This was my 3rd year in a row racing the local Patriot 70.3, and I had two goals going into it. One was to win the overall title, and two – to finally break the 4:30h barrier. I have consistently been getting closer and closer and although this was my 2nd half ironman in just two weeks, I knew Patriot is a fast course, and I had the tools to make it happen.
Racing local is always fun, and especially fun when majority of your teammates are also racing! Seeing so many familiar faces on race morning makes the time go by very fast, and before I knew it, it was time to get in the water.
THE SWIM: 34:31
I started in the elite wave which only consisted of maybe 12 people. My swim is still not where I would like it to be but I keep chipping away at it and getting better. I knew there were a few swimmers that I wanted to keep up with and hopefully let them pull me around the course, but that went out the window very quickly. I started off swimming hard, trying to grab the feet I wanted but unfortunately those feet were drifting left, while I was drifting right and I just couldn’t quite latch on. No problem –plan B – swim your own swim, keep the effort moderate, and swim STRAIGHT! I did a good job of that on the way out to the first turn buoy but then it happened! I thought I made the 90 degree turn but apparently I didn’t and just kept on swimming straight and completely away from the course. I know, it doesn’t make any sense, and I can’t quite explain what happened either. I simply made a mistake that cost me at least 2 minutes. Czech it out.
Pay attention to the top right corner!
I sighted and even though I couldn’t see any buoys I somehow just reasoned to myself that maybe the buoys were hiding and I just couldn’t see them “yet” What a dumb idea! Eventually I started to panic a little because regardless of where I looked I still couldn’t see the buoys or any people for that matter! Saved by the kayak who eventually ended up catching me and showing me the way! The buoy line was so far left that it wasn’t even funny! Live and learn – I can guarantee you it will NOT happen next time.
I was way frustrated about the distance I just added on, and probably over sighted on the way back to make sure I didn’t get lost again! I literally thought my swim time was going to be at least 40 min, so when I saw 34:xx on the clock, I felt a little better but still disappointed!
Loving my new Helix!
Loving my new Castelli Stealth Top
Wetsuit off, potato/rice cakes in my pockets and out.
THE BIKE: 2:21:57 (3rd fastest bike split including men)
Frustrated from the swim, I got on the bike and started to push the pace a bit. My legs felt good, and even though I was at the higher end of where I wanted to be power wise, I just kept powering through. This is a two loop, fairly flat course with no major climbs, but with a bit of turns that can snap your rhythm if you let it. It’s also a very lonely course, but that’s what happens when you are racing off the front. I kept my head down, stayed aero, stuck to my nutrition plan and just kept pushing on.
Staying aero was the name of the game
2nd loop was a bit more crowded and I even got to see my athlete Jerome and Ruthanne both crushing their first 70.3s. Unfortunately when going over a set of railroad tracks on the 2nd loop, I managed to hit them just right and both of my bottles (1 – Gatorade, 1 – water) ejected at least 12 miles from the next aid station and I was left without any fluids. I had a good rhythm going so I decided to go on without picking up my bottles (big mistake). My power continued to stay right where it was on the first loop, but as I kept moving forward I realized that fueling without any sort of fluids for so long is far less than ideal. I managed to get down the extra potato/rice cake I had, but that was it. When I finally made it to the aid station around mile 46 -48, I grabbed water and set out to catch up on the lost time. Given my extraordinary sweat abilities, there just wasn’t enough time to catch up, and although I managed to get in couple gels in the span of 20ish minutes (probably too much too soon), the damage was done. To make things even more interesting, I also managed to hit/get hit by a thankfully very slow moving SUV. I was taking a 90 degree left hand turn, and the car was coming from the left hand side going straight through the intersection. I am an aggressive rider but I always watch the cops to make sure they stop traffic, and I could tell this guy wasn’t sure. In his defense, he probably didn’t realize how much faster I was coming through versus the people he was used to waving through for the last half an hour, but it was definitely scary. I was already leaning left into the turn, with my left knee out and saw he wasn’t stopping. I tried to correct where I was going but not very successfully and I ended up slamming into his right front bumper/hood/light. Thankfully, we both managed to slow down enough that although the impact was a bit loud, I was able to leave the accident with only a few bruises and my bike was untouched since my left calf/quad took most of the impact. The impact knocked me over to the other side, but I managed to unclip and stay on my feet. I was so mad at the moment, that I immediately got back on my bike, put my head down and rode away. (Probably should have checked myself and my bike first, but I figured I'll do that while moving forward). The cop wanted me to pull over, but since I felt fine, I just got back on my bike and powered toward T2. I dropped my power a little bit after that incident but was able to keep my head in the game and re-focus.
All business here
This is one thing that I wish was changed as the dismount line is VERY far from the bike racks and you have to run on a grassy area with your bike for a very long time. This year even longer than years past. Since I leave my shoes on the pedals as I dismount the bike, my shoes are always a grassy/muddy/dirt filled mess when we are re-united post race.
THE RUN: 1:33:37
I had high hopes and confidence for this run given my run training and my race 2 weeks ago at Quassy, but it became apparent that the events of the day (mostly consuming ½ of the fluids I normally would in a 70.3) were going to get the best of me. My HR was super high right of the bat, and no matter how hard I tried, it wasn’t going anywhere. I was taking in water and coke essentially every mile, but I just had very limited energy. Every time I tried to pick up the pace, I ended up going slower rather than faster! Since I was the 1st female, and 3rd overall human on the run course, it was also very very very lonely. Noone caught me, but I also had noone in my sight to catch. Good thing I got to see my coach every once in a while on his bike because he at least kept me pushing even if it didn’t result in the time we both knew I could run.
Focused and ready but the energy just wasn't there
I had long ignored my watch, because I knew that neither one of my pre-race goals whether it be running at least a 1:28 half marathon nor breaking that 4:30 70.3 barrier would happen.
It was about taking it one mile at a time and giving it all I had on the day. I crossed the line with my new course 70.3 PR (3:30 faster than last year), new 70.3 PR of 4:34:01 and a new PR of not peeing once in a 70.3 – Can you say “dehydrated”?
That was a painful run
Hard to be disappointed with winning with a new 70.3 PR and I am not, but I know there is much more where that came from, and so now I go back to training, because by Timberman 70.3 in August, 4:30 won't stand a chance!
Oh that banner - that heavy banner!
Thank you to all my sponsors – Landrys bicycles for always being there when I need something; Trek for one speedy machine, PowerTap for the watts; BlueSeventy for the most comfortable and fastest wetsuit that I love so much I decided to swim a bit extra in; PowerBar for keeping me fueled; EC3D for helping me recover day in/day out; RacePak for all the healthy snacks to keep me fueled every day; Beet It for that little extra kick; and of course Coach Jorge for coming up with the master plan to help me continue to get faster year after year, and all of YOU who either came out to support or followed from the comfort of your own home.