Monday, June 18, 2012

Moving in the right direction- Kansas 70.3 race report

Without a doubt, I am moving in the right direction. The first directional move was deciding to race Kansas 70.3 vs. Boise 70.3. I thought the wind and heat in Kansas was tough, then I heard about the freezing temps and sleet that went on in Boise. The idea of riding in a wetsuit sounds miserable, apparently it was better than racing in a race kit...brrrr.

Well, Kansas had the opposite temps; Windy and hot! The days leading up to the race went well. Driving 9hrs wasn't as bad as I had imagined; spreading it over two days was key. Not to mention having good company always make travels seem less painful. Finally made it to Lawrence. Immediately went for an easy ride to flush out my legs and take a look at the course. Yep, it was confirmed, this bike course is going to be challenging, but the run is mostly flat.

Going into race morning, I was feeling confident. I had everything prepped and ready to go, so I thought. The alarm sounds at 3:30am (I need to eat at least 3hrs before race start). Back to bed for another 30min. In hind sight, I just would have stayed up. I finally get moving, go about my routine and still feel confident in how I prepared everything the night before. Essentially just get dressed, grab and go.  As I'm putting my bike in the car, something caught my eye; the straw to my fuelsagalge (built in nutrition container in the Shiv) had a yellowish tent.  Oh no, I mixed up my nutrition (First Endurance) bottles!  I frantically ran back up to the hotel room, remixed another nutrition bottle, dumped out the nutrition in my fuelsalage, and refilled the fuelsalage.  Ahhhhh, still time to get to transition without too much panic.

Shane goes to drop me off near transition when I realize I forgot to add my additional electrolytes (The Right Stuff) in my fuelsalag.  Needless to say, my heart begins to pound out of my chest again.  Knowing it was going to be hot, I couldn't go without those added electrolytes.  Soooo, Shane rushes back to the hotel room while I go about setting up my transitions.  To my rescue, Shane comes walking into transition with time to spare.  Phew, another fire put out!  All this before the race began.

The wind was blowing, but I didn't realize how hard it was blowing until it was time to get into the water to warm up.  A good current that could throw us off course was something to be aware of.  I quickly reassessed the swim, paying close attention to what angle I may need to take, in order to stay on course with the given current.  The gun sounded and we are off.  Immediately we are fighting waves and current.  Again, I realized how strong the current and waves were when I started to feel slight vertigo.  I just buried my head and hoped it wouldn't get worse.  A few minutes later, the vertigo was gone.  Overall the swim was good.  The course was set up really well.  Bouys were aligned and easy to sight.

I came out of the water 5th or 6th; I set myself up for a good race thus far.  I passed two ladies almost immediately out of T1.  About 15min into the ride, I passed one more lady.  At this point I knew I was sitting third and was ready to have a strong bike split.  The wind and hills made the bike course challenging.  After about 90min into the ride, I made the bike a bit more challenging; my stomach stopped emptying.  As a result, I was getting a sloshy stomach.  I was able to manage it though.  In hindsight, I think my nutrition bottles are too concentrated.  Yet again, another minor adjustment before the next race.  So back to the race...

The remainder of the ride was good, I continued to manage my stomach and looked forward to getting off the bike and vertical.  T2 went smooth.  Sitting comfortably in 3rd place, I knew all I had to do was have a good run to gain a place or two.  After my first step, I was a little questionable on how well my run was going to go.  Legs felt great but energy levels were low.  I was able prevent myself from completely bonking on the run, but that meant for me to run slow and steady.  Since I wasn't able to get all of my nutrition in on the bike, I was depleted for the run and needed to play catch up.  Unfortunately, I the catch up gain didn't pay off too well.  Yes, I slogged through the run.  I actually kept chanting in my head, "slow and steady, the turtle beat the rabbit" over and over again.  That phrase was keeping me positive.  What also helped was I could see the other ladies on the course and they all looked like me.  The wind and heat was taking its toll.  One other very important factor that kept me possitive, was I knew I was sitting in a comfortable 3rd; if I just kept moving I was going to be ok.  So I did, knocking one mile out at a time.  It wasn't until about the last 4 miles did I start to run scared.  I knew I was hurting, as were the other ladies, with the exception of one. My placement came down to the last mile of the run.  I knew she was coming, I really was running scared.  I tried to pic up the pace but there wasn't any other gears left.  And then...thats right, Lesley Smith a Zoot Ultra Teammate of mine came barreling by me.  I tried to respond, but I had nothing!

I was flooded with several emotions at that point in the race.  Getting passed the last 1/2 mile is tough. I was excited that the race was almost over; I was bummed that I was in third the majority of the race and I lost it; excited that a teammate of mine was feeling good and was able to run her way into 3rd.  I was also excited that I met my goal for this race and finished top 5.  I quickly had to remind myself that one of the main things I love about triathlon is you never know what might happen.

Post race I quickly chugged two cokes, a chocolate mike and a zico coconut water.  All of which I was in great need of.  It's amazing what calories and electrolytes can do for ya.  Within 10min I was a new woman.  So the take home from this race is my nutrition.  I need to decrease my concentration for each bottle so my stomach will continue to empty appropriately.  The tricky thing is, in training I haven't had any issues.  Then again, it is tough to simulate race intensity.

All of my wonderful sponsors, family, friends, and fans play a big role in my success as a triathlete.  Thanks so much for your support.