I’ve been meaning to get around to this race report but honestly never really had the chance to sit down and just write. Its been a week since I completed my longest race to date (just under a half-iron distance). I went into this race with the mind set that it was just a catered training day, no need to fret about it and set specific goals and put more pressure on myself than I already do on a daily basis.
The day before the race (Saturday), I did a mini-swim, bike, run from my parents house and just put the feet up. It was certainly warm and it was definitely windy. Sunday rolled around bright and early as the alarm was set at 3:45 am even though the race was just a half hour away. My dad met me at my house and he followed me to the race site. Since I had done a sprint on this same course and was taking the training day approach, my mental mindset wasn’t quite the same and it showed right when we arrived at site.
I all of the sudden didn’t want to race. It was like I was 10 years old and just wasn’t going to do something. I got real moody and just had that dreading feeling. I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that the previous race had some major logistical errors and this race would put me out on the course for a lot longer than a sprint.
Apparently, the other thing that was making me grumpy was the fact that I needed to go to the bathroom (just a heads up, this post is going to be flat out honest about the things you run up against in doing this sport, so if you don’t want to know the nitty gritty stop reading now!) Once I took care of my business, my mood improved a tremendous amount. The butterflies did start to come as race time was quickly approaching and I wanted to make sure I got a warm up swim in before they yelled GO!
I said good bye to my dad, said hi to some local triathletes but mainly kept to myself only to find out that there were quite a few jellyfish wanting to participate in the race as well. During my warm up, I just tried to focus on my reach, glide and hand entry. We did the national anthem and got ready to do a counter-clockwise rectangle in the intercoastal.
Throughout the swim, I felt good! My breathing wasn’t labored too much but I knew I was swimming with a fair amount of effort. I was able to decently sight and was swimming with others. A main goal of this race was to have a solid swim for what would be the first time in quite some time.
As I rounded the second buoy to head back towards shore, my left arm entered the water and apparently found a jellyfish. I cursed and yelled in the water, muffled sounds luckily and kept swimming. I kept waiting for the pain to get worse but it never did so I didn’t feel the need to stop. Once I reached sand, I looked at my watch and saw “.6 miles, 15:59”. The swim was supposed to be .9 miles! Usually I don’t mind if its a short course but I wanted a test! I was happy with my time though and came out looking to my dad to tell him I was stung. A lifeguard came over immediately and poured vinegar on my arm. Of course this slowed me down a couple of minutes but it did help.
Total Swim: 19:00 (actual swim, 16:00)
I was a little slower in transition than usual as I haven’t quite figured out the best way to stow all of my stuff on my new bike and don’t want to just drop money until I’m ready. I loaded my back zipper with Huma Gels and a Honey Stinger waffle. I had water in the aero bars and Osmo Hydration in the down tube bottle.
Transition 1: 1:12
The bike course-49 miles-consisted of two out and backs. I felt good on the first out portion and was watching my heart rate the entire time. The wind was coming out of the south so we had a good tail wind coming back. I could tell that even though I personally had a good swim, it was not fastest enough to come out with the majority of the group, I was actually towards the rear! I was surprised to see this but as I have found out, the folks who did this race (around 50) are all top level amateurs who really wanted to make a day of it.
During my second out, the wind suddenly picked up and the clouds started moving in. Throughout the ride, we got some light showers. I definitely slowed down on the second out as I am just not that great riding into the wind and had trouble keeping my heart rate up even though my legs were feeling strained. I’m trying to work on my technique for the wind now.
Coming back into town, there was a great tail wind and I was feeling good, that is until the last three miles as those seemed to take for-ev-er! Apparently its because I slowed down! It also started to rain pretty hard at this point so I knew my socks and shoes were going to be soaked and that didn’t make me very happy.
Bike total: 2:34, 18.7 mph average, 145 bpm HR avg., 48.15 miles
Nutrition: Two Huma Gels and a Honey Stinger Waffle. Most of the OSMO and two aero bottles of water.
Transition 2: 2:21
Got back into transition, put socks on (something I don’t do in shorter races) got my hat on and decided not to take my Fuel Belt I brought just in case I wanted to use it since I knew it was going to be a hot day. Well as soon as my run began, the clouds parted and the lovely sun came out to play in full force. I was given a nice cold bottle of water which I ran with for the first 1.5 miles but it got heavy and I was feeling good so I chucked it at the first aid station. This was the only aid station I didn’t walk the whole run!
Throughout the run, my legs felt fine it was just so bloody hot out that I was having a hard time keeping myself cool and my heart rate down without going at a shuffle (which I find more exhausting than just walking briskly). At the aid stations, I took two cups, one to drink and one to dump. At one point I was given some ice and thought for some reason that it would be smart to put the ice down the back of my shorts, thinking it would stay on my lower back. Of course not! It went straight now and sat on the bike padding of the short and therefore on my butt. While it was cold, it didn’t help things and actually caused some uncomfortable chafing later on.
During the run, I passed a couple of people and found out that there were really only 10 women or so doing the race so I just decided not to worry about overall results as this was more for the experience of the distance. Clearly, I have to remind myself of this often.
Even with it being so hot, I actually had to pee which is really unusual for me. I was clearly hydrated but with the humidity and heat, my mouth would dry out really quickly, forcing me to want water. I did take some cold Coke at one of the aid stations as I realized I hadn’t had any calories since the bike and man was it good! Sometime after the turn around, I decided to just pull over and go the bathroom. Well we were on A1A where there are no portapotties or restrooms so I tried to find a place that would have snakes, spiders and poison ivy. I went for a gated area and squatted thinking yet again that I knew what I was doing. I didn’t take my shorts down thinking things would just go straight through the shorts….wrong! Warm pee flowed out both legs of the shorts and straight into my socks and shoes! Ewww, I know right! I actually laughed as this sport puts you in the weirdest situations sometimes.
I immediately felt better though and continued on my way, trying to ignore the “squish, squish” sound made with every step and the liquid projecting out of the toes with every foot strike. Again, eww!
As I ran the last two miles, I really started to pass people who were struggling with the heat as well but were walking. I thought at one point I wouldn’t make it to 1.5 hours for the run as it can be rather difficult to do math in such conditions but as I kept making forward progress I realized it was possible (I had previously said to myself f*** it, not gonna make it) so I kept my pace up. I crossed the finish line to a small group of people and was greeted by race organizer Carmine who gave me water and my medal left me to find some shade.
Run: 1:29, 9:47/mile, 164bpm HR, 9.11 miles
Nutrition: One Huma Gel, tiny cup of Coke and the rest water
Total Race Time: 4:26:25
Eventually I made my way over to transition and took the longest time packing up my transition area. I was moving in slow motion, like I was underwater or something as the heat really took a toll. I packed the car up and headed over to the awards as I knew my age group wasn’t very deep (in fact there were only two of us!). I picked up my second place plaque, took self pictures and headed home to cool down and get dry for the first time in about 5 hours.
Overall, I’m pleased with how the race went. After looking over competitor’s times and my pace 1:38/100 meters, I’m happy with how the swim went. I wanted my bike to be a bit faster and it is reflected in my heart rate being lower than it should have been. The other goal I had for this race was to do a test run for my nutrition. I am very happy to report that I had absolutely no stomach issues! This is a big thing and it tells me that I was point with it. Nothing I would really do differently with the run other than learn how to not pee on myself and to not do 9 miles in 90 degree heat with about 85% humidity!
A couple of hours later, I was actually feeling loser than after the race and had minor stiffness in the days following. I did have a very bruised toenail on my left foot which was probably the most bothersome thing next to the underarm chafing from my jersey being so wet. In reality these are pretty minor things so I was happy that my fitness is there. I’ve seen had my two toenails removed and have been given medicine to help with healing. Oh the joys of being a runner!
I took Monday-Wednesday off and got a 1.5 hour massage on Monday. I needed the mental and physical break and it was greatly enjoyed. I went to my swim group practice Thursday morning and didn’t feel like I had done a long event just days prior. I felt really good and was hitting good numbers so I think the work I’m putting into my swim is paying off (fingers crossed!).
Hope this report didn’t gross you all out too much but this is how we learn what to do and what not to do as well reminding me of what its like to be in race day conditions with your thinking being a little foggy. Onwards to more races now!