Came back to Shadow Cliffs in Pleasenton to see how much I had grown as an athlete since the sprint tri in 2015. All I could really remember about this course was the bike was flat and fast. I remembered wrong. I also must have completely blocked out my previous experience on the run because I hadnt remembered any of it until I was in the middle of it again. But wait…..Im getting way ahead of myself…
We arrived race morning to relatively chilly tempatures. You see, at home in Fresno, we were coming off a heat wave with multiple days above 110. That ‘chill’ in the air felt amazing. After setting up transition and stretching out a hamstring that has not been happy with me for a couple weeks now we headed down to the water for the race start.
After taking a couple passes in the water I chatted up some friends and things started to move quickly after that.
Once my swim wave went off I struggled to find my “lane” in the water. I spent the first half of the swim getting swam over me, bumped etc. I even got kicked in the head to the point where I saw stars….TWICE. Coming out of the water I was pretty angry about the second kick in the head. However, thats another story for another time. I ran full speed past him into transition. Swim time in 2015? 27:48. Swim time in 2017: 23:40
I was stoked to be on the bike. Fully expecting the climb up out of the parking lot I manuvered through people pretty easily. This bike course is only 9 miles long. It went crazy quick. I thought I had nailed the PR by at least 5 minutes. I was disappointed to later figure out that it wasnt even the best PR of the day. However, Ive learned never look a gift horse (PR horse?) in the mouth. 2015 time: 30.03 2017 time: 28.38
Lets talk about the run on this course for a minute. I had BLOCKED IT OUT. I dont remember any of it from before. 3 miles running now is a weekday after work run for me. In 2015, it wasnt. In 2015 I was coming off a marathon the November before and pretty much loathed running. I am also NOT a trail runner. Ive tried it. I didnt like it. I dont like feeling unstable on my feet. This run is a lot of trail and rock and HILLS. Mix that with a hamstring pulled in May and I cursed every minute of this run. That being said, I had goals to meet. I handled all the hills as best I could but never quite caught my breath or found a ryhtmn. That was very frustrating. Mix that with very little shade in some areas and I couldnt help but think to myself, ” The harder you push. The quicker you’ll be done.” So I pushed. I pushed as hard as my injured legs would let me. I was so happy to crest that hill and see the parking lot again though. This was a race I NEEDED to finish strong. Run time in 2015: 32:40 Run time in 2017: 32:10.
Total time in 2015? 1 hour 34 minutes 15 seconds. In 2017? 1 hour, 28 miutes and 10 seconds. My goal was sub 1:30. Given how my body reacted to the “red lining” and some of the issues out of my control I felt like this was an amazing race for me.