Race Report: Big George 70.3

“There are people who make things happen, there are people who watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what happened. To be successful, you need to be a person who makes things happen.” – Jim Lovell

Way back when, no clue why, I signed up for the Big George 70.3. I guess I thought it would be good to get another race in between IMLP and IMAZ before the weather got really unpredictable in CNY (and now Northern Mass). I love the Adirondacks and why not get another opportunity to race! I had been struggling for a bit with feeling like I was in a funk and I was leery of what would happen for this race. I was so on edge that I even texted my chiro in a panic about my L Hip (Sorry Sarah!), got a massage and then somehow PR’d a bunch in some fast 50s. In the end, I had such a great day.

I headed up solo to the Albany area (about an hour south of Lake George) to spend the night with my best friend Stephanie and her beautiful family. I absolutely love getting to visit with her and  play with her little ones!

Around midday on Saturday I started to make my trek up to Lake George! I was definitely a little nervous about doing this all by myself, but I was determined to make it a positive experience. On the way up, I stopped at a Panera for some CHO loading. After, I decided to do the drive from where I was staying to the race venue – let’s minimize all potential issues on race morning right? I was so fortunately to be able to spend the night at race director, Paul’s House – A HUGE thank you to Paul and his family! He was great to let me know that I could pick up my packet early, normal packet pickup was 5-7PM which is not ideal in my book. By chance, I actually ran into Paul on my way to try to find packet pickup and we caught up a little. Once I got my packet, I headed back to his house, got my stuff around, checked Timmy’s gears, and snuggled up with the two dogs to watch 70.3 Worlds before lights out around 8PM (6:45 AM Swim Start).

Surprisingly, race morning came fast – after having slight anxiety about the mosquitos in the room, ha – I did get some sleep. I woke up quickly and ate breakfast. I was trying something new on race day (I know what you’re thinking..) – a different breakfast but I figured I would be ok. Typically I don’t have issues with breakfast on race day, but what I was hoping to do was make sure I didn’t have any issues on the run, later in the day. After getting around and ready, I made my way to Lake George, stopping at a Stewarts for coffee (I drank 3 sips and decided I didn’t want it).

It was SO easy getting to the race venue and transition. I love small races for that reason. There’s minimal stress because things are a more low key. I set up my transition area in a spot, then forgot my uniform top, headed back to the car, forgot I had to pick up my timing chip, forgot about body marking, etc. Then I realized that we had assigned rows – the guide said that it was first come, first serve in transition.

Basically, I was having brain farts left and right and was acting like a total newbie. I wasn’t really sure what was going on, but at the end of the day, it was fine and everything got done. ALSO – as I was walking back from my car, I was saying how silly I was and hoped that things were ‘done’ being silly – but some crazy guy started biking straight towards me (keeping in mind it was still dark outside), it turned out to be my good friend JARED! I knew he was from the area, but last I knew he was on the west coast and meant to text him but totally forgot. He decided to do the race as his FIRST triathlon! I instantly started to feel a little better about being ‘alone’ at the race.

Before body marking, I ran into my friend Kim – mostly because we were in the same row and after I realized I needed to move my bike haha. It was relaxing to see her, Kim and I did our first triathlons together WAY back in 2012 at the Cayuga Lake Triathlon, then Kim did her first 70.3 last year at Syracuse. I feel like I’ve kinda been adopted into Kim’s family (more my thought than theirs I think). Kim and her family always seem to be at the big races, always see me and cheer for me. It’s one of my favorite things – and her Mom has done an insane amount of Ironmen!

After one more bathroom stop, it was time to head over to the swim start. I really wanted to make sure I got a decent warm up in – I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not good at it, mostly because it’s crowded (bigger issue) or that not many people are doing it. I decided that I was willing to be the only one who warmed up. So I did as much as I could. The water was so crystal clear, and SO warm (73), especially compared to the air (53- brrrrrr). As always, before we knew it, it was time to line up and get the party started. Before we got fully lined up, I saw Kim and her mom again. Her mom reminded/asked that the goal of today was to have fun, I quickly nodded, unsure what to expect for the day.

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Swim: 2100 yds – 36:59, (Actual 2,120 yds – 36:25, 1:43/100yds.), 14th F, 6th AG * PR

As we were lined up, I reminded myself that I needed to get out hard and find fast feet. Well as soon as the horn blew, I got shut out and then just focused on finding feet. I’m not happy about this, but during the swim I realized that I’m not comfortable with being uncomfortable in the water. Now that I know, I have something to work on and a goal to change it.

I found some feet rather quickly, then saw Kim. Apparently there was a little group of us swimming together. There wasn’t many buoys to sight, but it was clear and I just trusted the feet in front of me. It seemed like we were swimming forever until we got to the first turn buoy, but then things moved a little faster. I tried to push the last half of the race, which was in return slower than the first half, go figure. I had no feet. When I got to land, I just focused on remembering what to do when I got to my bike.

Bike: 56 miles – 2:49.10: 19.9mph, (56 miles – 2:47.15, 20mph), 3rd F, 1st AG * PR

Once in transition, (remember it was 53 degrees?) I dried my arms off, threw on my Coeur Sports Zele Top, put my helmet on, grabbed my sunnies, and off Timmy and I were! I had overheard yesterday that there was a long gradual hill out of town. Not knowing where I was in the race, I just settled in and started drinking and eating. It was chilly on the bike, but no where NEAR IMLP in 2014 during the thunderstorm so I just stayed focused and kept chugging away. The coldness of the morning was a weird feeling, my skin was numb (and toes and fingers) but my body was warm.. if that makes sense. Oh and that gradual uphill? It was nothing compared to IMLP or some of the hills in Ithaca.

I didn’t drive the course before hand, so it was kind of exciting to see how it all unfolded. It was a great bike course. Lots of rollers and straight-aways. I won’t lie, my favorite part of the course was where you ride around another lake. I couldn’t help but just smile. Oh, Adirondacks, I love you.

On the data front: I was a little nervous as my HR was so low and I was pushing harder than the ‘planned’ watts but I was racing at the effort I felt for a half ironman. Also, a huge shout out to Cobb Cycling for helping me find a new saddle. My new V Flow Max was perfect and I was able to do what I needed to do.. if you catch my drift.

As we made the descent back in town, I was ready to see what I had left in my legs. I was a little nervous as about watts I was seeing, but if I’ve learned anything from triathlon: bike legs and run legs are VERY different.

Run: 1:30.13, (12 miles – 7:30/mi),  1st F, 1st AG.

Back in transition, I made a note of how many bikes were left (not many!) and grabbed my run stuff. It was time to see where I was in the race and make it hurt.

I started running and saw none other than Katherine! She was going nuts and I was SO confused as to who was cheering for me (Thank you Katherine!!). Again, not knowing the run course, it was kind of exciting. I was trying to follow my race plan, but I felt SO good. I just wanted to go. Around mile 2, I saw Paul who told me I was 4th woman, about 5 minutes back and it was time to go chase people. At the first turn around I saw the 3rd place woman and took note that she was about 2 minutes ahead of me. I really needed to maintain composure and reminded myself that it was 13.1 miles, not 5.

Next we were heading to the long out and back, before we do the small loop (which consists of the short out and back you in the first part of the race). I kept reminding myself to be patient, be a runner, take my nutrition and get the fluids down. At mile 3 (I think?), I saw Paul’s wife and daughter which put a smile on my face. Then we went down, down, down to the turn around. I saw Jared – correction, Jared saw me at about mile 4 which put a smile on my face. The turn around wasn’t too far after that and I saw the first and second woman, with first being about 4 minutes ahead.

At the turn around, I was reminding myself about hydrating, eating and being patient. The way back up wasn’t as bad as I had feared on the way down, there was basically no hill back up. I was excited, I knew how I was feeling and it was giving me more confidence. Not to mention, other athletes in the race were cheering for me too. It was amazing all I could do was smile.

At mile 6, I just couldn’t hold back anymore and caught the woman in second place. As I ran by, I made sure to make the move strong and assertive, but I wanted to hunt down 1st, I wanted to make it hurt. So I wasn’t done. I focused on what I could control, my brain, only positive thoughts and to keep moving.

Slowly the miles started to tick away, we ended up back near transition and out the way we started for the ‘smaller’ out and back. I remember thinking ‘what if’ and not doubting myself. Up that stinking hill again to the out and back, Jared yelled to me that the first woman was only a minute ahead. I saw her before I got to the turn around. I gave the last miles everything I had but came up short. Later I found out she was in the wave behind me, so even if I did catch her, it wouldn’t have mattered. I was happy I didn’t know that, ha. It enabled me to really dig deep and believe in myself.

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Second OA Female

I was on a high from this race for a while. I had SUCH a great time. I can’t thank the community of Lake George enough, it was a wonderful venue, it was so welcoming and I felt at home. A huge thanks to Paul, the volunteers (including his family) and again the community of Lake George. A huge thanks to everyone who wished me luck, sent messages, and helps me on a regular basis. Once more race for the 2016 season: Ironman Arizona in November! But first: a move, a few trips, and another move!

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Until next time Lake George!