Couer d'Alene 70.3 Race Report
I am not sure why it has taken me so long to write this race report, normally I am pretty good about getting them out fairly quickly but for some reason the words just aren't flowing. But here it goes... After seven months of training I was really ready to race again, I was starting to feel the need for all the feelings that come with race day; the competitiveness, frustration, joy, anticipation, nerves, and fun. I can honestly say I really enjoy the training journey but after a while of not racing it can wear on you, makes you feel as though you are doing everything without actually getting anywhere. On top of that I was feeling the need to test myself and prove that what I did at Ironman Arizona wasn't just a fluke, that I really had it in me to be on top, not a one hit wonder. On top of that I had a really terrible race at CdA last year due to some serious stomach issues that left me being unable to get my nutrition in and spending some serious time in the porta-potty around mile 4 of the run, so there was some payback needed.
This was the second year of Ironman 70.3 CdA, it really is a great race. The community of support in Couer d'Alene and the surrounding areas is so strong even when you are having a bad day you know you can get through it because of the team surrounding you.
It was an early morning wake up call, 3:45 am, to get coffee, breakfast, and finish getting my stuff all set up. It is amazing how on race day the early morning doesn't seem as miserable as it normally is though I will admit that 3:45 am is a terrible time to be awake.
I love the atmosphere on race morning, you can feel the excitement, nerves, and anticipation of each athlete and this was a beautiful morning. About 60 degrees the sun already coming up as we drove into CdA and the wind barely blowing (that would change later but it sure was calm in the morning). Got myself all set up underneath my bike making sure and walked out of transition to get my wet suit on a gear up for the swim.
As like last year the swim was a rolling start I really like rolling starts as it allows you to find your water quickly and not get to banged up maneuvering your way through, plus it gets everyone into the water a lot quicker. I lined myself up somewhere in the 25-30 minute section even though I was pretty sure I would go over 30, through I was hoping maybe the fast people would pull me along. At 6:15 the gun went off and we all started filing into the water.
The water was surprisingly wonderful. We finally had consecutive days in a row above 75 degrees and it amazing what it did for the water as reports only a week or so before where that the water was freezing. Lately I have had a real problem with not focusing during my swims, all of the sudden I will just find myself merely swimming rather than actually pushing it so I tried really hard to focus on strong swim strokes, pulling all the way through the stroke.
For the most part it was not a bad swim, there was a section around the second turn before heading back to the beach that got a little aggressive; I was in this group and they just would not give each other an inch, not something I wanted any part of (I'm not strong enough of a swimmer to bully my way through) so I pulled up and went around.
I exited the water around 33 minutes which was a personal best for me at CdA. One of my biggest issues in triathlon is the extreme disorientation I have when coming out of the water. Today it was particularly bad, I almost tipped over trying to up the ramp and it takes all of my focus to remind myself to get out of my wet suit.
The day before my mom and I walked through the transitions which was helpful for me coming out of the water since I could barely focus. I just kept telling myself get your shoes and helmet on and get on the bike. T1 is normally one of my worst transitions but this time it went fairly well.
I was really looking forward to getting on the bike as it has become a strong suit for me. Back to the disorientation I mentioned coming out of the water, usually in a race it takes me a few minutes even on the bike to get my heart rate and breathing under control, however today it seemed to last forever. The first part of this bike course is slightly technical, at least for me, with some fairly sharp turns windy through the town. It goes about 7 miles out along the lake then turns back around and today it took the entire 7 miles for me to get my breathing under control, and my legs to do what they were supposed to do.
Not going to lie I forgot how steep mica grade is. While it is not so steep you can't keep your speed up it definitely is a leg burner. Going into the race I had planned to keep my watts around the 220 range, which is what I had been training for. I could not even remotely get to those numbers - thank goodness I'm really strong and could muscle my way through it but mentally it was killing me that I could not get to those numbers. I had been working so hard and hitting my numbers in training so the fact that I couldn't even get close was really pissing me off.
Around mile 40 the wind started to pick up and all I could think about was I'm glad I'm almost done so I don't have to ride into the wind. Despite not hitting my numbers I came through with my fastest bike split ever at 2:37.
I love seeing my family when I come back through. My dad was waiting at the corner and my mom and husband were standing close to the bike dismount. I am terrible at getting off my bike - zero flexibility. Not going to lie I was a bit frustrated coming into T2 because all I could think about was how far behind I felt and how my bike split wasn't what I wanted. It is sometimes hard to remember the positive while you are out there.
T2 went pretty quickly and I was once again on my way to the run.
Negativity is a huge killer and that is where I was on the first part of the run. My legs felt like death and I could not get them to turn over. Nutrition wise I actually felt great as I had gotten all of it in on the bike so didn't feel low or lacking but I did have legs of lead. They would not turn over and my times showed it. Negativity is also a huge black hole that I was quickly spiraling into. All I could think about was how far behind I was and how I was not even close to the numbers I am capable of especially on the run.
Heading into the second lap I came across my dad who in his wonderful way could see on my face the hole I was spiraling into and as dad's have a tendency to do he told me to SUCK IT UP! Suck it up and run fast. I am not sure why that did it for me, maybe its because that is what I grew up with (mom and dad did not baby us nor treat us like "girls" we were told to suck it up). Almost immediately after my dad told me to suck it up I ran passed my husband who told me that I just need to hang in there and I will go sub 5 hours. At that point I stopped thinking about my place and where I was and merely focused on the main goal, going sub 5. There was no way I was going to let that slip through my fingers. Whether my splits actually got faster at this time but mentally I got stronger.
At this time the heat had really increased and it was really hot on the run. I love the crowd at Couer d'Alene there were spectators everywhere. It really helped to keep up the mental strength I was focusing on to keep the pace up, and the families that had their hoses out hosing the runners down were saviors.
The run at CdA finishes on main street, you come out from the park, make a left hand turn and head straight down main street to the red carpet. As I turned the corner two of our good friends, Ben and Kate, we standing on the corner waving cowbells and telling me to run fast! It was an amazing boost to pick up the pace down the final stretch where my mother was waiting for me. I love having her at the finish I am so thankful to have a family that helps encourage me through these races, each one does something different for me and I wouldn't be able to succeed without their help.
I ended up crossing the finish line at 4:54.
Swim: 33 mins Bike: 2 hrs 37 mins Run: 1 hr 36 mins
I ended up finishing 3rd in my age group to some really fast women. Since the two women who finished my ahead of me had already qualified for 70. 3 Worlds Championships in Chattanooga, TN that meant it automatically rolled down to me. While I really wanted to say I could just take it, it took a lot of discussion for the husband and I to make the decision. With already going to Kona in October I was concerned about the money and all the travel. We decided that since we weren't sure when this race was going to be in the United States again we might was well make it a fun travel year. So World's 70.3 here I come!!!
Honestly, it took a couple talks with my husband, mom, and new coach to remind myself of the good that came out of this race. Even though it was a personal record and I hit my goal of going sub 5 (which I was very thrilled about) I was a little frustrated and disappointed with myself for not hitting what I think I was capable of. On that note you may have noticed that I mentioned new coach as I am excited to say that I have finally got myself a coach. With big races for me coming up and wanting to really exceed at them I felt that I had hit the threshold of how far I could get myself and wanted someone to help me take it to the next step.
Time to turn my focus to getting fast for the next couple races! Here is what's next:
Whistler 70.3 July 30 Worlds 70.3 September 9 Ironman Kona October 14
I am looking forward to making big changes and big growths in the next couple months!