I was excited to race Raleigh 70.3. For one, it was going to be my first WTC event and only my second triathlon at the 70.3 distance and lastly first race being trained specifically as a triathlete with my Felt B12 Finn.
Alarms were set bags were packed and we were ready for the day! I woke up and did my usual routine and we were off to T2 to catch the shuttle. I packed my breakfast to eat on the bus since it was still a little too early to eat. I packed my wetsuit in the car but after hearing that they had announced the water temperature at way above the level and the meeting the day before. I left it in the car. Looking back, yes a wetsuit would have allowed me to swim a faster race but not having it I think was a blessing in disguise. I felt like I was swimming strong and that was the farthest I have ever swam without a wetsuit, so now I know I can do it.
Back to the start…once we arrived at T1 and got over the initial shock that it was wet suit legal and we didn’t have ours – we headed for our bikes. Pumped up my tires and set my transition area up. Another shock to the morning was Duran had a flat tire – luckily they were able to put a new tubular on and he was okay to race. Finally, I was able to sit down and watch the pros and waves before me set out and I started to prepare for my day. I did a lot of visualizing of every transition and my strategy through out the race.
Swim: 46:25 – 33 in age group
We were the last wave to go but there was still excitement in the air. The water was a perfect temperature for just my Blue Seventy PZ3TX swim skin. I started off towards the back. When the start went off – there was a little elbow throwing but it settled down once we got a couple minutes in. I just kept pushing forward. We got to the first buoy and made the right. I knew the rest of the swim may be tough because of the direction of the current and it was getting much choppier than the early waves. I actually was able to get on someone’s feet that was a good pace for me and pretty much stayed with her for the rest of the swim. I also found confidence that I could still see people with my color swim cape plus passing many people with the yellow swim cap(wave before us) during the swim. Even though my time doesn’t show it – I felt fairly good during the swim – I was definitely working hard but also focusing on my catch and pull. I felt like I could do it much better without a wetsuit than with. Exiting the water I felt fine – no dizziness or anything and headed straight for my bike.
Bike: 2:38 – 2nd age group
I knew going into the bike that I was going to spend most of the day passing people. I just wanted to stick to my plan and show my strength on the bike.
I used the first climb to get my legs warmed up. They were working a little bit (not exactly) spinning but enough to get the blood flowing especially since I did a lot more kicking in the swim than I usually do. I started on my first bottle of HEED. First hour felt great – nothing to really comment about – just stayed strong. Finished my first bottle at a little over an hour. I grabbed water at the first aid station and just drank some and threw it away. Then at the second aid station I threw my bottle and picked up a water to put on my bike while I started to work on my second bottle with HEED in it. By the end of the bike – I had finished 2 bottles with HEED (one with 2.5 scoops the other with 2 scoops), one and half Poland springs bottles (maybe a little more since I would grab at stations and drink and throw one or two other times). I realized, I was passing many people mostly with the 30 age group on their legs and was wondering where I stood against everyone but didn’t put too much thought into it. It didn’t get hot until about mile 40 – 45. At that point I started pouring some water on my neck to make sure I stayed cool. My legs never really felt fatigued – even on the little climbs I felt very strong and made sure I had enough to get over and push. I think riding on the parkway the weekend before had a lot to do with that because the hills in the race felt much tougher when we would ride them during training than they did during the race – maybe the wind helped too 😉 I also ate one packet of gummies plus 3 from another packet. No stomach issues or mental fatigue.
Run: 1:37 1st in age group
My run stuff was on the complete other side of the bike dismount, so I had a long run to get there. I put on my Saucony Kinvara’s, race belt and visor. I realized this race that I run best by feel. Once I got on the course – my legs felt good but I definitely needed a pep talk. I told my self it is 1:30 of work and it is going to be hot but you are a strong runner and this is your time to shine. I said walking would be the easy thing to do – show your strength and your determination and keep pushing forward no matter what. Then it was go time – I checked my watch (I wear a stop watch that I push the lap button on for each sport) and it showed the first mile at 6:50 and it felt so easy! I decided to just go by feel and trust my legs – I barely ever checked my Garmin during the run. I broke the race down in 6 miles spans. At each aid station I would pour two cups of water on me and then drink a cup of water. My stomach felt good so I didn’t want to play with it drinking any PowerAde. When we got to mile 4 I knew this was the time I would have to dig in. We made our way out to the greenway and it began. Short little steep hills – so many people were walking but I kept running. I was not going to stop. I took a total of 3-4 gummies during the run. I also saw Duran at Mile 5ish which is always a great boost. I did feel hot at points but then an aid station would come up and I would dump grab sponges and drink and I was good to go. Once out of the greenway – it was the homestretch and I started to boogie. Legs felt strong – my stomach was getting a little upset but not too bad. At mile 10 I knew I could pick up the pace a bit and still have enough for the finish. The finish of the run was the best ever. It was like a full ironman finish. Duran said one of the best he has ever been in. I ran really strong down that half mile stretch. Duran said my form looked like I had just started running and I looked really intimidating. I get into an almost trance when racing and have such a focus – I’m sure I don’t look like the happiest person out there.
Overall time: 5:08 – 2nd age group
I had so much fun during this race. From the point the gun went off till I crossed the finish line. I was positive the whole time – never had really any negative thoughts except how I found it so weird I wasn’t passing anyone in my age group (I must have just not seen their calves!) I got a lot of comments on the run saying how strong I was looking and “now that is the look of focus” and people asking if I even did the bike section. So excited to qualify for Vegas World Championship 70.3!