IMCDA Race Report

It has been a few weeks since the race but better late than never…so here it goes.

Swim: 1:16

swim start IMCDA

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.

unnamed

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.

IMCDA swim

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!

Bike: 5:58

bike 1 imcda

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.

imcda bike2

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!

imcda bike 3

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.

Run: 3:48

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.

imcda run1

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.

imcda run 2

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.

imcda 4

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.

coachie

Advertisements

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report

When I crossed the finish line – I had a familiar feeling wash over me. We lost. I lost. I looked up at my Mom and said, “I feel like I just lost a big hockey game.” The feelings were merely identical. Disappointment, failure, anger and sadness washed over me knowing I did not accomplish what I set out to that day at Eagleman 70.3. My Mom’s response surprised me, “that just means you’re competitive, just like you were in hockey.” After hearing that, I thought maybe this was the race that now made me believe I was finally a triathlete, not a hockey player who is trying to swim, bike and run. Even so, Eagleman was a disappointment but lessons can always be learned and positives can always be taken out of a tough day.

Swim: 40:26

We parked at the Middle School parking lot to get on the shuttle when the news broke that it would not be wetsuit legal. Now to all of your swimmers out there who laugh and make fun when you see people freak out over this – get off your high horse. If there was some way to have a “wetsuit” for running that made you faster and then one day you aren’t allowed to wear it, you would be bummed as well. I am not scared of the distance of a half or full without a wetsuit, but I do know I will lose more time to the top swimmers without one and sure enough I did. We were the last wave to start and I thought the swim was fairly choppy once we got going – but I just swam the best I could. One positive is I did swim six minutes faster than my previous non wetsuit half swim – 1 year ago. Still slow as molasses but faster.

Bike: 2:32:49

eagleman2

Going in to the race – if I was going to grab that top spot I would need to make up time somewhere and take a chance on the bike. After my swim – there was no way I was going to hold back now. Plus, I wanted to see how well the new bike performed. Not much to say about the bike course, it was flat and I think fairly fast but since I was in the last wave there was a lot of weaving and bobbing going on to get passed the other bikers. I will note that in some sections there is a rumble strip on the side of the road in the bike lane which makes it incredible annoying to pass people. I was passing a lot of people and keeping a fairly strong effort that may give me a fighting chance on the run. I did notice my face was caked with salt already even with constant hydration and my left butt was literally being a pain in my ass for the last 20 miles or so. I wasn’t sure how the run would go but – I was going give it my all. I did have my fastest bike split ever for the half distance and only biked 2 minutes slower than my half in Charleston this year with a similar course that was 3 miles short. I’ll take it.

eagleman4

Run: 1:43:39

I believe in my run but sometimes it just doesn’t happen. I didn’t have the legs I needed to push a sub 1:30 half and the worst part is knowing it in those first few steps. Yes, it was hot and I can’t say for sure if it would have been different if the heat wasn’t a factor but the legs were not turning over quite how they should. I knew the run would be mostly a mental game which thankfully HB has well prepared me for (think running around a track for 2 plus hours) so the main goal was to keep pushing and maybe things would turn around. I kept moving at a respectable pace until the turn around grabbing water and ice at every aid station. Side note: I thought the aid stations were very well stocked with great volunteers but there was one area on the course that went way too long without an aid station. Around mile 9 is when I felt the side stitch come about…it was so painful to run. I did my best to slow down and let the pain go away then pick up the pace until it came back and repeated this until the finish. I know I am a salty sweater and this race confirmed salt tabs are a must on anything that resembles a hot day.

eagleman1

As you can see from the finisher picture – there was pure disappointment crossing the finish line. I felt like I let myself down, my coach, my parents who drove 6+ hours to see my race on my birthday and my friends who have been cheering and believing in me. I want to compete against the top girls in my age-group and I failed to do that at Eagleman.

eagleman5

Overall: 05:00:05 8th in AG

Bad races will happen – but it always fuels the fire to get back to training for the final push to IMCDA. It was great to finish off this week with a long brick on Saturday of a 100 mile ride with a 40 minute run followed by one of the most mentally challenging long runs I have ever done before on Sunday. Looking back on Eagleman now, I know the race wasn’t great but the fact one week after I can bike the fastest 100 miles I’ve done and run that many laps on a track gives me confidence in my fitness and ability going into Ironman.

TryCharleston Half Race Report

It had been about 4 weeks since I last raced and HB had shifted me from bike centered training to more run focused. I had never put in the number of miles I did for the last 3 weeks or the intensity they were done at but I was really enjoying it. I think my body was a bit shocked to be running so much but after getting back into the routine of stretching and foam rolling things were looking good for this weekend.

photo 3

I had been looking forward to this race for a few reasons. For one, I was excited to race a flat race that could simulate Eagleman (minus the heat) and to test out what my run could be. The second was that my parents were coming down from New York for vacation and stopped to watch the race. I also had a new kit to try out with my new Saucony A5’s plus our ‘Team DL’ hats to rock!

photo 1

Friday brought a lot of rain all day and into the night. When we went to bed that night, Duran and I weren’t sure what Sunday would bring in terms of weather. It was calling for 70% chance of rain and flash flood warnings kept going off on our phones all night.

Luckily when we woke up race morning it wasn’t raining and the wind didn’t seem too bad. The race had two different transitions for the bike and run which made it a bit of a logistical nightmare but it ended up working out fine besides them not having any water at T1 for people to fill water bottles.

Side note: this was my first race ever signing up for the “Open” division since I’ve never felt quite worthy yet of being in the elite group. Especially knowing I will probably get dropped on the swim fairly quickly had made me hesitant to sign up but I knew it would help me with the bike and run part of the race.

Swim: 34:07

I entered the water not expecting it to be so cold but it seemed the rain had drastically chilled the water as my feet immediately started to go numb. I was definitely intimidated lining up with the open competitors. I knew that I needed to swim a strong race and not worry about being dropped right off the bat. Once the gun went, we were off. This race has a two loop swim course and I made it a goal to not be caught by the group going off 3 minutes after us as long as possible. I didn’t feel great but didn’t get passed for quite a while and took that as a good sign and made my way around the loop twice and headed out of the swim. I looked at my watch and was pretty happy with my time since this course is usually a legit distance so I know my swim is improving and I didn’t get eaten by a gator…double win! As soon as I started to run to T1, my feet were frozen which for me isn’t out of the norm but really annoying when trying to run and then put on your bike shoes.

Bike: 2:29:59*

This course is known to be fast but with the weather I figured we would be in for some sort of headwind at the beginning of the race. Luckily, the wind wasn’t blowing like it was the day before and we only had a slight headwind to deal with. I headed out and immediately was hitting the watts I wanted and even a little over which was fine with the headwind and hoping to have a tailwind at some point to bring the watts back to where I wanted them overall. It was nice starting in the first group because I didn’t have to constantly say on your left and even had some people to work with on the bike! At about mile 25 or so a girl came and passed me. Honestly, my first thought was…damn that doesn’t happen often but hey I’ll go with her. I stayed with her for about 5 miles but she ended up hooking on to another group and pulling ahead. I knew in my head I would need to catch her on the run. Looking back, it was probably best I let her go since to keep up, my watts would have been way too high for me to be able to run well off the bike. I had three GU’s throughout the bike in case people are wondering. At the beginning of the race they announced that the bike course had been underwater and we would be re-routed to the old bike course from a few years ago which include a bumpy road. Holy shit, they were not kidding. I had way too many curse words come out of my mouth that even my old hockey coached would not be proud of while riding on that road along with thinking my shoulders were going to break. The only good part of being on that road was how pumped I was to get off it and hammer it a bit to T2. *The bike course was short by about 3 miles by what some of the other competitors had on their Garmin’s.

When coming into T2, you can see the start of the run and who is already out on the course. I saw Duran first and managed to yell a good job to him and then was able to count the 2 girls that were ahead of me.

Run: 1:28:25

photo 5

As I entered T2, I saw my parents waiting for me and they were able to tell me I was 5 minutes down from 1st place. Once I heard that, I decided I was going all in on this run and see where it left me. I headed out and clocked 6:30’s for the first two miles and figured I had to be making ground on the girls already. That was confirmed by Duran as I passed him saying they were probably one or two minutes ahead of me. Since the run was a 2 loop out-and-back course, I broke it down into 2-10K’s and raced them as that too. I managed to pass the girl who was previously in 1st at about mile 3 and saw the other girl at the turnaround…I was close. It’s worth noting this course is done on a side-walk and with all of the rain, the puddles were long and deep on the course. Many racers were going around the puddles on the grass but I took a more direct route and pretended I was competing in the steeple chase and doing high knees right through them. Your feet were going to get wet no matter what so it didn’t matter to me if they got soaked! I finally made the pass on the first place girl before mile 4 and tried to put some space between us but she was hanging tough. At the next turnaround to head out I had only 30 seconds up on her so there was no letting up. I was not only pushed by her but also to break the 1:30 half mark that has been my goal for quite some time. I always go into the run trying to take 3 GU’s and grab water but only usually manage to get down 2 which was the case for this race.The run course got more crowded on the second lap but again most people were going around the puddles which left plenty of room for me to run right through them. I made it to final turn around to only see her still there! I knew if I let up at all she would surge and pass me. I told myself treat it like a 5K and finish it off. With about 2 miles left I ran up to one guy who said, “I hear you”! He had a kit on that said “Put the hammer down” so I proceeded to respond, “you better do what your shirt says” and off we went to hammer those last miles. With one mile left I had a good feeling I would have the win and it turned into a race against the clock! I was so excited to finally break that 1:30 mark for the half and feel so strong doing it.

r

Overall: 4:35 – 1st Overall Female

I’m happy to see how my body performed and even more how I felt after the race. After the Florida race my body was beat up. My hips felt like knives were going in them and I felt really run down. But, after Charleston, I felt like I could easily train the next day and wasn’t waddling when I walked. This race was the last time I will race with Finn – my Felt B12 but I can’t wait to get on my new bike!!

6 weeks to put the head down and as Duran says, “finish the mission!”

photo 4

Race Report: Florida Challenge Half – The Intimidator

This would be the first race of 2014 to see where I am fitness wise and to wipe away the rust from not racing in a little bit. I knew doing a race in Florida may not be ideal because of the long drive down and the possibility of feeling the sun on my pasty white skin for the first time in many months. All things considered, I would say the race went alright and showed me areas I need to work on and gave me more motivation to train harder. It was also nice to meet some people from the online world…hi Maria and Sam!

Swim: 31:20

I have been working on my swim for the past 3 months and knew I wanted to push rather than just survive. I was told to go out hard and find feet. It was a rectangle swim with a beach start (need to work on that dolphin thing rather than a belly flop thing). I am starting to feel a sense of confidence going in to this part of the race, which is always nice. Not much to talk about here…I didn’t get bumped too much in the beginning but failed to get on feet for the first quarter of the race. Right before we made the turn to head back I was able to get find some bubbles. I felt the girl was zigzagging a bit but by the time we turned for home we caught up to another small group of girls and stayed together till the end. It was fun to finally feel like I was in a “pack” for the swim and I was able to push hard at times if I ever fell off for a few seconds to catch back up. As we exited, I wasn’t quite prepared for the uphill sand run but the wetsuit came off and bike stuff went on.

Bike: 2:45

I knew racing in Clermont would be hilly especially after driving around the day before and it certainly was. I used the first 20 minutes or so to settle my HR a bit since there were a few pitchy hills at the beginning that spiked it pretty good. Once settled in, I just focused on my power numbers and tried to do some catching up and see how long I could go before a guy caught up (women went first – no idea why!). There was one out and back section early in the course where you got to see where people were, much to my surprise I wasn’t too far behind the top girls. One being Nina Kraft – yes that Nina Kraft. At about mile 20 a girl came up from behind me and passed me but I was able to stay with her for the rest of the race. We traded positions a few times always staying legal but neither of us could out push the other to pull ahead.

During the bike portion for a half – I take 2 bottles with me of Infinit along with GU Energy Gels (peanut butter and strawberry banana are my favorite) and always take water at the first or second aid station. This race said there would be three aid stations on the course with water, Gatorade and bananas. Not so much. There was ONE aid station at mile 40 at the top of Sugarloaf with water and Gatorade but here is the kicker…they handed you the bottle without a top on it! I was kind of shocked to get the water and just chugged as much as I could and threw the rest on the way down the steep decline. After that, I just tried to ration the rest of the bottle I had to make it to the end.

The course was tough – it had a lot of pitchy inclines with the one steeper and longer uphill on Sugarloaf. There was nothing huge but they did make you get out of your saddle and work. The only other thing I would note about the course is the section where the roads are pretty terrible around Sugarloaf that make it difficult to get much speed and to stay aero as you are bouncing around so much.

Untitled

As I came into T2 – I was ready to run and try to catch the leaders as much as I could.

Run: 1:42

As I headed out on to the run course my legs felt pretty good and I clocked the first mile at around 7:00 minute pace and was pretty happy with my effort level for that. Mile 3 – hit the time I was looking for and as I got to the turn around still feeling good and in 3rd pace. The sun started to come out and I felt my pace drop a bit but was still running OK. The run was basically an out and back that you did twice…after the second turn around to head back I could tell I was slowing down because 2nd place was farther ahead than before. I didn’t have the jump I needed to push the pace…could have been the heat or lack of water on the bike but I stayed strong mentally and just kept running. I got passed around mile 11 by the same girl who had been with me all day and just could not pick it up enough to get passed her again.

Result: 5:03 – 4th Overall Female

Looking back – I am happy with my swim and bike for this race after looking at the times of other competitors but still question the run a little. It’s been awhile since I ran a 1:42 half marathon and whether the course was long or not I think I need to get in the hurt box a bit more out there. I don’t usually wear a Garmin for the run but I am starting to think seeing my pace may give me a bit of motivation to keep running strong or that I need to push it more especially when the mile markers are off like they were in this race. I also know I need to drop weight if I expect to hang with the top girls on the run especially in the heat. I have told myself this from the beginning of the year but to be honest have probably been half assing it a bit since I eat pretty healthy anyway but not anymore. I read a blog post recently and she put it perfectly, “nothing changes unless you change”. I need to make the changes and I need to make them now! That’s why we race to see where we can improve and give us the focus and motivation to work harder and this race absolutely did that for me.

After the race, we drove the 9+ hours back to NC which was absolutely miserable and painful but now it is Tuesday and my legs and body feel recovered and ready to get back to work!

2013 in Review

I thought I would highlight some of 2013 since it is coming to a close in a couple of days.

The DL Experience – Spring Break to Lake Lure and Asheville NC

This was the first big trip for Duran and I and one that would include a lot of riding! We had plans to use it as a mini training camp before the season starts but as it turned out with weather and all it was more of a biking trip than an all around triathlon training week. It turned out great and I gained a lot of fitness and confidence before the season started!

photo

The Boston Marathon

61523_505459882835355_741987478_n

Boston was not an ‘A’ race on my schedule but it was Boston so I obviously wanted to do well. I only did one 16 and 18 mile run as my “long” runs before and had just come off a huge bike week in the mountains before the race.

I raced well and performed with the fitness that I had. But, Boston will not be remembered for my race time there or how well I ran. It has a much deeper meaning and will be a day I will never forget.

Climbing Mount Mitchell

Mitchell 1

Duran and I headed back to Asheville for one main purpose. Climb Mount Mitchell. I did not write a blog about the climb but it was the weekend before Raleigh 70.3 and we started off on the Parkway in Asheville and it was basically a 3+ hour all uphill ride until you reach the top of Mitchell and then about an hour ride all downhill ride home.

mountains 1

This was another one of those confidence boosting rides and mentally challenging rides to do but felt great once back home – the worst part was probably descending Mitchell – I really need to get better at going down.

Top of Mitchell

Ironman Raleigh 70.3

954842_524018527646157_949213092_n

This was only second half and my first ironman race I had ever done. I had a feeling I could be in the hunt – but wasn’t quite sure how the day would play out. Much to my surprise I had a very good race and qualified for the 70.3 Worlds in Vegas by coming in 2nd in my age group which I proceeded to pay for that day and ended up not making it out to race because of the cost of the trip.

Ironman Lake Placid

031

Placid was my first full Ironman and although it did not go quite as planned, I still had an amazing time and a fairly decent race.

bike check-in

Beach to Battleship

My first overall female win! I raced a lot in the Fall and was coming up short to some speedy girls for 1st place but finally managed to pull off a win in Wilmington with a PR half marathon.

photo 1

Ironman Cozumel

1460010_10151891917488702_768675684_n

Cozumel was going perfect until it wasn’t. I learned a lot from this race and know what I need to dial in and focus on for 2014 if I am going to make it to the next level and get to Kona like I want to.

Those are my triathlon highlights for 2013 and I am sure there are to be plenty more in the next year. Just for fun – one of my favorite pictures of us after Placid.

after

Ironman Cozumel Race Report – My first DNF

The night before the race

I have been trying to write a full race report about Ironman Cozumel and about our trip as a whole but as time goes on the motivation to add in all the trip details seems to be failing me so here is just my race report.

I went to Cozumel with the goal to qualify for Kona. It was a main focus for me leading up to the race. But, I also knew that Cozumel would present some challenges that would be out of my control. The big one being the weather. I was not sure how my body would do being that it was in the 30s – 40s here in NC. We headed to Mexico early to try to acclimate with the heat before the race. Luck was not on our side as ‘El Norte’ was in town keeping temperatures cool and the wind howling. El Norte also being the cause of the shorten swim for this Ironman. All in all, when I went to bed on Saturday night, I truly believed this was going to be my race. I was fit, prepared and motivated.

Pre-race:

Our house all woke up early to start prepping for the race. It was nice to just sit around and relax a bit with friends before the long day ahead. Once we are all ready to go – we got a cab to the swim finish, which use to be the start as well until the changed the swim to a point to point. I made sure my bike was set up, put on sunscreen, put on my swim skin and turned in my morning clothes bag. We caught a shuttle to head 2 miles to the swim start.

photo 3

Swim: 50:54

photo 2

This would be my first mass start I have ever done since IM Lake Placid used the new rolling swim start but, I felt pretty calm about it as there isn’t much you can do but battle it out and keep swimming. I didn’t have a time goal for the swim since it was shortened and I wasn’t sure how much the current would affect my time.

Once the pros went off, we had about 20 minutes before the gun would fire for us. All of the people who wanted to be in front headed right in the water but I knew I didn’t want to tread water for that long before we went off. Once it got down to about 8 minutes left – I made my way out and positioned myself towards the front half of the group and just tried to find some clean water.

photo 1

photo 1

The gun fired and of course it was a ton of bodies on top of each other trying to get going. It felt like you were in a big washing machine every time you looked up because all you saw was water splashing. I put my head in the water and just swam. There was definitely some elbows thrown and some slightly over kicking to get people off of me but after the first 5 minutes things started to settle down. I tried to stay an equal distance from shore for most of the swim but the race buoys had us zigzagging quite a bit. I felt fairly confident on how I was swimming and when I looked up, I finally saw the docks where we would be exiting. At this point though, I think the current switched a bit on us because it felt like eternity to actually get to the swim exit. We also had to swim around the entire dock and take a quick left to the exit…nothing major but would have been nice to have those details before. I exited the water and checked my watch and thought – that can’t be too bad and made my way through the changing tent and to my bike. Next up 112 miles of rain, wind, heat, and bike racing…or so it felt.

Bike: 5:29

Cozumel is a three loop flat course. I knew that this bike course can have a lot of drafting because of how flat it is, but with a shortened swim the amount of people out on the course in packs on the first loop was insane. It was also somewhat dangerous. For the first loop, I knew my adrenaline would be high but I also wanted to stay conservative since it is a long way on a flat course where your legs never get a break. The first loop was packed and I felt like I was stuck in traffic the whole time with slow drivers in the left lane. Multiple times I had to go in the other lane to pass people because bikers were 4 across having a conversation. As I made it out to the South part of the Island where strong head winds are known to be, we were hit with some winds but also you could tell rain clouds were coming in. At this point, pelotons were flying by. I couldn’t stop shaking my head and just kind of laughing as a group would come up behind me with someone hanging on the back that I had passed 15 minutes prior like they were standing still and now they were being brought around the island like a passenger on a train. People can say all they want that they didn’t draft but when the packs come up it is nearly impossible to not get caught up in it for a little bit. As bad as the packs were on the first lap, I biked mostly alone on the second and third laps. As I came back into town finishing my first lap, I was pumped to see Jenny and Lori cheering near our condo and my legs felt great to start the 2nd lap.

photo 2

2nd lap was pretty uneventful besides the significant winds that had picked up on the south end of the island. I had to be careful not to push my power on this section and constantly reminded myself it was about the run. I was taking a water bottle to pour on myself and Gatorade at every aid station along with a GU every 45 minutes. Seeing Jenny and Lori again was a great boost as I went into my third and final lap. I was feeling really good and felt like I was putting a good race together so far. The third lap was definitely the toughest, not necessarily because we were getting into the later miles but the head wind was the worst it had been and the aid stations started to run out of Gatorade. It was also getting tough riding alone, it would have been nice to have someone to at least legally draft and work with for the final section. Once I got to the end of the head wind and start back to T2 there was a long stretch where I didn’t have any water left to splash on myself and I had gone through all of my GU’s. I also started to think about how I hadn’t had to pee at all on the bike even with all of the liquids I had put in my body. I didn’t worry about it too much since most of my long rides I rarely have to pee. It was starting to get really hot out and my body was feeling it. Getting to the last aid station, I made sure to grab water and a fresh Gatorade to get to the finish.

photo 4

Coming into T2, I was smiling from ear to ear. I felt like I had executed a really good bike. My power was where I wanted it to be, I felt I passed a lot of people in my age group (after the race I found out I came off the bike in 2nd place in my age group) and I was setting myself up to have a great run. I guess I am not a very good psychic…

Run: DNF

I headed out on the run and immediately grabbed a water bag to splash on myself because I could feel the heat right away. The run course was three out and backs. It’s great for spectators but definitely a mental battle when most of the course wasn’t shaded. I can’t say I was feeling fantastic while running down the first out and back but I kept telling myself things change quickly and I would fall into a good rhythm once I got going. I made it to the turn around to come back and my legs felt ok but I was still really hot and once again could not force any nutrition down. I was putting as much water on me as I could to cool down but as I did that my shoes started to feel super water-logged. I saw our sherpas and they gave me some great motivation to just keep going and all I could say to them was I felt I could fry an egg on my arm. When I finally made it to the turn around to start my 2nd lap – the wind started to come out of my sails and I did not feel good. I took a few walking breaks and tried to get some fluids down and regain my momentum. I saw Duran as he was coming back on his 2nd loop and we both gave each other a quick hug and just said we’ve got to keep moving. No one had passed me from my age group yet but after another mile or so I started to get severe chills and goose bumps which was very odd when its 90 degrees out and the sun is beating down on you. I also started to yawn and sway a lot. I knew my race was over at that point. In an Ironman, walking during the run will happen but if you can keep moving forward you really don’t lose too much time. Once I could barely walk forward any longer…I was done.

This is the hardest part to write about for my race report. I want Duran to succeed in triathlon more than myself most of the time. He has more heart for this sport than anyone I know. When he saw me wrapped in a garbage bag wandering in the middle of the road as he was coming back on his third lap – without a thought he said we were done and walked off the course with me. I pleaded with him to keep going and I would find my way back and he proceeded to get a cab, bring me back to the condo and get me in a warm shower to warm up. He would have finished no problem if he had not seen me but I gave him his first DNF. I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t seen him since there weren’t any medics or even adults at any of the aid stations. I will always be grateful for what he did for me that day and I will do everything in my power for him to get that Kona Qualification next June because he deserves it more than anyone I know for his hard work, dedication and most importantly he was fit enough to get there in Cozumel .

As hard as Sunday was, I am very thankful we got to share Cozumel with some new friends and still all laugh and talk about upcoming races together the next day and maybe share a few drinks together too. Looking back – I know my body was ready to go 140. miles but the conditions were not in my favor and my nutrition still needs to be dialed in. All it becomes is more motivation to get back to work.

photo 3

First Overall Female Win at Beach to Battleship Half

photo 1

Pre-race:

I used to think I really liked Saturday races but after this weekend I am now a lover for Sunday races only. Since I had to work on Friday, it was a rush to get to Wilmington Friday night. We had to go to packet pick-up, a mandatory pre-race meeting and rack our bikes all in about 2 hours. Added to this, trying to find some food for the night, getting our bags packed for all the transitions since it was a point to point race and trying to learn a bit about the logistics and the race course was a lot to cram in such a short period of time. While it was a bit hectic and had few hiccups, we ended up being able to have a nice dinner with friends and get to bed early.

We got to sleep in later than usual for this race since the half didn’t start until 8:30 and we had one of our friends able to chauffeur us to T1 for body marking and setting up our bikes and to the swim start right before our waves went off. Duran ended up having chip issues and was not able to go off with his wave so I was the first off in the swim. He was able to start in a later group. Last point about the start – it was 36 degrees out when we jumped in the water. Brrrrr!

photo 2

Swim: 35:06

This was my first ever ocean swim in a triathlon and pretty much in general. Sharks scare the crap out of me so I tend to avoid the ocean as much as possible. Yes, I am racing IM Cozumel in the ocean and yes I am fully prepared to be eaten by a shark. The Beach to Battleship swim is also known to be very fast with the current but this year the current was barely there and after speaking with most people and seeing the times – it seemed to be a pretty fair swim. My goals for this swim was to not swallow half the channel and to feel a burn  during it. There was a little chop and not swallowing the salt water was challenging and brought back many memories of boogie boarding in the ocean when I was little and getting water up my nose. But, I felt decent and didn’t feel like I was getting left behind from the group too much. The course has only one buoy the entire time so I know I didn’t swim the most efficient line and my feet were frozen about half way in but I was happy to see my time of 35 minutes as I was getting out of the water.

I knew I was in trouble as soon as I got out of the water and couldn’t feel my feet. The race had warm water for us to wipe off the salt and I tried to warm up a little before making the trek to transition. We had to run about 1/4 of mile on concrete to get to T1 and at this point I was almost in tears because of how cold my feet were. It felt like needles stabbing me the entire time. Once in transition – I couldn’t do anything. I had trouble getting my arm warmers on and gloves then I couldn’t get my nutrition in my pockets. I had to ask a volunteer to help me do everything. I pretty much thought the win would be out of the picture after taking 6 minutes in T1. Lastly, I put on a jacket and off I went with frozen feet and the least aero outfit ever.

Bike: 2:38

It is flat in Wilmington, which should mean a fast bike. Not today. My first ten miles were terrible. I knew having frozen feet would limit me a little bit but my jacket was not helping at all. At about mile 6 or 7, I stopped at a group of people asked who wanted a free jacket and handed it off to them because I knew I couldn’t lose free speed and my core wasn’t cold just my feet. I would say we had some sort of head wind for almost the first 30 + miles. I knew I wasn’t going as fast as I wanted but kept telling myself that I would have a tail wind home and could hopefully gain some time. I don’t have much to say about the bike – it’s on mostly highway, not great roads and there is a lot of congestion since there is a full Ironman and relay’s going on. There were about three bottlenecks where you had no choice but to slow down for a bit in order to fit in the course and not get hit by a car.

As I was heading in to T2 – I was ready to run but a bit nervous for my feet that were still frozen.

Run: 1:30:30

I got off my bike and ran over to where our T2 bags were hanging. One thing I didn’t like about this race with T2 was you didn’t know where your bag was when coming in to T2 since you had to hand it in on Friday night and they move the racks for the race. As I was running over the guy on the horn said my number, I yelled my number multiple times and then everyone was yelling 1982 but there was no bag coming for me. I looked for myself everywhere but still couldn’t find it. After more time than I would have liked passed, someone gave me my bag and I was able to put my New Balance 1400’s on and sprint out of the convention center to get started on my run.

I knew coming out I was not in first because of what the volunteers were telling me but I still thought I could run some of them down. I started the run and immediately saw some of our friends yelling for me which was great but the only thing I managed to yell at them was, “Where was Duran?!” I got my answer relatively quickly when I was coming back from the quick out and back and saw him flying past me. A relief fell over me knowing he was out there and that he looked great! I told myself I would take a risk and run hard in the beginning since I knew this course was flat and secretly wanted to make it tough for Duran to catch me which would mean I was keeping a fairly good pace.

I think it was around Mile 4 when I finally heard him behind me and just as quickly he was ahead of me. He was flying and the best part was I was feeling great. I had passed a few relay girls and wasn’t sure how many girls racing the half were still ahead so I just kept moving. I went into this race trying to break 1:30 and was not only racing the other girls but I was racing my watch to try to get that 1:29:59! I came upon a girl with a 33 on her leg and thought that she may be the 1st female but thought that her wave must have started after mine so I would have to put at least 5 minutes into her in order to win. I stayed consistent until I hit the 10 mile mark and then started to push much more than I had earlier in the race. It was going to be close for the win and to break 1:30. I gave it all I could in the last stretch but fell short by 30 seconds of the 1:30 and had no idea if I had put in enough time for the win.

I ended up coming in at 4:52 overall which I was pretty happy with considering I took a super long time in T1 and T2 and did not have a great bike. If the temperature had not been in the 30’s I think I could have raced a much faster race but everyone had the same conditions.

Overall: 4:52

Later on, I realized all of the females mostly started in the same wave and I didn’t have to put in any time into the girl I saw. Note to self: check this stuff before the race. After finishing, I found Duran and asked him about his race. He had a huge PR run and raced great! Then we waited around to see the results if I got the win. The results are still a little funky and no all correct on the website just so you know.

I was really happy to finally win overall female for this race after coming in 2nd for the past couple races I had raced.  It was also my first ever overall win in a triathlon!

IMG_1278

Now the focus is on one race – Ironman Cozumel.