70.3 World Championship Race Recap


The 5:00 am alarm clock sounded, almost without need as I was already partially awake, for the third day in a row blaring its acknowledgement that it was race morning.   Trying not to wake my husband up, which is hard to do in a hotel room, I stumbled my way downstairs to get coffee and find some Gatorade so that I could make up my nutrition for the day.  Despite feeling the strain of being awake by 5:00 or earlier (ie: approximately 3:00 PST) since Thursday I was feeling surprisingly awake - this would quickly change. chattanooga 2


Transition was open from 5:30 am to 7:30 am yet I would not hop into the water until 8:43 am.  It was a self seeded swim start within your age group time slot and age 25-29 started at 8:43 am.  The day before we had switched hotels to be right down town, only a couple blocks from the swim start, and though it meant we spent a little more than was planned I am so glad that we did as it allowed me to drop my nutrition off and then return to my hotel to eat and relax without just having to hang out.

One of my favorite things about racing is the atmosphere of the morning of, you can feel the nerves, excitement, and anticipation of each athlete.   As an World Championship it had a different feel as the race course would later show a World Championship is much more than a normal race, it is tough, brutal, and exhilarating in a way that your standard race is not., everything is a little bigger and little more intense.  The air that morning was no different.  It was a warmer than I anticipated as we walked down, carrying both nutrition and coffee to transition, but I like warm.   After checking my  bike one last time, and dropping off my water and Infinite Nutrition we headed back to the hotel to eat some breakfast and finish getting ready.


As mentioned the swim was age group seeded and then you self seeded within your age group.  While I wish our age group had started a little earlier, though not to much earlier as I am not a good morning person, I really liked this set up.  Not being the strongest swimmer this was great for me because it spread everyone out within the water.

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Around 7:30 we headed down to the swim start to watch a little and allow me to move slowly getting my swim skin on and all set up.  8:43 am came very quickly once I was down there and next thing I knew I was lined up and walking towards the start line. They allowed us into the water about 6 (if I am remembering correctly) women at a time.  Beep, beep, beep, and it was my turn.  I dove in and set about floundering my way through the swim course.

I mentioned in my pre-race blog that it was an upriver swim.  While they had shut down the dam on Thursday "supposedly"making the current almost non existent by Saturday those 850 yds that we swam upriver were some of the hardest and longest yards I have ever swam.  It seemed to take FOREVER!  I had been working really hard at improving my swim and while I felt like my form held I also felt as though I had never swam a day in my life, basically dead fish flopping my way through the yards.

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Finally exiting the swim I took a look at my watch, and as I thought I would be I was ridiculously slow.   I knew going into it I would be slow however did not think that I would be that slow.  Not going to lie I am pretty sure the first word out of my mouth was the F-bomb.

Swim time: 38 minutes 39 seconds


T1 was a bit long and included probably the steepest hill of the day.  Despite having to run up about an 8% grade hill to get to the changing section T1 went really smoothly.  Learning from both Couer d'Alene and Whistler that I am a bit disoriented out of the water I made sure to grab my Cliff Organics Banana Baby Food and gulp it down as I ran to my bike.

T1: 3 minutes 55 seconds


As I was in transition I made the decision to take each piece of the race one by one.  The swim was disappointing for me however instead of dwelling on it I decided to put it behind me and focus on the bike.

The climbing portion of the bike started about 5 miles in and boy was it a climb.   As mentioned I had decided to put the swim behind me and focus/have fun on the bike.   My bike has become a lot stronger and climbing is a strong suit of mine.   I kept my cadence high, climbing at a pace of just under 10 miles an hour, and proceeded to work on passing people little by little.  My aero bottle had fallen off during the extremely rough road from mile 0 to 5, it was water bottle carnage on this section, so I had to constantly remind myself to drink while climbing.

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21 miles after exiting T1 we came to the top of the hill and were greeted with throngs of spectators lining the final turn to start going downhill.  Gave you the boost that was needed to start hammering the downhills and rollers that were the rest of the race.

70.3 World Championships was a two day event in which the women and men raced on separate days.  It was on the bike course that I became especially thankful for this set up.  It was not a closed course, meaning we shared the rural farm roads we were careening down with cars, trucks, tractors, and trailers.  If I had one complaint about this race it was that.   There were multiple times in which I had to pull up from going 30+ plus miles an hour down a hill to under 20 miles an hour in order to sit behind a car waiting for it either pass or turn, or even the time I had to pass a dully truck as though I was a car not a biker.

Despite this I was having a KILLER bike and had the lucky surprise of coming across my husband at one point who had drove out onto the course to try to find me out there.  It was a total surprise to look up and see him standing there pretty much in someone's yard yelling at me to GO FAST!!

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I am also extremely bummed to say that I experienced my first penalty for supposedly drafting.  While it was what it was I honestly do not believe that I was drafting.  Being an open course I could hear this motorcycle pretty close behind me but could not see it over my shoulder, as someone who is still pretty darn nervous when it comes to cars passing me since the accident I figured it was a motorcycle trying to pass the collective that was biking near me and not being able to see it there was no way I was going to move from where I was and risk jumping out in front of a motorcycle.  Well turns out it was the Marshall's and they decided cause of it I was drafting..... again I very much do not agree with their decision and don't understand how I was drafting but arguing about it on the bike wasn't going to get me anywhere.

Needless to say I pulled into the penalty tent after 2 hours and 45 minutes of biking and I was LIVID.  Most of my anger came from the fact that I am someone who DOES NOT do anything that would be in the sense of cheating and being accused of cheating made me feel as though I was being accused of cheating, especially when it came from me merely being worried about getting hit by a motorcycle.  Five minutes of just standing there watch ALL the racers I had worked my ASS off to pass just blow by me.  It was the longest 5 minutes I've experienced in a long time.

Bike: 2 hrs 45 minutes + a 5 minute penalty for a total of 2 hrs 50 minutes


I was still pretty pissed off as I pulled into T2 and couldn't wait to get on the run as I had some anger I needed to let loose and some people I needed to ass kick (no offense to any other racers out there I just have competitive issues....).

Before I get into the run I want to say thank you to the volunteers who take your bike, you are seriously my favorite.  It is so nice to not worry about your bike through transition.

T2: 2 minutes 12 seconds


Revenge time.  I pulled of T2 with only one goal in mind: pass EVERY SINGLE PERSON who passed me while I was in the penalty tent.  There was no way I was going to let those Marshall's ruin my day.

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For those of you that have been following my journey and read my race report from Ironman Arizona last year you may remember me saying that the run was the most fun I had had in a long time.  Well, this race I had the exact same run.  I was flying and I was having a riot doing it!  As is the spirit of a World Championship it was not an easy run. Two loops that contained some pretty decent hills and very little shade.

The volunteers at the aid stations were AMAZING and the course had plenty of water, Gatorade, coke, ice, and ice cold sponges.  I made sure to drink at every single aid station and took the cold sponges whenever they were available, it felt so good to wipe the dirt, sweat, and grim off my face.

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Brandon was standing at about 1 mile to the finish and very kindly lied to me saying if I picked it up I would break 5 hours.... deep down I knew he was WAY off (so did he but he wanted to see how much I could push at the end) but it worked to get my ass in gear for the last mile.   I ended up running low 6 min miles for the last two miles and ran myself into 35th place crossing the finish line at 5hrs and 10 minutes.

Run: 1 hr 34 minutes

This was not the perfect race for me.   My swim did not go as planned, there were some ups and downs with dealing with cars on the bike course, and course the penalty.  Despite this I crossed the finish the most proud and happy of any race I've done to date (minus Ironman Arizona).   Rather then letting the upsetting and/or pieces that didn't go perfectly get to me I put each of them aside and was able to put out some of my strongest and fastest splits to date.

On top of that I went into this race with little to no taper.  In order for the plan for Kona to roll out appropriately we (Coach Heather and myself) had to put a lot of work into the month of August and had to have a lot of specific workouts, including 40 miles of running the week before, completed prior to race day.  So on tired legs I put up a really strong bike and my fastest run to date after a brutal bike course.  The best part is I felt as though I could have gone on forever, a good thing since Ironman is basically forever. :)

Race Day Gear

Swim Skin - Roka Viper Elite Goggles - Roka Helmet - Rudy Project Computer - Garmin Edge 520 Po Bike - Felt IA14 Race wheels - Zipp 404 Kit: - Betty Designs Hat - Watti Ink Shoes - Brooks Glycerin Sunglasses - Oakley Watch - Garmin Forerunner 920xt Nutrition - Cliff, Infinit, and Honey Stingers

I am very proud of this race, even if it wasn't the place I wanted or the time that I believe is in me.  But it was a strong race in which I never once gave in or gave up on myself, and I had a TON of fun while doing it.   The race came at a perfect time as I had been struggling a bit motivationaly in that I was getting really tired.  Getting a taste of the competition and energy that comes from a race helped to fuel the fire for the next couple weeks leading into Kona, only four more weeks AHHHHHHHH!  So exciting but also super terrifying.

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70.3 World Championships was a whirlwind of a weekend, with the husband and I flying down Thursday into Nashville, having to wait an hour for my bike to arrive, driving to Chattanooga, racing, packing my bike up in the parking lot, showering in the sink at the Double tree, driving to Nashville, and then out again at 6:00 am the morning after the race.  If you follow my Instagram you got a good dose of the crazy that the travel caused by late Sunday on our way home.  I am very thankful for a husband who is willing to put up with the crazy that comes from my own crazy as I chase a dream of being fast.

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Thank you to everyone who provided support, cheers, good lucks, and pictures of the race.

A huge thank you to my husband for being there every single step of the way, running/walking 11 miles on race day as you cheered and supported me, and for the constant love you provide me.

To Coach Heather for getting me to the point I'm at and for believing in me, I'm excited for the next four weeks going into Kona.

To my parents and for getting up super early to follow along on the tracker since they could not be there, it was not the same without you being at the race.  I am so thankful for the strength that you gave me growing up and continue to give me every single day.

To my in - laws for also getting up super early to follow along on the tracker since they could not be there, and for watching our doodle puppy so that he had Grandma and Grandpa love while we gone.  Your constant support is unbelievable.

To Betty Designs for the beautiful kit to wear on race day.

To Watti Ink for having an awesome hat to wear on race day.

Now onto to Kona to finish out what has already been an amazing season!

CHEERS!!!!  Kayla