It has been a few weeks since the race but better late than never…so here it goes.
In the days leading up to the race, there was constant talk about how the water conditions would be and if the wind would be a factor on the bike for race day. After one quick look at the water on race morning, we all knew we were in for a tough day, but I’m not sure any of us knew just how tough it would be.
The swim start at CDA is a rolling start where you self-seed yourself according to your finishing time. This was my second time starting a race this way since IMLP last year was also a rolling start. I decided to seed myself one group higher this year than last and started in the front of the 1:00 – 1:15 group. I figured I would rather have people swim over me than have to go around other swimmers. Here is a picture from race day to show how rough the water was but I don’t think it does the conditions justice.
Once the gun went off for the age-group start, it only took 2 minutes or so before I jumped into the 60 degree water in my sleeveless wetsuit to begin my Ironman journey. It’s funny to think back how much you mentally prepare to get knocked and hit while by other swimmers but not as much for getting barreled by the waves. I tried to find feet when I could and just keep swimming. I came in after the first loop at 36 minutes which I was actually pretty happy about thinking I was on track for a 1:12. That would have been slower than what I wanted but for the conditions I would have taken it. The second loop was definitely harder than the first with some added tugging and pulling by other swimmers, having to wait/swim around a jet ski pulling a swimmer out of the water and getting a calf cramp.
As I exited the water and saw my time – I quickly thought how slow that was but at the same time it was the same as IMLP one year ago which was calm water with much more of a pull so I’ll take it. My next thought was wow my feet are cold. Third thought, thank goodness for wetsuit strippers and volunteers!
It was time to play catch up! I headed out on the first out and back section while keeping a look out for HB and the other girls to see how much time I needed to make up. Much to my surprise I was only about 10 minutes back from one of my teammates who was in my age group and got the word from HB it was a slow swim! Good news for me!
If you read anything about IMCDA from this year, I can guarantee that the word “headwind” was mentioned! It was relentless the entire way out to the turn around on Hwy 95.
Thoughts from first loops:
1. Stay aero. Stay out of the wind.
2. You can push more watts on the way out since you will have help coming back
3. Drink. Eat. Salt.
4. Well, I am definitely losing time to Maggs and Courtney but it’s a long race.
Coming into town after the first loop is when the pain in my ass started. As most of you know, I have been riding my new Trek Speed Concept for about 8 weeks and working to dial it in to the right position…well it’s not there yet and this race was a big confirmation and also a slap in the face that Eagleman’s butt pain wasn’t just a fluke! I knew I needed to keep my head down and keep pushing but also knew the second loop was going to be harder and I had that marathon thing after.
Going out for the second loop I saw HB and proceeded to give her a thumbs up and a smile and say I was feeling good even though I was feeling pretty terrible in terms of my legs. Fake it till ya make it right?!
The 2nd loop out on 95 was brutal and my only thought was to get to that turn around with some legs left and get back ASAP. I have never wanted to get to that turn around so much in my life!
The one good thing that was happening was my nutrition was on point and I didn’t have any stomach discomfort. One issue was I could not pee! Not that I didn’t have to go but I just could not let it go on the down hills. I tried everything! More on this later…
Finally back in town into T2. I told myself going into this race that I would allow myself a few seconds to take a breath in T2 to prepare myself for the run. I sat on the ground instead of a chair thinking I may be able to pee…nope…nothing and I decided to chat and just take my time getting my shoes on to gather myself after a much longer bike than expected and a harder bike on the body aka my ass than I wanted.
I knew I had a lot of ground to make up and that was confirmed when I was told that I was in 4th with 10 minutes down from 2nd. Added to that news, my legs were not feeling great either. My butt hurt and I just felt very defeated after that bike. This is the fun mental part of racing Ironman where you come up with every excuse of why you should stop and at the same time why you should keep going all in about a mile!
At mile 3, I knew I needed to pee and someone had just come out of the Porto potty so I decided to finally go knowing that would help me run. Funny part of all of this, I wore a one piece triathlon kit and still sat down and went pee without taking my suit off and still wiped as if I didn’t have it on as well. Like I said, the weird things we do in an Ironman but I knew I had to sit down and pee or else I wasn’t going to be able to go.
Another mile or so went by of me deciding if I could fake a foot injury and stop running but I just kept at it and finally around mile 5 I was able to get into a groove! I didn’t have any stomach issues and was high on coke! Now, I wasn’t running fast thanks to my terrible fit on my Trek that left my legs a bit wrecked but I was keeping a pace that would get me to the finish in a reasonable time.
I passed Maggs and knew she was going to win overall and the thought that maybe I could catch 2nd was possible on the second half of the marathon. With about 4 miles left to go HB told me to run sub 8 minute miles which I tried my best to do! When asked if I was…my answer was “I’m getting there!” as I proceeded to push a bit harder. Up the final couple of hills and a “sprint” down Sherman to the finish.
Overall: 11:09 3rd Female (25-29)
Looking back on the race I am proud of the effort I put forth on that day. It was not my best performance or a good show of how much work I put in for this race but it was a good show of effort and overcoming obstacles the best I could.
It was fun to go on stage the next day to accept my award for 3rd and wait and see if a roll down would happen. Unfortunately, there weren’t any roll downs which part of me was bummed about but the other part wants to get that spot when I deserve it and am able to race to my ability.