When I signed Shane & I up for this race, I thought it was perfect timing. A few weeks after we got to CDA, then we could spend the rest of our summer just having fun, not on a schedule. We only had about 8 weeks to prep - So I created a modified schedule to get us to race day. I used some old schedules from a Mark Allen training plan, but had to cut down the mileage because we didn't have time to build up to them. We also had a goal of trying to do more tempo/speed vs slow long.
That plan worked for a while. We were working hard, seeing results and having a LOT of fun.
And then the travels began. We were able to keep up our running, but the biking mileage and swimming took a huge dip. The last few training rides here I felt like crap. Sluggish & tired around the 2hour mark. I kept telling myself it was just from the travel & racing, etc.... but deep down I knew we just didn't get in enough long rides. In fact, our last long ride (3hrs) was on June 27th. The one before that..... was the a month before that in May - right before my bonk where I took almost 2 weeks of rest....
After this race Shane & I both decided it's really just not worth it to do such a long race without being properly trained. Now, every one's body acts differently, but I've been doing endurance stuff long enough to know that my body NEEDS the extra distance. In a marathon training, I can not get by by just doing 16 or 18 miles. I absolutely need at least 1 20miler. If you look at my logged hours of training overall, they are high. But, they just weren't at the right time for this race. After my last 3hour ride over a month ago, my weekly bike miles were around 70miles per week avg. I only had one week that totalled 100miles, and that was in June.
My swimming also took a plunge - I usually swim masters 2-3 times per week, logging 6-9k yards per week. In the last month my swimming dropped to 2 times per week & only about 4000yards. And, let me tell you I felt it out there!
All that said and done - I still had a GREAT time at the race! My times were as well as could be expected on the training that I did. I had the biggest improvement in my run split, which is where a lot of my focus has been in the last year without my IT band killing me. That made me VERY happy.
The swim was a typical swim for me, except for the first time ever I ran out of fuel. I was just tired. My lack of time in the pool in the last month was noticed big time on the last stretch in.. This is usually where I hit my stride. Normally I would have a big goal of doing what I can do in the pool (for time) and hoping for around 32-33mins. However, based on how I felt swimming in open water the last couple weeks, My goal was about a 34mins.
The swim was quiet - the men took off 5mins before the women so we didn't have all the chaos. It was a beach start & everyone was spread out pretty wide, then shot together into a V. I had a lot of space in the entire swim, but not a lot of draft.
Official swim time: 35:11 - I thought it was 36mins on my watch, so not sure where that extra time came from.
T-1. My goal was to redeem my 2:43 t-1 transition from my SPRINT. I wanted to be out of there in 2:20. The only sticker was that you had to get all of your stuff into a bag that would be brought to the finish. I sat down as soon as I got to my bike to get the wetsuit off. It stuck a little on my calves, but I had my chip under the suit this time so it came off much better. I was on my bike fairly quick.
Unfortunately as soon as I got on my bike my chip was coming off so I had to stop, pull over & fix the strap. I was back up on my bike & my gatorade bottle flew out, so again I had to turn around get the bottle & start all over. I wasn't sure if the extra time was included in T-1, or the bike because I never hit a lap on my garmin. After seeing the results it was on the bike time, not my T-1
Official T-1 time: 2:17
The bike. I pretty much said it all above - I didn't have enough miles under my belt. Period. I knew it, I couldn't change anything. It was what it was. That said, I looked at the bike profile, and my ability and came up with a goal of 2:50. My first half IM time was 2:57, 19mph. It was on the Soma course, which in my opinion doesn't compare to any other race I've seen. It's flat and FAST. On the profile it looked like you got a good downhill portion for about 15miles from 30-45. It wasn't so much the case. There were some downs, but they included ups as well.
The first part of the bike miles 1-16 were FAST. Slight up, slight down. My avg at that time was 21.3mph. It was FUN. I rode a lot with Spokane Al - what a rock star. Of course around mile 20 he took off & I never saw him again until the run.
I really struggled on the bike. I just had nothing. I sat about 100 yards behind a girl in my ag for about 20miles. I just didn't have it in me to try to pass her. All I was looking forward to was mile 30 when I though that the downhill stuff was going to start. I was lightheaded, and sluggish.
Then, right around mile 30ish I got a HUGE boost. I heard my name being cheered, and looked over and it was Jessi - the local tri superstar in the PNW! Not knowing anyone else out there, it was such a good kick in the pants I was able to pass the girl in my Age group on a hill. Thanks Jessi!
My momentum lasted a while, but not all that long. I kept watching my avg speed decrease. I was doing all I could to not let my avg get under 19mph. I felt a little defeated, but at least I didn't get passed by anyone in my AG! :-) And, actually didn't really get passed at all - besides a couple of men and one girl at the beginning. All in all I was just not comfortable on the bike - my back hurt, my neck hurt.... again, just lack of saddle time.
Nutrition was ok - I hadn't done enough long rides to practice so I had to wing it. I struggled with the gatorade so eventually threw it out. I tried to do 100cals (Gu blasts) per hour, but struggled so it ended up being more like 40mins. I did a total of 4 servings - 400cals, plus 1 gel - 500cals total. I did 2 thermolytes every 45mins (total of 6) and 1 tylenol every time I took the salt. I really think the tylenol helped me out on the run.
Official bike time 2:57:46. I was not happy about this at all, based on the times I saw from previous years, however looking at the official results today - EVERYONE was a lot slower.
T-2 - :32
BEST T-2 EVA! I had actually practiced taking my feet out of my shoes on the bike, but by the time I got to transition, I completely forgot! They had volunteers standing there waiting for you to take your bikes, shoes, helmet, whatever. I was a little confused, but just did what I was told.
Then, a second volunteer called me over and handed me my bag of stuff. Visor, shoes & bag of gels & salt.
My legs immediately felt great doing something other than being on my bike. My stomach was upset a little, bloated and FULL, so I knew it would be a struggle. My goal was to stay around a 9min pace. I was hovering around a 9:10-9:15, but then I would stop at the aid stations. I was SOOO thirsty. I took 2 wet sponges & put them on my shoulders every station. I also drank 1-2 FULL glasses of ice water. It wasn't crazy hot (for me), but I knew my best shot at hanging in there was to keep myself wet & cool.
I really started to see people dwindle. Walk, stretch, cramp. I tried to get anyone I passed to come & stick with me... just trying to give them a little boost. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn't....
At the turnaround my watch said 1:04. I'm not sure if that included the Transition or not? I was really starting to fade, so I went through all the aid stations and walked like they were Ironman. I ate a couple of oranges, but mostly just wanted ICE water. I was able to run in the 8's as soon as I got water, but I lost all the time I made up walking through the aid stations.
What I was most shocked seeing was all the people walking on the way OUT to the turnaround. I think the heat just really took a toll on people from the area. It was 90-95 with only partial shade on the run. Tough conditions when you are not used to them.
In the last mile stretch I saw Jessi again - and she gave me another big boost. I was starting to get a blister on my left foot so everything was getting uncomfortable. The finish had a short little uphill stretch, but my friends (Hoch family) were all there, as well as Shane to cheer me in.
Of course I had to crack a little joke and say "One too many lemon drops!"
Official run time: 2:06:44. With all the walking thru aid stations I did. I will TAKE it.!
Total nutrition on the run. 2 gels, 2 salt tabs & lots and lots of water...
Official time: 5:42:27 - a 23min PR!
After seeing the official results I'm a lot more happy. I came in 15/69 overall. The top 3 girls in my age group were 3,4,5 overall. They smoked me!
It was a great race, beautiful course, best volunteers ever. I would do it again in a heartbeat, just with more miles under my belt on the bike!