Last Sunday I completed my first 70.3 of the year at Ironman 70.3 CT. This was the first year Ironman took over the race from Rev3 and reviews were mixed. I agree with the critique that it was a lot of people for the venue. The road conditions were not great, which is not ideal for a congested course with some very technical descents. That being said, none of that had any real impact on my performance so I’m not here to complain. 🙂
Truthfully, I’m a big fan of race reports, probably because Monday night quarterbacking is one of my favorite pasttimes. But life is pretty freaking busy right now so I don’t have time to write the full, stage by stage breakdown of this most recent race.
I know, I know. the three people reading this (Hi, Mom!) must just be devastated! 😉
The summary is: I had a decent day, especially for a season opener and not my “A-Race” for the season. I went into the day with a nagging achilles injury and knowing I hadn’t put a ton of time on the bike yet. I had limited expectations for myself other than to see what I could do…which is actually a very freeing way to go into any race!
That being said, on IRACELIKEAGIRL, we have this tradition of writing down our reflections in the format outlined in Craig Manning’s The Fearless Mind. He says to write (everyday actually) 3 things you did well and 3 things to work on. I think that is still a cool approach so here’s my 3:3 from 70.3 CT.
- Fueled decently. In the sense that I didn’t bonk, get sick, or think I was going to s**t myself. It’s all relative folks! I had my standard breakfast of Fieldwork & applesauce on race morning. When the swim start was delayed, I ate a few Clif Bloks and drink some more sports drink. On the bike, I had a little less than 3 Honey Stinger waffles (roughly one half every 30 minutes) and 1 packet of Clif Bloks. Around mile 30, when I needed a little boost, I had another gel. I drank around 1 bottle of sports drink per hour and peed once on the bike so must have hydrated okay. On the run, I had a Clif Blok every other mile and Gatorade Endurance & Coke at every aid station. That was pretty darn close to my fueling plan with some improvs that worked out pretty well.
- Trusted my bike handling skills: The descents were crazy but I knew I was decent bike handler so stayed tucked in aero as much as was safe. I passed many people on the downhill and carried some good momentum into the climbs this way. Believe me, I needed every ounce of free speed I could get on that course.
- Stayed (mostly) positive: After a shitty swim (see below) I went to a dark place mentally for a minute. Once I got on the bike I reminded myself “You’re here to have fun, Kay. Smile. Enjoy this.” And for the most part I did – the bike course, as tough as it was, was actually pretty fun and went by relatively quickly. On the run, my achilles & calf started hurting around miles 2-3. Negative thoughts started creeping in like “F@*!! I still have over 10 miles to go.. I can’t do this.” But I was able to shut that down and focus on just getting to the next mile marker… and then the next, and so on. Most of the day, I tried keeping a smile on my face. I gave high fives to any spectator that had their hand out (most of them were adorable little kids). Half of long course triathlon is mental so reminding myself that I do this for fun (which I do), helped me stay in the right mental space.
- Get more OWS practice. Due to fog, Ironman dropped the swim distance to 750 meters (I think it was a little more looking at the times of everyone but maybe not). The shortened swim turned out to be a blessing because I had a pretty bad panic attack in the water. I’ve heard of it happening to others but it’s never *really* happened to me. Once I collected myself, I still had to breast stroke a bunch… so it wasn’t a great swim for me. I tribute this in part to the fog but also the fact that race day was the very first time putting on my wetsuit this season and my first true open water swim (OWS) of the year. I’ve been swimming pretty strong in the pool so this just goes to show that pool swimming doesn’t always translate.
- Perform better equipment checks. This is like racing 101 but clearly I need this reminder as I had a few substantial equipment malfunctions on Sunday. Firstly, while I had done a ride/run dress rehearsal with one my kit, I’d never tried it on with my wetsuit in the water. Race morning I found that my kit sleeves rolled up on themselves under my wetsuit and pinched my arms in annoying/painful way during the swim. The second fairly major malfunction was that my front hydration system essentially blew apart on the on the course (the roads were very, very rough but I also don’t think I had it assembled properly). This meant it was impossible for me to drink from it and also that Gaterade Endurance was splashing all over me for a good chunk of the ride. I ended up dropping my normal bottle from my frame at an Aid Station and throwing a bottle of G.E. in there instead to drink from. It worked out, but not ideal. Finally, my HR monitor strap was spun around backwards so the reading chip was on my back. I have no idea how this happened but that meant I didn’t have solid HR data other than what was being read from my wrist (i.e. not nearly as accurate). I used power on the bike for the most part but on the run, I could have used the HR assist for the early mile pacing.
- Practice more hills and gain durability on the bike: I felt pretty strong on the ride for the first 40-45 miles, but on the last 10 I felt like just getting dropped by everyone. Like I said, I think I fueled pretty well so my best guess it that my legs were just fatigue from not enough strength and endurance built up YET for that type type of climbing. Now that it iss nice out, it will be easier for me to get on my bike and get some real hill work in. I’m also doing the Trek Across Maine in a few weeks which has plenty of elevation over the 3 day course.