Before the race report, I have to say I also attended the pro panel and absolutely loved hearing what these amazing professionals have to say! I even got to meet Laurel Wassner and her sister, Rebecca and her daughter, Amy! I love following them, their amazing blog with recipes and photography. I really look up to them so I appreciated so much their willingness to talk to me and take a picture. They are truly special people. See their beautiful blog with recipes and pretty images here.
Now for the race report…
This was a very satisfying and exciting race for me! It started out being mild and warm plus some wind, but unfortunately some wind turned into high winds and the swim was cancelled. This was a good thing for most people, but this is usually how I get ahead. But oh well! Onward.
The bike start was by bib number and I think I got out around 8:15-8:25am… We started biking and it was warm, comfortable, and fast for the first 25-28 miles! Half way and I was riding at 20 mph like a real triathlete !! I cannot express how awesome this felt. I was supposed to stay “awkwardly uncomfortable” with my heart rate in the middle of Zone 2, which was about 150 bpm. However, I ended up high 150’s – 163 bpm. I wouldn’t know if this was a mistake until later. I backed off a little when I felt it was too much BUT it was hard to back off too much because I felt so strong and comfortable at this pace and effort it felt too right to be wrong.
At about mile 30, sprinkles of rain started that weren’t really that bad, between miles 35-45 it was a little too rainy for my sunglasses considering I had no windshield wiping apparatus for sunglasses, I pulled them down and suddenly felt a lot less claustrophobic in the rain. It was a little much… a little dangerous but I really pressed on because once the headwinds came around miles 35-50 I did not want to give up my feeling of fast, or at least didn’t want to ruin a PR setting faster pace. I kept up better than anticipated but I do think I could have done 10% more here. However, I was already riding above the decided heart rate range which I wouldn’t know if it was a mistake until I started running (Spoiler Alert: I don’t think it was!).
I think the real success of this race was the nutrition. I stayed with Skratch labs, I put 3 bottles on my bike but only needed about 1.5 of the bottles. I think without the heat I wasn’t as thirsty – although I still regulated my intake to be sure I stayed ahead of dehydrating myself. So less fluids were needed but I still probably got in a perfectly diluted fluid with electrolytes and a bit of sugar (probably just 80-120 calories), but this wasn’t meant to be fuel, it was meant to be just hydration…and it did its job!
For my food, I took in something around 20 minutes of the ride, a PB or almond butter (not sure which one!) snickers (200 calories). Then at 2 hours, I took in a caramel stroop waffle (honey stinger – 160 calories). At about 2.5 hrs, I wanted a little more and ate half another snickers (100 calories) and peanut butter crackers (120 calories). This totals to about 80 + 200 + 160 + 100 + 120 = 660 calories for the bike ride. This was really nice because it didn’t feel like much but what I did take in was filling (nut butters, and fat with sugar!) and was easy to eat and fast….key to staying aero. That was the key to this race which Drew told me too, stay as aero as possible, and I really did. I think my upper back was more sore than other parts of my body…but I was happy with the way I performed because it didn’t give out on me once I started the run.
Getting off my bike was interesting. I was pretty numb and wobbly bobbly when getting back to my bike rack. I got back and after the bit o’ down pour on the bike my cleats and socks were drenched. I peeled off my socks and pulled dry socks and shoes out of my cooler (brilliant and much needed for this race). I got my race belt on loaded with mentos and jelly beans and last minute made the decision to nurse a cheap water bottle with scratch labs for the first 3-4 miles. I was still unsure if I had hydrated enough on the bike. I wasn’t thirsty, but I wasn’t NOT thirsty.
These moves proved to work really well. I took in little sips of the drink for three miles while managing my pace and slowing it so I could go the long haul. I think this was the ‘make it or break it’ portion of my race because I was still waiting to see if I had totally smashed myself for this run by pushing the bike harder than I ever have, but thanks to my coach I think I was prepared for it!
This was very exciting. I got to mile 3 (bathroom break at mile 2- yay! I was hydrated!) and ditched my bottle (still heavy with fluids) and started for mile 4 (my 2nd of 4 chunks of 3 miles—this is how I tricked myself). At mile 4 I took in some starburst ice cream flavored (important details) jelly beans and looked down in front of me just to keep putting my feet in front. At around this point I got a little tingling in my hands, which I was once informed by Caitlin of Crew Racing (& Drew’s wife!) was about potassium or magnesium so I grabbed a banana and it subsided! Getting to mile 5 pumped me up for mile 6 which was nearly half way…an exciting notion especially since I was comfortable running. This was new to me, which was fantastic. It’s amazing how nice the run can be without being bloated and feeling ill. So I was actually feeling okay for mile 6, walked through an aid station for some water and kept going. Now for mile 7, the ‘more than halfway’ mark. Miles 8-9 are always the hardest. I got through with some jelly beans and sucking on some mentos that were a nice addition to the race. This was when I had to just narrow my focus and think of interesting things, count, watch my feet and entertain the idea of a true solid PR. Keep. Going. At mile 9-10, it was exciting because we were going to be within a 5k of the end and I still had not walked unless I was drinking ice water. I started to feel it in my Achilles tendon – just tightness and posterior tibialus….not surprising but nothing was too bad or unexpected. I got to mile 11 with another Mentos and boy was I excited. Was I not going to bonk ? Some might say going 10 min/mile was a bonk but I was doing pretty good for myself and still running with clear thoughts and happiness! Wild for this point in the race! So we arrive at mile 11.5-12 and we are on the water listening to the finish line and this was all amazing. The wind was so strong, almost pushing me over running back in, which would have been supremely demoralizing had it not been the last mile of the race. Instead it was just funny. I got to the neighborhood streets lined with families and most importantly dogs. Then I saw the carpet and started to soak in the finish line scanning the sides for my mother! I found her and she got a great picture of me running into the shoot. I could NOT have been more happy with this result. From truly not having a clue how to move a bike or fuel myself I am thrilled with a 19.35 mph (20 mph average coming up in July!!) on the bike ride for a time of 2:54 (broke 3hr mark!) and not walking at all on the run, finishing with a slow but steady average of 10:00 min/mile on the run. Without the swim, a total of 5:09:16 and perhaps with a swim, a comfortable 6 hr break and possibly 5:45-50 time (a 1 hour PR for my previous half iron distances).
Happy about it. Until next time, Peace