Wildflower Long Course Race Reflection

Every challenging event in life brings with it the possibility of opportunity-  the opportunity to learn about oneself, one’s strength, character, and limits.

Wildflower is hard. Wildflower is tough. Wildflower is fun. Wildflower is something I choose to do to push my limits. Wildflower, for me, is an intensive mental, physical, and emotional experience that ultimately teaches me more about myself than about my physical performance. I’ve done the Long Course 2x before this last go, and it never gets any easier; however I do believe I have gotten wiser and more experienced.

My goals and expectations for the race were to demonstrate my improvement in the swim, and I did just that. I have worked pretty hard over the last several months to become faster and more efficient in the water. So my 36 minute swim time at Wildflower was evidence that I’m right on track. I took 5 minutes off of my time from last year and about 4 minutes from Oceanside 70.3. The water was beautiful, sun was out, and the energy was high, all perfect ingredients the start of a great day!

On the bike, my legs felt good. At one point I thought “I could do this all day.” Now may be that thought facilitated pushing too much on the bike to the point that it may have took some swiftness out of my run. None-the-less, I felt good with my bike time given the conditions of some strong cross winds, crazy descends (and as I already stated I a very very conservative on descender), and warming temps.

The run, oooooooh the run. Which really is not a run but more like a trek, jog, walk….journey. The run leg is usually my most confident area but no matter how confident I may be the Wildflower run is a whole different monster. LOL. This is where the depths of my character awakens and I am face-to-face with the truth of how much digging I will have to do for the next 13.1 miles. Luckily, around mile 3-4 I made some new found friends, Rachelle and Andrea, that kept me motivated. In prior races I have been so in my head, and focused, that I inadvertently avoided “social” interactions with others, but today Rachelle and Andrea were just what I needed. This was probably the most “enjoyable” part of the race.  Hearing about Rochelle’s comeback from a injury, 15x Iron(wo)man experience, and her current training for Ironman Coeur d’Alene, and how Andrea is training for her first full Ironman, Ironman France, with a big group of friends from SF. Two truly amazing women!  Thank you Rochelle and Andrea (from SF Tri Club). However, this was merely a distraction and did not completely take away that I was working hard for each stride and my mind was fighting with body saying “where are your legs?!” There were times I would run, then walk, then run again, then shuffle, then run, then… well you get the point. My nutrition was off and by the time I crossed the finish line I felt like my stomach was eating itself-  serious cramping. I finished the run 4 minutes slower than last year but I’m okay with that. This year seemed harder for some reason but that’s the beauty of triathlon. It always keeps me focused on the present and where I am at on that race day. Yes, I trust my training and my ability, but in the end triathlon is about mentally and physically adapting to your conditions on race day. Some days are better than others, but at the end of the day you can honestly take credit for getting yourself across the finish line, and that is what Wildflower Long Course is about for me.   3x Wildflower Long Course finisher Team K & G!

The icing on the cake was seeing our friends from Chico and the Chico State Triathlon Club at Wildflower. Oh and it was really nice to début and rock out Team K & G race kits!

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Dr. Gloria Petruzzelli

Dr. Petruzzelli is sport and performance psychologist and mindfulness meditation teacher located in Sacramento, California and works with elite sport teams and athletes across the country. She is competitive athlete herself and enjoys practicing what she preaches.

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