This race recap is a little late but better late than never I suppose. I have just had alot going on with training, work, moving, new job, buying a house, the list goes on and on haha. Anyways I signed up for this race after Ironman 70.3 Gulf Coast did not go as planned as a tune up/practice race for Ironman Santa Rosa. The course was close to home about 90 minutes away and it was a small race with not alot of pressure. I figure it would be a perfect race to get a lake swim, practice transitions, wet suit removal, and then Ironman pacing. But most of all it was an opportunity for me to have a good race and build some confidence that I indeed had what it takes to reach my goals at Ironman Santa Rosa. Luckily for me my dad was nice enough to come up and visit me for the weekend and Matt (Ash’s husband @MattydTri) agreed to join me in the adventure. Ash was out in Utah and totally SMASHED her Half PR at the Drop 13 in a CRAZY FAST time of 1:28:30 (6:45 min/mi)!
Race Day Morning:
- Morning Wake-up call came early, we met at Matts and left around 4AM to get there at 5:30 so we would have enough time for bathroom, transition, shakeout, bathroom again, sunscreen, packet pickup etc. When we arrived it was like we were the only people in the area and we automatically were like well we are quite early. We grabbed out packets – we were the only ones in the line haha then started out pre-race routine. It ended being pretty awesome being there early though because we weren’t rushed in getting anything together and had plenty of time. At the same time Matt and I realized in pure Ohio fashion that the weather channel who was saying there were 5 mph winds was 100% wrong. The flags were whipping around in the air and there were white caps on the lake and I knew once again we were in for a rough day.
- We lined up for the swim and they asked all the “elites” to line up in the front so they could mark down all of our numbers for timing. In small races I guess I am “elite” haha. I kept looking at Matt who is actually “elite” and being like umm but he said I deserved to be there so I sucked it up and realized I am fast enough in a small race to contend a spot. You realize outside of Ironman braded events just how unorganized things can be and you get what you pay for out of Ironman and its 100% worth it. When we lined up at the swim it became apparent that the outward bound bouys were no were to be seen and thats because their boat broke this morning and was unable to get them out so we had to spot 1 bouy and a dead tree at the tree line for the out of the out and back – ok fantastic lol. Then we were delayed for like 30 minutes because the volunteer kyakers lacked all ability due to the wind – in there defense as stated above it was VERY WINDY with white caps but still talk about the nerves. Matt and I’s googles kept foggying, my wetsuit was stangling me, I had to go pee again haha. Ya know all the things…Anways once we finally got the go ahead you start by a canyon which no one actually gave us a 3,2,1 because know one knew exactly when it would blow and we all did a mass run into the water. I don’t know why maybe it was the long wait, the nerves, and crowd of highly fast swimmers, my wetsuit being tight (I hate wetsuits b.c they are tight around my neck and I have a chocking phobia) but I had my first panic attack in the water. I was probably maybe 200 yards off the shore and I was like omg omg omg and I started doing the breaststroke I am kinda fast at it so it wasnt the worst case scenario and then I decided to just rip open the top of my wetsuit snap so it wasnt as tight around my neck and see if that help and it did and settled into my pace. I am not sure how this whole process lasted but I could feel my time goals slipping away but there was nothing I could do but just move forward. So I continued swimming which was hard because you had nothing really to spot so it made it extra difficult. Then when you got to the end you had to go up toward the point like a roof of a house but the olympic distance did more of the square so it kinda got confusing on the which way do I go thing but I figured it out. Once I made the turn around the roof of the house portion you turn to head back to shore and I remember this from Ironman Muncie 70.3 you go straight into the sun so basically no boys to site again b/c you can’t see them. I felt at this point i was settling more into my stroke and picking up the pace. However everytime you would breath you were get some sort of smash from the waves and it was pushing so holding a straight path was somewaht more difficult that I would like. I also still really had to go pee but could not seem to get that done in the water so therefore I had to hold that for the next 5 hours lol. Anyways finally made it out of the water in 33 Minutes which was a solid PR from 37:30 last year but that was non-wetsuit but still improvement given the cluster f*ck of this swim.
- Welcome to Stage 2 of why not to do Ironman branded races lol. The roads for this race were TERRIBLE. I felt horrible b/c I told Matt there were not because last year on the Ironman branded race it was an awesome bike course on really great roads except for small stretches here and there well turns out those small stretches here and ther was the majority or 80-90% of the course we had to make 4 loops around – whomp. Not to mentioned when you hit the good pavment it was an out and back with a sharp turn around where you almost had to come to a stop so basically not great. Then remember the wind I was talking about well in Ohio it only gets worse as time progresses so you would be going 20 mph then all of a suddent you would be going 12 mph and it was exacerbated by the crapping roads because how fast you go on your bike has ALOT to do with road conditions. Either way I went into the race to focus on effort so I focused on giving a solid effort that would be equivelant to what I could hold in ironman vs a half ironman after all I was using it as a training day and I wasn’t tapered. So I focused on holding a Zone 2 Effort throughout the ride and focused on trying to fuel better as I am not the best at that. Also this race really taught me some great bike handling skills with the wind, multiple turns and crappy roads I felt it was great practice even if it wasn’t going to be my best bike split of my life. I ended up finding one girl on the bike course I kept seeing she had a Cervelo and was wearing a pink Rudy Helmet she would always be near just a few bike lengths away on the other side of the turn around of always around my shoulder. At one point I was having some issues on the hard part of the course with the headwind getting my nutrition/water bottle out of the cage and back in. I was really struggling lol and she passed me and I was like ugh I was just getting my nutriiton settled lol. Then I finally got the bottle back in and we went around the turn and boom I was back in front. I may not be the fastest cyclist in the world but one thing is for sure I am very consistent. Anyways was holding steady coming into T2 and in front when I asked where to turn once again – non branded race problems. The T2 stop was on the road not well marked and then the entrace was through a ditch in the grass back up to transition. Well I asked where to stop and they said keep going and I was like umm no I am done so I turned around and well by time I was in transition pink rudy helmet girl was in there in front of me – ugh!!! My husband was standing near transition on the other side of the fence like “you’re doing great” but “that girls is putting her socks on faster than you” and “I tried to yell at you were to start” and “omg she is almost done” and I was like OMG BE QUITE and then I could hear her husband being like you got this babe run fast and I was like UGH!!!! Anyways finally got my freaking shoes, socks, grabbed my bib and hat and booked it out of T2 with a Bike Time of 3:01:56 – definitely not a PR but not a horrible time given all those circumstance.
- Going into the Run I had looked at the race day stats from last year and like no one ran under 2 hours so I figured well no one can run right? Nope! Pink Rudy Helmet took off and all of a sudden I look at my watch and I am running like 6:45 – 6:50 min/mi and I was like WHOOA. First off I have not ran that fast in a hot second unless you could the 400m repeats Ash and I had done Tuesday prior to her leaving so I was shocked my to see that time on my watch out of the gate. I held 6:50 – 7:00 for the first 0.5M or so and then I hit the first hill and decided ugh time to walk and take my inhaler (I have exercise induced asthma, it can be pretty severe at times. I don’t talk about it much but it definitely affects my performance in humidity, high intensity races, top end speeds aka track workotus etc). Any took inhaler and then thought well there is not way I am catching this chick. It was HOT, Humid, and this course was hilly. If you have done Ironman 70.3 Muncie it is the worst part of the course and you do it twice so I wasn’t expecting any miracles to happen haha so I just let her go on. I continued my race plan of run when you can and walk when you cant. I was holding pretty good split and staying steady as I said for one thing I am consistent. I made my first loop around and as I was coming up the big hill for the turn around my dad and husband were yelling “CATCH HER CATCH HER” and I was like nah I am just gonna run my race because for once I was having a good day mind you it wasn’t like I was running crazy fast or breaking records here but I just felt, good strong and confident that this was something I could reproduce on Ironman Day and I didn’t want to burn anymore bridges. I needed to continue to train after this race so that meant I had to let it be just a training day and leave my A Day for my A Race. Anyways I made the turn around and continued on my steady pace of running strong when I could and then walking when I felt my form failing. At this same point I saw the girl starting to fade she was only about 1 min maybe ahead of me and she stopped walked and but her hands on her knees and then she continued running. I wasn’t blamming her I stopped and walked as well up that hill but I knew at that point I was closing the gap because while I was walking I wasn’t hands on knees beat up. I continued the climb up the hill until you make the right turn and its a rolling “downhill” section if there is one thing about me you should all know is that downhill running is my thing lol. Anyways I took this opportunity to close the gap and I started running solid 7:30 min/mi and passed her. I think at this point she was beat because she didn’t really try to fight to catch me we both said our great jobs as we had been playing the passing game all day. I kept my run/walk game up but really tried to walk less and run more and hold as strong as I could because I was almost done. I finally made it to the last turn around and they had popicles. If they could add this to the ironman list of amenities that would be awesome because that was the only fuel I used on this run and thank god it worked otherwise I probably would have bonked crazy hard. You have alot of climbining on the back end and the out is mainly rolling “downhill” and the back in all rolling “uphill” lol. So I just kept chugging and looking over my shoulder expecting her to catch me. She wasn’t far off so I kept pushing pushing pushing the best I could but never overdoing it reminding myself I had nothing to prove on this day except to have a good race. I came to the final climb and like a lazy bum I walked up the last hill its cruel its such a big hill into the transition lol. Then I made my way to the finisher chute and ran in with the 2nd Overall Female Finish. It ended up I was only ahead of her by 1 minute even though I finished more than 1 minute in front her on the run. It funny now with chip timing because you never know where someone sits in overall time until its over because it all depends on when they start. Final Run Time was 1:51:58 and I was pretty pleased because it was almost dead on with last year and given this course was harder and I wasn’t “race” racing it.
- First after the race I found Matt and I had to find out if he thought that was as crazy hard as I did and he 100% agreed and for that I felt I was out of the dog house as far as not going super fast when reporting back to Ash lol! Spoiler Alert – she was so freaking proud of me – she is the BEST best friend EVER! Anways between the lack of bouys, white caps, swim panic attack the crazy wind and very poor road conditions and the hills and heat and humditiy of the run I felt like that course was super rough mentally and physically and I was glad Matt agreed with me. Given all those things this race gave a PR of 5:33 and also the knowledge that on a day that a 70.3 is my A Race and I am tapered for it to be my goal I can go much faster. It also gave me the confidence in my legs that I can still run and run well off the bike, something that I was beginning to doubt sincerely after Boston and further after the disaster of Gulf Coast. This race allowed me to have my dad get to watch me succeed and podium for the first time and even though it was a small race it was such an incredible feeling to feel like your racing and to come out of top. That coming out on top feeling led me to feel more on top of my training and has propelled me to become such a stronger athlete in the past 4 weeks time and for that I am grateful!
- Swim: 0:33
- Bike: 3:01:56
- Run: 1:51:58
- Total: 5:33:09 – 15 Min PR!
So there you have it the Race Recap that took forever to write haha. I am such a bad blogger lately, but at least this race recap isn’t super debbie downer and sad as the previous have been right?! Maybe soon I will be writting big things down on this blog of how awesome Santa Rosa goes – I sure hope so! Thanks for following my journey! There is some photos below from the race – not many as the “free race” photos never got posted again non-branded races lol.
With Love and Racing
❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)