Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Patriot 70.3 - Kicking of 2014 Racing Season in Style

Last time I saw my “Fireball” dressed up with these sexy wheels was in Cozumel last December!

 Ready to fly!

It has definitely been too long since I toed a tri start line, which can only mean one thing – lots and lots of excitement, some nervous but positive energy, and of course a bit of healthy pressure that comes with being the defending champion! 

 Not a great number to fly under the radar with! 

It also meant I had to conquer taper week! Thankfully once you actually train a bit more, taper weeks aren’t all that boring, and between work and still training twice a day on most days, my taper week crankiness has been limited to a minimum.  

Before I knew it, Saturday morning rolled around, and it was go time. Seeing lots of familiar faces on race morning made the time before the start go by that much faster.  I also got to warm up on my Fireball in what felt like my own warm up area! Yet another perk of local races thanks to the pro set up by coach Jorge.

Fireball just waiting for me 

My first PR of the day was visiting the porta potty only once the whole morning and that is some serious record right there! 

THE SWIM: (35:56 – 1.35 miles – 1:31/100yards)

2nd PR came on the swim! Yes – I know the time may not seem fast, but when you are dealing with longer swim course (confirmed by the RD) that time is huge for this swimmer wanna be! My new toy – Garmin 910XT told me I swam 1.35 miles which is highly likely a bit extra than the course really was, and 100%  due to my inability to swim straight, but outstanding ability to zig zag my way through the entire swim course.  I however didn’t get dropped like a hot potato in the first few hundred yards of the swim, and only came out of the water 40 seconds behind Carolyn who usually swims at least 3 min faster than me on any given day.

 I felt great the entire swim, although seeing Carolyn and her swim buddy in front of me the whole time and not be able to catch them because someone with bacon or maybe some chocolate coconut rice cakes was surely hanging out to my right and way off the buoy line (I never found them) was a bit frustrating. I would catch up to her and her swim buddy, then decide to go look for my bacon friend,  look up and find myself waaaaaaaaaay to the right, correct my course of action back towards the buoys, get closer to the white goggles of Carolyn and repeat for pretty much the duration of the entire swim! 

Regardless of being the best zig zagger ever, I wasn’t done with entertaining the crowd at the swim exit. My hand very unexpectedly hit the bottom (water was so dark you could not see the bottom), which is normally a queue to standing up. I stood up only to realize the water was still way above my knees but now not deep enough to dolphin dive so the slowest exit out of the water ever began. I felt like I was trying to get out of quick sand! The icing on the cake would have been the face plant I almost awarded the crowd with for cheering for me so loud. Thankfully I saved myself a little bit of embarrassment by just barely stopping myself from smashing my face on the ground, and once my feet hit the land, I ran out of there as fast  as I could. 

Face Plant just barely saved! Now get me out of here! 

T1: (1:17)

I got into T1 and saw bikes! Lots of bikes! More importantly, Carolyn was still there, and Amanda’s bike was too! I did a little happy dance, and was out of there fairly quickly. I knew both of these girls can run so I needed to not be too far behind out of the water (mission accomplished) and put some cushion in between myself and them before the run! 

THE BIKE: (2:26:16)

Not to disappoint any T1 spectators, I continued with the entertainment theme of the day. Apparently clipping my shoes into pedals is now also an issue and I had struggled to actually clip in what felt like forever! Once I got that out of the way, the show didn’t stop! I was trying to get my potatoes that were carefully taped onto my handle bars to my pockets. The plan I had carefully rehearsed over and over in my head didn’t work at ALL, and I spent the first mile losing the wrestling match! Potatoes: 2, Jana – 0.  After few minutes of quality swerving all over the road, and almost knocking over the race photographer, I made a comeback and while one potato went into the back pocket, the other straight into my bra and soon my belly.  Probably not very aerodynamic, but easily accessible! The first loop was quite uneventful and just like I remembered this course being from last year. It’s flat and fast although not as fast as one may think looking at the profile. Great roads but with enough turns (most of which are right hand turns at which I suck unless I come to a near dead stop), and false flats to keep you honest and break up the rhythm. I kept looking for carrots to chase and found one! There was a guy that absolutely flew by me maybe around mile 10 or so, and from that point on he became my carrot. My goal was to just keep him in my sights which I did for a while, but I eventually lost him most likely due to my inability to make quick right hand turns which there was no shortage of especially in the first few miles of each loop. 

Beginning of loop 2

 I was having a descent ride and my legs felt good, but my watts were hovering just a little below where I really wanted to be. I couldn’t quite reach that “magic” number.  With about 10 miles left, I caught up to few men who seemed to be on a fun little group ride. I knew as I was getting closer that they wouldn’t just let me go by, and I was right. I spent the last 10 miles trying to figure out what the fastest way to get to T2 would be without burning every single one of my matches and my level of frustration kept growing when every one of my attempts at breaking away was squashed almost immediately.  I eventually let go of my frustration, established legal distance, sat up, and rode all the way to T2. I had my focus set on the run.   

T2: 1:44

I rolled into T2 behind one of my “friends” that I made on the bike, ready to run! Bike racked, socks on, and off I went. 

THE RUN: 1:32:10

Of course all 3 of my bike friends took off and left me in the dust, which didn’t sit well with me at all. Not to worry, I eventually got 2 out of 3 of them back, but I struggled through this one. My legs felt great, but I couldn’t breathe. I wasn’t hot, but I simply couldn’t get any air. I felt like I was breathing through a very small straw for pretty much the entire 13.1 miles and it became apparent that my run goal time was not going to happen.  As much as I wanted to just roll up into a ball on the side of the road and cry in exchange for some oxygen, I fought. I kept trying to pick up the pace, but every time I did, or the road went even slightly up, I was frantically searching for air that wasn’t there. Given the situation, I continued to move as best as I could.  I knew I had to keep moving because both Carolyn and Amanda were most likely coming after me and they can both run! I had no idea how far behind me either one of them were until about mile 9 when Jorge told me (thankfully he told me the truth this time instead of lies which he has been known to do, to have me hopefully find the extra gear), but until then I made up in my mind that they were most likely running together which meant they were running super duper fast, and if I didn’t keep moving, I was going to get caught which wasn’t an option. I also knew that given my run training, I could hold my own against both of these speedsters, but I just wasn’t ready for my sudden inability to breathe. 

Sucking air from mile 1 

Total Time: 4:37:24

Although, I didn't have the run I was hoping for, I ended up defending my title from last year, going 7 minutes faster, with most of the improvement coming from my swim, and run, but also improving my bike time, and setting a new 70.3 PR in process. 

Carolyn wasn’t too far behind and we went 1,2! You can read her RR here, and you better watch out for this girl, because she will run you down!

Now that the cob webs are off, I am walking away from this race with lots of positives and also things to work on as  I continue to work towards the September/October WC double.

Huge thank you goes out to all my supporters near or far, E3training and coaches Jorge and Karen, and of course SunMultisport for putting on a top notch race! Can’t forget my awesome sponsors: Landry’s Bicycles,  PowerBar for keeping me fueled on race day, Beet-It for giving me that extra edge when it counts the most, EC3D for keeping my mega legs happy at all times whether it be pre or post race, Castelli for almost making me forget I was wearing a kit on race day, and Race-Pak for one of the coolest prizes ever! 

Happy racing and training to all! It’s time to do more work!  

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