Wednesday, March 21, 2012

San Juan 70.3

I wavered  back and forth as to whether or not I was going to race San Juan 70.3 or not.  I was going to San Juan no matter what, but the question was if I was going to race.  To travel so far and not be able to enjoy the atmosphere due to being all wrapped up in the race, was hard to wrap my mind around.  I eventually decided to race mainly because I was needing to know where I'm at and what I need to work on.

My trip started out 5 days prior to race day.  I needed to acclimate to the time change and to the heat as much as possible.  It was soooo nice to be back in the heat and humidity; something I have missed since I moved to Boulder from Orlando.  Each day prior to the race was spent doing a little bit of training, lots of relaxing, and mostly enjoying the tropical environment.  There is something about the tropics that brings me peace.

Race morning came sooner than I had hoped.  At the same time I was very excited to begin my race season.  The 4:00am wake-up call to eat breakfast is always tough.  After eating, I wasn't quite ready to get moving, so I laid back in bed for another 30min; to my surprise I fell back asleep.  Once again, another rude awakening.  This time it was for real.  The routine of being race ready is always nerve racking.  No matter how many times I race, I think I will always feel like I'm missing something. I finally make it to transition.

Transition setup went very smoothly.  Everything seemed to be running correctly, without any glitches.  Before I knew it, it was time to head to the swim start.  10min before the fog horn sounded we were getting in the water to warm up.  I love the feeling of jumping in the water and releasing my nerves, just to have them come on a whole lot stronger a min or so before the race begins.  Treading water at the start bouy, I was replaying the perfect race in my head.  Bang, arms start flying, legs kicking, and my racing heart stopped.  Now it was time to find feet and to hang onto them.  Throughout the entire swim, three of us swam together, hip to hip.  Pushing one another to the swim exit.

T1 was fairly smooth.  With the exception of having to stop and pickup my tire kit that fell out of my race kit, I was in and out of T1.  Then things went sour very quickly on the bike.  Within the first 400m or so on the bike, I realized my DI2 malfunctioned; I couldn't get my chain onto the big chainring.  My initial thought was to quit.  How could I race with these girls with only the small chainring?!  I quickly snapped out of it and decided to race anyway.  I stopped to try and manually put the chain on the big chainring and check the electronic connections.  Nothing was working.  So, I ended up racing the entire bike in the small chainring.  It was an experience.  Having to ride at such high RPM's for almost two and half hours took a toll on my legs.  However, I surprised myself and had a decent ride even when my power wasn't what it should have been.  I was thrilled to get to T2, so I could take back control of my race.  T2 was smooth and painless.

As soon as I took my first step off the bike, I had a feeling this run was going to be tough.  Not only did I battle the hills and heat (the same elements everyone else had to deal with), I also had dead legs.  I thought that maybe I would eventually find my run legs, I never did.  Unfortunately, I think the high cadence on the bike, left me with nothing for the run.  Needless to say, my run was a shuffle.  Coming off the bike sitting in 6th position and to finish in 10th was hard to swallow, especially during the very moment I was passed and not able to hang, forced to let each one get further and further away. As each lady passed me, a few thoughts ran through my head; don't let another one pass you; just keep her close; am I ok on calories and electrolytes; so on and so on. That checklist was complete, never a new answer to change the circumstances.  It was a long tough run!

It's never easy to not have a great race, but it's definitely nice to know that my preparation seemed to be right; my nutrition was good; and I managed to troubleshoot undesirable mechanical issues by mentally staying strong.  I took a lot from this race and I'm ready for better races in the near future.  Thanks to all my sponsors, friends, and family for their support and believing in me.