Ironman Santa Cruz 70.3(ish) Race Report

I can’t believe FIVE MONTHS have passed since Ironman Santa Cruz 70.3! I also can’t believe I did TWO half Ironmans in one year… I’m officially crazy. I feel blessed to have a healthy body that can carry me for hours, as well as friends who drag me along and motivate me along the way. I am also grateful for In-N-Out cheeseburgers after the race. Santa Cruz was not by best race, as I was a bit undertrained and my nutrition was off, but I still loved it in a weird way and of course have already signed up for a few tris next year and am looking forward to training for my first full Ironman… More details on that later, but for now, here are my thoughts on Ironman Santa Cruz 70.3.

For those who don’t know a half Ironman (HIM or Ironman 70.3) is a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.


Packet pick-up went smoothly after getting to Santa Cruz early enough on Friday. We wandered the merch tent and checked into our Airbnb and ate delicious burgers. Saturday, the day before race day, we got a little bike ride in and then a short transition run, on which I tripped over a speed bump and scraped up my knee and hands really good. Always a bonus. Grr. Thankfully I got some Tegaderm and hoped for the best. We scoped transition and dropped off our bikes, easy peasy. I have to tell you, though, that my nerves were starting to get the best of me… The swim venue had to be moved because of a red algae bloom, so I didn’t get a shakeout swim… Oh well. This was shaping up to be a great day, right?


The day started out at a lovely 3:15 a.m. because my friend’s alarm went off at 3. We got ready, ate our breakfasts (bagel for me; since it was so early, I didn’t have my banana and GU and Snickers till later), and headed out…

…which meant we got a fabulous parking space and were able to hang out in the car until we had to make our way to the swim start. I had mixed feelings about getting there so early… On the one hand, no parking space issues. On the other, more time for me to get worked up! And, boy, did I have the time to get worked up!

We waited and waited… Then race officials informed the athletes that due to fog the race would be delayed till 7:20 (originally a 6:50 start), and if they couldn’t provide a safe swim, they would modify as necessary. 7:15 rolled around and the fog didn’t roll out, so that’s what they ended up doing, shortening the swim to approximately 750m and moving it to near the swim exit. I ate my banana and sucked down a GU. One of my friends moved up, and my other friend moved back, and I was suddenly alone… Okay, not really, but it felt that way! All of us just wanted to get this over with! Let’s do this!

Pre-race obligatory selfie!

Before the swim


I had a decent swim because it was so short! I hadn’t been getting enough swim volume, so I was really quite nervous about the swim. I knew I could finish the 1.2 miles, and maybe even PR the swim because of the saltwater, but you never know. I didn’t mind swimming in the ocean (p.s. It was my first time actually swimming in the ocean), and since it was shorter, I had zero time to think of the things that could eat me. The only predators were other triathletes! I got kicked in the face and shoved around, but that is the fun of it! I ended up swimming 16 min and change for 872 yds (according to Garmin). Not too bad..
The run to transition was about a half mile (what is UP with long transition runs?!) and I had stashed a pair of shoes, which I was glad about. Sure, I would’ve probably been fine, but I was paranoid about cutting my foot again, like at Santa Rosa 70.3. It took me like 5 seconds to slip them on, and it was worth it and made the run easier. I wasn’t going to win the thing anyway! Found my spot, wetsuit off, and then socks, shoes, arm warmers, glasses, helmet, GO!


This bike is interesting… It’s right along the coast, which is really cool if you can see the water… I could not until the run. It had been unseasonably warm so the fog was super thick. Oh well. The course was pretty rolling with maybe two steeper climbs if I recall. More climbing than Santa Rosa, but not bad whatsoever. It wasn’t really cold on the bike and was starting to warm up. I tried to get down a lot of liquid and take my nutrition, but I think since the race moved up the start time, everything was thrown off and it was hard to recover. I ate my Snickers with Almonds at mile 30 this time instead of a treat at mile 45. Uh-oh… And then there were a couple sketchy stretches and idiot cyclists (is a simple “on your left” too much to ask?) and cars on those stretches–yikes! I did get a big PR (probably because of the shortened swim)–that’s pretty much it. I did have to stop and stretch my back once, but I’m pleased. Time was 3:10:54 (~17.6 mph). Definitely room for improvement, but I’m game for that. I want to go sub 2:45 at some point. Also I need a tri bike. I feel the need. The need for speed.

T2 was normal… Switched my shoes, threw on my hat and reapplied sunscreen (I still burned), grabbed my belt, and got outta there.

on the bike
Off on the bike!
On the bike at mile 16!


In a nutshell, the first 3 miles were decent, but I had to go. Yep, that kind of go… This was definitely not like Santa Rosa… Mile 3 was about a 14-minute mile. Yep. The thing that sucked was that my feet FELT FINE! Grr. I was trying to stave off a bonk the whole half marathon. Sigh. I will conquer you, 70.3 half marathon!

It got warm around mile 5, which is exactly where I saw my friend I was racing with. That was huge. He was at about mile 8 and looked great and almost pulled off a sub-2 half marathon. I somehow rallied after that and ended up with a decent time for a half Ironman half marathon (2:23 something), but blah. I met some great people who helped me going and the views of the ocean were wonderful. I just wish I had felt better! Lots of things to work on in the off-season.

on the run

I think I’m yelling something along the lines of, “I killed the bike” to Sara right now…



When I hit mile 12, I. WAS. DONE. I hauled it to the finish line (great job, Whit–why couldn’t you have started running this speed 5 miles ago?) One of my friends gave me a high five before the finish. Awesome. And just like that I was done with my second 70.3 in 2017. Who am I?? ?

Final official time: 06:04:44! (Something to shoot for on a course with the full swim distance) ??

Gender Rank: 286 | Age Group Rank: 46 | Overall Rank: 1286 (kind of middle-ish)

It was an incredible day even withe the setbacks!! If I can do it and hit my goals, you certainly can. All you have to do is train!! 

My First DNS and Why My Bicycle’s Broken

If you’ve spent any time in the running/tri/racing world, you’ve heard the phrase “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start.” Well, tomorrow is my first-ever DNS, which is apparently the worst of all. In that quote, DNS denotes not even trying. Maybe even quitting before getting to the start line. After some wisening up today, I contest that quote. Sometimes it’s okay not to start a race. It’s okay to be kind to yourself. Sometimes circumstances are beyond your control.

Changing Did Not Start and Why My Bike's Broken ... #cycling #bikecrash via Share on X

I got into my first “real” bike crash today on an awesome easy half metric century ride with my dear friend. I’m not talking about the slow tipover that is a rite of passage for all those cyclists with clipless pedals. I’ve been there, and I’m telling you, we all do it and you’re totally normal. 🙂 I’m talking about an epic to me–sweeping, speeding-up, downhill left turn, oooh this is fun and fast, wait, holy crap I’m going way too fast, oh I’m losing control, there’s the edge of the road, I’m going down, tuck and roll, oh crap, oh is anything broken, nope, I’m just pissed, did anyone see, oh I’m bleeding, I’m really fine, stop my Garmin, is my bike okay–kind of a crash.

Ouch! I’m fine…mostly  (


I currently have road rash all over, a big nasty scrape and swelling on and in my knee, and everything hurts and it sucks. But no broken anything or concussion, so I’m counting my blessings–twice. But because of that little (could’ve been bigger) spill, I will not be toeing the line at Bay to Breakers… and I feel completely okay about it. Of course, I’ve been trying to figure out how I’m going to get better as fast as humanly possible so I can at least swim my little (could be a little bigger) bum off while my road rash and knee heal. And also how I’m going to try to do my best to complete my sprint tri that I have in two weeks… (Maybe another DNS?) And PS, my bike needs fixing… Sigh.

But I just want to ride!!! (

So, to all of you who may have, for one reason or another, DNS’d a race, you’re okay in my book. We all have issues that come up, for sure. For 99% of us, DNS happens and we should just move on. What can we do to still feel good about ourselves? What can we do to feel normal? Not a trick question. Just feel good and be good. You’re so human, and so am I. AND THAT’S OKAY.

I’d like to change that quote above: “Dead Last Finish is greater than Did Not Finish, which trumps Did Not Start if it was in your control. If it was out of your control, Did Not Start is perfectly acceptable.” I still think we need to try to start our races and give them a good try if at all possible, but sometimes the smartest thing to do is rest, recover, recuperate, and rock on the next time.

Have you ever DNS’d a race?

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Race Report

I finished my first half Ironman! What a day! I LOVED it! Our bodies can do incredible things! I saw so many amazing women out on the course. Way to be out there with so much grit and determination! I had the best day! Everyone needs to do a triathlon. They can’t be beat, and you feel so powerful after completing one. 🙂

For those who don’t know a half Ironman (HIM or Ironman 70.3) is a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.


Thankfully I slept very well on Thursday night because Friday night sucked. After helping a friend move all day and a lovely early bird pasta dinner, I aimed to be asleep by 10… At 11:30, I figured it’ll be what it’ll be… I woke up a couple times, the last being 2:55, 5 minutes before my alarm. Whatever. Got ready and met a couple friends to get to the 4:00 a.m. shuttle. We got lucky and were on the second shuttle, which was an awesome luxury coach. Winning! …Especially considering there were a few buses that broke down… Yikes! So glad that wasn’t us! We got our T1 set up with time to freak out (me) and hang out (my friends). It was a bit cold (air temp 46), but we were prepared with warm gear. I met some lovely gals around me and I was able to go to the bathroom twice, after cutting the line once. I didn’t even care; I had things to do! Pretty soon, it was time to get in the water!!

Pre-race obligatory selfie!
T1 in the dark!


We had a rolling start, which seemed to work out pretty well and allowed us to see the first pros out of the water. Cool! It was awesome to see Holly Lawrence, who actually won the whole women’s racce. And I saw a glimpse of Andy Potts, who placed 4th in the men’s race! Love him!

I chatted with a friend I ran into (local race for me so I saw a bunch of familiar faces!). The anticipation was killing me! I just wanted to do the thing! Before we knew it, we were in the water, which was actually the perfect temperature, around 64 degrees. I always start out fine, no panic or anything, but about halfway, I got a little anxious and couldn’t catch my breath… So weird because I really wasn’t working too hard. I grabbed a buoy to hang out on and another super nice swimmer asked me if I was okay. So sweet! I was there for about 45 seconds and could continue. I made it 3/4 and then had to do that scenario again… Blah. OWS (open water swimming) for me this summer!! Also, I had a calf cramp… Which I never get EVER. Whatever…

The swim course had changed for safety–to be protected from the wind–and the the new route was fine, though I do have to say there weren’t enough race staff in the water, so it wasn’t the safest in my opinion… I finally got out of the water in 50:08… Not the best for me but an improvement and that was my exact goal. Then it was off to transition 1, or T1… UP A FREAKING MOUNTAIN of a boat ramp that was only halfway carpeted… Yeah, do you know how shitty it is to run in bare feet on asphalt and gravel?? Not fun. I didn’t stash shoes at the swim exit, so I was hosed… And I scraped my big toe so it was bleeding… I willed that to be the only bad thing of the day. Thankfully, that proved to be the only crappy thing that happened. Total distance from the swim to bike out was about a half mile… Sheesh. After the ridiculously long T1 (14:58!), it was on to the bike!


I had a blast on the bike!! The weather was a tad chilly (in the 50s and windy), but it worked fine with my long-sleeved, fleece-lined Coeur Sports bike jersey. Loved the course! The course was basically rollers with a huge climb at the beginning, so after that climb was done, it was blazing fast! The rollers were fun, and I have trained a bit on the course, so there wasn’t anything surprising. I did see someone epically crash, though. I hope she’s okay. She took a left turn too fast and couldn’t keep control. I saw her lying prone with a cleat ripped off. A few police officers were nearby, so I didn’t stop but wish her the best.

On the bike at mile 16!

We had a tailwind for most of it, so I came in about 40 minutes faster than I anticipated! Not bad for about 2000 ft of climbing. My dear friend Sara caught me at mile 16 and bike in, so that was a huge boost. I ate and drank every single time I thought I should, so that worked amazingly well! I had a Snickers at mile 35, I think, which was delicious! I even peed on the bike…4 times. Just little ones to relieve the pressure, but still awesome. If you’re a triathlete, you understand how amazing that is! I really don’t know how I did it so easily, but I’ll count my blessings. Thank goodness for the fleece chamois in my tri shorts!

I was thrilled with my bike time: 3:19:34, or about 16.85 mph! Flying for this girl! I passed quite a few people on way fancier bikes than mine, so what they say is true: it’s not about the equipment but about the engine. I gotta keep training. I met some awesome people on the bike. Triathletes (most of them) are the best people!

Before I knew it, I was in T2, which was the longest T2, area-wise–a whole city block! But it was not nearly as bad as T1! I quickly changed and was ready to roll (T2 time: 6:13)! I saw Sara again (she’s awesome) on the way out. Hooray for that! Only 13.1 miles to go!

#Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Race Report! Great day! #triathlon #racereport Share on X


I started out a little fast but calmed down after the first mile. I normally run standalone halfs a lot faster, but for this one, I kept it comfortable. I wanted to keep in the 10s, which I executed beautifully. I creeped up in the 11s for a couple miles, but hell, I was on the run in a HIM, I could do what I want!! I was also a lot slower because my feet were killing me because of my shoes! Yikes! I need to find something better. I would’ve run so much faster because my legs felt remarkably fine.

I think I’m yelling something along the lines of, “I killed the bike” to Sara right now…

This wonderful angel, Meredith, came along when I was struggling a bit and saved me!! She kept me going at our nice trotting pace. I’m so grateful for her…and her salt tabs. We just talked and talked! It was so fun! We walked the aid stations, which was my plan, and I had water and Coke at each one. That stuff is money! I’d never tried it in a race, but I figured the jolt would come fast, and it did! Good stuff. I ran with Meredith for probably 8-9 miles, so that was AWESOME!! I also ran with my friend Brandon for three miles. We ran across him at mile 10.

I ended up with a 2:20:15 half, which, all things considered, was pretty great! There were two loops with a couple hairy crowded spots, but overall the flat terrain was great. Perfect for a first HIM half marathon. There was great spectator support, especially when I revved them up. I figured everyone needed a boost, and it totally worked! There was a spot with a ton of spectators and no one was cheering! Geez! I did not like that, so I had to do something, so I raised my arms and shouted, “This is so hard! Let’s hear it!” I love my own enthusiasm. Haha. Basically it was so I could keep going.

Before I knew it, I was rounding the corner to my finish. I was finishing IM 70.3 Santa Rosa!! It was an awesome feeling!!


I saw a couple friends as I made that turn… It was invigorating, as my friend Adriana ran with me along the side and caught me at the finish, and my friend Dominique high-fived me!! I picked up the pace then slowed way down to bask in the feeling. I saw Sara and my husband and I about lost it!! I put my hand over my mouth in not really disbelief because I knew I could do it but in awe with everything around me. WHAT A FEELING OF GRATITUDE AND STRENGTH! Then they called my name and I crossed that line! I was finished with my first and certainly not my last half Ironman!! I got my medal and a nice hug from Andy Potts, so that made my finish extra awesome! I chatted with my friends and husband and then got my picture taken. I couldn’t believe my months and months of training for this race were over–or is the training just beginning? Stay tuned!

Final official time: 6:51:08! (Which beats my stretch goal of 7 hours!!!) ??

Gender Rank: 513 | Age Group Rank: 80 | Overall Rank: 1697 (very solidly in the middle)

It was an incredible day!! If I can do it and hit my goals, you certainly can. All you have to do is train!!

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Finisher!