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by Cherie Gruenfeld - 12 time Ironman Kona Age Group World Champion
If you’re unfamiliar with this event, it’s worth knowing a little something about it.
This twenty-eight year old event is iconic. It’s a weekend-long festival which includes three races: a long course (Half Ironman), a mountain bike sprint and an Olympic distance race. And all racing is done on terrain that is scary tough – it’s not for the faint of heart.
It brings out a full slate of top pros and amateurs from all over the country hoping to test themselves in the early season and everyone goes home with bragging rights.
As tough as this course has always been, it became a little harder in the last two years, thanks to the California draught. Lake San Antonio is a beautiful lake where the swim took place – for twenty-six years. Today, there is no lake. We’re not talking lower water levels or shallow, murky water. There quite simply is no lake!
Not one to throw in the towel on this great event, the Race Director got creative and created a devilish solution:
There is some water left in a lower section of ground, so the swim was moved there and that solved the no-water problem. Now there’s the little issue of having racers finishing the swim 2.2 miles from their bikes. No problem – triathletes can run. So, the second leg of this race is a run that is a real leg-trasher. It includes running up two very long, steep boat ramps, over hilly trails and through some deep sand. By the time the athletes reach their bikes, they’re ready for most anything but heading out on a brutal, hilly 56 mile ride, only to follow that with an 11 mile run where the hills never end. But we do it and that’s where the bragging rights come in.
In 1992, when I first entered the sport, this was my first race. I knew very little about triathlons and nothing about the difficulty of this long course. In the next 23 years, I returned to race the Wildflower long course twelve times.
As I’ve aged, I find myself at the finish line a little later than in the early days. But, even with the new run added in, I’m still handling the course pretty well.
A few highlights from this year:
I believe several factors (beyond good genetics) play a role:
If you haven’t yet tried this event, don’t put it off. Come see what you’ve got and enjoy the bragging rights.
I plan to continue taking PerfectAmino and to keep going back. It feels so good when it’s over!!
If there is anything society has come to realize over the last century, it is that women are just as powerful, smart, ambitious, and capable as men. And while society as a whole is still catching up as far as true equality, the facts are evident when you look at some of the most incredible and influential people today.
When it comes to fitness, however, men and women are not the same. The natural, physiological differences necessitate unique approaches to achieve optimal results. While the fundamental science behind attaining a shredded, lean physique is basically the same for both sexes, the exact steps and application require careful consideration.
One thing I've learned is that injuries can be great teachers. There are so many lessons to be learned from the injuries we experience. They force us to slow down and evaluate our bodies on a deeper level. Like many, I'm guilty of sometimes taking my healthy days for granted. When we pick up an injury, we're suddenly motivated to learn everything we can about that specific injury. We're also dedicated to the necessary rehab it will take to overcome the injury and strengthen our weak areas.
As with many injuries, I've learned there are no "quick fixes" for my stubborn Achilles. Over the years, I've also learned there are no "get fit quickly" schemes.