Ironman 70.3 Raleigh
FRIDAY: I drove into the beautiful town of Raleigh, North Carolina Friday afternoon and headed straight to the Convention Center. If you have never been to Durham/ Raleigh area just recall the movie Fried Green Tomatoes or pick up a Southern Living magazine and it will immediately take you into this fine Southern town. I love it!! I will definitely remember this place as my Husband applies for his Fellowship in the Winter.. helllllooo Duke!
Obligatory photo in front of the sweet balloon exhibit at the convention center!
The Raleigh Convention Center was easy to find and had great parking facilities, which is always a stress reliever. As always, IRONMAN events and the volunteers did an amazing job checking everyone in and getting the flow down just right- THANK YOU! I was in and out of the expo in about 15-20 minutes. I did actually forget my race day nutrition, so I had to stop by a booth to buy my IRONMAN Perform Sports drink mix, Powergels, and Clif Shot Bloks! It’s nice to know they always have everything there! I met up with one of my sister-in-laws athlete, Catie, from my hometown Nacogdoches Endurance Training- and her friend Sam. They are so awesome, funny, energetic so I really enjoyed meeting and hanging out with them throughout this entire trip! After we met up, we all headed back to our hotel to check in and then relaxed for a few minutes before we headed back for the “Mandatory Athlete Briefing.”
Athlete briefing went well. It’s always things you already know if you read the athlete guide, but I think Catie and I were both hoping that they were just going to miraculously change wave swim start times (we were in the last swim wave).. but no… it didn’t happen. haha. We left the briefing and headed to a local “tapas” restaurant with some of their friends and it was delicious, very filling!
SATURDAY: Catie and I went on a short run near the hotel, had a very large breakfast, then loaded up our bikes to make the long drive out to Jordan Lake where T1 was. After the 40min drive, we were able to get a short 40min bike ride in on course. It was a really nice area, smooth roads (minus the first 3-3.5mi of climbing you do right out of T1) and the people were very friendly. We checked out the lake, no swimming was allowed the day before, so we wracked our bikes and were done!
We decided to go drive the bike course as we made our way back into the city. The bike course wasn’t too bad. I’d say rolling hills, but nothing that would make you get out of your seat to climb. That’s all I needed to know about the course. That and it would definitely be difficult to get your feet out of your cleats coming into T2 as it literally ended right at the crest of 1-2 mile climb. Other than that… Catie and I were actually pretty stoked about the route for race day! Looking at the bike times from last year, (2:35-2:40), seemed to be the average and I was pretty confident in conquering that!
The rest of the day was unremarkable as we pretty much ate what seemed like every minute of the day and rested our legs.
We set our alarms for 3:30am since Sam volunteered to work Run Bag Drop Off by 4am… haha. Ouch! We all actually felt great though, we had gone to bed at 7:30pm that night so we were all good to go! We loaded up our cars, headed to downtown Raleigh. I was able to lay my T2 stuff out next to where my bike would go and then I hoped on the bus to take the long 45 minute ride to Jordan Lake.
EAS Brand Protein Powder + Applesauce + Perform = Fueled body for race day!
Once we got to T1, volunteers were cheering/ screaming in excitement to body mark you.. it was only 5am! ha, I’ll have what they’re drinking! Rolled into T1 and aired up my tires, synced my TIMEX Cycle Trainer 2.0 bike computer, and laid out my bike nutrition “suitcase” in my Profile Design box. Then I laid out my morning breakfast and Catie and I had us a feast as we waited on our swim wave to come.
SWIM: 1.2 miles
It was announced on race morning that the race was in fact wetsuit legal, with a temperature of 75.2 degrees. I had brought my sleeveless xterra vortex wetsuit, so I was good to go! Their was nothing really crazy about this swim, besides the fact that I was the very last wave! Wave 21, 8:18am. When we were getting ready to cross over the mat to get into the water, we heard the announcer say that the PRO’s were halfway done with the bike… awesome! The cannon went off and I did as my Coach mentioned to me earlier, just stay steady. I knew I wouldn’t be the first out of the water by any means, but I needed to still be in the top group.. I guess I really didn’t start pulling a little bit harder until the turn into the swim exit. Next time, I’ll definitely go harder, I think I only have one pace.. which is IRONMAN pace. Oh well. Still somewhat decent time.
Time- 33:59 (1:45/100m), 10 place AG, 109 Gender
BIKE: 56 miles- Holy Wind!
The rolling course takes you from Jordan Lake to Downtown Raleigh with beautiful scenery, hills, and communities to see along the way. After the initial climb out of the park where T1 was, a long nice downhill followed. Except things didn’t go as planned as it had been just the day before. As soon as I hit the turn to head down hill I came face to face with a nice headwind.. which happened to be what I would be facing the entire 56miles. I’m not complaining, it actually felt great since their was not much shade on the course and the temperatures were starting to rise. BUT what I did have to readjust was my new bike race goals. My heart rate was up as I was working towards the wind and I could barely challenge the hills ahead of me without going crazy out of my zones. So I readjusted my bike time goals for the race, swallowed a lot of pride and let A LOT of people pass me the first 28-35 miles.
Thank goodness being patient pays off! Around mile 35, I began passing more and more people as I stayed within my allotted zone for the day. I felt great and these people looked miserable! I wanted to push harder but I still had a run to conquer after the bike and wanted my body to be fully prepared for what lied ahead! That andddd I knew my Coach would be looking at my data right after the race and if I blew up on the run, I’d have one mad man coming after me! 🙂 The bike finally ended on a final climb uphill where a huge crowd awaited at the top by T2! I decided to not take my feet out of my cleats for safety reasons plus my bike was to be racked literally two steps away, so it was no big deal. I ended up taking around 4.5 bottles of Ironman Perform on the course, 1 salt tab, and felt ready to run! I was EXTREMELY disappointed in my overall bike time but I knew that I was doing something right since I passed about 6 people in my Age Group on the bike alone.
Time- 2:55:46, 19.12mph, 4th place AG, 80 Gender
RUN: 13.1 miles- Feeling HOT HOT HOT
The course proved to be a bit challenging due to heat and the terrain. It wasn’t anything crazy like the Ironman courses up North but it basically was 3.1 miles uphill, 3.1 downhill.. then repeat! The plan was to stay steady on the first 5k uphill, hammer the downhill, then take it easy the last uphill, before racing down every single person I could find on the last 5k.
The run felt great! The only frustrating point of the race (and also the bad part of being the last swim wave) was having to plow through all the people walking on the course. Seriously, you’d think people were playing a game of Red Rover or something with everyone’s arms locked together, telling stories of what they did last night or what they were going to after post-race.. get out of my way people! 🙂 I remember one lady yelling at me to just run through them, run ’em down! Oh no worries, I did! But it was just funny doing it!
The final climb from miles 7-10 were pretty brutal for me, I lost site of a fellow Age Grouper I had passed prior and was slow on my cadence and lost all sense of form. No more ice was found on course and I definitely heavily depended on that to cool my core down throughout the entire run. I finally found one tiny bit of inspiration when I was climbing what was the last hill of the day and I saw my friend Catie on the opposite side heading back into town to start her second lap. She became my goal! Pass Catie. I hung onto those words like a two-year old repeating “what’s that?!” I wanted to see how she was doing but I knew I was be able to negative split my run if I could catch up to her. I was able to find her at the last aid station before we split up between the finish line/ lap 2. She has no idea how much she pushed me, so if you’re reading this Catie.. THANK YOU!!
I crossed the finish line after not having even looked at my time (just heart rate) on my TIMEX Run Trainer 2.0 and smiled. I PR’d my run by over 8 minutes.
Time- 1:42:31, 7:49min/mi pace, 5th place AG, 51 Gender
1st-5th place at Ironman 70.3 Raleigh. Happy to take 5th against these fast ladies!
After reviewing data with my Coach, it had been decided that although I felt great on the bike and WANTED to push harder, I did exactly what I was supposed to and capable of given the conditions for the day. What I didn’t expect to come next was him telling me I didn’t run at all my potential for the day. Although I did PR the run, I had much more in me. I’m really excited to take on Laurel Lake Half Ironman in Kentucky next month as I can really just continue to focus on nailing my next run and hopefully run my way to a new PR!
Recovering post race with EAS Brand a Protein Shake!
Left: Me, Catie, Sam at the finish line Right: Me and my Coach’s good friend/ Pro Triathlete, Eric Limkemann-4th place