Texas 70.3 Race Recap
Whew!! What a weekend. You never really know how the first race of the season is going to go especially when it is one that is so early season and with the winter we had in the Pacific Northwest I was just glad to have had a chance to head down to Arizona to get some outdoor training in.
Leading up to Texas 70.3 I had about a four week block of amazing training, like the fastest, strongest, hardest, and most complete set of training I’ve ever experienced and I entered the final few weeks feeling excited and energized Then life hit and I had a few weeks of serious struggle in the training section, for reasons that I won’t fully go into at the moment training did not go well and I quickly went from excited and positive about my prospects at Texas to antsy, uncertain, and wary about how it would go. Despite all of that I did my best to go into race week as positive as I could and with the idea that I was strong, had put the work in, and a few prayers that it would all work itself out.
We headed down to Texas on Thursday, I like to go to races early because I do not like to rush around or be stressed out prior to the race. I prefer to be able to move slowly, stay off my feet, and take my time with check ins, final tune ups, and any other commitments I may have for the race. Despite having crossed my fingers for good weather we arrived in Texas with a storm brewing and it did not look like it was going to dissipate prior to race day, and it did not. The rest of the days I spent hanging around, getting my final workouts in, checking in both myself and my bike, and meeting with friends and athletes to the extent that I had time for. I apologize to anyone I missed, I am a self-proclaimed hermit race weekend and like to spend most of the time by myself getting my mind right for the race, it is a bit selfish yes but these races mean a lot to me, I put a whole lot of myself into them and for them to go the way I would prefer them to that means that I need to spend a lot of time off my feet and in my own zen moment, so to those of you that I missed this weekend or may miss in the future I apologize.
I will skip my race morning routine as really it is nothing special, and it went off without a hitch and move right on the meat of the day, swim, bike and run.
I really liked the wave start, didn’t think that I would but I did. It kept it a lot more spread out and Ironman did a fabulous job of making sure it went smoothly. My wave went off at 7:36 so I had about an hour after finishing setting up my transition before I would be hoping in the water. Around 7:10 I squeezed my way into my wetsuit, I swear it has gotten smaller as it was as tight as it has ever been, kissed the husband good bye and headed down to join the masses.
The water really wasn’t bad at around 67 degrees it was actually a great temperature for swiming in, not that it helped me at all. If you follow me on social media you have heard my displeasure for my swim performance and even now as I write I cannot really attribute the terribleness of the swim to anything in particular. I keep asking myself… was I just really sloppy from a technique standpoint, did I not push hard enough, was I complacent, did I not sight properly? And each one I can for the most part I do not have a negative thought towards any of those pieces. I know that my technique is something I can always improve on because as a self-taught swimmer it really is my weak point, I also have a tendency to get really board in the water and that often means I just go through the motions. But I didn’t feel that way at all throughout the entire swim, in fact I felt really smooth throughout the entire thing except for one small section, so at this exact moment I still cannot pinpoint what caused it to be about 4-5 minutes slower than I anticipated myself being.
It was very demoralizing to get out of the water, and looking at the watch I knew that meant I was going to be much further back than I had wanted, I had really hoped to have come out of the water in the top ten in my age group for a change….. Not today…
Swim Time: 35 minutes
Seeing all of the bikes around me already gone, and I mean like every single one of them I think I was the only one in my row left, was extremely defeating for a few moments but I focused on just getting my stuff on and of course yelling at my husband the extremity of my disappointment using fairly vulgar language.
By the time I left T1 and hoped on my bike I had already put the swim behind me. I don’t know what it was but I knew there was absolutely no reason in dwelling on it and rather focused on doing everything that I could in order to get myself back into contention. Prior to my training taking a bit of a dive I was biking stronger, faster, and with more power than I’ve ever biked in my life. For example, at Kona last year I averaged around 209 watts for the entire race, and in some of my long rides out in Arizona I averaged around 245 watts so huge gains were made over the winter.
The bike course was very flat as it was right along the seawall, there were a few little itty-bitty rollers but that is about it. It was a great course for putting your head down and really go for it. I love courses like that, they really test your ability to go fast and hard for as long as you can. It was pretty humid out, thank you to the storm that was about to roll through, so you really had to pay attention to getting plenty of nutrition and water in.
We had a lovely little tail wind on the way out though it did not really feel that way. I kept thinking that I was merely just a bad ass who was crushing the first portion of the ride but when we make the turn my speed instantly went from 26 mph to 22 mph while still pushing the same watts and same efforts.
Bike: 2:29 minutes
This went quickly, thank you to my Caterpy Laces, with very little speak about.
Legs felt strong off the bike. I wasn’t totally sure where I was from a place standpoint just knew I had to run steady and strong. The run was three loops, I like looped runs not only because it makes it more fun from a spectating standpoint, but it makes it a lot easier to count down and break down the run into segments. Tackling triathlon is so much easier when you don’t think about the triathlon but rather segments.
I did get to run with Lindsey Corbin for like three miles of my first loop as she was on her final loop, it was AWESOME!! She’s one of my idols and it was cool to run with her.
Finally ran across Brandon somewhere around mile four of the first lap and he kindly told me I was in fourth place and somewhere around 30 seconds back from third. Keeping the same pace, I just focused on keeping form and pace steady. Eventually I had worked my way into third and was somewhere around 1 minute 30 seconds behind 2nd place.
Truthfully until around ¾ of a mile to go I really thought this is where I was going to end up, third place. Brandon had told me that I was going to have to run a sub six-minute mile to gain on second place and while I would have loved to have to been able to put down there was no way that is in my legs, so I just focused on finishing it out really strong and being happy with having been able to take what started out as a bad race and turned it into something strong. Then all of the sudden I rounded one of the final corners towards the finish line and I saw the girl who was Brandon had said was in 2nd place. My only thought was well…. can I do it? I really wasn’t sure if I couldn’t bring the legs to life again for one last go for it but the only thing I could think of was there is no way that I can’t try. With that I put my head down and went for it. So did she. With about 200 yds to go she had me beat by just about a step and as we hit the red carpet I gave it one more big huge surge and one more big burst to see what would happen and we crossed the line in one big surge of energy.
It was a ton of fun! Reminded me of running when I was elementary and middle school when the only thing that mattered was running hard and running fast, you would just run with abandon no matter what the cost would be because you just wanted to get to the finish line as fast as possible. It reminded me of the joy of racing, the joy of putting it all out on the line, the joy of throwing caution to the wind and giving it everything you’ve got.
Total Time: 4:36
This was actually only the second time that Brandon was able to be at the finish line to see me finish, often times he is too far out on the course to make it to the finish line in time. So it was really nice to be able to walk through the finish corral and see him. Even though it wasn’t storming at that moment, give it about 30-40 more minutes, immediately after the race I was freezing cold and couldn’t stop shivering. Since they didn’t have warming blankets Brandon went into the Ironman tent and purchased whatever was on sale so that I could put on dry clothes and good thing he did because 10 minutes later the sky opened up and let loose. Rain came pouring down, thunder and lightening crossed the sky, and the wind howled, they even kicked us out of the athlete tent because they were afraid it was maybe going to come down due to the wind. Texas really put on show!!!
I am very blessed to have finished the race before Texas showed off so much in fact that they had to cancel the rest of the race. To all of those who did not get the chance to cross the red carpet at Texas 70.3 do not let it beat you down, use it as fuel for the next race and believe that you deserve to be there because I can guarantee that you do.