My Experience at Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga. What a tough race!
It wouldn't be a triathlon for me without some blonde moments. The day before I ended up forgetting my timing chip after I had already checked in, listened to the athlete briefing, and drove back to the place we were staying. Glad my friend Daisy mentioned it or I would have been struggling around race morning trying to get it. On race morning after setting up transition, we headed on the bus at 6:05. Found porta potties, waited in this dumb line until 6:35. Race start at 6:50 and I had to put on my wetsuit yet so we ran towards the front. Get there, get the darn wetsuit on, then realize I had plenty of time because the pros started first. Like an extra half hour. I could relax some!
The swim was supposed to be upstream at first, turn, then head mostly downstream with a nice current. Well the current was too strong for us age groupers I guess( the pros got to swim it though so I was disappointed because that left me at a disadvantage, with my swim being pretty strong). Everyone swam about a 1500m, and with the current I ended up swimming a 16:33. I hope at Worlds they make us swim the whole thing. Other than that it felt like a decent swim, no real complaints.
The bike: I felt strong maybe the first 5 miles then fatigue set in. I just tried to stay within a 10- watt range but that was sometimes hard on hills when trying to pass people. I also forgot to calibrate my power meter so who knows what I was doing! The hills I think took their toll on me today. I think I also tapered too much. Usually for races I'm not this low for form (a training Peaks terms- how well rested you are). I was only at it for Cozumel last year, I think at Delaware 70.3 I was at 15 (if anyone knows what that means). An article I had read said some athletes do better with 5-10 (I think I'm in that range). I'm not going to taper down to 25+ anymore. I did not feel like I was in that "flow" state that I feel in when I race well. It's hard self coaching yourself but I enjoy the learning experience and challenge and pressure of it all.
So in triathlon you must remain 6 bike lengths away from the person in front of you and if someone passes you, you must drop back for them. So I was obeying this rule, and was extremely irritated at the amount of drafting I saw. I even said to someone, "hey it looks like a group ride up there!". Lol. Mainly the men. Huge groups. No one would drop back. I wish the officials were around. I've never seen that amount of drafting in any of my other races. Frustrating.
The bike course was beautiful, and hilly. It had 2400 feet of gain. Nothing too steep but a bunch of little rollers that killed me today.
When I got off the bike my first mile was under 8:00 and I felt great. I had planned to stay around an 8:00 pace. After that I couldn't hold it because I became pretty hot. Also, my hips didn't feel right and wouldn't let me fully extend for running. So I did my best. About halfway through I wanted to give up. I knew I wasn't going to have a good run split at all! But I did not come down here to give it all away. I had wanted to qualify. So I sucked it up and jogged and walked when I had to up some hills but it was a constant struggle. And I slowed down. But I knew I had to keep going to do my best just in case there was a slim chance I could still qualify. I didn't see any but one girl in my age group pass me yet. I wasn't giving up. Sometimes it's ok to slow down and do what your body is capable of at that given moment. I was going to finish the race. I was actually shocked I came in 5th. I thought it would be much worse with my slow run. Even though I didn't race well I was ecstatic to have qualified for the 70.3 World Championship this year in Chattanooga! And what's great is I will already know what to expect on the course!
A huge congrats to my friend Daisy Brey who won her 25-29 age group! She smoked it, and killed the run. Amazing!
My goal for Worlds now is to work a bit more on my run and not worry about placing anywhere at Worlds. My goal is just to improve my own personal time on that course and worry about myself. There are a lot of really fast people at Worlds so I'm not going to get caught up in thinking I can place high because that just makes me even more nervous. I'm just going to enjoy the experience and race the best I possibly can because I took USAT Worlds way too seriously the last 2 years.