FSSeries Finish Strong Half Race Report

Another race weekend has come and gone! Duran and I were excited about this race since it had been awhile since we had raced the 70.3 distance and we knew this course would test our bike fitness.

The Finish Strong Half is put on by FS and in the FSSeries. These races are usually small and have the local feel but are well supported and a lot of fun.

Side note: I wasn’t sure if I would be ready to go the 70.3 distance so I hadn’t registered. Duran took the lead on registering me a couple of days before the race when I got a g-chat message from him saying I was going to have tough competition. I of course asked him what chick was coming. He proceeded to say that he accidentally registered me as a dude. I made sure the race officials knew this but my chip started when the guys went off which is why my time is about 4 minutes slower than what I raced on the website. Just a FYI.

Swim: 1.2 miles – 30:22 – (course was about 5 minutes short)

The weather here in North Carolina is starting to feel like Fall, finally! It was a cool morning and after Raleigh, Duran and I were not going to leave our wetsuits home just in case the surface temperature had cooled because of the weather. Sure enough, we got to the race site and it was declared wet suit legal! I was probably the happiest girl in transition at that point.

The men started about 4 minutes before the females. The course they had set up was a clockwise course and when we were about to take off – we all looked out to the men and they were all standing in the middle of the lake! It was quite funny watching all of them walking to get out of the shallow area.

Once they said go – I concentrated on having a strong swim by focusing on my pull. I know when I get tired or lazy I go all chicken armed and do not catch the water all. I always think I am taking the most direct route but as time goes on I find something having to back track a bit to the buoy in order to make the turn around. Oh well…once I made the final turn it is a short swim to the boat ramp and up in to T1.

Bike: 56 miles – 2:42

I got out of the water and checked my watch and saw a 30! I was stoked but quickly came back to earth and realized the swim was probably short. Nothing too exciting about transition, I of course noticed Duran’s bike was gone and hoped he was killing it out there. We have worked really hard for the past month or two on our bike fitness and raising our FTP. I also saw one of his Gu’s on the ground but I knew we had planned to take three with us but possibly only use two. I headed out to transition and up the steep hill out to 64. This was the same part of the course as Raleigh so it was no surprise how terrible the road is and the steady incline. We knew this bike course was going to be tough especially with the hills in the back portion of the course. The first half of the course wasn’t too bad and the wind wasn’t blowing much which helped a lot. I wasn’t able to get my power output to where I wanted it but my speed was OK. By the second half of the course, I started to find my legs, I think the hills helped and were continuing to pass people. I wasn’t sure how much ground I could make up on the top girls out of the water but it kept me pushing. I was shooting to be close to my Raleigh half time of 2:38 and came in close enough at 2:42.

Run: 13.1 miles – 1:37

The run was tough. It was an out and back course that you did twice. 3 miles out 3 miles back and then we get to do it all over. I liked the set-up because you could see where you stood but on a difficult course it can be a mind fuck knowing you have to do those hills again! The course is a continuous up and down. I don’t think there were many flat sections out there. As you are heading back to transition you see the front-runners and I saw the leading female who was flying! I came off the bike in to transition with another failed attempt to get my feet out of my shoes before dismounting.  As I headed out, I knew I was in 2nd place and would have to have the run of my life to even get close to number 1. I made sure not to go out too fast since I knew the hills would pick up as the race went on. The first 6 miles weren’t bad but it was getting hotter and I knew the hills would feel much tougher on the second time around. I saw Duran a bunch which was great. He was running strong and at one point I was ready with my watch to tell him how far behind he was to some of the top guys and before I knew it I saw him and he had already passed everyone. I love having him out on the course because I know I would never let him see me walk so it’s motivation to always keep going. Once I was on the second loop, I was fairly certain that no one was going to catch me for 2nd so once again it was a battle to try to get the best time I could. I thought this course was a little harder than Raleigh in terms of constant hills but none of them were pitchy like in Raleigh.  Some of the cross-country runners from the school I teach at were aiding all of the run stations, which was awesome! I always knew I would get my two cups of water when going through. One for over the head and one to drink. I came into the finish with my fastest half time at 4:52 (with a short swim) and was really excited. I saw Duran at the end with two of our close friends Lauren and Tim.

Overall it was a great race and a lot of fun to spend the day swimming, biking and running! We have two weeks to train until our next race in Charlotte, the Carolina half!

Overall: 4:52 2nd overall Female

From DNS to DNF to 2nd–White Lake International Race Report

I almost didn’t start the race this weekend. I have been struggling with sore calves all week and competing in a race where it’s all about having speed did not sound like a lot of fun. On Thursday and Friday I did everything I could to loosen up my legs. I did very little biking and running, wore compression, and got a massage to try and help the tightness. To add to the trouble, my bike needs a deep cleaning and sounds brutal but my local bike shop couldn’t get it done in time for the race. Oh well…

As you can see – I wasn’t going into the race with a great mental or physical state but I was excited to race and I knew one of the top females was also racing. Of course, I wanted to see how I matched up to her.

Duran and I woke up bright and early to make the 2 hr drive to White Lake. It was an 8 AM start which made the day trip doable for us. We found a place to park right next to transition and got our things together. I could tell Duran was nervous for this race since the competition was tough and it was such a short distance for us. We both did our own things to get ready and made our way down to the swim start.

Swim: 32:31 .9 miles – 57th fastest female

It was an in water swim start with multiple waves. White Lake was a great lake to swim in compared to Jordan which is where we usually swim. The setup of the swim course was not great. The sight buoys were in random spots and the sun caused it to be difficult to see the triangle buoys which were our turn buoys. I have been working hard on my swim but still any swim not wetsuit legal will be tough for me. It was pretty uneventful besides going off course a few times and feeling like I was over kicking at points. I didn’t have many people around me (sucks to be slow) so most of the swim was done alone…aka no feet to follow.

Bike: 1:14 – 45K – 2nd fastest female

The bike course is fairly flat on ‘ok’ roads. I knew I had a lot of ground to make up in order to place and that I didn’t have a lot of time to do it. My legs felt ok in the beginning but not great. I had a feeling this would happen since I was having a tough week. The good part about being a slow swimmer is you rarely get passed on the bike and run but the downfall is not knowing who is ahead of you and how far. I tried to keep my AP high but was struggling to keep it up consistently. Even so, my mph was OK and I was passing a lot of people. At around mile 15 I thought I was done…my legs were burning and I thought there was no way I could run off the bike today. I did a lot of self-talk on the bike to keep me going and not get my first DNF. I kept telling myself you have to finish because how embarrassing it would be to get my first ever DNF in a small Olympic triathlon for no reason and triathlon’s are tough, that’s not a reason to quit. I thought it was a 25 mile course and was pumped to be coming in around 1:04 but quickly realized it was longer than that 45K and just continued to motor forward. I even told someone that course seemed long as I went by…ugh how embarrassing!

White Lake 2

Run: 42:23 10K – 3rd fastest female

I came in to transition and had a little trouble unclipping…note to self-learn how to take feet out of shoes before transition. Quickly changed my shoes, grabbed my visor and put on my race belt as I was exiting transition. I quickly heard footsteps behind me and my first thought was…I can’t let this person pass me. As he neared closer, I took a quick look to my left and all I saw was someone’s waist. This guy was the tallest triathlete I have ever seen. I paced off of him for the first mile, then once I pulled ahead I paced off another guy until the 3 mile turnaround. I had passed a few females early and saw a few elites run by the other way so I knew I must be close to the front. I felt like I was running around 7:00 – 7:10’s since I don’t wear my Garmin in short races but I felt really good the whole run. As I got to mile 5.5, a woman on the side of the road started cheering for me since I was the only one running really fast and I trucked it right on to the finish line.

white lake 1

When I finished I saw Duran and Jennie (the overall winner) and stopped to talk to them for a bit until the thirst came over me and we went off to grab a drink.

I ended up coming in as 2nd age group female by 2 seconds and 5th overall female. Duran came in 2nd place for his age group.

Overall:

2:31 – 6th Overall Female (including elites) – 2nd Female not including elites