I love being able to pack a vacation in around a race, and it’s even better with family or friends! Dad and I were lucky enough to both get into the 2016 Ironman Vineman 70.3 (it sold out in about 5 minutes) so we planned a week vacation in Sonoma following the race!
Vineman has always been a meaningful race for me, because it was the first triathlon I ever spectated at – watching my Dad nonetheless. I remember being so impressed with the athletes and I wondered if I could ever do a triathlon. 5 years later, I was back at that same race – as an athlete, racing with my Dad.
Pre-race check-in was a busy day since Vineman has separate transition areas for T1 and T2 and both Dad and I needed to get a little work done on our bikes before we could drop them off at T1. But we got it all done, and listened to a bit of the pro panel – afterwards, Janeth even got to meet Andy Potts!
As we were driving the race course, we came across several blackberry bushes. It was totally worth the stop to pick as many as we could!
Race morning came bright and early. As the night turned to dawn, we were heading to the swim start with hundreds of other athletes. Although parking is notoriously bad, we found a spot without too much anxiety and we were on our way to the swim start.
Final race preparation in transition, then it was time to “suit up” – literally – in our wet suits and get ready to queue up for the swim. I had a very early start (6:40 AM) in the first wave after the pro’s and Dad started nearly a hour behind me(!). The positive about that huge time gap is that I actually saw Dad when I was exiting the swim!
Vineman has a river swim, has minimal currents to deal with and can be incredibly shallow at points – especially the turn around. Given the favorable conditions, I was hoping to break 40 minutes on the swim. I got close – my swim time was 40:36. Dad smoked the swim – finishing it in 34:35!!
A funny/unfortunate moment that I’ll never forget is when I unracked my bike, my electrolyte drink starting squirting out of my aero bottle all over everything! This is exactly why you don’t do anything new on race day… my water bottle was new and I didn’t realize that I needed a bite valve for the straw, so the liquid was just shooting out the straw with nothing to stop it.
I was a bit nervous about T1, specifically because I remembered the athletes mounting their bikes at the bottom of a steep hill. Thankfully, they placed the mount line at the top of the hill, so we could run our bikes up and mount where it was a bit flatter. Phew!!
It was great seeing everyone along the beginning of the bike course as I headed out. The bike was good and challenging, but not too challenging. The elevation gain on the course is comparable to what we’d ride at home along the SB Triathlon route. I knew going into it that this would be one of the more challenging bike courses that I’ve done for 56 miles, so I was pleased with my 3:14:57 time on the bike. As always though, I was ready to get off the bike and run!
My pacing off the bike was really good, but I made a critical error taking a new Gu flavor, which turned my stomach so all I could drink was water for about half of the run… The day was really warm so of course that led to a bonk. I started eating oranges for the last 5k which tasted amazing at that point and helped the situation. I was definitely hurting coming in to the finish line but kept pushing, finishing the run in 1:55:40. In training I was running really well, especially in track, so I was hoping for a run PR but it wasn’t meant to be today.
As I was finishing up my run, Dad was beginning his. He had an excellent bike – finishing the course in 2:57:58. Unfortunately, he faced some injury issues on the run that prevented him from executing the run he wanted, but still finished in a respectable 2:21:53, for an overall finish time of 6:02:45.
It was a tough but good day. I finished just under 6 hours (in 5:57:52) which I was very pleased with. It was so fun seeing Dad out there on the course, and we definitely had the best cheering team!
Official Splits: Swim 1.2 miles/ Bike 56 miles/ Run 13.1 miles [70.3]
Tine – 40:36/ 3:14:57/ 1:55:40 [5:57:52]
Dad – 00:34:35/ 2:57:58/ 2:21:53 [6:02:45]