Folsom Long Course Triathlon


This weekend, we went up to Folsom Lake again for the Husband’s second triathlon  and his first Half IronMan. It was basically his ‘dress rehearsal’ for Whistler next month. There seem to be infinite triathlons in Folsom Lake, so to be clear, this is the one he did if you’ve found this blog actually searching for race info.

We headed up on Saturday morning and stayed with Alisyn, whose blog I’ve read for a while now. We’ve tried to meet up a few times now on our camping trips up to the area, but it’s never worked out so it was really nice to meet her at last. There’s always a risk in both hosting and being hosted by a ‘random stranger from the internet’ but we just had so much fun with her and her gorgeous little dog Penny the Pup. It was also really nice to meet her gentleman, UMM who is set to run Western States at the end of June. I’ve never met anyone who has done or is doing WS so it was really fun chatting with him. So thanks, Alisyn and UMM!! (And Penny).

Alisyn teaches me the secret of good posing for photos!!!
Alisyn teaches me the secret of good posing for photos!!!

On Sunday, the alarm went off at 4.30m. Brutal. We were out the house by 5am (our poor, poor child) and at Folsom for 5.30 am and we wished we’d been there slightly earlier. The traffic was queueing and the Husband’s set-up was a little rushed, but not too badly! The car-park was full and closed shortly after we arrived, we have no idea what other competitors did! We had planned to head over to the Folsom Zoo Sanctuary but couldn’t get in or out the car-park.

Swim starts are incredibly impressive to watch. The Husband was in the second heat so we kissed him goodbye and stood by the lake to cheer. He doesn’t do freestyle/front crawl so basically breast-stroked the whole swim. This made him easy to spot and photograph – a bobbing up/down head in a sea of thrashing arms. He said the water was a decent temperature, relatively clean and he never got trampled on. He came out the water slightly ahead of his expectations and feeling pretty happy with the 1.2 mile swim overall.

Sunrise was pretty gorgeous. #nofilter
Sunrise was pretty gorgeous.
Matching orange boys
Matching orange boys
The lone breast-stroker
The lone breast-stroker

We saw him off on the 56 mile bike ride, which was one big loop, and headed over to Starbucks for coffee before going to the Lake Natoma Aquatic Centre where you could rent kayaks, canoes, SUPs and pedal boats. I do fancy SUP-ping but not with the Dude on my board, so we rented a pedal boat and had a fun hour bobbing around on the lake. From there, we went back to the staging area, paddled/waded in the lake, played with our toys, got a little bored…and it was getting hotter and hotter and hotter. Eventually the Husband came back into transition after the bike ride, beaming and happy. His strength is the bike and he was feeling good. Apparently the bike course is fairly flat, with just a few rollers, and a decent surface all the way round. We cheered him off onto the 13.1 mile run and went to sit in the sun.

On the water
On the water
He ditched his trousers/pants pretty early on 🙂
Looking good after the bike ride...
Looking good after the bike ride…

At this point, it got better for us and worse for him. Better for us because Kristen turned up to cheer on a friend of hers. I’ve only met Kristen once but we’re online buddies so it was SO nice to see her and get to know her a bit better. She is 38 weeks pregnant and frankly looks better than I did on my wedding day!!

However it got worse for the Husband because it was now incredibly hot and he was running! The temperatures were about 102F/38 C which is ridiculous!  The run course was two out-and-backs along a fairly flat, paved trail, but the trail was pretty exposed and thus baking hot. There were plenty of aid stations, apparently, but people were walking a lot. The turnaround point was where we were and we saw one guy, who looked very fit, drop out of the whole race with just that final 6.5 mile lap to go. He was just cooked. I felt so bad for him.

The Husband got back to the turnaround so we got to cheer and clap. He was in good spirits but so very hot. He changed socks (soaked from tipping water over his head), got more salt tabs and set off again. Each loop took him roughly 1 hr 40 and he’d been expecting to do the whole thing in 2 hrs 15 or so.

It felt like forever but eventually, he came jogging slowly towards the finish line, accompanied by Kristen’s friend who he’d been on the course with. They looked pretty shattered and crossed the line in 7 hrs 53. The Husband had hoped (based on training) to do it in about 7 hours so that shows the effect of the heat. I was incredibly proud of him for sticking it out and persevering, it took real strength of character. I actually think his IronMan will be easier as the temperatures should be so much lower.

He can smell the finish line...
He can smell the finish line…

Over the course of the day, the Husband lost 8lbs even though he drank solidly throughout. Says it all!

Pretty knackered (and salty)
Pretty knackered
The reviving power of cold water
The reviving power of cold water

It turns out that whilst he was low down in the age-group rankings, he placed second in his Clydesdale classification…he was pretty chuffed with that. I was glad that he wasn’t at all disappointed by his time yesterday. It had been all about training and practising, and both the physical and mental challenges of yesterday will have done wonders for his preparation for Whistler!

My Half-IronHusband
My Half-IronHusband

Anyway…today (Monday) is a very special day, as the Dude and I abandon our Half-IronMan and head to the UK for nearly three weeks. We are SO excited about it!! See you on the other side of the pond!

27 Comments Add yours

  1. Nicola Johnson says:

    Firstly – MASSIVE well done to Mr R. A corker of achievement, particularly given the heat! Secondly – Clydesale classification? Is this some reference to his height, in a horse-type style (ie, Clydesdales are like Shire Horses – BIG!). I’m really hoping so.
    Thirdly – See you soon!!!
    And fourthly – you’re bound to be busy this coming weekend, so am prepared to report back, but Wallop School Fete this year (14th June) features the Avon Valley Ferret Display Team. I kid you not. I’m expecting ferrets on motorbikes, acrobatic balancing, capes and helmets, and possibly a ferret skydive. Anything less will be gravely disappointing. Will take photos…
    Travel safely!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yes…they have some weight classifications here for those people who will never be whippets and thus are unlikely to win age-group awards. Clydesdales are guys over 220lbs, Athenas are women of a similar build – not sure of the weight limits. Ironically, the Husband started as a Clydesdale but ended below the weight limit!!
      Ref Wallop, I REALLY want to come but we’re going camping in Dorset over the weekend. Gutted to miss out on the dancing Ferrets. Photos please 🙂

  2. Holy smokes. I know Folsom is a hot hot place at times, so major major props to him for getting through a Half Iron Man in that heat!! The mental and physical fortitude to get through that. . . wow. Big congrats to him 🙂

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thanks…I’ll pass the message on!

  3. Phew! 38C for a half marathon… and after the swim and the bike ride too! Impressive! Congrats to him again.

    Have a nice trip to the UK and enjoy your stay there 🙂

  4. Kate says:

    Safe and happy travels to you!

  5. Susie M says:

    Wow! 38c is no joke, that is a great achievement just to get round. Safe travels back to our little island over here!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yay…can’t wait to see some green, some sheep and some parents 🙂

  6. Liz says:

    Wow well done Rich that’s amazing especially in that heat. Have a fab time back here say hi to your ma and pa from me (I’m taking my kids down wiltshire way end of August want them to see my home county so hope to pop in and say hi then:-)). If you’re anywhere near Lincoln just shout and I’ll come and give you and Arthur a hug xxx

    1. Cathryn says:

      I may be near Lincoln but will need to talk to the in laws about plans. I’ll drop you a note x

  7. Sherry says:

    Well done on your husband’s triathlon – that is super work in the heat and you are justifiably proud. Have a great trip back ‘home’!

  8. Paulette says:

    So cool! Glad you got to meet Alisyn and to see Kristen. It was so hot, I can’t believe he lost 8 lbs. Congrats to your hubby!

    1. Cathryn says:

      It was crazy hot, I’m glad he was okay!! And it was so nice to meet/see the girls and UMM!

  9. Layla says:

    Wow, he lost EIGHT POUNDS?! That says a lot! Kudos to your husband for finishing in that crazy heat: He will definitely have an easier time in Canada. Have fun in the UK!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Yeah, he drank like crazy and took salt tabs etc but 8lbs is a lot, I agree. He’s mended now! Canada or bust! eh?

  10. Grace says:

    Yow – 38C is a real scorcher of a day – congrats to the husband and everyone else who managed to finish! Not so much of an issue at Whistler, I’m guessing. Safe travels!

    1. Cathryn says:

      We really hope Whistler is a little cooler 😉

  11. Jen says:

    Super impressed with Mr. R persevering in the heat! Quite a good job by you and the Dude for spectating all day too! Have a FANTASTIC time in England!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you!!!! Mend nicely whilst we are away!

  12. Angela says:

    Gah, stupid heat! Glad he was able to hang in there & still put up a pretty good time considering. It’s definitely all about practicing logistics & the mental game for IM! (Or so I am told by people who actually know things about triathlons & IM.)

  13. Kristen says:

    I still can’t believe he lost 8 pounds! The athletes seriously kicked butt out there – major props to him. My friend told me her real IM was easier than that so I have no doubt Canada will go great for him.

    Thanks for keeping me company in the heat. It was so good to catch up and meet your little guy.

    1. Cathryn says:

      I’ll tell him what your friend said…I’m getting excited for him! Enjoy your last few weeks x

  14. Alisyn says:

    So awesome to finally meet you and hang out with you and the lovely family! I will forever remember “I took a long cut.” A is too cute!
    Congrats to the hubby! Certainly not an easy quest, but I am certain he will conquer ironman!
    Looking forward to hanging out with you again soon!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Hopefully at WS!!!

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