Friday– Friday morning I decided to sleep in, trying to get the most rest I can before the early Saturday morning start. I woke up, ate my usual breakfast, went for a swim, bike, run workout to get the legs moving and was able see part of the course before it closed. I refueled and grabbed lunch with some fellow athletes before Athlete check-In. It was good to see everyone, especially Dave Stock who I hadn’t seen since Ironman Florida. After lunch I went to athlete check in, grabbed my bags and left. Not much for looking around Expo’s anymore. It just gives me more anxiety and makes my legs tired! Not much happened after that, I went back to the hotel, propped my feet up, watched some tv, and reflected on the day I had ahead. I knew what my potential was; I just had to nail it. I once heard someone say that a race is painful for everyone; it’s how you deal with the pain that makes you so great. It was then, that I set in my mind that I wanted tomorrow to be a day full of pain- bring it!
Saturday, RACE DAY– My 4am alarm clock sounded and I felt refreshed and ready to get the day started. I consumed my 3.5c of unsweetened applesauce, 2 scoops of whey protein, 24oz of Perform, and a small banana. I know this sounds crazy but I have always done this on my long days of training/ racing, so my stomach was fully prepared to take all of my nutrition in. I already had everything laid out and was quick to get dressed and load up the car to head to race site. I decided on not checking my bike in on Friday, so I had to drag my bike along that morning. I prefer it that way. I got to transition, set my stuff up, aired up my tires, and walked through T1 and T2 just to make sure I knew where to find my bike (always a big stressor to me), then I headed to the lake. The lake was smoothe as glass, water temperature registered to be wetsuit legal! This was going to be a good day. The wind was mild compared to years past, and the temperature was high 70’s. Not too shabby for a race in mid-July.
SWIM– After analyzing all the swimmers before me, I knew I was going to swim in the very front. I know I’m not the fastest swimmer but heck, I’m not losing time by voluntarily starting in the back! Heck no! The cannon went off and there went those collegiate swimmers. I was able to hang on for a couple seconds but ended up pulling back and joined the “wannabe” swimmer group. The swim to me is always very stressful because I can’t see where my competition is, but I just took it one buoy at a time. My watch went off every 5 minutes, so when I rounded the first corner to head back to the swim exit, I knew I was making excellent time! Swim time, 33:22. “I’m done, can I just DNF now” I was so excited with that PR.
T1– Wetsuit was stripped; I was able to find my bike pretty quickly. I saw a couple other bikes that had already left. Let the countdown commence. Division rank 8. T1 time, 3:02.
BIKE– I knew this was a flat course coming into the race, good prep for Florida, winds hadn’t picked up yet so I knew I wanted to capitalize on this and focus on nutrition. I maintained a high cadence, low(er) heart rate, and tried to front load my nutrition a bit for the first hour of the ride. It’s a hard balance to figure out, how hard you can go on the bike with an equivalent effort on the run. The beginning of the race was a straight headwind; I could feel it, but just let people hammer ahead of me. There was a road that was so bumpy you would see bike parts, water bottle, nutrition all over the course. This was near the turn around and felt like FOREVER! I really tried not to focus on finding girls in my age group, so instead I kept focusing on my nutrition. Eat Powerbar, consume 2 bottles of Perform, eat shot bloks, drink 2 more bottles of Perform, repeat. After getting off that awful road and the “no passing zone” area- don’t get me started on that… I was able to stay in aero for the majority of the ride but stood up and stretched a bit after every aid station. On the way back we had an awesome tail wind. I still maintained my average heart rate below 150-155 because I wanted to save my legs for the run! I made it back to T2. Overall I felt like I did my best effort, could have pushed harder on the way back, as it was mostly a false downhill and good tail wind but you never know how my run would have been effected. Bike time, 2:49:01, 19.88 mph
T2– Threw off my helmet, jumped into shoes, grabbed nutrition belt and arm coolers, and switched my TIMEX GPS Run Trainer 2.0 over to run mode on the way out. T2 time, 1:34. That’s when I saw my Coach, who was supposed to be racing with me! I was so confused. He yelled at me- “Division rank 9, three girls are right in front of you!!”
RUN– Yes, my favorite part is finally here! All I could think about is how far those girls in my age group were from me. It’s go-time! I headed out of T2 and pushed the pace a bit since I knew the first 6.5 miles were mostly downhill. Every aid station I took in Coke as well as taking in some PowerGel at miles 6, 8, & 12. I caught up with another girl at the turn around, she looked rough! I kept thinking, be patient and sure enough I found the other two girls at about the same mile marker. They definitely had bonked! At the turnaround I had averaged 8min/mi pace. Not too shabby. I knew on the return trip I wanted to continue to maintain my pace though my effort level was climbing to do so. I refocused and decided to worry only what I could control. “No pain, No Gain.” I started counting down the miles and it became a blur… One foot in front of the other. Get it done. Everything was steady and painful until mile 12, I was going what I thought was my hardest until I saw my Coach and another fellow teammate screaming at me to get my butt in gear and finish strong J Nothing like a quick slap in the face to make you refocus. I sprinted to the finish line with tears in my eyes. Disbelief and amazement at my finish! Run time, 1:49:18, 8:20 min/mi.
TOTAL: 5:16:17, 6th place Female 25-29.
*Roll down slot for 70.3 World Championship!