When I first did a 70.3 I was in over my head but I had no idea. I was recovering from an eating disorder, and by recovering I mean, I was open to the idea of recovery and not great at implementing it quite yet. My thought process was, if I don’t fuel properly I can’t be competitive and eventually I thought I would learn to properly nourish myself because I like to get the best out of myself.
I also signed up for this race because I wanted to identify myself with something new. Later I would find that what you did was unrelated to who you were as a person. This lesson comes later, but for the time being I was in a transition phase and found solace, peace and happiness (even if it was fleeting) in competitive endurance sports. I had bouts of IT band syndrome from running a technically imperfect marathon and was in need of cross training. I was a swimmer in elementary school and finding my rhythm again was actually not as bad as I thought. This was a nice invitation into triathlon because now I only needed to learn how to bike… right… this was and is one of my weaknesses. I am catching up with a lot of the field now (2019), but then (2015-16) I was under-fueled and not even close to strong enough to push watts that would get me moving faster than an average of 13 mph or to keep me from tears at the end of the bike route. But honestly all of the problem solving and learning that comes along with joining this sport was and is one of the coolest things about it. It takes time to find your groove, but it’s also a very beginner friendly community. Everyone cheers everyone on and in the end we all share tips, tricks and training days.
Ironman Muncie 70.3 (First triathlon and first 70.3)
After this race I was excited because I was fully ready to indulge in chocolate milk, a large dinner and a large breakfast. I also did NOT have IT band issues after this race, a first for me. I chalked all of this up as a success and was instantly excited to see what more I could do. So of course I went to roll down and got an undeserved slot to Ironman Zell am See 70.3…mostly because it was a month away and everyone that was going to qualify and go was better and booked! I was extremely naive. I just said, well once in a lifetime here we go. (Remember when I said I was in over my head but I had no idea?) I don’t regret it but I do want to truly qualify and honor my bravery by racing well and thoroughly appreciating this entire experience again.
Zell am See 70.3 2015
I will say, if you have never been the last person on the bike course, you can never truly appreciate getting faster and finding real, true bike legs.
This was without a doubt one of the most challenging races I’ve ever been a part of, mostly due to inexperience. I probably took in less than 300-400 calories on the entire bike ride and this was one of my longest bike rides ever…I was so under-fueled and I would not know that until a couple years later. I even got lost after the race and had to find my mom using a really friendly Aussie’s phone walking along train tracks that lined Zeller See, punch drunk from racing and not even getting much to eat or drink after. On a funnier note, I went from last on the bike course, to not finishing the run last. The goal of this race during it was to finish and not be last. CHECK. I even got a pint of apricot juice and pommes frites as a night cap. I have to go back to Austria. If this experience was any indication of traveling to Austria, imagine what it would be like if I was fueled properly! Those hills! Imagine coming in from the bike course without a van behind you!
|Swim: 00:38:39||Bike: 04:10:32||Run: 02:26:17||Overall: 07:32:06|
And it took going to Zell am See to understand I need to learn how to train and fuel properly. I’m not a natural world class athlete, but I knew I had athleticism deeper inside me somewhere that wasn’t being tapped. And alas I trained for another year and raced the first ever Ohio 70.3 and IM Louisville in 2016…you can read more about these races in other posts (remember what I said about getting in over my head…I did that again because I thought a full ironman would make me tougher).
NO REGRETS. EMBRACE THE JOURNEY!