to the Lake to get a feel of water and what the uphill transition which Jake was less than thrilled about. The water was a little choppy but seemed warm at 64 degrees. Ironman decided to change the direction of the swim since the weather forecast was going to be windy, so the 1.2 mile course was changed.
It was so nice to leave the rain and darkness of the Edge of the World, a.k.a the Oregon Coast. After getting Jim's bike set up and ready for the race we headed to our house that Jim had rented for us.
RACE MORNING: I got up at 3:45am. We left the house at 4:30am. Driving to the lake we soon realized that we should have left earlier. We were driving my brother-in-law Airstream RV van which was absolutely perfect for doing a triathlon relay~refrigerator with snacks, bathroom and shower. We were a little nervous about finding a parking space but thankfully we were able to get a spot and made our way to the transition for Jim and I to get marked.
I wanted to attend the Women for Tri meet up but didn't know where I would be. I was just going with the flow for the weekend. I was really hoping that I would be able to see my friend Dominique, who I met in Seattle at a recent Women for Tri meet up. I was thrilled when I turned around looking for Jake I bumped into Dominique. We chatted for awhile then she went off to cheer for her friends who were racing. We saw each other again in the square while we were waiting for Jim. She told me that next year next Santa Rosa half Ironman is going to be in July and the full Ironman will be in May.
Jim and Ingrid waiting for the swim to begin. This was Ingrid's practice run at being a race logistics coordinator. Jim is doing Coeur d'Alene in June, his first half Ironman. Ingrid is a perfect race companion she is calm and super chill. Just the energy you want around you on race day.
It wasn't until after Jake was out of his wetsuit that he confessed that he had only swam ten times leading up to to this race and this was the first time wearing his wetsuit this season. He had been experiencing neck pain and was worried that if he swam too much that he would mess up his neck and he wouldn't be able to swim. Jumping out of airplanes for 20 years can mess up your body. The main thing is that he didn't get pulled out by a jet ski and Team Two Cocks and a Hen were still able to cross the finish line! He swam strong and managed to run up the steep transition where Jim was waiting to head out on the bike.
Jim's dedication to his training paid off. His goal was to his ride in 3 hours. He did it under three hours! It was a beautiful course. After Jim was off on the bike we drove the bike course back to Courthouse Square. The first part of the ride being the most steep then rolling hills passing lots of wineries along the way to downtown Santa Rosa Courthouse Square where transition two and the finish line. Ironman being marketing genius that they are had an list of all the wineries along the bike course on a small brochure in our race packets.
My goal for my run was to do it in under two hours. My training didn't go as planned. I had a bout of sickness that sidelined me for two weeks along with some stressful parenting challenges. I knew it was going to be close as my last few long runs were good and I had been trail running which was helping with my speed. Most importantly I've stayed injury free. I just didn't have the speed. It was hot for me. This was the first time I actually ran in sunshine. It's been so rainy, dark and cold where I live and train. I was hydrating well the day before and in the morning. Mile two I had to use the restroom. After that I knew I wasn't going to make my goal so I took my time at aid stations and high five-d every cute kid, chatted with racers as I got passed and passed others. I took Gatorade at each aid station and my usual fuel plan of cliff shot blocks at mile 4, 8 & 11. After mile 8 instead of Gatorade I enjoyed Red Bull, it tasted amazing. The run was two loops, that were flat and mostly shaded. My bib, had our team name on it which provided a lot of funny comments. One guy asked me if I was advertising for a porno film. Running down the chute to the finish line was so much fun. The best announcing our team name as I crossed the finish line! Overall I had a great race and felt good afterwards except for the ginormous blood blister on my right foot. The post race soak in the hot tub and wine were good for race recovery.
I had a great time getting to know Jim, meeting his childhood friend Cheryl and spending two weekends in a row with Ingrid. Santa Rosa is so beautiful. I love the weather, the flowers and wineries. Post race lunch selfie before heading back to our house for some much needed relaxation and wine!