Sunday, August 21, 2016

Ironman Ohio 70.3

I'll try to make this short. This was my first Ironman 70.3 branded triathlon race.  I've done the distance before from other race companies, but since this was the inaugural Ironman 70.3 OHIO and was a qualifier for the world championship for Ironman 70.3, I figured I would sign up (ironman has a very steep registration fee which is annoying to me but whatever).  Going into this race, I actually did taper well, at least I think.  My form was right where I wanted it to be ( I use training peaks to monitor my training so form is how ready you are to race).  My goal was to finish under 5 hours, but I was pretty sure I would finish well under 5 hours, I just didn't know by how much so I tried not to set a specific time goal.  When I signed up for this race when it first opened, my goal was to finish in the top 10 overall females and qualify for the world championships for Ironman 70.3 which is in the US next year, Chattanooga, TN.  My goal for the swim was 30min or less, but it all depends on how well I'm feeling, if the course was measured correctly, and the amount of people I would get caught up in.  So it all depends.  My goal for the bike was originally a 2:20, but I switched that to a 2:30 or less because I saw the wind was going to pick up to 10mph and there were a lot of turns on this course. My goal for the run was to hold an 8 minute mile pace, which is a 1:45 for a half marathon.

Ok onto what happened during the race :)

The swim:  Naturally, I started in the front, haha.  Oh I didn't get a chance to warm up in the am, bikes were not allowed out of transition which we put in the night before. Also no one was allowed in the water unless you were racing and I didn't want to run to warm up so I figured I would use the swim as a warm up haha but swim as fast as I could. The gun went off and I noticed two girls in my age group were swimming pretty fast on my far right. I was over to the left closer to the buoys because I like to hug buoys to swim the most direct route. Anyways it was super annoying at first like it always is especially in larger races. I would take a stroke and other girls were stroking all over my arms. Finally after about 400-500m I was able to pull away. I didn't notice the two faster swimmers anymore so I thought I was in the lead.  It's hard to tell in big events. Especially when you're in open water. I thought I had a solid swim, although I didn't feel quite as strong as I did in Sylvania, I was cold before the race started, too, so my legs felt a bit tight on the swim. Once I started passing a ton of people though I was no longer worried :).  It was a great swim, I finished in 31:04.  Not bad.  Mike and Chris Tracey told me I was in second or third place out of the water. Ok I can deal with that.

The bike:  I just felt like I was flying the whole time. I felt super fast!  My legs definitely felt strong on the bike. I could have held a higher wattage, but I think I did pretty well.  Halfway through I felt a little strange and didn't want my salted caramel Infinit. So I drank all the water that was in one bottle. Let that settle then finished the last salted caramel bottle during the last 45 min. I stopped feeling so weird and thought I did pretty well hydrating and fueling (it's nice to be able to drink your calories during a long event like this one ).  Let me mention one more thing, the turns. I would have been even faster but no one in this race knew how to turn. Which is typical of triathletes, I was once a slow turner and probably still am, but gosh I had to slow way down sometimes for people in front of me turning, that was the only annoying part. As far as the crappy roads, they were kinda crappy but I still felt like I was flying haha so I had a great bike leg.  There were small potholes, some gravely roads and a ton of patches everywhere.  The wind wasn't too bad either. Overall I thought my bike performance was awesome!  I PRd the 56 mi bike with a time of 2:26:41.  A 22.91 mph average I was shocked and excited!!

The run:  As soon as I got off my bike in T2, my legs felt pretty sore. I'm not sure why because I stayed in my power range but will look at the file later; I know I did start hard but not for too long.  When you train you don't typically bike 56 miles then run 13.1 at race pace so I think that's why.  Also, in transition I struggled putting my socks on. I debated going without but never have for a half because of the potential for blisters. I do for sprints and olympics but worry about the half distance.  Oh well.  Not like 30 sec faster would have mattered anyways in my placement lol.  My first mile was a 7:44 pace. I wanted to maintain 8:00 minute miles but that didn't happen. My legs just didn't have that in me today which was fine. I tried not to go too fast after that first mile and just kept a pace I could manage and it worked!!  Because with the soreness in my legs I couldn't push any faster.  I maintained an 8:20 pace, a 1:49:21 half marathon. That's a HUGE PR for me in a 13.1mi run in a 70.3 triathlon.  By about 6 min :).

My overall time was 4:51:56 :). I am stoked.  PR by about 24 min!! And this was my first Ironman branded race!  I finished 3rd in my age group and 7th overall female and 68th out of men and women. There were over 2500 people who did the race so I'm VERY happy with my placement.  I did not make the world championships, however.  Ironman takes only the top 2 in each age group.  3-4 spots were offered for larger age groups, but since my age group only had 63 (only haha) females, only the top 2 were taken. I'm pretty bummed about that because I did finish 7th overall for the females.  It just seems like I should be going!!  Oh well guess you can't have it all.  I'm going to rest tomorrow, then shift my focus to the World championship in Cozumel for the Olympic distance (about half the distance of a 70.3 Ironman I did today) where I'm on the amateur team for Team USA!  So excited!!  And I get to watch Gwen Jorgenson race the pro race, and hopefully meet her!!

Triathlon is in my heart and soul, you can't help what you love and what you are passionate about. I probably will continue to compete in this sport for awhile.  I'm only getting faster.  I will figure out what races I'm doing next year after Worlds in Cozumel :)

Also, a huge thank you is in order to my husband, Mike, for supporting me during this race, and for helping me train on the bike and fixing my bike and getting it all ready to race for me always :). I owe him lol.

It was also nice to see so many people I knew, Team Toledo triathlon club was represented well today!  :)

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sylvania Triathlon 2016

I had big goals going into the Sylvania Olympic distance triathlon.  I wanted the overall female win, and I wanted to PR.  I had invited my parents and my mother-in-law to come to watch the race, and my sister and her puppy came, and so did Mike.  I really wanted to win it for them, too because I didn't have a great race at the World triathlon in Chicago last year where they were watching.  I also did not taper for this race, either, I just slept 12 hrs on Friday night and went for a short walk yesterday.  I am getting ready for the Delaware half Ironman 2 weeks away, where I hope to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 Worlds if possible, or podium, but they only take top 2 in each age group, and the competition is much bigger at an Ironman event.  I also wanted to race as fast as I  could for this Olympic distance tri to get an idea of how it will feel like in Cozumel, where I'm racing the same distance as today.

My goal was to win, and my time goal was a 2:15,  or close to it.  I managed to get pretty close, with a 2:16:11, which is a PR for me in this distance.  In addition to winning female overall, I happened to finish 2nd overall out of 108 for the men and women.....pretty cool!

The swim:  Before the swim, I was intimidated by a fast looking girl next to me in transition which made me more nervous. When we went off, she was on my left, and Meredith Erwin was on my right, and a few others.  After about 500m, the girl on my left started to fade, and I was able to hold my pace.  It was a great swim for me.  I felt strong the whole way.  Sometimes I don't always have a great swim, but today's swim was so strong and so smooth.  I ended up being the first female out of the water with a 23:10. 

The Bike:  I was really hoping to bike as close to an hour for the 40k as possible, but the wind made it tough to do that today. On the windy roads, I just let it be and tried to stay within my power range.  I had to shift down 1-2 gears, but it certainly saved me for the run.  I felt pretty strong on the bike and stayed within my power goals, so that was good.  I did this leg in 1:06:05, which is 22.57 mph.  (I really wanted closer to 24mph but the wind made it tough).  No other female passed me on the bike, so I was still in the lead when I got into transition, yes!!

The Run:  As soon as I exited transition, Liz Young said to me, "You were the first female out of the water, enjoy the run now," and that really helped me.  I did enjoy the run.  My legs ACTUALLY felt fresh.  I usually am somewhat sore off the bike.  I wanted to PR on the run, too.  It's something I'm always working towards since running is my weakness.  My legs felt fresh all the way to mile 3, I thought I would slow down then.  I just didn't know if I should push harder in the first few miles because I felt so good.  I bet I could have ran even faster than I did, but I had never maintained a 7:18 pace before for a 10k so I kept everything in check.  At about mile 5.6, Mike was in the road and started running me in.  I quickly asked him who was behind me, if there was a girl behind me.  He said no, so I kept running as fast as I could.  Just before mile 6, I asked him again if there was a girl gaining on me.  He said no, so I felt relaxed about this issue, haha, but still pushed hard across the finish line.  I won, and I PR'd a 10k in a triathlon with a time of 45:20, that's over a minute faster than my best from last year I am so happy!  All the intervals, tempo runs, and long runs in 90+ heat and humidity is paying off!  I'm so excited!  

Two more big races, and then I can take a bit of a break.  Just a little bit, I'll relax in Cozumel on the beach the week after my race, and will stop swimming until next March or May.  As long as I keep cardiovascularly fit, it comes right back.  I love swimming, but it takes the most mental toll out of me because you are staring at a black line the whole time.  I'm looking forward to riding my fat bike more and fall running after Cozumel.  

It was so nice to have my family and husband there cheering me on, I really appreciated it!  It was also nice to race with a bunch of friends and people I know.  It was a great day, a great race put on by Elite Endeavors, as usual!  Thank you!!