Another Ironman CDA in the books! As per usual, the course handed all of us some fun obstacles to overcome, making this years race once again challenging just like I love!
Leading up to the race I definitely had more on my plate than usual. "Moving" into our new house for the first time, the first several weeks were spent putting it together and constant work. Shane took on the brunt of the manual (yard) projects, but it seems like we still have so much more to do! Guess that's the fun of owning a 100 year old house. Our pretty garden and landscaping will have to wait until next summer.
My (day) job has just become crazy relentless. I'd be lying if I said I was happy with it, and while I am in no position to leave my job, I am certainly trying to find a position internally that will (hopefully) lower my stress and give me more time to and energy to focus on doing what I love - working with more athletes and having more focus on my own training.
Oh yah and PUPPY! Sure has been fun, but it's been a LONG time since we've had a puppy so it definitely added another challenge to the ironman training and recovery ;) Totally worth it though!
All that said, I went into this race with 2 goals. 1) HAVE FUN 2) Solid bike.
#1 was certainly met, and #2 I'm still iffy on......
I had some pre-race drama as my garmin was acting up the night before the race. When I took it off the charger it was showing low battery. I played with it a bit and I thought I got it all set, but come race morning in transition it was only showing about 20% battery life. After spending the last 8 weeks working my ASS off on the bike to gains some watts in an attempt to not lose so much time or position on the bike, practicing exactly what I needed to do ON the course with my power meter I got completely stressed out and frustrated. In a complete panic I called Shane and had him bring him his garmin (which only had about 60%). I ran into transition and set up the data screens for power on the fly, then tried to pair it to my power meter, but with so many bikes around the watch was unable to pair so I just left it and thought I would try again once on the bike. Watching my panic I got another Garmin to borrow and throw in my T-2 bag for the run (I wasn't nearly as concerned about the run sans data).
My stress level was definitely higher than it needed to be going into this race, so I spent the first loop of the swim trying to calm myself down. The swim felt great! I made a game day decision to wear my new Helix full sleeve because I felt a little chilly the day before in my sleeveless. I definitely tend to swim on the hot side, but the new wetsuit feels so good. I was a little surprised when I came out from loop 2 around 33' per my usual 31, so I picked up the effort to try to make up some time. Loop 2 is always a bit longer because you have to angle out about 50-100yards to the first turn buoy, but overall my swim was about 1' longer than it has been the past 2 years.
I pulled on my new Coeur Speed top that I just gotten that week and headed out to the bike! I was expecting full hot sun the entire bike so having that extra sun coverage was awesome. I immediately started messing with my garmin trying to pair with the power meter, but it just wasn't happening. Rather than spend or waste and more time and energy on this, it was time to move on. I have practiced week in and week out my watts over the course so I had a pretty good idea of how it would "feel." I felt FANTASTIC on the bike, the hills weren't hard, and I made sure to not push over my intended effort. As expected some people I knew passed me, but this time I had the energy and legs to go with them, unlike the 70.3. I was so excited! The only thing that wasn't feeling awesome was my hunger. I've been training with my home-made nutrition for 2 months with no issues, but for some reason my body just did NOT want to eat today! I force fed, but ended up going for more of my sugary chews than the salty peanut butter balls. I knew this would lead me to a calorie deficit so I did whatever I could too keep pushing the more dense nutrition.
As I came back into town for loop 2 I could feel and see the wind had really picked up. I stopped at special needs grabbed my bottles of Osmo and nutrition and gritted out back to the highway. As soon as you cross the bridge over the river the wind was INSANE. The second loop felt like 1 million years to get to the turnaround fighting a horrific headwind. I was looking at my speed and trying to do math and realizing I going to lose so much time! I faded a bit more than others, but didn't think it was smart to push any harder against that wind....
As I got off my bike I was so HAPPY, but not sure what to expect from the run. I took a little extra time in T-2 to go pee and also top off my sodium stores with some pre-load. As I headed out on to the run my legs felt stiff and my stomach a bit of a mess. I focused on a short quick cadence, not really looking at my garmin just going off feel. Once again, my body figured out what it was supposed to be doing and in just a couple of miles I felt right at home just clicking away my miles. Because I was a little low on fuel, I started front loading calories on the run at mile 2.5. I had 3 gels on me and 3 more in special needs. It was still pretty warm so I used my handheld bottle to drink, but grabbed water and ice and every aid station. I also stopped at special needs on loop 2 because I was worried I wouldn't have enough energy on my 1 gel I had left to get back for more on loop 3. I also had another mix of osmo/amino in there so I grabbed it all and headed back out for the second loop. This was my best loop! I felt strong and happy! I did spend extra time at each aid station getting oranges, water ( I was thirsty!) and cola, so my splits were slowing a bit, but my actual run pace wasn't!
The course is amazing! I actually love the 3 loop out and back because I got to see so many people, and I could also see those whom I was gaining on! I passed a few girls in my AG, but also got passed by one, but I used others that were ahead of me and fading and my motivation to keep going! Loop 3 definitely felt hard, but I was able to tough it out and just get to that finish line!
While it wasn't my fastest or my best placement, I truly enjoyed every second of the race (ok maybe NOT the extra 20' fighting a headwind on the bike) and considering the time I had spent training was a bit less than normal, I am super happy with the day. It was an absolute blast, and I don't think I would change a single thing about the day!
I'm not sure what's next on the agenda for me (although I'm committed to next years CDA 70.3!), but for now I'm going to enjoy the rest of the time we are here in this wonderful town playing.... oh and also some fun bike shopping (suggestions welcome)!