Gosh I cant believe its been nearly 2 weeks already from Gulf Coast however my body still says it could use a little more TLC. I figure the best way to do this blog post is to break it down into sections so you can skip through to the parts that interest you most :).
I think I should start off by saying that going into this race my work schedule was less than ideal. I worked Sunday 7P-7A followed by Monday 4P-2A followed by Tuesday 5P-3A which left Wednesday to get all the logistics of packing and picking up last minute necessities before taking the 7 hour drive to Panama City. The last minute necessities seemed to be a little troublesome as I had a hard time finding any sort of nutrition that I use for the race within a reasonable driving distance from my house after stopping by multiple bike/run shops. I finally did some research and found a bike shop on the way to Panama City in Talahasse (note to self, dont want unti last minute for nutrition). I ended up driving 2.5 hours to my mom’s house in Ocala and staying the night Wednesday before heading to Panama City Thursday. I woke up Thursday morning did a 20 minute shakeout run and then headed to Panama City. I was a little upset at how my legs felt running like they were way to heavy for this stage in the taper but that is what a crazy work schedule and minimal recover will leave you. I got to Panama City late afternoon unpacked my car and went out for my check ride then went grocery shopping and sat in the boots before Ashley arrived in time for dinner and quick swim with the littles. Tam and Heather got there around 12AM I let them in chatted for a bit and then headed to bead for the pre-race festivities to commmence in the AM!
We were all staying at the host hotel and it was super nice since transition was in the hotel parking lot and the swim was steps from our balcony. Friday we woke up and had a great pancake breakfast. Ash, Tam, and Heather did their shakeout run while I watched the kids and then we all headed down to the beach for a little sun in the sun and a shakeout swim. After we changed and then headed to packet pickup right before closing, placed all the stickers on the our bikes and then brought them down the elevator to bike check. Once back in the room we ate a speghetti dinner and then started prepping for race day. I swear in triathlon world its like a bomb explodes in your hotel room with all the stuff you need and have to get ready from nutrition to gear. I have become more and more minimalist as I have spent more time in traithlon (2 years lol) but its still like I have to bring my entire home to a race to have everything I might or might not need.
My Race Day Gear:
I am going to try to list this in terms of Start to Finish in Triathlon.
- TriTats or Sharpie and Mark yourself in the Room
- Zealios Sunscreen and Camios Cream
- Triathlon Kit: Wyn Republic
- Wetsuit: Zoot (Make Sure you Pack a Swim Skin incase its not wetsuit legal)
- TriSlide– Use this to spray your wrists, neck, and ankles
- TYR Nest Pro Goggles
- Baby Shampoo – Best AntiFog
- Swim Cap Provided Timing Chip Provided by Event
- Bike and Race Wheels: Felt IA10 and Irwin 58/68 wheels.
- Helmet: Rudy Project Boost
- Sunglasses: Rudy Project Broomstick
- Cycling Shoes: Pearl Izumi TriFly V
- Nutrition: Infinitie Womens Grape + Huma Gels + Perfect Bar + Base Salt.
- Run Hat: Wyn Republic
- Running Socks: Procompression Mid Socks (I dont wear cycling socks)
- Running Shoes: Nike ZoomFly 4% with Nathan Lock Laces
- Race Belt for Bib Number (clip it prior and slide it on instead of hooking it)
- Water Bottle for Run and Huma Gels for Run (optional)
Once again being at the host hotel was clutch. All we literally had to do was exit the elevator and transition was right out of our building. We woke up around 3:45 AM. We all ate breakfast and drank our pre-race caffinated beverage of choice got dressed in our kits and then headed down to transitions to do our bike checks, load up our nutrition, and do one last pumping of our tires. We then all headed back to the room (host hotel perks), did our body marking on each other, went potty, squeezed into our wetsuits and then headed to the swim start.
The Gulf is pretty flat almost like a lake wth some wind effect on it. So its not the typical “ocean” triathlon swim you think of with big waves and fighting a current. Its pretty calm. The swim was pretty simple swim out, turn right then turn right to come back. So very easy to stay on a straight target. I started with Tam and Healther in the 27-30 min grouping. You usually want to put yourself in 1 group up from what you think you will actually swim and we all thought we would be in the 30-35 minute range. The swim start was in a single file line into the water we all hugged and then heather went in, followed by myself, followd by Tam. My goal was to keep with Heather but it was much harder to spot her this time around without her QuestForKona Cap lol. I just focused on staying as straight as possible. In open water you literally have no clue if you are swimming fast or slow until you get our of the water which kinda sucks lol. It started out well and then about half way to the first turn bouy I started feeling all sorts of jellyfish. I was like oh crap. In Maryland there were also jellyfish and I got stung by one within minutes in my shakeout and had an allergic reaction and I was like oh no this is going to be fun. Good news was these jellies sting was very mild and I only got stung a couple times, given once was on my face but oh well. Basically you can picture yourself snorkeling in a crystal blue jellyfish tank at sunrise and that is how it was lol. I figured we would have a current assist coming back to shore but for some reason I felt coming back to shore was harder than going out. Either way I always feel whether its a half or full ironman swim its a long freaking way to swim. I was super happy when I excited the water and saw a 33 on my watch. My PR in the swim is a 33:30 and that is what the clocked matched so I was pretty pleased given that PR was in a lake and this one an ocean :).
Transition One (T1)
Transitions are not my strong suit lol, but Ash and I have had quite a few lessons and slowly but surely I am improving. I ran to transition stripped the wetsuit then put on my cycling shoes, glasses, helmet and off on the bike. As I was running out I spotted Heather loading onto her bike she was closer to the bike out than me and I was like F4%K YES as I knew if Heather was still in T1 I had done pretty well on the swim since Heather is a Kick A$$ Swimmer! We both screamed at each other our way to gos and off we went!
The Bike is never my number one joy, however on this particular day it proved to be my best asset. Kayla and I have been working very hard on my cycling but we didn’t have much time. We basically went from Zero to 70.3 in 10 Weeks Time. So we had to pull out every last bit of fitness I had. The first 10-15 Miles on the Bike I am no better phase to use but a trainwreck. My HR is skyhigh, my anxiety is through the roof, my breathing is like I just ran a marathon then sprinted a 5K, my percieved exertion vs speed is way off, and I can never seem to find a rhythm on the bike. This is not soley on race day but anytime I cycle its like my body really hates biking lol. I took a gel right out the gate on the bike and tried to started getting down some nutrition. However for the first 20 miles or so everything that I put down came right back up and I had to choke it back down. As time progressed I started feeling stronger and stronger I was really focusing on that no matter what to not let my cadence get below 80. I knew all I had to do is to get to the turn around and we would have a crosstail wind on the way back. I crossed the turn around in 1:23 and I knew I just had to push a little harder on the way back to get a 2:45 cycling time. I also knew that I had to push harder from Mile 28-50 since we would have a head wind from 50-56 once we turned on front beach and its intensified due to the lining of the hotels almost like a windtunnel. I clocked the final 28 miles in just shy of 1:17 on my watch and I was like F4%K YES! I had never biked that fast ever not just for that distance but EVER in my life. I had PRd my Bike last year in a 2:51 and this year I took 11 minutes off that PR which was a 33 minute bike PR from my first HIM in July 2018 at Munice!
Transition Two (T2)
I came into T2 and this year unlike last year I remembered where my bike was in transition lol. I stripped off my helmet and put on my hat and then started the impossible task of putting on compression socks in humid florida. This was intensified by trying to put on my ZoomFlys, they are not the most easy shoes to put on with lock laces. Once I got my shoes on I slid my bib on under my feet and then headed to run out!
The Run is 3 loops broken in approximately 4.5 mile sections. The first loop went well even with an emergent botty break at Mile 3.5. I was averaging Sub8 and felt strong and in control and then somewhere around Mile 6 I hit the wall like no other. My whole body seemed to fall apart. My stomach was cramping and hard a rock and my legs just didn’t really want to move. I was able to push through but I felt myself loosing control of the race. I saw my mom as I headed into the 3rd loop and she told me I was in 3rd so I tried picking up the pace but it didn’t last long and soon enough I was walking. Little did I know Ash was right behind me and yelled “kindal sweet you better not be walking” lol. She kept me going when I didn’t want to. She grabbed my hand and pulled me along when I wanted to give up. She listened to me cry and complain and say I couldn’t do it. She poured water and ice on me in every aid station and handed me fuel to get me through that final loop. It was not pretty, thank god for sunglasses lol. She quite literally is the BEST best friend you could ever ask for. That was not my proudest moments but she still told me she loved me anyways. I was super thankful once I crossed the finish line as she promised I would be but I was even more thankful to cross the finish line and get to the medical tent where I got ice cold blankets and fluids until I started feeling better. I also told Ash I would have my crap together by time she crossed the finish line and I got it together just in time to capture of a video of her biking butt!
Final Finish Time of 5:17 and 4th AG!!! We all took our finisher pics and then headed back to the room to look a little more descent before taking a few more pictures and heading to the pool for the after party!
The After Party!
Awards are later in the afternoon by the pool and it is super fun because they make almost like a pool party with race day food, drinks, and alcoholic beverages. I was super stocked to get an MDot Trophy. I don’t take those trophies for granted it is not a given you will ever get one and if you get one you will ever get on again so I was going to soak up that moment for everything it was worth. When they called my AG you could not wipe that smile off my face it was the moment I had dreamed of. After watching Matt do his awards a few times now I knew exactly what would happen first you hold it at your chest then you hold the trophy over your head. When I held it above my head I took the time to hold in that moment and hold it tight. It was such a super special moment with my best friends and family there and I think it wil be one of those moments I will hold dear for the rest of my life.
So There you have it Gulf Coast 2018!
With Love and Racing,