Race Report: Wildflower Long Course 2014

Here’s my first attempt at half-ironman, Ironman 70.3 Austin. Sunday, Oct 23, 2011.¬†Weather that day was 90DegF with 10-15mph winds. Race weight was about 205lbs. Course was mostly flat. Last hour of the bike was torture, cramping. Bailed out at the end of the ride knowing I wasn’t going to make it through a half marathon in the heat. Very disappointed.

Name Country Swim Bike Run Finish Div. Rank Overall Rank
Dobson, Brad USA 00:47:29 04:29:45 00:00:00 00:00:00


Here’s my 2nd attempt, Wildflower Long Course, May 3, 2014. Weather from this one was 88DegF, Winds 5-10mph. Race weight was 199lbs. Course was mostly hilly, but no cramping and kept smiling all day. Finished 113rd/152 in my age group (compare with 44th/46 at the Ventura Olympic distance last year) – not exactly taking names but a marked improvement nonetheless.

Competitor Overall Class Gender Swim Bike Run
BIB Name Hometown Gender Age Race Class Rank Time Rank Rank Rank Time Pace T1 Rank Time Pace T2 Rank Time Pace
Dobson, Brad
Goleta, Ca M 46 Long Course Individual M45-49 1086 07:36:35 113 857 768 00:37:20 00:01:56 00:15:30 1120 03:50:38 14.50 00:09:31 02:43:36 00:12:29

Prep days

The plan I wrote in my journal a couple of days before was “Stay within yourself”.

Nervous morning of prepping stuff: the added elements of camping and 3 transitions in the race made it a logistical headache (run was split into 2 segments to allow them to move the swim). Drove up in a caravan with the rest of the SB Iron Team racers. Ate fairly light including a big salad with chicken for dinner. The salad was my insurance fiber for the next morning and it worked well.

Talked through setting up different transition bags and strategies for nutrition, hydration, inflation with coach and the team, then got it all set up. T1B and T2 got setup on the Friday, T1A bag would go out in the morning. Strange inflating tires to 115psi on a 90+ degree afternoon, then having the bike sit in the 50′s overnight. Could have left pump at transition but it worked out OK.

Slept OK, got about 7 hours and felt rested.

Race day

Up at 5 for coffee and various breakfast snacks, happy & calm.

Swim – 1.2mi, 37:20, 0 elevation gain fortunately

Saw Scott Tinley setting up which was kind of neat. Young woman behind me on the ramp said “I’m really slow, I’ll be last” and I thought that sounded a lot like something I’ve said in the past. Wave start was at 8:55. We got a little time in the water for warmup and the first 200′ was black as night from sediment: very strange. Not just dark or coffee-like, when your goggles were underwater it was like a void. I did some strokes but no racing heartbeat like the 55 degree water in SB.

Lake water was in the mid 60′s and maybe a little too warm for my Vortex full suit but not an issue. Worked hard on keeping my suit from chafing my neck as I’ve had some issues with it. Half stopped a couple of times to adjust. Only minor jostling and I took the time to be aware of the swimmers around me for the whole leg. For awhile someone bumped and zigzagged in front of me a bunch of times but I finally dropped him. Encouraged to see more of my swim cap color around me near the end and know that I was keeping up. Saw some folks fading while I was not. Kept to my plan of not racing anyone and just keeping a steady pace.

Recent training swims in Santa Barbara and at Lake San Antonio had prepared me well.

Exited and started my day of saying ‘Thank You” to as many volunteers as possible.


Small application of sunscreen, 1 Gu, gulp of water. Stuff everything into bags for volunteers to transfer.

Run #1 – 2.37mi, 24:19, 130′ elevation gain

Not hot yet so could go at pace. Short run mostly across the lake bed with some sandy sections. Spent most of it thinking about getting all the run to bike transition things done. Friends taking pictures near the transition area.


Giant application of sunscreen. Finished everything and ran through my mental checklist out loud: guy beside me said ‘Sunglasses’ for which I was grateful. Completely forgot body glide for my undercarriage. It would have helped but fortunately I managed to not get chafing on the ride.

Bike – 54.93mi, 3:46:12, 3658′ elevation gain

Great volunteers all day. New bike was great, lots of time in aero position. Was incredibly grateful I had changed the smaller front chain ring to a climbing gear as it made the hills much more doable. I was a little disappointed there was a headwind on the 20 mile backstretch as I had hoped to pick up the pace a little on that part. Stuck to the plan again: 1 Gu every 45 minutes, keep electrolytes and water going constantly, stop and pour water over myself at stops, and push a steady pace that didn’t cause me to blow up. Got to bomb one downhill, 48mph max and yelling at riders to move to the right so I could avoid going into oncoming traffic.

Hills were overcome by training. Period. Glutes, core strength, and lots of climbing in Santa Barbara were the way to go.

Some hunger pangs but the Gu’s and liquids made those go away.

Was nice to know around the 50mi mark after the hills that I was not going to have a problem with cramping going into the run.


My bodyglide was almost melted, which made it easy to apply. Another giant dose of sunscreen and a fresh shirt and socks. I knew I was going to finish which helped psychologically: this was uncharted territory.

Run #2 – 10.85mi, 2:22:37, 1015′ elevation gain

Started to run, heartbeat too high in heat. Pace all over the map. Walked hills from the start, running only on the flats and downhill. Did lots of power walking at 14:30 min/mi, which in my mind was pretty decent and meant that it wouldn’t take forever to finish. In some ways¬† I was disappointed I was unable to push during the run: on a cooler day I could have maintained a running pace (except for uphill sections). I had the energy in the tank.

Had a nice chat with Hugh (random 50-something) walking up the big hills. Saw him again at the finish line and congratulated him. Heard a good quote: “you have to take what the day gives you”. That fit well with my mantra of “Stay within yourself”.

The volunteers were giving out showers at every aid station and I soaked myself at every one, head to toe to the point where my shoes were squishy. Loved that the water was cold. Stuck to 1 Gu every 45 minutes, did my own electrolytes from a bottle I carried and did not drink the gatorade. Chatted and joked with volunteers and supporters along the course and kept smiling, sometimes forcibly. The physical act of smiling is an excellent race aid, no joke. Random beer bong aid station was avoided.

Finished running hard, happy. 6:29 pace in the chute for some glory, told Coach at the finish “I’m here because I’m coached.” Race management and training won the day.

Wildflower Long Course finish 2014

Wildflower Long Course finish 2014






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