“Someday everything will make perfect sense. So, for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” –Unknown
So, truth be told, I don’t really want to write this race report, but it’s time to get it out and completely move on. One of the biggest reasons I chose to go race Syracuse 70.3 was to give myself another opportunity of getting a 70.3 Worlds Slot. I’m not a HUGE fan of chasing something, but I didn’t want to keep having the what ifs… so we chose to go for it. The other big reason, seeing my family and some of my Ithaca friends and getting to see some of my athletes.
We rolled out of MA/NH at a decent hour and hardly hit any traffic, arrived at my Mom’s around 7:00PM, we all got dinner to go and my brother, his girlfriend and my niece were there in addition to my mom and Pippy as the welcoming committee J The next morning consisted of swimming at my fav Y (the bville Y that the pool is a reasonable temp and it’s NEVER crowded), then carb loading and heading to the race venue to drop of Benny. At the venue, I learned how warm the water was (a WHOOPING 72 degrees) and ran into my athlete Will. As we were heading home, I see what looks like a Coeur teammate running down the road, sure enough it was Amy and she was laughing hysterically about something. We pulled over and I grabbed a few photos and laughed along (Sorry Ruby). Once home, it was feet up and full of snuggles between Pippy and my mom!
Race morning came quick but somehow, I was asleep by 7:45PM and slept through to 4:15. A SOLID 8.5 hours! That’s better than most days during the week! I quickly got around, got my breakfast in, still couldn’t drink coffee and we were out the door at 4:45. Normally I’m not a fan of arriving so early to the race venue, but there’s really only one road to get into the park and I HATE sitting in traffic. We arrived at the park and made our way to transition.
Once my stuff was set up, my mom and I headed to the porta johns where we ran into Joe and Marc, which is where we stayed until the start of the race. Eventually #hotmessmom and one of my best gf’s Alex made it with my BBF Wolfie and John. Side note: I never really know how I’m going to act on race morning – like anxious and not talkative, relaxed and chatty or just want to sit there in silence. It’s one of the things I really don’t like ha, but fortunately my support crew gets it. This AM, I was pretty chatty and saw one of my athletes, Dee (who was supporting her husband this race), my good friend Kim (& family), and my Coeur Sports teammate Rebecca.
Swim: 37:21 (1:41/100yds)
Eventually it was time to warm up, only that they were forcing people to leave the WU area as it was close. So, there goes that plan. I worked my shoulders and tried to get myself warm in my wetsuit. As we lined up in the water, I was feeling relaxed and ready to go, when the cannon went off, I was ready. I found feet and we started the day.
This was the first time I felt motivated and good in the water, I was focused on my form, breathing and trying to keep moving forward. About 6 buoys out, I started to feel the WIND we were having as I was getting thrown forward and tried hard not to think about how coming back would feel as it’s more exposed. Made it to the first turn buoy fairly quickly (must be all those 4k swims in the pool) and had passed a lot of people from previous waves. Swimming across to the next turn buoy, I focused on maintaining my line and not getting a mouth full of water (which happened anyways).
As we passed the second turn buoy, I tried hard to find some decent feet to help pull me back in but no matter what I had to dodge slower swimmers and was getting thrown left and right. I buckled down and really focused on my form.
Back on shore, I was really upset when I saw my swim time. I have worked really hard in the pool this year, took 12 seconds off my 200 time and haven’t had the swim to prove it. I really felt good mentally about this swim and I just had a heavy heart seeing 37 minutes on my watch, but I brushed it off and was ready to see what I could do on the bike.
**I finally looked at my splits (literally just now) and they’re kind of interesting. I actually did have my best start – first 500 at 1:35 pace without the wind at that point. So, feeling a little better about my swim now, haha.
Bike: 3:10.58 (17.6 mph)
I really love my BMC, and I was excited to see how much improvement I could have on this course compared to last year. Rolled out of transition and was frustrated I couldn’t get my new (awesome) Smith Podium TT helmet to sit right. Eventually I got it and settled in. Heading up Sweet Rd was insane, not only is the first 14 miles of this bike course climbing, but we were straight into a STRONG headwind. I reminded myself I couldn’t control the weather and focused on getting up the hills as quickly as possible without completely killing my legs. I also thought about how windy AZ was last year and reminded myself it would be ok.
However, it turned out to be my darkest bike to date. At the top of sweet road, it took me an HOUR to go 14.5 miles. It was 6 miles slower than my first hour at Chatt 70.3. I thought about just riding back to transition and grabbing my mom and D and heading to Dinosaur BBQ. I wasn’t having fun and I didn’t want to race anymore. I quickly tried to dismiss it, reminded myself what D told me about the wind, and prayed the other women in my AG felt the same way. I may have quit triathlon 4-5x on this bike course, even stating I didn’t care that I had a brand-new bike this year (but we made up). I also envisioned being out on the Queen K and thinking it had to be somewhat close to that, we had some nasty crosswinds and I was really worried I wouldn’t keep it rubber side down. I often thought about Alex, she’s been improving her outlook on the bike so much and I was worried she’d hate it again after this ride (fortunately she didn’t!!).
I really love the loop around Deruyter Lake and this is also where I remembered I had a 100mg Chocolate Cherry Gel, which I continued to down as fast as humanly possible hoping that would help. Turns out it did. My mood was instantly a little lighter and I tried to buckle down and finish strong. Well, it was probably the combo of the gel and realizing I was at least close to 20mph again with the wind. This is also about the time I couldn’t choke any more food down. I was having ‘those’ burps and was paranoid about losing everything. I knew it was hot out, so I forced myself to drink more, thinking it would help dehydration and with the missed food calories (this was a first time EVER occurrence for me).
About 12 miles from the finish, I saw my Coeur Sports teammate Olivia, which was a welcome sight. She’s a great cyclist and racer. About 3 miles from the finish, there’s a small curve with a timing mat clocking our speed, we aren’t allowed to go over 25 mpg. I forgot to put speed on my computer (which was still a good decision with the wind), I based myself off this gentleman who was going really slow, then booked it home.
Run 1:56.35 (8:53/mi)
I had a pretty good T2, and headed out of the run. At the corner about a half mile from T2/the finish line is where B. Jackson stood for my last 3 Syracuse 70.3s. A bunch of people stood there in his honor and wrote all his sayings on the road. I cried, not only did I cry once, I cried every time I passed it, which is 4 times.
HR was ok and I was feeling ok – until about mile 4. I was double fisting all the fluids, and ice EVERYWHERE. I got my first gel down and that was enough ha. Then proceeded the death march – I was nauseous on every uphill and downhill, which is pretty much the whole course. I saw Noga and Amy, cheered for them, yelled at Amy to not step on my gel (it fell out on an out and back and I wanted to not waste it). At the end of the first loop, I was so ready to be done. It was stupid, everything was, I yelled at my mom (sorry Mom), I was mad D wasn’t there to tell me what to do, I didn’t care about finishing.
Alas, D was nowhere to be found and I couldn’t pull myself off the course, so I headed to continue my death march. Still pushing fluids down, walking through aid stations, thinking of all the things B. Jackson would say to me and trying to keep the tears at bay. Thought about the puke and rally many times, but just wasn’t sure what would be better: keeping it down, or letting it out. I decided to try to keep it down. Finally, in the last mile, I saw D and just lost it when he said I was doing fine. Fortunately, I couldn’t get any words out, otherwise they wouldn’t have been nice.
I was about 50m from the finish line, and looked over at someone saying my name, it was my dear friend Liz. She came up to see us race and I COMPLETELY lost it. I’m bib 1436 if you want to see those ugly finish pics hahaha.
Post-race: They brought me to this amazing sprinkler, where I just sat there, in the cold, refreshing water. Then I chatted with Liz, my Mom, D, John and Wolfie, caught up with my Coeur Sports teammates, Amy, Noga, and Olivia. Cheered Alex to the finish; stopped by the Meta massage tent to say hey to Tiffany and John and caught up with Kim.
I sent my mom on her way (always a rough time), and made my way back to the finish line, where I came across the Brendan Jackson corner, with people still there, I shared my story, ugly crying and all. His legacy will always live on and he’ll always be with me.
We stuck around for awards and slot allocation where our friend/D’s athlete Lynn got a slot and I missed out again, and then made our way back to MA, but first – we hit Wegmans for dinner.
While this is my slowest 70.3 to date, I left with a very, very full heart and feeling so loved. It’s easy to be happy on the days that go right, it’s easy to relive those days, and this was not one of those days. This day hurt in more ways than one.
This past week, I’m happy to say I fell back in love with training. I did what I wanted, which included 4 days of yoga (Jasyoga FTW), I road my bike twice, ran twice and even swam twice. The first day I road, it was a beautiful day and I was smiling. The first day I ran, I almost quit after a mile, but it turned out to be just what I needed. The first day I swam (I was proud for even going), I raced two kids with kickboards. Each day brought a smile to my face. The second day I road, I went 90 miles with my girlfriend and Coeur Sports teammate Meaghan. The second day I ran, I was so happy to be in the sunshine and the second day I swam it felt good to be in the water (also caught up with a friend). I also drank a lot of beer, ate carbs outside the window 😉 and didn’t follow my diet to a T. This week I’m ready to get back to training, following my diet, but still drinking beer.
I can’t thank my support crew enough, for picking me up on days like today, and cheering with me when things go right. A big shout out to Coeur Sports and my teammates, you guys got me through this race. Thanks to BT nutrition and drink maple for keeping my hydrated (drink maple NEVER tasted so good post-race). Honey stinger for fueling me – and getting me through that 90-mile ride. To friends and family afar for the love, support and thinking of me. Here’s to the next one, but first – a weekend one of my favorite places, Lake Placid.