This will probably be a long post so be fore warned! 🙂 And probably a gross one…
I had about a 10 day taper after my final 2 week build. The first week went well. I slept really good and nailed all my workouts. The Friday before the race I woke up extremely anxious. I was getting super nervous about the race. I had a lot of pressure on me, all of which was mostly self induced. Several people kept telling me that the only race is against myself. Yes, that is true to extent. I always race my race and race for a PR, but it’s a race. This was my third 70.3 race. My goal is no longer just to finish. I was racing for time and place and I knew that I would be racing outside my comfort zone and that was really the reason I was so nervous. I spent a lot of money and time training for this race (and race season in general) and I wanted to perform at the best of my abilities to prove to myself that I have improved and all that time and money was worth it.
I was also a bit anxious because of the lack of communication from Rev3. The athlete guide was sent out late and when they did send it, the link was broken for several hours. Once the link was fixed and you could open the guide, it was well over 77MB and took forever to load. It was super annoying and frustrating. A lot of athletes were frustrated including myself. I understand that it’s a new race, but Rev3 has been around for awhile and should know better. So, I was a bit nervous about how things might run on race day. So on Friday I picked up my race packet to help ease my nerves a bit.
Saturday I woke up early, despite my attempts to sleep in. Had a good solid carbo strong breakfast. Went out and completed my 30 min brick (20 min bike, 10 min run) in the fog. I put my race numbers on my bike and ate a second breakfast. I headed back to OOB to rack my bike, hit up the mandatory meeting, and met up with a friend for a quick swim. I have never swum at OOB before so I wanted to get at least a feel for the water there before race morning. I ended up running into a couple TriMoxie athletes and chatted with them for a bit, although for the most part I kept to myself to stay focused and in race mode. There were a lot of nice bikes in transition. I saw a lot of Scott Plasmas too! One guy even had the same bike as me, but I had better wheels (even if they are really not mine). 🙂 Another girl in my AG had the Plasma Premium, which is the top dog version of my bike that costs $10,000+. And, yes, I was slightly jealous.
|Azul all racked and ready for race day
|A Q&A with some of the Pro athletes
I looked through the Rev3 store tent and came across a tube valve extender. I was told by my bike mechanic that I shouldn’t need one because Bike Shop Boy already had one on his wheels. Well, he didn’t. So I sent him a panicked text asking about it. We bickered a bit about it, he doesn’t want them used. I purchased one anyway and put it on my spare tube. I was super paranoid that I was going to flat out during this race because I was using borrowed wheels. After my mild panic attack, I hit the water for a quick swim. It was in the afternoon and it was a bit windy and rough. It definitely made for an interesting practice swim. If the conditions were anything like the practice swim on Saturday, we were in for a real treat on race morning!
I slept pretty good till about 2am then tossed and turned for a couple hours before getting up. My dog just looked at me and continued to sleep. I ate my breakfast of a bagel and chocolate Ensure (I really don’t like Ensure, but it’s a good way to get down some calories if you tend not to bode well with solids pre-race). I got everything down the hatch for once! I sipped on some sports drink and packed all my stuff into my father’s truck. My car’s check engine light came on the previous day and I was super paranoid that my car was going to break down en route to the race and I would miss it. (Can you see a pattern yet? I was definitely nervous about this race! More so than I let on to a lot of people.)
I made it to transition by 5:30 and set up the rest of my gear. The girl next to me took up her fair share of room and I kindly asked her if she could consolidate some of it so I won’t step all over to get my bike. She had no problem with that and I really didn’t want to step on her stuff and break something. If that happened to me I would be upset. I got in line for the porta potty to do a number two and then wetsuit on and down to the swim start. I was halfway down the beach when the first wave of athletes went off. Opps, I started jogging the rest of the way. I ran into a few TriMoxie athletes and chatted with them for a couple of seconds. But, again, I kept to myself all morning. I was in race mode and was trying to calm my nerves. Then hit the water to get adjusted to it and then got in line before I missed my wave.
Oh, what to say about this! It did not go well and I’m not pleased with my time. The start wasn’t bad. It was my first beach start so I was a little nervous. I decided to start in the front and towards the right and just go for it. I had clean water as I dolphin dived my way till I could swim. I didn’t get kicked in the face at all, but was grabbed by a few arms at the beginning. There were two courses set up in the water. The first turn buoys were for the Olympic course and the far buoys were the Half course. I made it to the first red buoy (the Olympic buoy) no problem and started spotting the Half turn buoy. I thought I was doing pretty good and then I looked up again and realized some how managed to swim to the left inside of the buoy and had to start swimming to the right back on course. I made it around that buoy with minimal contact. Passed a few men from the previous wave that started 4 minutes in front of us. I started heading towards the far turn buoy. I found open water quickly and found my groove. I was swimming quite strong and felt good with my pace. I looked up again and realized that I was far inside of the final turn buoy. Part of the problem was the current pushing me towards the beach slightly, but the biggest problem was my pathetic attempt at spotting. Usually I’m really good at spotting and staying on course, but I was seriously all over the place today and my swim time reflects that. Rumor on the street is that the course was 0.1 miles longer than it should have been. I’m pretty sure that I added at least another 0.2 miles with my Tour de OOB swim. I finished in 38:27. I really should have gone sub-35. I came out 9th out of 22 in my AG, 28 out of 88 in wave, and 45 out of 159 women. I finished in the top third, but still very far from my true swim potential and I am disappointed by that. But, you don’t win triathlons in the swim.
Swim: 38:27 9/22 AG 45/159 Females 173/444 OA
The run from the beach to transition was long. I think I heard them say about 0.3 miles. I jogged it. I didn’t sprint. I wanted to get my bearings. Kristin, another TriMoxie athlete, slap my ass as she ran by me. Jen ran by me without a wetsuit (Did you swim without a wetsuit? I still haven’t figured that one out!) I got to my bike and managed to get out of my wetsuit in a decent time. On went the socks, shoes, sunglasses, and helmet. Turn on Garmin, grab bike, and run. Both Kristin and Jen were long gone and I decided to make it my goal to try and catch them. Ha, both of them are extremely fast and strong cyclists and totally crushed the course! I knew it was a long stretch to catch them, but it kept me motivated. Thanks ladies!
I had ridden the course five times previously on long training rides since it was literally 3 miles from work for me. I knew the course extremely well; however, I do think I might have over ridden it because I definitely a bit bored with it. My goal for the ride was to ride within my HIM wattage throughout the ride and aim for the perfect VI so my coach can give me an A+ for the day! I saw Kurt pretty early in the ride and he yelled for me to get into my bars. So I did. Then I started working on passing people. I saw mostly men. I looked down at my Garmin quickly and realized that I was pushing too hard and backed off a bit. After crossing Route One and started the “meat” of the course I started to settle in and focus on my nutrition. I had my nutrition plan laid out and I knew what I had to do to ensure a good run. For the most part, I nailed my nutrition plan. I also successfully and rather quickly was able to refill my aero bottle without dropping a bottle or falling over reaching back to my rear bottle cage! Small victories are important too! 🙂 I raced within my zones, but also made every attempt to forcefully pass anyone I could. Early on two girls in my AG blew by me on the bike. That lit a fire under my butt to keep pedaling and I also knew there were a few strong girls behind that I had to worry about. We approached the hilly section of the course on South Waterboro Road and I rode that portion very strong and smart. I’m super proud of myself for that because it a couple of previous training rides I had ridden it poorly. I passed a lot of people on this section, including two girls in my AG.
Around mile 40 I started to get a bit bored and my crotch was really hurting. I started having a bit of a mental pity party for myself. I started to think about how I need to find new, more comfortable tri shorts that match my tri top and how in less than a year I have to race ride 112 miles! My coach has numerous times not to think about that, but I still do. I know I’m perfectly capable of doing it, but it stems from my fear of the unknown. At one point I ran over a snake on the side of the road. I’m pretty sure it was dead already but let out a yelp because it startled the hell out of me. Finally, there was the turn onto Simpson Road. I was dreading this section all day because the road conditions are pretty bad. Luckily, people were pretty spread out so I had space to weave through potholes if needed. Then came the one lane bridge and up a big hill. I crossed over the bridge only to find two guys walking up the hill with their bikes and dropped chains. I felt bad for them because that really sucks. I made it up the hill with no problem. I was good with the hills all day. No hammering out of the saddle up them, just a slow-ish spin up to not kill my legs for the run.
The final miles of the course zig-zags through a few local rural neighbors. I was plodding along when all the sudden Plasma Premium chick in my AG zooms by me! It was a very “OH NO SHE DIDN’T” moment and it gave me the kick in the butt I needed at this point. My goal time for the bike was 2:50-3:00 and all my training rides had both me in good shape to finish in that time. Unfortunately, the headwind had picked up and slowed things down a bit. I started doing some calculations in my head and I knew that if I picked things up a bit then I could probably make my sub-3 hour goal. The Plasma Premium chick gave me that extra motivation to go go go! So I did, I sent the last six miles chasing her down and passing every possible person I could. I ended up rolling into T2 in 3:02, just shy of my goal time. I’m bummed definitely. Rumor on the street is that the course was at least a half mile long so perhaps I could have done it, but I know that I should have pushed harder at times during the course, especially around mile 40. There were several timer mats across the course. I started the bike in 10th in my AG, moved into 12th, and finally moved up to finish in 8th. I also moved up from 49th woman starting the bike to 46th.
Bike: 3:02 8/22 AG 46/159 Females 253/444 OA
I got off my bike and ran quickly into T2. I saw Plasma Premium chick racking her bike. She beat me, but I was hot on her heels. I also saw and heard my coach yelling and cheering me on. I smiled, but I stayed focused on the task of putting on the running shoes, race number, visor, and Garmin. And off I ran!
I started the run knowing the girl was hot on my heels so I put my head down and focused on running. I’m pretty sure I slapped some friends hands right out on transition, but I honestly don’t remember. I heard people yelling my name too, but I was so focused on running that I didn’t really look up (but I do appreciate it). I was very focused on this run. My goal was to run a sub-2 hour half. I knew it was going to be very tough so I was very focused and kept my head in the forward direction and not getting distracted by my environment. I knew if I did then I would lose focus. I looked down at my Garmin within the first half mile and saw that I was running at an 8:23/mile pace. Not good. WAY too fast so I tried slowing down. Weird thing was, I couldn’t. My legs wanted to go, so I just went with it and as I started mile 2 I did start to slow to my goal pace. It was going to be a long 13.1 miles so I didn’t want to go out too hard. My goal was to negative split the run. The first half go hard, but keep it reined in slightly. Second half was to push it more and really push it the last 5k. I started getting fluids in at water stations and took a gel at 40 minutes. It was starting to get hot out so I grabbed ice and dumped it down my sports bra to try to stay cool at the mile 3 water station. At one point I threw water over my head and some drops hit my Garmin causing it to spaz out and I couldn’t get it to tell me my current pace and time! I started freaking out and had to run on feel for a mile or so! Finally, it corrected itself and I calmed down.
We merged off the pavement and onto the trail just before mile 3. I hit the turn-around mat for the Olympic people at a 9:13/mile pace. It was a little slower than I wanted, but I knew that I was still okay in meeting my goal time. Right after the timing mat, Plasma Premium chick passed me, but was not far a head. I kept her in my sight the entire time. We crossed over Route 9 and headed up the trail in the Scarborough Marsh. I really hate this section of the trail. It’s exposed and always hot. I have also run it numerous times because I can get to the trail from my work. We continued another 1.5-2 miles until we hit the turn-around mat. I looked down at my watch as it hit 6 miles and in my head I thought “oh, we’ll hit the timing mat in 0.2 miles and it’s half way!). Because I’m super awesome at math while running, in all my brilliance, thought that the half marathon was just two 10ks. Yes, 6.2 miles plus 6.2 miles equals 13.1 miles! Wrong! We hit the turn-around close to 7 miles. Shortly after the turn-around we hit a water station. I actually stopped and walked at this one because I had to pee. Here’s the super gross part…. I peed while walking and drinking water! Yes, gross, but I’m not stopping in a middle of a race to pee in the porta-potty. Shit, yes. Pee, no.
Plasma Premium chick stopped too and started stretching her calf. I took off! And not fast. My pace had slowed to about 9:30-9:40 at this point. I was starting to feel the heat and the long day already. I passed some friends coming in the other direction looking super strong. I was completely miserable at this point and not sure if I managed to muster much of a smile or “good job.” Over the bridge, over Route 9, and back onto the final stretch of the trail. I walked through the remaining two water stations on the trail to drink and pee. Once we hit pavement again I knew we had less than 3 miles left and I started running faster. I was really starting to lose it at this point though. My stomach started grumbling and I knew that it could be an issue, but luckily nothing happened. I hit the last water station and knew it was less than 1.5 miles to the finish. At this point two woman behind me passed me and started picking up the pace and chatting. We passed a guy who made a comment “Oh, great! There is enough of you to carry me now!” I chuckled a bit. I made the turn and headed towards the finish. I tried picking up my pace, but my legs were toast. Honestly, I don’t remember much of the last mile because it was a fuzzy blur. As I approached the finish I heard several people yell my name. Then I see this shirtless guy walk up towards me and high-fived me. I remember thinking “Who is this dude? And do I know him?” I actually considered stopping and asking him. I was a bit out of it if you couldn’t tell. Finally I made the right hand turn into the finishing shoot and crossed the line. No sprint finish. No hands in the air. I was done! I saw my father waving in the distance, but honestly I didn’t make the connection that it was my father. The volunteers took off my timing chip and I collapsed into a chair. I sat there for a few minutes with a cold towel around my shoulders until the world stopped spinning. Then I hobbled out of the chute and my coach came running down to congratulate me. I chatted with her for a few minutes and then my father.
Run: 2:04 8/22 AG 43/159 Females 226/444 OA
Total Time: 5:53:04 8/22 AG 43/159 Females 226/444 OA
I got a got a crappy Amatos sandwich and sat down to eat it with Jen C. I watched the SheJAMs Olympic and Rev3 Olympic awards from a far. Lots of great performances done by all. I saw Kristin and she told me my lips were blue, which probably explained why I felt so cold and was shivering a little. I had a little ART done on my right hip since it had been bothering me throughout the race and then headed to transition to gather my stuff. At this point I was quite cold and ended up putting on my sweatpants, sweatshirt, and down vest that I had wore in the morning even though it was 80+ degrees and sunny. I probably shouldn’t have driven home, but I did and survived.
I’m happy with my race, but not satisfied. My goal of the season was to finish a half sub-6 hours, which I did. But, talking with my coach a few weeks before the race, I thought I could probably do sub-5:40 if race conditions were good. She agreed I probably could, but it was really hard to predict a time because it was a new race and also swim courses are always unpredictable. The course could be set long (like it was), short, or the conditions could have been bad. There was also a headwind and it was hot. I knew with those environmental factors I was going to be a little slower. I really wanted to go sub-3 hours on the bike. My training rides had me set for going between 2:50-3:00. I definitely had a strong bike leg, but it does reassure me that I need to work on improving my bike fitness over the winter months. Clearly, I’m not pleased with my swim. I’m actually rather pissed off with myself about it. But, it is what it is at this point. I’m slightly disappointed with my run, but I did run pretty strong and I did leave everything out there on the course. I’m proud of that because that was my goal for the day.
This was my first attempt at actually racing a 70.3 race. Pumpkinman last year was to finish the race, and Mooseman was honestly a day to survive due to the difficulty of the course and the weather conditions. I think I did well. I’m completely guilty of stalking scoping out my competition beforehand. I like to know who is in my AG and who I will be chasing all day. Some people have told me it shouldn’t matter and just race my best race. But knowing people in my AG helps motivate me. The two girls who placed one-two in my AG both finished Top 5 overall females and were both sub-11 hour Kona finishers last year! The other girls who placed before me all were very fast cyclist and again tells me that I need to work more on my bike fitness. I’m happy with my placing. Obviously, a podium spot would have been a sweet deal, but I knew the level of competition at this race was going to be strong and fast. I’m happy that I was able to finish the top third-ish (36%). It shows that I am improving in my fitness, but I still have A LOT of work if I want to be able to compete with the best. Overall, it was a good day and everything ran smoothly! Rev3 definitely can put on a show and the volunteers and staff really were top notch! Hats off to you!
~ Happy Training!