My first 70.3 in Florida. GLAD I DID IT.. a new race, another experience…. I learned from it…. And I will become better from it! So thankful!
In a nutshell, trying to keep it RELATIVELY SHORT:
*race morning was a bit of a snafu family wise with some unhappy campers and disagreements, ugh. I didn’t even feel like doing it and wanted to be a grump and pout about the uncooperative atmosphere, but decided to attempt to be an adult.
*arrived at race site, went to get body marked/checked in: I am so used to bringing my bike the day before for 70.3, so it was different to actually have my bike with me. It was a simple set up, (we arrived early THANKFULLY because parking was a bit scarce!) and I went back to car to sit for a bit, drink coffee, and regroup my brain.
*THANK GOODNESS I went early because when I went back to get in to do one more time through my mental transition prep, I couldn’t even go in then because line was RIDICULOUS! **if you are doing this race in the future- keep this in mind- do not arrive at that time and expect to walk in!
*RACE START: wetsuit legal and I think that helped me tremendously with my mind and courage in “facing the alligators!” I sometimes feel like my wetsuit is protecting me!
Swim started and I felt great for about 2 minutes. WIERDLY, I remember for the next 2 minutes that my LEGS were like DYING.. like they were exploding/tired/tight/wetsuit bugging them? Anxiety in my LEGS?!! Not even joking---I don’t even know, LUCKILY that went away! After that, I felt FINE and couldn’t believe that frankly I didn’t even have alligator fear anymore.. it was fine.. I just felt like any other race, I really didn’t have fear, it was just a swim. Not only a swim, but I felt strong (ish) and felt like my arms were doing a good cadence, and felt like I was not going ever off course/ it was easy to follow, it was GREAT.
(seriously, I cannot believe I Just said that).
Transition: got out of the lake and saw that my time was in the 39’s and was happy with that- not sure what to expect since I felt so good- I thought, hmmm maybe I was flying (for me) and it was 35-6, but, 39 was still good for me/ under 40 and I was happy to be ALIVE!!!
Got on bike/headed out and felt STRONG. So my bike- first 25 miles I felt AWESOME- really just “managing” not going past the line that I should. I felt like hmmmm, my legs are working… is it appropriate or too much… or not enough?! I felt like I was appropriate. After 25 miles, OH MY GOSH the WIND AND HILLS. I felt them both. The wind was fierce and worried me immensely. I didn’t want it to blow me from the side and tweak my back… I also was super concerned about safety. First: the roads were narrow and NO RIDERS were “calling” their passes (saying on the left EVER EVER EVER. I Honestly was the only one I ever heard). There was a guy that was perpetually blocking me that I was back and forth trying to pass- he was prob. Getting annoyed by me saying “on your left on your left” and I was getting annoyed at him and his red cycle shorts riding on the CENTER LINE OF THE ROAD. THAT IS ILLEGAL DUDE it is BLOCKING and I finally did tell him.. but honestly, annoying. Completely.
Then the traffic- there were times on these narrow country roads that the traffic was trying to get by in one direction- cyclists passing on the right lane- 1 and 2 at a time…. And it was me passing for 56 miles mostly…. And then traffic would come in the opposite direction- so the cars at times would either stop, or pull INTO the lane with the bikes- then you couldn’t even pass the bikes because the cars were cutting you off, ugh. Annoying. But it was what it was and for me, at that point, I don’t even worry about speed/places/competing, I Just want to be safe and LIVE!
So, I lost some time there (as did everyone around me and any other places on the road it was happening). Overall though it was a real nice bike course. I have felt at times at Eagleman (my typical 70.3 race) at 40—50 miles like UGH, I am SO READY to be off this bike, BUT.. I did NOT experience this at Florida, and so about that I felt AWESOME! Yea yea yea yea! My time did back off by the end, but I think that was mostly due to hills and wind. I was really happy with my bike performance.
I felt strong and yes there are things I want to work on (more on that later) BUT: I felt
Run: I started off- happy to be on my feet- saw Ryan and the kids and said to them” Ok, first lap, I’m going to just take it easy” – meaning be steady and not be crazy. And it was a strong first lap (4.5 miles).. basically I stopped super quick to go to the bathroom (and solve a bit of a problem) but got out and managed 7:30-40-45 for the first 4.5 miles. WOW. During this lap, I started my energy shot/drink, took in water from the stations- that is all.
2nd lap. I immediately on finishing first lap/beginning 2nd lap started to feel energy and body beginning to feel the effects of the time/heat/jostling in stomach. My quads once in a while would kind of give out if I stepped a funny way. There were maybe 3 big hills on the course that were really steep. People were walking, but I ran up each of them and was 100% committed to doing this in my head. One of them was on sidewalk and I hate the hardness of sidewalk running on my joints and I could totally feel it in my hips, but there was no road option. About 2 miles in on 2nd loop (so about 6.5 overall) I did stop to walk at a water stop, and also grabbed soda. I knew honestly that I shouldn’t get the soda, but for some reason it is all I want and it feels good the bubbles in my throat and I wanted some of the caffeine. I drank about 3 sips of it and began running again. I don’t know if this was the cause of my nausea- I think I was a little nauseas before this… but I need to figure out a way to not give into a “soda craving” during a race and stick with my water and blocks. I had probably 3 blocks/honey stingers by this time, but frankly I just do not want to eat anymore at this point, and putting them into my mouth just kind of feels grose and they just kind of sit in my mouth and accumulate nastiness and annoyance to my mouth. I was struggling to finish 2nd loop, but I did and thought ok, this is it, I’ve got one more. Mentally going past finish line 2x before having to start out on final loop was a challenge. I was probably somewhat barely moving at this point.. but was proud that I was moving. Every step was an effort, but I was totally taking it. Hills again/pushed myself through. The sidewalk hill I had to walk probably 20 -25 seconds of because I was really worried now about getting sick. Turned the corner about 9.5/10 miles in and had to go to the bathroom… (like #2- n ot bad, just could feel it and frankly wasn’t sure if it was making me feel like I had to puke- sorry for tmi) so I did a super quick stop, got going again, but still struggled with energy and nausea. BUT.. I also was totally IN IT mentally still- NOT GIVING UP. I think this is why overall I felt I “did well” on the run. My time wasn’t obviously the speed I would have liked/expected/trained for. BUT.. I knew I could have given up one million times and I never did. I also kept telling myself one of my race mantras, “you can be courageous or you can be comfortable” and I was choosing courage every step. At one point probably 11 miles in, I spent probably an entire mile of the race visualizing the beach. I literally took 1 mile to slowly go through imagining the feeling of sand on my feet, the sounds, the beauty, the feeling of my legs in water (which I was REALLY CRAVING at this point!) I was imagining just floating and joy of the waves that I knew I would have the next day… So this really helped take my mind off a bit of pain. During the run there were 2 women who passed me in my age group (funny thing I think they may have been the only 2 who passed me- but they both unfortunately had my age group on the back of their legs)…. I wasn’t thrilled about this, but it is funny, at the time, I was totally fine and okay with it because I knew that was not what I could do- I couldn’t hold onto their pace, and I could only be where I was. I sometimes like that about races- where you get to the point of not minding someone beating you because it is not an option for your body- you have to do what you are only trained for- I wasn’t at the place to go that speed on the run…
So I finished. 10 minutes of really just walking around and couldn’t even really talk to Ryan and kids, just had to walk and then sit in shade. Then I tried to get some food because I thought it would be smart, but warm pasta after a race like that just makes me feel even sicker. There were grilled chicken pieces to put in the pasta and I had that on the side and tried to put it in my mouth but had to spit it out. Luckily there were orange slices and I had probably about 10 of those, oh they were sOOOO good. Thank goodness for them. I was sitting in the shade and just started shaking and getting huge goosebumps, so had to move to the sun and it felt so so soothing on my body… I was trying to not drink any diet soda afterwards, but I did after 15 min approx. let myself have some “sips” just not gulping it down, and it didn’t seem to make me sick. (A few races last year I got sick after and I wasn’t sure if it was the diet soda).SO. Where do I go from here.
Eagleman is 8 weeks. I want BETTER. Swim- want to keep it strong. That is all. So I will possibly devote a bit less time to swim.
Bike: I want to work MORE – not necessarily to become faster, but- to make sure my body is as unphased as possible by the length/intensity, and I can get OFF the bike with energy and MENTAL energy as well.
Run: this is what I need to work on.
I need to work on fueling to make sure I don’t feel nauseas.
I need to work on running on TIRED LEGS. (I have done several long bricks, and I need more and more and more and more.)
(and I will).
And I need to work on constant pacing after 5-6 miles in the heat. I need to work on eeking out 15-20-25 sec per mile. Each mile. Not letting the miles drift. Not needing to stop for bathroom breaks.
I need to work on QUAD STRENGTH. I am going to have 5 weeks beginning immediately of STRENGTH WORK. (legs) and (also triceps)--- what the heck- my triceps were tired from gripping on the bike in all the wind!!
I was happy with my “performance” on swim bike run.
I was happy with how I trained for this early season race, and how I did on race day. Honestly I wasn’t “thrilled” with my placing (13th age group—there were 3 internationals so it was kinda “like” 10th ish, but… ugh. Would have wanted top 5, right).. (and then top 3!) So… I was a little frustrated, BUT I know that just means there was a strong field and that is great. Eagleman though is my A race. And I was 3rd AG last year and want to be top 3 age group again. I do and I will go for it for the next 8 weeks with everything I have😊