Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Patriot 70.3 Race Report

This year was my fifth year in a row racing the local SunMultisport Patriot 70.3. There is just something about sleeping in your own bed and rolling to the start line few hours before the race. The logistics are super easy, and it really doesn’t get more convenient than that. I don' usually have problems sleeping the night before the race, but the butterflies were flying high on Friday night! 

The lead up to the race went super well, which is rarely the norm! My sighting and straight swimming has been more and more fluid, my power on the bike has been the best yet, and I can’t remember last time, I actually rode so well and not just physically but also mentally executed some of the toughest sessions I used to really struggle with. My running off the bike has been super solid too, so I was very excited to give cracking that 4h30min mark another try. (Spoiler Alert – it didn’t happen, and I really wasn’t even close - dammit) 

Race morning was rainy but at least it was warm because the humidity was like 1 million degrees. I set up my transition in pouring rain but by the race start, the rain stopped, and the fog somewhat lifted of the lake!

 Just a little foggy at the swim start

SWIM: 33:33

I snuck into my BlueSeventy helix although not so easily because humidity, and did a quick swim warm up to get the heart rate up and get ready for the swim start. Since I was starting in the open/elite wave I actually had a real strategy – so pro I know ;). No worries – that strategy of staying on Lisbeth’s feet went out the window very quickly, as I watched her swim away from me in a heartbeat or two. Although I got dropped like a bad habit, I swam hard, and eventually settled into my own race pace as I found myself swimming completely alone! Dammit, plan B to the rescue. Plan B was simple – swim straight! Mission accomplished (for the most part), and a new Patriot swim 70.3 PR. Still not quite where I want to be but PR is a PR. I felt good about my swim and how fresh I felt coming out of the water, which is often overlooked by athletes, but being swim fit makes your bike and run easier too!  

T1: 1:58

T1 was a bit of a mess - I am really much better at IM transitions. My wetsuit got stuck on my ankles (duh - I should have used the wetsuit strippers), and when I put my new aero helmet on I couldn't see a thing - oops!

Arms out - that's the easy part ;) 

BIKE: 2:24:42

My helmet shield was covered with rain drops and since I never used this helmet in a rain I didn’t know what to expect. (In my defense I just bought it 1 week ago and the day I tested it the sun was shining). I blindly clipped in, and set out on my merry way, 6-7 min down on the super swimmers Stacy, and Becky, and 3 minutes down on Lisbeth who can really ride! You are not a multiple ironman Kona World champion if you are not a great athlete!

I spent the first 5 min trying to decide if I will be able to see well enough through the rain drops on my shield or if I should remove it instead. Eventually I successfully without stopping and or falling off my bike removed the shield, and surely sacrificed some aerodynamics for visibility. (Safety first) I put my head down and went to work. It was just me, myself and me for pretty much the entire bike ride. It’s a VERY different feeling from having carrots to chase the entire ride, but at least I didn’t even have to say on your left once ;)!

If I haven’t done this race before, I would have thought I was lost. I have never been this completely alone ever. I was riding strong but I was starting to question just how far I really was or what was happening at the front of the race. When I rolled through the transition area again, I finally got a word I was now about 2 minutes behind the leader, which at least gave me a breath of fresh (although VERY humid) air. I was closing the gap.

Serious chase mode! 

At this point I put my head down (shield back on), and it wasn’t until probably mile 35ish that I passed Becky, and it was another 10 miles before I found Stacy and Lisbeth at the front of the race. I was never happier to see them. I put the pedal to the metal for a couple miles to make sure they didn’t try to stay with me and although my nutrition for some reason wasn’t staying down, I was able to put down my best 70.3 power ever. My time didn't quite reflect it but that's more thanks to the conditions rather then mega legs. It was also nice to build bit of a lead going into the run. 

T2: 2:34

T2 was much of the same as T1 – this time I was fumbling with my socks because my feet were covered in mud and last thing I wanted out of this race was blistered feet. I also came to find out my sun glasses were broken in half L

RUN: 1:35:41

Running without sunglasses is weird, but I managed. I had a lead biker who was awesome and at least that reminded me that perhaps I wasn't lost, the run course was just that empty ;). Quite refreshing not having to fight for fuel or ice at aid stations, but also a lot easier to chill out and forget that you are racing. I got passed by one guy whom I tried to keep in sight for as long as I could, but he was moving and me – not so much! I did end up catching 2 more guys and those were the only athletes I saw for the 13.1 miles.

My run was rather unimpressive and although my huffing and puffing would indicate one pace, the real pace was much slower. Heck I ran faster the week before on a much hotter day in training, but so is racing. I suspect the slight lack of my ability to keep my regular fuel down may have had something to do with it, but I kept pressing on, and chasing my lead biker.  (Thanks Rachel :) )

TOTAL TIME: 4:38:27 

I was really glad to see the finish line and live up, I mean race up to my bib number! Wearing #1 is NEVER easy and raising the finish line tape is always special!

Finish line smiles :) 

It wasn't my fastest, but it was my best swim on this course, and highest 70.3 power output on the bike, which gives me confidence for the rest of the season.

The podium :) 

This year's race was even more special because I got to watch many of my teammates, and 3 of my own athletes absolutely crush it with big PR's, and be right there as they finished! Locally races really are awesome, and watching hard work pay off is awesome and rewarding! 

 Lindsey crushed it, won her Age Group, and came in Top 10 overall female! 

 Chris had some nutritional issues but despite that absolutely destroyed his PR by 30+ min

Geoffrey too bettered his PR in only his 2nd 70.3! 

I am already looking to this race again next year! 

As always, THANK YOU to my coach Jorge for keeping me at the top of my game, Quintana Roo for Mr. Flash and yet another fastest female bike split that helped me get back into the race, Refreshinq for helping me stay on top of my game day in and day out, BlueSeventy for the speedy wetsuits and awesome goggles for any and all conditions, Coolcore for making sure I stay comfy, and cool while training and racing and also all of our E3 Training team sponsors - you guys rock, and I appreciate the support more than you know. 

Next up - Ironman Lake Placid! 

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