Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Day 3: Ironman 70.3 Vineman!

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Sunday 7/13 was Todd's Ironman 70.3 Vineman Triathlon!  For those who aren’t familiar, the Ironman 70.3 is a triathlon race where participants swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and then run 13.1 miles (thus adding up to 70.3 miles).

We set our alarm for 5:30am, but at around 4am we started hearing doors slamming and people leaving using the exit door next to our room.  So we didn't get much sleep after that.  :(  Got up and got ready.  We went to the hotel dining area for breakfast.  I had some scrambled eggs and got a muffin to go.  Todd had oatmeal and a banana.  Then we were on our way to Guerneville for the start of the race at Johnson’s Beach.  The drive was longer and windier than we thought it would be.  We basically drove through a redwood forest to get there.  We left at 6:20-ish and did not get parked until 7am.  Ironman parking lot got full right when we drove up to it!  Liars!  They said they would have enough parking!  Luckily, we drove down the street and got a spot on the road.  

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Then I carried most of the bags while Todd walked his bike to the start line and went into the Transition 1 area to set up his stuff.  I waited outside and took photos of him, like a good stalker, ha!  Then I saw Mick & Steve come out.  They told me where Cat and the rest of the family were.  Yay!  After Todd got ready and came out, we got a few photos.  

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Steve, Todd, and Mick.  They rode their long bike rides together many a Sundays, along with Cat too.

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The swim start at Johnson’s Beach was quite picturesque!  The Russian River was gorgeous and surrounded by big redwood trees.  Idyllic!

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Then it was almost 8:00, when Mick & Steve's heat was.  

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Then Mick & Steve started swimming.  Pretty soon Todd was lining up for the swim!  

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The start of the race for Todd!

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After Todd's heat went off and they were swimming, I found Cat & her family again at the ramp where the swimmers exit the water.  We waited for a while and saw Steve come out of the swim.  

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Then Mick ran out. I got a photo of him running by.  

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Then a few minutes later we saw Todd come out of the water.  (He started in the heat six minutes after Mick & Steve.)

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He was so happy and smiling.  

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Finisher Pix got a great shot of Todd exiting the water.

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By then Cat had gone to see Mick off on the bike and walked back to the rental house to make sure their dog Koa was ok.  Sandy and I waited for Todd to finish the T1 transition.  

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Todd handed his bag off to me and took off on his bike.  Sandy and I walked back up the hill and met up with Harry.  I walked with my purse, backpack, camera, and Todd's swim bag up the hill and dropped off Todd's bag at the car.  Then we continued the walk to their rental house.  The walk was so scenic! 

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At the house they fed me coffee and egg muffins and it was delicious!  We waited for Elizabeth, Koa's dogsitter to come.  Then Cat & Sandy drove in the Saab and I followed them in the Subaru.  We were headed to Winsor High School for Transition 2 and the finish, but we chose roads that were closed to cars due to the race.  So finally we got about 1 mile from the high school and got out and walked.  We found a shady spot on the street about 1/2 mile from the HS and set up camp.  It was about 10:45 by then.  

Cat’s family made signs the day before, and we cheered a lot of cyclists coming in and runners running out and in!  We were there for hours!

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Mick biked by us at around 11:25.  

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Then we totally missed Steve and didn't see him!  The Mick came out running.  

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At around 11:50 we saw Todd bike by and I took photos of him.  

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Then he ran by around 12:06, exactly 4 hours after his start time.  He was on pace for his goal finish of 6:15 at that point.

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We cheered the race participants for a long time.  Then around 1:45 I walked back to the HS to be at the finish line for Todd.  I waited and waited.  I thought he would finish around 2:06, giving him about 2 hours to run the 13.1 miles.  2:15 passed and didn't see him come through.  Then 2:30 passed.  I started to get worried.  Around 2:45 I got a call from Cat saying that Todd just passed her mom at around the 12.5 mile mark and he was walking due to leg cramps.  I was so relieved that he wasn't laying on the road somewhere, but knew that he must had so much difficulties to be that far behind pace.  Fairly soon after that, Todd came through the finish line.  

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Got his medal!  So hard-earned!

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I was so happy to see him!  He was happy to see me too, but I could tell he was a bit dazed and wasn't feeling well.  He went to get a drink and then came out.

We went to the massage tent and he signed up for a massage.  After the massage I asked if he wanted to go to the medical area.  He said he just wanted to leave.  So we walked a mile back to the car and I drove us back to the hotel.

After a few minutes of rest, we walked to Firwood Market to buy some drinks and food.  We bought chocolate milk, Ben & Jerry's caramel fudge vanilla ice cream, gatorade, and some Coke Zeros.  (Most of these items were things that Todd’s dad recommended for post-race dehydration.  He’s a medical doctor.)  We ate the ice cream while finding a place for dinner.

Went to dinner at Mary's Pizza Shack about 2 miles away.  They were busy and slow, but we got to eat pizza and meat ravioli.  And rootbeer and diet Coke.  Hit the spot for Todd!

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It was such a long day!  I'm so proud of Todd for finishing even though for almost the whole 13-mile run he was in pain with leg cramps.  What determination!  You can read Todd’s personal account of the race on his blog.

We bought some really nice photos of Todd during the race, taken by Finisher Pix photographers.  Enjoy these!  :)

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We went to Napa the next day for wine tasting, and stayed another two days in Santa Barbara on the way home.  The whole trip was six days.  Stay tuned for more travel, food, and fun posts!  :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sonoma Co Day 2 | The Pre-Race

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Our first full day in Sonoma County was all about race preparation.  Got up around 6:30am, which meant sleeping a lot!  (We went to bed at like 9pm due to getting up at 3:30am for the trip.)  We got dressed and went over to Hole In The Wall down the street for breakfast.  They were supposed to open at 7am.  We got there at 7:10 and we were one of three parties waiting outside for the waitress to unlock the door.  It was a nice little place.  

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I got the mushroom & potato scramble with poached eggs and a biscuit.  

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It was all good, but the biscuit was really good.  Todd got some sort of apple cinnamon special Belgian pancake that was super-thick.  The coffee was very good.

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After breakfast we hurried and showered so we could leave at around 8:50 to go to Winsor High School for the Vineman course overview talk at 9:30.  We got there with plenty of parking left.  We waited to get into the gym for the talk.  Once we found seats in the bleachers, we saw Mick, Cat, and Steve so we waved them over to sit by us.  

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The course talk and video was very entertaining.  Then we went out to the packet pickup line.  We met Cat's family.  We chatted while waiting for them to pick up their bibs, and then their tshirts.  It took a while but finally everyone was good to go.  

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The boys went over to Transition 2 to set up their bike-to-run gear.  

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Todd forgot his towel in the car so he went to get it.  Vineman has 2500 participants and sold out in under 4 minutes!  We went to the Expo and Todd bought a Vineman bike jersey.

After the Expo, we met up with the gang at old town Winsor.  

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We walked around a bit, then we went to eat lunch at KC's Downtown Grill.  We all sat at one big table.  

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The food came really fast. I had crab cake salad with avocado slices.  

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Todd had steak salad.  It was decent but not super great.  

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After lunch, we parted ways and Todd and I drove to Siduri Winery for our 1:00 tasting appointment.  Nora was our salesperson and hostess.  She was very nice and explained where each wine's grapes came from.  It was fascinating.  Somehow the only photo we took at the winery was this one!  :(

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The wines we tasted.  Don’t worry, she only gave a very little bit of each wine, plus we poured most of them into the discard container after a sip or two.

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Todd liked the Zinfandel and the mixed Pinot Noir (extra pouring that wasn’t on the list).  I liked the dessert wine.  So we bought 2 Zinfandels, and one each of the other ones.

After the winery, we went to get gas and found out where the nearby O'Reilly's Auto Parts was.  It was only a few blocks away on Mendocino Ave in Santa Rosa.  This really nice guy named Tony helped us a lot.  He called around different Subaru-specialized mechanics to see if they were open, but they were not.  He called another contact and she said Subaru makes all the dashboard lights come on so you don't ignore it.  Tony thought it was a voltage or alternator problem, which we feared.  He got a voltage tester and we tested the battery.  It was normal and nothing wrong with it.  Then he told us that we could go down the street to Oilspot Oil Change and this really nice guy named John helped us with reading the diagnostic code on the car.  He did it all for free.  He printed it out and told us that it was minor gas evaporative leakage.  Just what Google and the Subaru forums told us when we googled it on the road yesterday!  We went back to O'Reilly to tell Tony and he was surprised.  He gave us a gas cap to try on and Todd started the car 11 times to try to get the lights to go away.  It didn't happen.  But we were confident it was nothing serious and bought the gas cap for $10.  Tony gave us phone numbers for a couple of auto repair shops if we need to go on Monday.  Big shoutouts to both Tony at O’Reilly and John at Oilstop in Santa Rosa.  Couldn’t have met nicer guys willing to help a possibly stranded road-tripping tourist!

After that we went back to the hotel and relaxed.  Then we had to find a place to eat for dinner.  There weren’t very many good places to eat in Sebastopol.  (Very small town.) Todd found a place called Woodruff's that looked good.  We walked over and it was closed due to family wedding.  :(  It took us a while to Yelp and find another place to eat.  We ended up at an Asian fusion place called Eight.  We had pork potstickers for appetizer.  Todd had Mongolian steak with brown rice.

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I had chow mein with shrimp.  It was rather good.  

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After dinner we just hung out in the hotel and watched "Friday Night Lights" movie on TV.  Had to go to sleep early for the Ironman race the next morning!

PS – If you wonder how I can remember all the details of our trip… I ALWAYS type up notes in Evernote every night while on a trip, so that the details are fresh in my mind still.  I find that even the next day or two days later, I’ve forgotten a lot of the details.  The details are what I relish when I go back and read my trip blog posts, so I don’t skip them when I’m typing it out every night while on the trip.  :)

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