My sort of “Dirty Double” - two races 13 days apart (instead of 7 days apart) is in the books, and it’s most likely the closest two 70.3’s I would ever want to do. I really wanted to avoid flying to races early in the season this year, but I also wanted to race more than once pretty much all summer long, and that’s how the idea of racing a local 70.3 came about. Patriot 70.3 is a very popular local race that usually sells out early, and also one of the few races where you can race in the “pro” wave without actually being a pro. It’s actually called the open/elite wave and bonus – the top two finishers earn a little bit of $$$ so why not give it a shot! I did sign up back in maybe December last year and I really thought it was the best idea ever!
Fast forward to last week, and after finishing Quassy 70.3 and the subsequent recovery week, I found myself tapering again, and let’s just say I didn’t like it very much. I was really starting to miss the fun of hard earned sweat and the consistency of training that I am used to and love so much! Good thing I can still manage to break a sweat during a 40 min easy ride with some pick ups.
Come Thursday, I had realized that the starting list of athletes was already posted on the site, and I wished I never looked at it, because the elite/open line up of both male/female athletes caused me a bit of (lot of) nervousness and I did freak out a little. I knew I could hold my own, but since swimming comes first starting in the very first wave presented an unknown challenge for me. I simply didn’t want to be the last person out of the water, and I didn’t want to swim alone for 1.2 miles. Combine that with the announcement that water temperature was 60 degrees (in my head that means 58 or 59), and I was in a total freak out mode. At the same time, I knew that I have been making progress in the pool, and I am way more confident about my swimming than I ever have been, so I continued to fight that mental battle between my confidence and uncertainty of what is about to happen. Come Friday afternoon, I was in peace of with whatever was going to happen, and ready to race. I had a great last swim at Walden, and legs felt ready to go. I had also downed my last gigantic glass of beet juice, and the new beet-it shots arrived which made me super happy because lets’ face it – my stomach can barely take in my usual pre-race breakfast, and 16oz of beet juice just don’t make my “favorite food” list.
16oz of straight up beet juice - yuck!
My saving grace - Beet It! Much easier to stomach that the 16oz class above! Yum!
The 3:30 am alarm on Saturday morning came way too quick! We arrived at the race site with plenty of time to spare, and it was shaping up to be a beautiful day. Before I knew it, it was time to warm up and get the party started.
Setting up transition in the am
SWIM: (39:28, 45th/559 female)
Water temperature somehow made it’s way to 64 degrees overnight (Friday afternoon announcement was 60 degrees!), so that was a bit of a relief. I got a good warm up in, got used to the cold water , double capped it, and before I knew it we were standing in the water knee high ready to go.
Small group of about to get started - oh boy
I wasn’t nervous at all (I am pretty sure I got all that stressing out of the way earlier in the week), and was determined to stick with a group, while swimming within myself. I was confident. The water was very dark, and in the midst of the starting chaos, I somehow swam on top of somebody and boom there went the goggles. They didn’t fall of my head but definitely both filled up with plenty of water. I swam few more strokes along with the rest of the group while contemplating if I can make it 1.2 miles with half full and still leaking goggles and stay with the group or if I need to stop and fix the issue. I made the decision to stop, dump the water out, and re-adjust. I was treading water, putting my goggles back on while watching the group disappear right in front of my eyes not more than 100 yards into the swim. I wanted to scream and the why me, why now thoughts started to creep into my head!
And just like that, I was left alone and swimming 1.2 miles by myself. It was literally just me and the buoys and a few purple caps in front of me. They were close enough I could see them, but far enough for me to catch up to them. I was definitely a bit frustrated but determined to still have a good swim. I was sighting well the first .5 mile to the first turn buoy, but once I made the turn to go across and then the turn to go back towards the finish line, I just couldn't swim straight. I was sighting quite often but I was starting to feel like that with every time I would look up the buoys had moved to somewhere else, and that only increased my frustration. I know I ended up swimming an awesome zig zag! Too bad that’s exactly what NOT to do and you don’t get any bonus points for that! The water had quite a bit of chop, and maybe that’s what made me think that, I just can’t explain what happened. No more details needed, it was a long swim, and by the time I reached the shore, I was quite frustrated with myself because I know I am better than that!
T1: (1:51, 1st/559)
Fastest female transition of the day but boy was it a long one. This time I fumbled with getting into my bike shoes instead of messing with the helmet strap like I did in Quassy, so next time I hope to be perfect!
Bike: (2:27:02, 1st/559)
Fastest female bike for a 2nd race in a row! I LOVE my fireball and the guys at Fitwerx always do an AWESOME job tuning it up - I may have to start taking them with me to all my races! Cozumel in November/December anyone? ;)
Fireball is on Fire! :)
Coming out of the swim, I was 7 minutes down on the leader, and I was on a mission. One thing that I am good at is leaving my swim behind and not letting it get me down. Instead I use it as fuel. This time however, I admit that my frustration got the best of me, and I may have gone out a bit too hard. On top of that, starting in the first wave and having a not so great swim, there were minimum people to pass on the bike, and no people to chase. (At least not within sight) I must say, I definitely got the taste of what it feels like to race in the pro ranks and how lonely that can be. I give you all pro’s out there a lot of credit for doing what you do!
My legs felt crappy, and my adductors were on fire for the first 15 miles. I wasn’t feeling great, but I wasn’t letting up. I was right where I wanted to be power wise, and perhaps a few watts higher than I should have been, but I was on a mission. Mile 7 – I passed girl #2, and bunch of lonely miles later, at mile 21, I passed what had to be Kim Shattuck the leading girl. Since this is a two loop course, I knew that if I can keep my power output the same or even little less on the second loop, I should have a descent lead going into the run.
I was really hoping that I would see few more people on the 2nd loop but no such luck.
Another lonely 28 miles. My legs weren’t quite coming around as I was hoping them to, I wasn’t doing all that great on my nutrition (5 scoops and super concentrated bottle of perform just didn’t work for me), and I was feeling quite empty perhaps hungry. The 2 aid stations on the course were serving Heed or Water, and Heed doesn’t agree with me so I was out of luck. Somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to drink more Perform either (I had actually only drank about half the bottle by the end of the bike), which would explain why I was feeling the way I was – a bit empty and flat.
I am guessing there are good 2 to 2.5 scoops of perform left with about 40g of carbs - NOT good as those should be in my belly
The combination of “ok” legs, non-cooperating appetite to the nutrition I had, and the loneliness made me think a little! Imagine that ;) The conversation in my head went something like this – hey you don’t feel so great, you are in front of the race and based on the time you made up on the rest of the field on the first bike loop, little slowing down so you can actually run instead of walk the ½ marathon may not be a bad idea! Ok fine, let’s try that – I did back of a bit in hopes of having a descent run. I don’t usually get to think tactics during a race because I am always in chase mode and with the AG race you just never know where you stand but today was different, and I absolutely LOVED that tactical part. My 2nd loop ended up being a little over a minute slower than the first loop but my power output was full 6 watts lower although my overall average was exactly the same as at Quassy. I rolled into T2 ready to get off the bike, and honestly a bit scared of what the run course had in store for me or maybe what I had left in store for the run course!
T2: (2:03, 1st/559)
Another fastest female transition on the day. I wish these transitions were a bit shorter, but I didn’t waste any time. This one included a LOOOOONG run with the bike from the dismount like to the bike rack, and then back out on the run course. I just racked my bike, put my new Swiftwick socks on, which btw were super awesome and if you are looking for a super light/blister free socks these are the socks for you! I put my shoes on, grabbed my watch/gels/visor and dealt with all that on the go. Visor on, watch on, gels in hand … run forest run ...
RUN: (1:34:09, 3rd/559)
I wanted a good run, one that reflects my running as of lately, which I didn’t believe happened at Quassy. Like I said on the bike, I wasn’t feeling the freshest so I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I huffed and puffed my way through mile 1, and then was able to settle into a great rhythm. The next 4 miles I was feeling good not great, but I was hovering right around sub 7s, which I was very happy with. I just couldn’t get rid of that hollow, empty feeling. Gels, coke, water, ice, more coke, more ice, more water, you get the idea. The spring in my step just wasn't there, and not even jet fuel (coke) was bringing it back. Just like on the bike, the run felt like a long lonely training run. With the run being a single loop, I saw pretty much noone except for the awesome volunteers at aid stations until my coach showed up on his bike at mile 5, again at mile 8 and 11. Hey – can we trade? I wasn’t wasting any energy talking. Besides, he knows me way too well and could probably tell you better than me what was going on just from the way I was running.
Volunteer chasing me down with a cup of coke. Good news - he did catch me - THANK YOU!
I held it together for 8 miles, before my mile splits started to drop (the wrong direction). At that point it became one mile at a time to mile 12 (and I am happy I still kept the mile splits sort of respectable). Mile 13 is where I just gave it all I had all the way to the finish. In the end I PR’d my 70.3 run, my overall 70.3 time and icing on the cake – won my first race overall!
Running on grass when legs don't want to move anymore is hard!
That podium was hiiiiiiiiiiigh!
Saturday was far from perfect, but I am very happy with my race, and also super excited about what’s to come because there is a lot more speed where that came from J
Two 70.3’s in two weeks are in the books, and once I recover, and take it super easy for a week , it’s time to put in a solid training block in before Timberman 70.3 in August. I have a fire burning in my belly ;) and hey, I may even race something a bit shorter in hopes of finding some real speed soon! The theme of this season #mission #win is off to a great start!
Cool little trophy and little bit of $$$ to go with it