Race Report: Ohio 70.3 2019

Ironman 70.3 Ohio – July 28th, 2019

 

This is the only race other than Maryland that I have completed twice. I did Ohio 70.3 in 2016, it’s inaugural year. In 2019 I came back to the same race with a new course.

 

This race was exciting and different for a couple of reasons:

Jake (my husband) and I were traveling together to this race, so I got to look forward to going through the motions of race check-in, prep and the full day with him. It was special and this made me so excited!

 

This was a race where I also became quite reflective since it was my second time at Ohio 70.3 and this was going to be my 7th half iron distance race, what?! Where did the time go?

 

At this race, I also actually knew a lot of people. Normally it’s just me, whomever I am traveling with (usually my Mom) to fend for ourselves, amongst the sea of racers and spectators. I make friends during the race and so does my mom and then we swap stories. It’s a ritual of sorts, but this time I went into the race already knowing so many people. It helped that it was in Ohio, but it was also one of the first times I realized I was becoming a true part of a community and that these races were starting to feel like home.

 

AND this was the first time I got to meet my coach Drew Sapp of Crew Racing—after 2.5 years of coaching virtually and via the telephone, we finally met in person!

 

I was surrounded by friends from school, Instagram acquaintances that become friends (yay for the 21st century and social media!), my previous physical therapists and professors. Needless to say there was a lot of hoopla around this race. And I was feeling pretty social. Yikes.

 

The night before the race, we had drove around all day prepping the bike, transition bags, taking in the Delaware beach a bit, swinging and eating lunch at BUNS which was great! We even got to make a Coffee Tour stop at Coffeeology, which was a full coffee bar, with baked goods and an antique shop. Later that afternoon, we eventually got to our Bed & Breakfast (Short North B&B) in downtown Columbus (one of my favorite places). The nice part was that it was a cool spacious B&B. We had a shower with record setting water pressure. The bad part was that it was 30-40 minutes away from the race and forgetting your bottles (3 Skratch labs bottles for the bike) the morning you leave for the race makes for a bad start to the bike leg, but we’ll get to that later…

 

That evening we ate at Brio in the Polaris mall. It was one of the best pre-race dinners because it was a team dinner with all the athletes from Crew Racing that were at Ohio 70.3. Not only did I finally get to meet my coach and his wife (also a coach), we also got to meet the other athletes and friends that were all excited to race and make the most of the next day. We even left with a homemade Italian loaf of bread courtesy of Brendan. As I write this report, I am eating a cheese sandwich with it, while my husband makes French Toast for dinner. Dee-licious.

 

Race morning:

My alarm went off at 3:30 AM. With everything laid out, we were out the door at 3:53ish, unknowingly without my three bottles of hydration needed on the bike. BUT the Bed and Breakfast host left us coffee, sugar and cream so we were on our way with a different liquid fuel in hand. We made the easy drive to Delaware while listening to my Ironman playlist, which set the perfect vibe.

 

We got to Selby Stadium and got one of the best parking spots, across from T2. We had our pick of the lot. This is the best part of being a morning person. We sat for a couple minutes, and I ate a banana (first food of the day besides the coffee).

 

We grabbed our bags and headed to the shuttle stop, which was easy to find because all we had to do was follow the stream of people. It was pretty low-key and I was very relaxed, but I did feel a little off once I got to transition, not bad, just not all there. For example, I set my bike transition bag down under my bike, and never unpacked it or anything. I then filled my bike tires up with air (a first for me, breaking my superstition of not pumping my tires before a race—can you tell I’m an amateur?). I’m not even sure if it helped that much. But after pumping my tires with air I just left my bag under my bike, I didn’t unpack anything, I didn’t do anything but drop it there. I talked to some friends and it wasn’t until then that I realized I forgot my bottles, so maybe that caused me to become more frazzled. Who knows?

 

“The great ones adjust” – Jake Feldmeyer (Probably someone else said this but he always says it so he’s getting credit this time)

I adjusted and made up a new plan: I would ride until the first bike aid station and get two Gatorade bottles, pour half out and refill them with water to dilute the sugar so I didn’t get digestion issues on the bike or after I transitioned to the run.

 

So I had a plan but I didn’t have my transition area set up. I eventually realized this and went back to unpack. OKAY. I was set up and ready to go.

 

Jake and I found the “VIP” seating area and sat down before it got taken over and we got kicked out. I stretched a little, ate peanut butter crackers and tried to relax. Later we moved to the open grass, I got more ‘game-ready’ and ate a Clif bar (Fruit smoothie – tart cherry, some of the best of the Clif series in my opinion).

 

Total nutrition before starting the swim: ~100 (banana) + 180 (PB crackers) + 230 (Clif bar) = 510 calorie ‘breakfast’

 

We hung out for a bit longer when I finally got in line at the 27-30 minute wave. My previous PR for this swim distance was 32 minutes so I thought this was a good estimate to push myself to PR. My goal was to break 30 minutes. Caitlin (Glenn) Sapp, my coach’s wife, found me at the swim start since she was doing a relay and helped me get pumped up. She even introduced me to another epic athlete other than herself: Meghan Fillnow. That’s part of the reason this sport is so cool, you get to mix it up with some seriously amazing athletes. I hope to race like them some day.

 

Once I was in the water I found my stroke and kept it up, sighting with clear goggles was nice and easy. I unfortunately didn’t record the swim with my Garmin and just kept my watch on the time face. Now I wish I would have actually recorded it to see how straight I swam. Unfortunately I didn’t do nearly what I was hoping and swam almost exactly 41 minutes. As I ran out of the swim, I saw Jake cheering for me, which always puts a smile on my face. I was ready for the bike leg!

 

Official Swim time: 40:56

Transition 1- 5:41 (Good thing I unpacked my transition bag…)

 

I usually have trouble cloppity clopping in my cleats to get to the start of the bike through the bike racks, but I’m getting better at clogging to the ‘Mount bike’ line. That was a bright spot of this race for sure.

 

And I was off!

 

I’m going to take a moment to appreciate where I am. I used to be petrified of the bike leg, scared of all of it, mechanicals, crashing, bike handling, hills, eating on the bike (I can only use one hand!), drinking on the bike (I can only use one hand!) and the overall unknown of it paired with it being the largest portion of the race. Now, I honestly love the bike. Yes- I am still apprehensive about getting mechanical issues, flat tires and such, but wow I really feel like I have improved so much on the bike, learned a lot about nutrition and most importantly how to push myself. (Thanks Drew!)

 

This bike leg had some good and some bad.

 

The good:

 

We had a tailwind from the beginning until about mile 18-19 or so (don’t quote me on this) and I was feeling great. I was hitting average speeds that I had dreamed about.

Average for 22.5 mi was 19.76 mph (ah the elusive 20 mph average still evades me).

 

The bad:

 

The headwind was relentless at times and felt like it lasted the whole second half. I am proud of my mental state, as I didn’t let it get me too frustrated. I just tried to keep eating, hydrating and pushing hard, likely too hard at times, but I got a decent bike split considering the extra, unexpected hillier parts (not hilly like Canada, hilly like Ohio). This split was just 5 minutes slower than my pancake flat and fast course from Maryland.

 

At this point the Gatorade and all my fuel had done their job. For a look at what went into my stomach, see below:

 

1 vanilla Honey Stinger stroopwafel: 160 calories

1 Peanut Butter cracker pack: 180 calories

2 pieces almond butter Snickers: 200 calories

2 more Peanut Butter crackers: 60 calories

Orange Gatorade diluted 1/2 with water = 180/2 = 90 * 2 bottles = 180 calories

 

Total calorie intake on the bike: 780

 

This made for roughly 260 calories per hour on bike (as opposed to Maryland with 220 calories per hour). However, no hydration was taken in until 45 minutes into the ride. This may have hurt me but I can’t really be sure. On the bright side, rolling out of the bike path I saw Jake right before transition 2 and he again made me smile so big and pumped me up for the run.

 

My guess is that taking in the hydration towards the end could have upset my stomach after the race, but I didn’t feel bad on the run.

 

My obsession over the course of the run was ice cold water and nothing else. This wasn’t bad but it worried me that I would be getting too hydrated and start to get bloated, but I took in 2 cups of coke, a bit of potato chips for some salt and didn’t seem to get into any trouble with bloat amongst all of the water. I went to the bathroom 1-2 miles into the run (yay for hydration), which is why I was confused about my obsession with more ice cold water. But here’s where my race got deterred. I started running and immediately was pretty certain I wasn’t going to keep running. This is what kills me about this race! I feel like I gave up.

 

Run time: 2:37

 

I started bargaining with myself by saying, “Ok, if you walk, it’s at aid stations and for 10 seconds at a time, that’s it.” Well of course it becomes easier to continue to bargain with yourself and then it gets out of control and I’m just going cone to cone walk-running. This is okay, but this was not my goal. I’m disappointed in myself and I think I need to institute a rule of “no bargaining” when I hit the run. I want to be relentless. I want to keep running. I think this is the only way to get better.

 

The course was great, it was hilly, with shade and sun. It was a lollipop two lap course and eventually, the miles passed by. Soon I found myself running under the stadium at Ohio Wesleyan (I almost ran back on the turf towards the bike until I was directed to the finisher chute- thank you volunteers!) I didn’t live up to the course though and for that I’ll be back.

 

Final time: 6:27

 

After this race, I reflected a lot. –Actually, first I puked watery gatorade on the sidewalk before rallying and getting gelato–but then I had these thoughts:

 

  1. Take in more calories when training the bike and the run.
  2. Know thy course. Study it.
  3. You are world class in sunscreen application. Not a tan line in sight. Well done.

 

I need to familiarize myself with the course and even break it up into chunks of running, “the hilly part”, “half way to half way part,” “the part with people and snow cones,” “the last turn before the weird shaped building”– you get the point.

 

I know my training will have me prepared to take on the distance, so why not take on the distance?

 

I will have a special place in my heart for the run during my next race. I’ll have to train to dig deep and be relentless. Until then. C: