July 22, 2007
Santa Rosa, Ca
I know this race report is long overdue and because of that it will definitely be a short recap!
A mass start of men and women professionals started the early morning half ironman in the Sacramento River. After some debate the day before whether or not to wear wetsuits, the morning of the race saw all the pros wearing one. The water was a bit too warm to be honest for them, but I was glad nonetheless to have a bit more protection on.
I had a decent swim and exited the water in a pack of men and women. I wasn't sure exactly where I was in the mix of things so I just did what I normally do and try to go as fast as I can. I struggled a bit trying to get my wetsuit off and lost a few precious seconds I'm sure. I ran the long exit out toward the mount line which happened to be on a slight up hill. There was one woman just in front of me and I managed to pass her as I rode up the small incline. For the next two miles are so I felt pretty good. During this time however the woman I passed on the hill came by me and slowed to put on her shoes so I again passed her. Then a few minutes later two men go flying by and the woman is right on there wheel drafting them!! I saw this for the next mile or two and was hoping that an official would see her and give her a penalty as this was a non-drafting race. To make a long story short on this subject, the woman ended up getting 3rd but drafted the entire way!!! I, along with a few other made complaints to the head referee which to took seriously although could do nothing about it since the officials said that by the time they caught up to her, she wasn't drafting! Oh well, what can you do; except now she is branded a CHEATER!
So, back to the race, I had a strong bike although I wish it could have been stronger. I didn't see another cyclist for the duration of the 56 miles! Rolling hills, slight wind and beautiful scenery made the time go by. I was in 5th place coming in off the bike and was determined to run myself up at least one place and ideally 2 places!
I took the run out hard and was surprised at how fast I was running for the first half of the run. I was on a mission to catch a girl or two and thought I could catch the first one by mile 6. By mile 9 1/2 I had a lock on Dede Greisbaugher, but it wasn't until mile 11 that I was finally able to catch her. It took everything I had to run up to her. I saw her just ahead of me for about a mile and a half and I knew as soon as I went through one of the last aid stations at mile 11 or so I would catch her. But as I was running through the aid station, three age group men where heading towards me, not looking where they were going and on the wrong side of the street. I ducked underneath a volunteers arm who was holding out water and just then, one of the age group men ran right into me knocking me backwards into the arms of the volunteer!! Thank goodness I didn't go all the way down and that the volunteer had caught me and stood me up right. I cursed at the athlete who wasn't paying attention and tears started to fill me eyes...I was tired and so close to catching Dede! A guy on the side of the road saw what happened and apparently knew me and said, "Don't worry Alexis; you're all right, get it back together and you can catch her." Thank goodness that person was there or I don't know what I would have done. It really helped and I got back into a rhythm and ran up to Dede. As soon as I was beside her, she said, "You're KILLING ME!!" I was too tired to say anything and made a run for it, not looking back. I knew that there was a look of pain across my face, but my friend who was watching said that my form looked good when I was about 800m to the finish! I did it, I placed 4th!
I crossed the line and went directly to a shaded tent, took off my shoes and socks and lied down for almost 30 minutes. I don't think I have ever been THAT spent after a race!!