Monday, June 16, 2014

Week Twenty Three--Race Week!

Swimming: 5600 meters (3.48 miles) all outside!
Cycling: 112 miles
Running: 17.5 miles

Well, Sunday was the Boulder 70.3 (Half Ironman) and I finished right on the nose of my goal time-- 6:00:08. I'm very, very, very excited about my bike ride. I PRed on the course during the race with an average of 19.2 mph. I never thought I could ride 56 miles that fast! The swim felt effortless and really fun. I didn't have any issues with other swimmers and stayed just outside the buoys on the left side the whole time. I PRed by 30 seconds, so that was a great start to the race.

The run, on the other hand, was bad. My confidence was shot going into it because my hip hadn't been right since the Bolder Boulder. Though I really tried to focus on the bike ride, it was always on the back of my mind. I was also concerned about the heat on the course and the distinct lack of trees for any shade. It was hot, but it could have been a LOT worse. What really did me in was my stomach. I don't know what was wrong with me, but I could barely eat on the bike ride. I felt like I was going to be sick. I managed to get down 500 calories over the first three and a half hours of the race. That's not good--I should have been up at about 800. My lack of fuel really started to impact me around mile 3 of the run. I was trying to eat a gel, but it wasn't easy on my stomach. Seeing Donna and JJ just after mile 4 was a great pick-me-up and then they rode along side me at mile 5.5 or so. It was really awesome to talk to someone about my struggles. At the same time (just a few minutes back at the mile 5 aid station) I decided to try to eat a banana. Though it was painful to get it down, I managed 2/3 of a piece of fruit. This FINALLY started to settle my stomach enough to eat some orange slices. Lap two around the run course was much better from a stomach standpoint, but it got hotter and I was getting tired. My 10:00/mile pace slowed to 11:38 as I was walking a lot at aid stations and getting water and oranges. I finally got to the finish and was elated the race was finally over.

It was super fun seeing people out on the course. Rachael was with Dan on the beach as I got out of the water and then transitioned onto the bike. Rhae followed me for 5 miles at the beginning of the bike course. She parked her car and cheered me on up 36 until she felt there were two many cars on the road with all of us cyclists. Donna and JJ were at mile 50 on the bike course where there was a stupid out-and-back mile. That was pretty awesome to see them! Then Rose was at Diagonal, but I missed her cause I went too fast :-( Back at the Rez Prescott, Danit, Heather and Brendan came out to cheer me on. What a pick-me-up to see them at transition, in the middle and the end of the course. I wanted to look good and strong while I ran by :-) It was also neat that Mom and Dad were watching the live feed. Every time I crossed a timing mat I thought about them.

Some reflections from the event and my training:
1) Russ mentioned drafting on the swim the night before the race. I've never done this before, but I tried at the race. Don't think I ever got it right as I was afraid of getting kicked in the head or I was in a girl's wake and it just didn't feel fast at all
2) In retrospect, I don't know if the running races I did this spring helped or hindered me. I really wanted to run a half marathon to test my fitness. I did and I PRed which was great, but sometimes I feel like my fast running has a limited shelf life and I wonder if that impacted later running. Because I put in such an effort at the beginning of May, Russ cut my miles down in the weeks after and it caused a lot of tightness in my calves which limited training in the two weeks after my race (I was really afraid that I was going to get really injured again). Then I HAD to do the Bolder Boulder. This was probably not the best timing. Again, I PRed so I was super psyched, but that was the beginning of my tight hips and I can't help but wonder if I had rested that day if the hip problem would have gone away then.
3) I feel like this spring was lacking really long workouts. Last year, Russ had me doing 70 mile bike rides followed by short runs and then 50 mile rides with 6 or 7 mile runs. I really didn't do that this year. I did plenty of bricks (bike to run back to back), but they were shorter distances. I did plenty of 50-60 mile rides and got fast, but as I toed the line I was concerned about if I would last for 6 hours, especially since my longest workouts were 3-3.5 hours.
4) One thing I'm really confident in is that I like doing triathlons. I like doing the daily training and seeing the results in my fitness. It's enjoyable. The half iron distance is long and really tests me. I know I can do it faster and want to give it another try. As for a full, we'll see...

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