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May 7, 2007

Wildflower 2007 Report: Now I Know Why

Admin note: I feel like I need to make a public safety announcement here, because you’re about to enter a “high risk of eye strain” zone ahead. This is the longest post I’ve ever written – so if your boss isn’t standing by the printer, you may be better off putting this one on paper and taking it on a coffee break (or, perhaps more fittingly, a bathroom break) – then coming back to comment when you’re done. Or read it in small doses, taking time to do some neck and shoulder stretches in between segments. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.

(And this is just a half-IM report. God help us when we get to the Ironman this summer. OK, let's get to it ... )

******

“And if your heart stops beating, I’ll be here wondering –
Did you get what you deserve?”

- My Chemical Romance, “Dead!”

This year was the 25th annual Wildflower festival of triathlons, and the slogan for the 2007 event – as seen in advertisements, the race program, and on participant t-shirts – is “Find Out Why.”

As in, find out why this race attracts more than 10,000 triathletes every year. Find out why these races (a half-IM, Olympic, and short course off-road) are almost unanimously regarded as the toughest races of their distance in America. Find out why Lake San Antonio and southern Monterey County are a picture-perfect setting for a spring triathlon.

Or in my case, find out why it’s extremely foolish to try the long course triathlon only 6 days after racing one of the most rugged road marathons in the country.

Another noteworthy attraction of this year’s race is that it served as a kind of Bloggapalooza, drawing a large number of running or tri-bloggers from all over the country. This turned out to be a very cool bonus feature, as I’ll explain at the end of the post. But for now, let’s move on to the report.

The short version of my race report is that Wildflower simply got the better of me. My legs hadn’t nearly recovered enough from the beating I gave them at Big Sur, and I paid the price in the later stages of the race. There’s an old saying that some days you’re the hammer, and some days you’re the nail. Well, I came to Wildflower thinking I’d try to be a hammer, but I ended up being a nail instead.

Actually, even that description isn’t quite accurate. You know how sometimes you’ll pound a nail in about two-thirds of the way, then it ends up going a little crooked, but it’s already too far into the wood to bother pulling out, so you just pound on it over and over again as hard as you can, and end up completely smashing and deforming the thing below the surface of the wood before finally letting it rest?

During the final miles of the race, that was me: Donald, the crooked nail, getting pummeled into oblivion about two-thirds of the way through Wildflower.

So it turns out that I’m not superhuman, after all – which even though I kind of suspected all along, I guess I needed to prove to myself, so I wouldn’t have any misconceptions during my buildup to an Ironman race this summer.

But just because Wildflower didn’t go as well as I hoped, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a great time there. In fact, the whole day turned out to be very rewarding – which brings us to the long version of the report.

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Pre Race: Don’t look at anyone

When I was a freshman on my college rowing team, our coach gave us some advice before our first big regatta that I’ve never forgotten. The advice was, “Don’t look at anyone.”

What he meant was that when you look at other teams during pre-race preparations, everybody looks fast. It’s easy to get intimidated and think you don’t belong in the race, and it’s easy to discount the amount of time and effort you’ve put into being there. So the best policy is to simply not look at anybody.

I think of this whenever I’m getting settled in the transition area at triathlons, because when I look around, everybody looks fast. It seems like triathletes – much more so than runners – strive for a certain “look” when it comes to wearing the right clothes and having the right gear, and if you don’t play along with the game, it’s easy to feel like you don’t belong there. This is especially true at Wildflower, which hosts some of the best athletes in the country. Even though I’m a better than average triathlete, and even though I know I’ll probably go faster than many of the hotshots I see in the transition area, I still get intimidated when I look around too much.

So next time, I’m following my old coach’s advice: I’m not looking at anyone. It’s much less stressful that way.

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The Swim: San Antonio Bay?

I was really looking forward to the Wildflower swim, and thought I’d be able to break my half-IM PR (30 minutes) here. All of my previous triathlons have been in the ocean waters of Monterey Bay, which are nearly as notorious as San Francisco Bay for having windy conditions, choppy waves and unpredictable swells. I figured that a lake swim would be much calmer, offer less resistance per stroke, and allow me to move more quickly through the water.

And of course, I was completely wrong.

Race morning brought windy conditions, which produced moderate turbulence on the lake, and made breathing almost as unpredictable as swimming through choppy ocean waters. We left the pier with the wind, so we swam into the face of these waves on the way back. There were even some small swells produced by watercraft on the lake.

I mean … under those circumstances, I’d rather swim in the ocean. At least the salt water would help with buoyancy.

I also started farther back in the pack than I prefer, so I struggled more than usual to establish my position, and found it challenging to draft behind anyone for very long. By the time I got into a comfortable rhythm, it seemed like the faster swimmers had already pulled off the front, and I was going too fast to stay with those who had lagged behind.

Basically, I never really locked into a strong groove during the swim segment, but I managed to settle into my own steady rhythm and crank out the yardage without burning too much energy or going anaerobic. I exited the water in just over 33 minutes.

Despite the slower than expected split, I wasn’t too discouraged about things just yet. I've come to believe the swim portion of a triathlon is like winding your way through one of those long labyrinth mazes while standing in line for Space Mountain at Disneyland: it’s really just a precursor for the real excitement that awaits. Sure, you’d like to get through it as quickly as possible, but if it takes you a few more minutes than normal, it’s not going to change the intensity or satisfaction of the ride.

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The Bike: Smooth legs and pointy hats

Tell me if this sounds familiar: let’s say you’ve just started dating a really hot girl - someone who is totally sexy, who maybe even seems out of your league at first glance. Absolutely everything about her feels perfect, and you can’t imagine how there would ever be anything about her that bothers you.

Then a couple of months go by, and you realize that she has a few extra hairs on her eyebrows than you first noticed, or she says “literally” for things that aren’t truly literal, or she's hooked on some TV show that you find annoying. You’re still crazy about her, but you’re starting to see that she has her quirks just like anyone else.

That’s how I’m feeling about my Cervelo right now. It’s an amazing bike - a total hardbody. The first few hundred training miles on it were blissful. But at Wildflower, I had a couple of technical gaffes that made me realize not everything will be effortless every time I get in the saddle.

During this segment, I had to get off the bike twice for mechanical adjustments. Once was on the first major climb away from the lake, when my chain kept jumping from one gear to another on my bottom bracket, never settling on any particular gear. The second time was at about mile 38, when the chain slipped off the front crankset while shifting from the small ring to the big one.

Thankfully, these stops didn’t delay me more than a few minutes. Otherwise, I had a very strong bike segment.

Prior to the race, I heard nothing but bad things about the Wildflower bike course: it’s hilly, it’s breezy, there’s no shade, etc. But here’s the thing: I live in Monterey County. The roads and terrain of the Wildflower course aren’t that different than the ones two hours to the north, where I do the majority of my training rides. So in that regard, the ride felt like a killer workout through a familiar neighborhood.

And now, back to my Cervelo: make no mistake about it, this bike can vroom. I was cruising at 20mph on stretches of road where I would have averaged 18 mph on my old bike. I routinely hit speeds greater than 40 mph, and would have gone even faster on many of the downhills if the cross breezes hadn’t been so squirrely.

Moving at that speed, I positioned myself toward the front of my age group wave, and found myself passing people from earlier waves in droves. Two noteworthy things stood out regarding the people I passed: 1) they almost all had shaved legs, and 2) there were a lot of pointy time-trial helmets.

In the race report for my last triathlon (Big Kahuna), I mentioned how nice it was that I didn’t get passed on the bike by anyone with hairy legs. Yes, this is a ridiculous standard - I realize that. I don’t even know how much time shaved legs will truly spare you in a 56-mile bike segment. However, I do know this: having shaved legs is the most obvious outward sign that a guy is taking this sport seriously. (I mean, aside from any psychosexual symbolism, which could be a whole separate post.) So I think my relief in riding with a group of smooth-legged cyclists is basically the confirmation that I’m here holding my own with these guys who aren’t screwing around. Sure, we may all be maladjusted, but at least we’re not alone.

The aerodynamic time-trial helmet thing struck me as funny for a couple of reasons. The first was that I remembered my old Kahuna report, when I lamented that I never passed any of those guys on the old-school bike I used. The second reason was this conversation that my friend and I had while walking our bikes to the transition area on race morning:

*
Me: Wow, there are a lot of pointy aero helmets here.

Him: Yeah – I read an article that said of all the modifications you can make to your bike, wearing an aerodynamic helmet can cut the most time.

Me: I don’t know … I think if I had one, I’d feel pressure to live up to the image.

Him: I know what you mean.

*
What I meant was, if you’re wearing a pointy helmet, you had better be a badass.

Now you can appreciate my delight when I started passing all these people with pointy helmets. I knew it meant either one of two things: 1) a lot of people have pointy helmets just for the look (that intimidation idea from the pre-race section), or 2) my Cervelo and I can roll with the big dogs. Or maybe, ideally, it means both.

So perhaps I could justify buying a pointy helmet someday. But for the time being, I think I’ll just stick to poking fun at all the other people who wear them. It’s a lot simpler that way.

At any rate, I felt very strong on the bike, and there was nothing to obviously indicate that I was about to suffer a major meltdown within minutes after getting out of the saddle. My bike split was 2:55, and I rolled into transition feeling great about the way the race was unfolding.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

The Run: Dead!

Here’s the question I heard most commonly asked while exiting the transition area towards the half-marathon with a group of 6-8 other runners: “How many miles until the topless aid station?”

Yes, there’s a topless aid station on the course, staffed by Cal Poly students, just after the crest of a major climb near the midpoint of the run. The trouble was, none of us knew a shortcut to get there, so running the course was our only option. And for me, the prospect of actually doing so was growing quite bleak.

I purposely cruised the first mile of the run at a much slower pace than normal. This was my first run since the marathon 6 days ago, and I had no idea how my legs would respond to taking up the task again.

It was during mile 2 that I felt the first sense of alarm, as I realized that even if I wanted to, I couldn’t make my legs go any faster than they were currently moving. During the third mile, I developed some painful muscle issues that pretty much put an end to any hope I had of finishing the race well.

On every uphill, my calves were spasming and cramping. On every downhill, my hamstrings felt twisted into knots. On all surfaces, my quads were hurting with residual soreness that hadn’t quite resolved yet after last week. You could say this is where the wheels officially fell off the wagon.

From that point, I mentally shifted to ultramarathon mode – running when I was able, walking when I couldn’t run, and putting aside any expectation of pace per mile or overall finishing time. My goal was simply to maintain forward progress, and I’d eventually make it to the finish.

I did a LOT of walking. I walked through every aid station (including the topless one - I didn’t mind spending a few extra seconds there) and made sure to douse myself with water to stay hydrated, since my stomach also decided to shut down somewhere during the first miles of the run. I walked almost every major incline, and during the final 5K, I even took walking breaks on the flat sections.

Finally, after more than 2 hours (2:02 to be exact) on the run course, I staggered across the finish line with an overall race time of 5 hours, 36 minutes. And although my first instinct would be to feel disappointed with the giant chunks of time I squandered during the run, I was actually quite satisfied with my performance.

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Post Race, Part 1: The Balloon

I was satisfied, because all along, I knew exactly what I was doing.

Have you ever seen some little kid trying to inflate a balloon as large as possible? He uses big deep breaths, and as the balloon gets larger and larger, he feels the tension increase to the point where he knows there’s not much more it can take, but he’s curious to see whether it can grow just a little bit bigger, or to find out how much more force it takes to make it pop.

Eventually he pushes in too much air, and the balloon ruptures. And the kid gets a look on his face like, “Well, now I know”. His curiosity is satisfied.

Over the past week, I’ve been that little kid. The Big Sur-Wildflower double was my version of inflating the balloon. I wanted to see how far I could push myself before I got to the point of collapse.

I knew that I wasn’t ready to race this triathlon, but that’s exactly what I tried to do. I worked the swim as hard as I do in other races. On the bike segment, I knew that continually vrooming up the mph wasn’t the best strategy to protect my legs for the run, but I kept cranking the pedals. I felt the tension in my legs, and kept trying to push a little bit more, just to see what would happen.

My balloon ruptured at mile 3 of the run, but it wasn’t a disappointment. Because now I know.

-----------------------------------------------------------

Post Race, Part 2: Bloggapalooza

As I hinted at earlier, Wildflower also hosted a huge convergence of bloggers from all over the country. To be honest, meeting up with bloggers started as one of my lowest priorities of the weekend, but ended up being one of the most rewarding aspects of the festival.

Truthfully, I didn’t really have a choice in the matter once I arrived at the race expo – there were bloggers everywhere you looked. The day before the race, I happened to sit down right next to Bolder, who was as gracious and friendly as I’ve heard everyone say. Bolder introduced me to Roman, and told me where to find the Team RaceAthlete campsite.

In the transition area on race morning, I finally met Jeff, and we traded stories and asked questions like we’d known each other for years. He’s one of those guys who is very easy to like right off the bat. As my swim wave headed to the lake for a warmup, I found myself next to Paul, a fantastic triathlete who makes me feel a little bit guilty about making fun of pointy helmet dudes (he has one) simply because he is so down-to-earth and easy to get along with.

After the race, I spoke with Rick, a friendly and humble guy who did Wildflower as a tune-up for his 50-mile ultra the following weekend. I thought I should spare him my whole balloon analogy about back-to-back races, but, um … I guess if he’s reading this, it’s too late.

Finally, I refused to leave before hunting down my favorite blogger: Stronger, who is as kind and thoughtful and considerate in person as she seems on her blog. She also gave me one of the best post-race massages I’ve ever had (which, for future reference, is a terrific way for someone to get on my list of favorite bloggers – although she was already at the top. The massage just confirmed it.), and it seemed like we could have talked all night long.

Stronger introduced me to her brother Chris, and to the rest of her gang - Curly Su, Kahuna, Wil, TriBoomer, Greyhound, Stu, and Taconite – all of whom welcomed me to their group, and genuinely seemed to enjoy each other’s company, even though many of them had met just one day earlier.

When I first started blogging, my primary intention was to polish my skills as a writer, hoping for a place where I could easily publish things for a large audience, and possibly collect some objective feedback from time to time. I never really bought into the whole “online community” idea that I read about on so many other people’s blogs.

A lot of those feelings changed for me at Wildflower, which brings us (at long last) back to the slogan of this year’s festival. On many different levels, I found out why.

I found out why it’s sometimes easy to meet someone for the first time and already feel like you’re good friends. I found out why so many bloggers seem genuinely interested in the lives and interests of others.

I found out why Wildflower has a magical appeal to triathletes of all abilities and from all backgrounds, and why it’s one of the most challenging races anywhere. I found out why people finish the race battered and depleted, but immediately start talking about what they’ll do differently next time.

And I found out why a bad race can be one of the best times you’ve ever had.

29 comments:

Paul 5/7/07, 4:30 PM  

Hey Donald,

It was great to meet you! Yes I like my pointy helmet. However I admit the wheels came off the machine and I really wasn't living up to the image to go with that helmet.

olga 5/7/07, 4:51 PM  

In order:
I looked up your results today and saw the run time - since I have no idea about swim and bike, I didn't care, but run did strike me as slow (oops, did I say that after running like 12 min/miles?). For you. But understandable. Although Rick had a better run split - and I smiled. You are probably a tri guy with stronger swim/bike/fast marathon, but he is an ultra dude who is consistent and well-paced. Oh whatever, something in this respect of my thought process. Not to take anything away from you - you still beat him, and because I only know him out of all the blogger communityt and know him as a runner, I could compare myself been there. It was fun to do.
On pointing helmets: another reason they may wear it even if they are not crazy elites or show-oof's was to shave those seconds for themselves. You ever search for lightest running shoe to put on for your prime marathon? Are you trying to beat, oh, I don't know, Paul Tigrat? There, an answer:) So get yourself a helmet and glide by with pride.
Your leg shaving segments always crack me up. You don't want pointing helmet but make your body smooth (did you shave your head? chest? hmm, lets stop here) for extra seconds off. Tri people are funny.May be you guys can vaseline yourself so the wind would slide by? Just a thought:)
The Run...yep, baloon was good. I am glad you did ultrarunning distances before and accepted run/walk strategy. It is better than stop and cry strategy. I am very proud. You should have hung out with topless gals longer - also a good tip from tired ultrarunners, find stuff to discuss after if can't discuss zoom-zoom:) I still think you rocked, considering your awesome marathon at Big Sur.
Bloggers. Yep, aren't we wonderful:) No, really, I found Angie from blogging, and she was my crew on both Zane Grey runs - and in fact, I am not making it up, she is the BEST crew I ever had (and I had like 6 different variations by now). But even if we don't become best friends, one thing is true - it is easiest to talk to an almost "stranger" after you read each others journals - often more than your spouse knows (may be not in your case, but often so). And this is great.
Although you polished your writing skills to perfection by my point of view. But then again, who am I to judge when I don't even speak English?

OK< I feel like I've written a post on my own, but I love reading your reports. Very sofisticated in terms of authorship, very authentic, not to mention you are a very cool athlete. I do hope we both get to meet next year at WS100.

And congrats on a great finish of a double!!! I didn't forget the main idea behind report:) Awesomely done!!!

angie's pink fuzzy 5/7/07, 7:34 PM  

well done - well written (as always) - great job on pushing yourself as hard as you possibly could just to see what happens. and have i mentioned yet how much i love your analogies? (that looks misspelled...)

anyway, speaking of meeting bloggers, i'm probably heading out to salinas to see my dad this summer, with ash in tow. i'm hoping we can meet while i'm out there!

stronger 5/7/07, 8:33 PM  

Donald! Absolute pleasure cheering you on right before the bonk and meeting you after the race. Again, thank you so much for the package (Mrs. Donald). Only regret...we didn't get a picture!! I know we'll meet up again someday and get that photo and I hope to meet the rest of your family!

Backofpack 5/7/07, 9:00 PM  

Wow, Donald, what a day! I know what you mean - I'm not sure about the balloon - but about never knowing till you've tried (I mean the regular tried not tri-ed!). Now you know about doubles, you can figure out how to pace yourself and do great at both!

Mike 5/7/07, 10:32 PM  

Donald- a 5:36 at WF is SOLID. Doing it 6 days after a hilly marathon is pretty incredible! I figured you probably added an extra 10 minutes on the run due to the break at the mile 4 aid station eh!? ;-)

Great race report though...love the pointy helmet rant! I think they are definitely dorky but plan on buying one....freeee speeeeed. Ok, maybe not free but high bang for the buck!

Bolder 5/7/07, 10:58 PM  

INCREDIBLE PERFORMANCE!!!

it was great meeting you, and i'm glad you got to meet Stronger, who stays solidly at the top of my list for all the reasons you've highlighted

and, i don't even let her touch MY legs!

Jeremy 5/8/07, 5:29 AM  

Big Sur followed by Wildflower only one week later! What an unbelievable few days for you. Hopefully you are able to take a few days easy before ramping back up for your IM race. Congrats on your terrific performance.

Distance Running Dave 5/8/07, 5:45 AM  

Glad to read that your weekend was such a success. Sometimes it seems more rewarding to find that accomplishments can come in unexpected ways. Meeting friends face to face is seems to be a payoff for your blogging hours just as a solid performance, (or two in a week in your case), is the result of countless training hours.
From someone at the bottom of the heap I am blown away by your turnaround. Hopefully in a few years I can test myself to a simmilar degree.
Enjoy your break!

Thomas 5/8/07, 6:57 AM  

What didn't surprise me was the fact that you had a hard time running, 6 days after a tough sub-3 marathon. What DID surprise me was your time. 5:36? That's bloody good, and, as others have said, for someone stepping straight off Big Sur, it's one impressive time.

I like the balloon metaphor. Very apt. I tried something similar when running my own ultra a few weeks ago, but it only got to breaking point and never actually ruptured.

Now I'm very much looking forward to your next post, which will obviously be about psychosexual symbolism. You promised.

Robb 5/8/07, 7:04 AM  

The balloon analogy works well with me. I get it.

I love this report and take a load of inspiration from your words.

Donald, you are tops dude.

miki 5/8/07, 8:22 AM  

Nice report Donald. You really pushed yourself hard with those 2 races.

And the paragaph about pounding the nail gave me the hugest laugh in months. I love your writing.

TriJack 5/8/07, 9:05 AM  

congratulations! great race, great insight, great race report...

and i like the shaved legs/pointy helmet part - yea, i think i would risk being labelled a poser if i tried either...

TRI Vortex 5/8/07, 1:18 PM  

What an indepth reflection on a race. Did you take some of that stuff off my site. lol. Great report. And I'm glad that you pushed yourself above and beyond. We all need reality checks. Boundaries need to be drawn so we know where to cross.

TRI Vortex 5/8/07, 1:19 PM  

What an indepth reflection on a race. Did you take some of that stuff off my site. lol. Great report. And I'm glad that you pushed yourself above and beyond. We all need reality checks. Boundaries need to be drawn so we know where to cross.

craig 5/8/07, 8:34 PM  

I enjoyed the report Donald as always. The illustrations you supply are always spot on. You always provide a good read. Almost like being there.

rick 5/8/07, 11:41 PM  

Great meeting you too Donald. I'm glad you called out; sunglasses, hats, anything like that throws me off. There was a gal who cheered for me on Saturday, saw her on the run twice and I still don't know who she is. Congrats on pulling off both races. Sure Wildflower wasn't the race you wanted but only after posting a sub-3 the weekend before. The bike definitely put the nail in the coffin. I once read a report on pro's who improved their time on the run by just slightly easing up on the bike. But like you said, now you know.

And about the balloon, now I'll be thinking about that analogy once my heart rate sky rockets at Quicksilver this weekend:)

Can't believe you met all those bloggers. Nice one! This must be happening all over the country. I hope you have some rest and active recovery planned.

P.S. I think you're fast enough on the bike to pull of the pointy helmet. Besides it will provide you with the motivation to keep the speed up. Reminds me of my first year of college when I majored in Pool. A friend and I kept debating whether we should get our own pool sticks. We didn't think we were good enough but finally we just did it. Our game improved because we were playing with better (non-crooked) instruments. Plus having one made us worked harder to live up to the image...until I got serious about college of course.

Matt 5/9/07, 6:24 PM  

Great post. Well worth the time to read. Great race and way to fight. You've been through a lot recently. Now you need to rest!

Bruce 5/10/07, 3:00 AM  

Hey Donald, great post, cool writing style, interesting use analogies.

Well done on the race. A 2:02 for the run was a great result considering the shape you were in and coming after that swim and bike and the Big Sur.

At least you know how far you can blow the balloon now.

Anne 5/10/07, 5:47 PM  

I felt that blog world magic during last year's marathon. Glad you got to experience it too.

And this was well worth draining half my laptop battery!

Fe-lady 5/10/07, 6:32 PM  

A belated congratulations on a great race! (Even WITH the mechanical problems and walking...!)
Are you going back? It sure sounds like it!

Coach Tammy 5/11/07, 9:12 AM  

I'm going to pace myself. Read the intro, I'll be back for more. Laughed myself silly at your hammer and nail analogy. You think triathletes have intimidating looks... go to a road bike race sometime. Everything is matchy-matchy and all about "the look". I'm sure you did great... I'll be back to read more later!

Coach Tammy 5/12/07, 7:10 AM  

Ok, read the entire race report (will return for post-race... I'm taking this pacing thing seriously). You are an amazing writer! And that was an incredible finish... can't believe you even thought about being disappointed with that... but I guess it's all relative. WAY To GO!!! :)

Coach Tammy 5/12/07, 7:45 PM  

Awwww... finally finished. A Happy Ending :)) Glad you had such a fabulous time, now shouldn't you get training for that Ironman you got coming up?!?!?! (sorry, couldn't resist).

Spokane Al 5/12/07, 9:52 PM  

Donald, congratulations on a powerful race combined with a great marathon. As always, your wordsmithing keeps me enjoying your posts to the very end.

P.S. I don't shave my legs and don't have a pointy helmet - I guess I am an undercover tri guy.

Brian McNitt 5/13/07, 3:03 PM  

Wow. I also finished in 5:36, ride a Cervelo P3C, shave my legs, AND wear a pointy helmet! That was probably me you were keeping up with and laughing at! Think about this: with an aero helmet and w/o mechanical issues you would have finished in the 5:20's... Bet I know what your next purchase will be. :) Great finish, Donald, and good luck at Vineman!

Brian
"Leg shaver and pointy helmet owner."

Dori 5/16/07, 6:15 PM  

I'm late to respond to this, but I wanted to congratulate you on your race. I don't know anything about triathlons, but your overall time is faster than any of my marathons, so it sounds pretty good to me. Great race report.

21stCenturyMom 5/16/07, 9:27 PM  

I didn't meet nearly enough people at Wildflower - not nearly enough. I hope I get to meet you next time.

JenniferLeah 5/4/11, 3:04 AM  

I had to read this race report since WF was just this past weekend (it's 2011! ha--) great race adn this is certainly one on "my list" of tri's to do.
I'll let ya know when I'm out that way!! LOL

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