Tuesday, July 11, 2017

IMCDA 70.3

CDA 70.3 has turned into one of my favorite races (shocker) and as long as my body stays healthy I can see it being on my schedule every year. {especially now that the full is going away - big fat thumbs down}

This year it was made extra fun as my training buddy signed up to do it making it his official return from his temporary retirement.  It was fun to have someone for pretty much all my long rides, some of my pool swims and some of my runs!  

We arrived in CDA Memorial Day weekend. It was GORGEOUS for a few days, then temps cooled off and some storms came in so the first couple weekends of training were pretty darn cold. We also got in the lake for the first time at the beginning of June and to both of our surprise it wasn't freezing! We swam 45' and were both really comfortable.  6 days later after a cold front we got in for another ows and I lasted 25'. I couldn't keep my pull as my arms were getting stiff and my feet were super cold.  Nervous, but trying to get acclimated, we went back in the following week. I found my neoprene cap circa 2007 IMCDA and it really helped. Shane, however, was chilled to the bone, couldn't stay on my feet and we called it after 20'.

The race was a week later and after telling everyone I knew to be prepared to freeze, I headed down to the lake on Friday when I picked up my race packet and was PLEASANTLY surprised how much it had warmed up! We'd had some temps in the 90s and the water definitely reacted! 

Friday was probably the busiest day. Thankfully, my work was slow so I got to down and register right away, meet one of my new athletes who came into town to work the expo (she's FUN!) and swim.  I was PLEASANTLY surprised how much it had warmed up! We'd had some temps in the 90s and the water definitely reacted. While my AWA perk got me in and out quickly, Shane's 3 year retirement lost his status so we waited for him for another hour plus. I didn't realize it until I got back home but in the short couple hours I was down there I got sunburned. Guess my AZ base tan is all gone (my skin thanks me).

We had a pretty quiet night. I got my race wheels installed and shane helped me adjust the breaks. First time ever not having to go to the bike shop to have this done!  

 
{I'd say the shifting was about 95% perfect, but I'll save the pre IM tune up for the experts!}

Sunday was toasty so we got our short bike and run done early, then headed down to check our bikes in so we could get back home and feet up! My body has a really hard time regulating water. When I get even slightly dehydrated it will hold on to all my fluids for a couple days. That morning it was letting go of everything, but then perhaps the short workout and walk down to the expo I got slightly dehydrated again? I was drinking NBS and some new aminos from Base I got trying to top off all my stores. We made an early dinner (my go to is quinoa pasta, red sauce with tons of veggies) finished off with chocolate CAKE {Safeway cake FTW!} and were in bed by 8:30pm.

Our alarm went off at 3:45. We had to get the dogs out, played with, fed, eat, body marked (I always do this at home!) and leave the house by 4:30. It's about a 10' walk to transition and when we got there my middle of the night thought that I placed my bike on the wrong rack was confirmed 

{ right before we left to drop off our bikes I was checking on an athlete who was racing that day.  when I got back to the house I was looking through the local paper that had all our names and race bibs and noticed mine looked DIFFERENT.  I instantly thought... I think I racked my bike on my athletes number... There wasn't anything I could do about it, figured if it was wrong they would just move it....} 

The good news was my actual transition area was even better! We were told no bags on the perimeter of transition so setting up was pretty clean and easy. The one different thing I had this year was my speed top I'd be cycling and running in. It has 3/4 sleeves and I didn't want to wear it with my wetsuit so I draped it over my bike to put on in T1.

Shane & I headed away from our bikes and to the lake to put on our wetsuits with plenty of time. We split a package of chews and walked to the beach for a quick warmup then worked our way up to the 30' group and before we knew it it was time to go!

I know many hate the rolling starts, but I LOVE it. No stress, you can actually swim vs fight and for the most part, people are honest about their abilities and start groups. The first part of the swim I got stuck. I was frustrated as I had people on both sides and in front of me and no one was swimming my pace. I finally pulled back to get on the inside of them then hugged the inside of the buoy line until the turns with nearly perfectly clean open water! It was AWESOME. I didn't have a feel for my time, and while I felt like I was swimming strong and straight I knew I lost a bit of time in the beginning. I peaked at my watch for a second when I got out of the water and saw 32:xx and was a little bummed as last year I was 31:xx. If I've learned nothing else about the swim portion of a race it's that times do NOT reflect how you swim, but mores so how you compare to your competition so I don't let it get to me anymore.

Swim:  32:56

I fumbled a bit in T-1 getting my socks on.. I don't know what my deal was but I finally just sat down and put them on, speed top on, helmet and off I went.

I like to assess how I'm feeling in the first few miles. A lot of times cooler temps will fire up my asthma so my lungs will be burning and my legs feel like lead, but today everything just felt good. No need for my inhaler, and I didn't need those first few miles to get my legs. This was a really cool thing for me as I didn't feel much tapered that week and legs were HEAVY.

Within the first 2' on the bike my friend in the AG passed me. It was like she was riding for her life. I knew she was strong, and I knew she would pass me, but I didn't expect it to be so soon and I didn't expect to lose sight of her instantly. I looked down at my power and was riding about 10w above my plan, but I had a little plan in the back of my head that if I FELT good on the bike I was going to push it a bit. My run hasn't been awesome lately.  I spent 6 months training and running a couple of marathons and my top end (half or better) speed was just not there. I wanted to see what would happen if I biked just a tad harder. Would it really affect my run?

Since I've had the advantage of training and racing on the course over the years, in all different weather scenarios, I knew about how long it should take me to get to the turnaround. The first out and back was super quick! I felt really strong and watts were solid and as I was almost to the highway I saw a local (AZ) athlete and TriScottsdale teammate whom I'd never met, but knew of her, so we introduced ourself and played back and forth for a bit which was fun. The climbs started and I felt stronger than I have on the bike in months! I was having so much fun, but really had to go pee! I was able to let it go on the first descent and had instant relief. I was nearing the turnaround and saw Shane (who passed me about 5 miles into the bike) hadn't gained too much time on me so I was excited that I was riding pretty solid)! I checked my watch at the turnaround and realized if I could return in about what I expected I'd have almost a 10' PR over last years bike time. I did notice we'd had a slight tailwind so that slowed me down a bit, had another coasting opportunity to pee and had to slow through an aid station for water. I got back into transition about 5' quicker than last year!

Bike:  2:49:56  
Nutrition: 1 bottle of NBS, 1 bottle of NBS + Base Amino, 1 bottle of water (almost), 4 salty balls @125c each, 1pkg Skratch chews @160c 1/2 pkg Gu Chomps @80c, 1 gel @100 & 4xE21 for a total of 860calories ( I was hungry!) 

T2 was quick (as usual).  I have a quick shoe change, grab my visor, belt and pre-made bottle with gels.  A quick assessment and I felt "ok" - I planned to start out at about 8:20 and see if I could drop it from there.  I've trained on the course a ton and know that my garmin pace is ALWAYS off. There are certain neighborhoods where my garmin will go from like an 8:45 to an 11' pace for a bit. It's maddening for a data junky like me, but at least I was prepared. I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the first mile marker around 8:15 where my watch had me at 8:40 pace. I just manually hit lap when I saw those markers for my own sanity.  

The run was OK. I never felt awesome, but I was having fun. The new course is super spectator friendly as two out and back loops.  Plus you get to see other racers a ton. It was getting warm, but my speed top was amazing. I would dump water on my sleeves at the aid stations and stayed really nice and cool. I carried my own NBS/Amino bottle, but for some reason it was driving me absolutely bonkers. It felt SO heavy. I got about half of it down, and tossed it to the local tri-club tent as I headed back for the second loop. It was like instant relief. I felt so much better, not faster, but certainly not slowing much either. I took my gels at 3.5, 7 & 10.5 and had steady energy the whole run.  I honestly felt like I could have run 10 more miles at that pace, yet I didn't have any other speed. Not the best feeling when racing a 70.3, but not the worst with a full on the horizon. I finished with a smile, running down Sherman (there is truly, nothing like it!) and Shane was there waiting for me! It's been a long time since we've raced together so this was a lot of fun! He had smoked his run so we were both happy!

Run: 1:51:07 for a total finish of 5:20:04.  A couple minutes faster than last year, but the run and swim both a bit slower.  

Overall it was a "good" race. I gained a bit more bike confidence, but frustrated with the run. 70.3 is not my favorite distance as I just can't compete. I need more real estate! I don't have one specialty that gives me an edge over my competition, but I'm steady across all 3. My best races have been where I get off the bike with a bit of a deficit (but not too much) and run a steady, well paced run. A lot of girls over-bike then fade a bit (when conditions are tough!) and I seem to be able to just run my race at my pace. I've learned to FUEL on the bike to set my run up pretty well! 

IMCDA {the sunset race} is in just over 7 weeks and I'm on a big build. I'm TIRED, but my body is holding up pretty well so I'm getting pretty excited to do my favorite course this last time.... 

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