2,000 triathletes will descend on Sonoma, CA, this weekend for the Vineman 70.3 Ironman Triathlon -- and I will be one of them! Somebody asked me today where I expect to "place" among those 2,000. As I told them, my only goal is to finish. There are going to be plenty of serious triathletes at this event -- it is one of only four half-Ironman distance triathlons that is a qualifier for the 2007 Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona, the big daddy of them all.
Actually, as I wrote in a previous blog, my goal has been to finish in under seven hours -- 50 minutes on the swim, 4 hours on the bike and 2:10 on the run (including transition times). However, after some words of encouragement from Tom (a Ride the Rockies friend) and Nancy (my swim coach, uber triathlete and cheerleader from KC), I have pushed myself hard in the past two weeks and now believe I will finish in 6 hours and 30 minutes -- 50 minutes on the swim, 3:30 on the bike and 2 hours on the run, plus transitions and "refueling" stops (Nancy tells me the key is to keep eating so I don't "bonk.")
I blew off the Snug Run last night in order to stick around the hotel and say goodbye to all my new beef industry friends, so I went for a short, hard run this morning -- a 3.1 mile course around my house -- and felt great. I averaged 8:40/mile, my fastest run at this altitude (6,400 ft. above sea level). My legs and lungs are ready for the big event. I'm not sure about my nerves, though. I woke up this morning feeling a little "anxious." This is a big deal to me and the butterflies are fluttering around in my stomach. I think I'll settle down once we arrive in Sonoma tomorrow, get registered, attend the pre-race meetings and drive the course (all except the swim, of course!).
Forty-eight hours from now I will be past the halfway mark on the swim and heading back downstream towards the bike transition area. Hard to believe the time has come to fulfill my end of the bet I made to Nancy (swim coach/uber triathlete/cheerleader) last July in KC before moving to Colorado. We made a pact that if I did Vineman she'd come out to Colorado in June 2008 for Ride the Rockies. So, the deal is on, Nancy, better find the steepest hills in eastern Kansas and start training!