Thursday, May 8, 2008

2008 Wildflower Long Course Race Report

Wildflower 2008 was definitely a very interesting event. A golden gem of triathlons, as some put it, draws competitors from all over the world. All the big names were there, including Chris McCormack, who by the way, ended up winning the event, and coincidentally, was racked only a few bikes away from me. Here I am, a beginner Ironman athlete, transitioning by a distance of only a few feet from a world champ. You don't get to see this in any other sport. The Wildflower Long Course featured a distance of 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13 mile run.

The swim portion was fairly straight forward. No waves, no "sharks", and a semi-clean water. Swimming, being my weakest sport, went well. While there were a lot of people for my wave start, I didn't feel cluttered, maybe because I became aggressive at first and claimed my territory right away. It wasn't that bad.

Onto the bike... This was a different story. Obviously, Wildflower has one of the toughest bike courses in any half-ironman distance triathlon, but this just wasn't my day. The bike leg was horrible. No matter how hard I pedaled, I wasn't going and people who were not supposed to pass me, were zooming by me like it was nothing. Very disappointed, nevertheless, a learning experience.

Onto the run.... Tough run course, no doubt... but I felt very strong during the run. As soon as getting off that disappointing bike ride, I started jogging out of the transition area. Upon passing the sensors, my legs didn't feel like they just came from a 56 mile bike ride. As a matter of fact, they felt fresh... I absolutely enjoyed the run. With putting out only about 60-70% effort, I was able to run the hilly 13 miles in about 1:53. I could've kicked it up a notch or two, but realizing that I wasn't going to meet my initial goal of finishing the event in 5:30, I decided to enjoy and savor the moment.

General Thoughts
It seems like all the training up to this point had paid off. I felt very strong during the event (even though I bombed the bike portion). I was only mildly tired afterwards and felt like I could've probably stretched the event an extra few hours.

Wildflower 2008 Long Course had many military members participating, in which many of the athletes were veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. It was very touching to see them right before the swim and throughout the event with missing limbs, blind, and with many other disabilities. But again, I realized that these people are the reason that I am able to stand in front of Lake San Antonio, with my wetsuit on, alongside thousands of other athletes, living in peace and not being in an imminent danger of being shot at. To take this one step further, these brave Heros are about to embark on the most difficult half-ironman distance triathlon and not let their handicap stand in the way. One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite people, "Stop Whining" Arnold Schwarzenegger, is as prominent as ever.

I would like to thank everyone who supported me and continue to do so in all my athletic endeavors. A special thanks goes out to my wonderful coaches (Paul, Rad, & Brad), my special lady Cynthia, mom, dad, brother, grandparents, teammates, mentors, everyone who donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and of course Tom Venuto and Fitness Renaissance, LLC.

Some Pictures:

Glad to have it Over

Struggling up a Hill

Me, my buds Carlos (aka running machine), Jake (aka all around cool guy)

No, I don't normally smile when I run.
I knew they were going to snap a photo.



Adam Waters said...

Hi Arkady, I just saw your profile on Tom Venuto's blog. Well done mate, you are an inspiration and proof that with hard work and determination it is possible to turn your life around.

Adam Waters

Anonymous said...

You are amazing!!!! I am so inspired!!

Shrinking Tardie said...

Hi Arkady,

I got a link to your blog from Tom Venuto's newsletter. How inspirational is your story! I've travelled a similiar path but still have a way to go - I've come from 350lbs 12 months ago (as of today) to 250lbs...still another 100lbs to go but I'm gaining fitness along the way.

My first plan is to complete a 5klm fun run with my daughter next April.

Thank you for sharing your inspirational story.


C. Sterling said...

Very cool! I too read part of your story in the "burn the fat" newsletter. About 5 years ago I picked up running as an effort to lose weight (along with joining Weight Watchers). Just this year I did my first 1/2 marathon with Team in Training in honor of my hubby who is currently in remission from Hodgkins. I hope to do the Disney full marathon this next year, but am still recovering from thyroid surgery and now taking thyroid meds. It's always something - and it's always work - but I don't ever want to be heavy again!

Joe Xavier said...

Hi Arkady,

Checked out your blog from Tom Venuto's blog. It's just a great thing to see so many people succeed and your story is one that inspires me as well. I've gone from a 25% to 15% now in 5 months and I'm still heading towards the single digit percentage. Hopefully I'm able to achieve it. I'm into cycling for fitness as well and was thinking of joining the local triathlon next year. Anyway, I'll link you up to my blog and I look forward to your future achievements!

Warmest thoughts,
Joe Xavier