That quote pretty much sums up both races – heading into Pumpkinman 70.3 I had no expectations but was seriously just hoping things would play out and I’d get some confidence heading into the last build before IMLV. We headed up on Friday night (D was racing both days) and stayed in this cute cottage not far from the ocean in Ogonquit, Maine. Saturday AM we were up and out the door for the Sprint race of the weekend. I had the pleasure of playing sherpa/spectating as D and friends raced. After chatting, cheering and hugs, I got my workouts done and we headed back to relax for the rest of the night.
Race morning came after a SUPER great night of sleep and for once breakfast was easy to get down, as was my AM coffee. That was short lived, however, because as soon as we started driving I was really nauseous – to the point of almost making D pull over. Once at the venue, though, things were smooth. Bike racking was a little tight but we made due, and as I was exiting transition to hit the loo one more time, another racer commented on my braids and asked if I could do a braid for her. I did, which reminded me of how calming it was when I did my teammates’ hair in college. Her smile was all I needed to give me an added sense of calmness as she wished me good luck. I did miss the loo but it turned out to be ok 😉
Swim: 34:30 (1:39/100) * PR
There was a delay for fog and as the air temperature was so cold, I opted for a dry land WU with Kait, who was a champ for racing both days and WON both days, not bad for a weekend! 😉 Not too much longer we were shuttled into the starting corral and entered the water. I had a great start, pushed hard from the beginning directly into the sun, following the bubbles in front of me. The swim course was two loops (then two smaller loops for the OLY), about half way through the first loop I was pushing hard, then lost the feet I was on. This may be the first swim where I was ENJOYING swimming, not sure why I really was happy in the pond. I kept trying to press the rest of the way and before I knew it we were closing in on swim out. I was so excited about my PR swim and trying to get up the HUGE hill to transition I forgot to split my watch for a while. Once out of my wetsuit, up the hill I went in search for my bike.
Bike: 2:40.54 (20.9 mph)
The bike was pretty uneventful – I was a little nervous getting on my bike soaking wet, but reminded myself that I’ve been in cold conditions before. Surprisingly my HR was exactly where it should be despite the cold start (53 degrees). The bike was a lot of me eating, drinking, and trying to keep my head in the game. I was happy to be racing, but with the fewer numbers of a smaller race and the roads having constant curves, I felt really alone. The course is like a lollipop with two circles at the end and in the middle of the first loop, I saw a drink maple kit – I was SO happy to see Kate. I’m sure I looked like a crazy lady biking up next to you, Kate, with a huge smile on my face but I was happy to see someone I knew haha. The other memory I had from the bike was dealing with my Xlab torpedo. I bit too hard on the straw and a piece came and got stuck in my throat. I tried coughing, but alas just swallowed and kept riding. I figured it would end up ok (and it did). I made my way back to transition and prepared for the run.
Run: 1:36.05 (7:21/mi) *PR
Heading out of transition for the run, I was pretty happy. I knew my running had been going well and I was ready to see where I was in the race – and see how D’s race was turning out. The first few miles are one way, before two shorter out and backs. A shout out to the volunteers – They were super helpful and supportive the entire race. At mile 3 – I saw D and he was looking good, in 2nd place, yelling at me about how someone cut the course. At mile 4 I saw Kait – with the lead biker, and then I could see the women after, which led me to believe I was first woman off the bike in my wave and 4th female overall (Elite’s had a 5-6 min head start). I was running quick in my zones and kept my head down focusing on each mile. Just before the turn around I could see the 2nd and 3rd place women (from the elite wave) ahead of me, and made moves around them. I was thinking about how perfect of a day it was and if I kept moving, I’d not only finish with a swim PR, but a run PR and potential overall 70.3 PR. At the turn around I noticed an E3 athlete and encouraged her to catch the two women behind me. Then I realized I had to try to put some more space between us. I kept trying to check in at certain points but Kristin was running a fantastic split and caught me at mile 11 (or 10). I was working hard to keep the gap close, but my legs had nothing left to give. Everything hurt so much. Before long, I was heading up the last big hill, around a few curves, then running downhill (in the grass – OUCH) towards the finish, with a bright shiny new Swim, Run and OVERALL PR’s. Not to mention third woman OA. What a day.
I could hardly walk after the race, but I didn’t care (and skipped that dreaded post 70.3 run). I was so elated to have had such a great race off a really great build. We chatted with friends, relaxed a bit and had a FANTASTIC turkey dinner (CANNOT WAIT FOR THANKSGIVING) before we headed back home. This was a wonderful event, and I cannot wait to come back.
Overall: 4:55.50 – 3rd Female OA, 22 Overall
Hogsback Half 13.1 – 1:28.32 (6:43/mi)
THENNNNN a few weeks later (like last weekend) D and I traveled to CT to do a half marathon. First – it is SO much easier to not travel with bikes – wetsuits – nutrition – trainer- and everything triathlon related, but oh well. We stayed in this adorable bed and breakfast about 10 minutes from the race start.
Also – local races people – there’s no huge issue getting your stuff for the race, the race directors are genuinely excited (and most are volunteers) and things run smoothly. We arrived 45 min before the start, got our packets, said hi to the race directors (Hi Kelly and Ryan) a short warm up in, and off to the start line.
Kelly introduced me to the lead bike for the women (Who was just fabulous) and one of the Oiselle Birds, Michaela, as we were both shooting to go sub 90. When the gun went off, I went into auto pilot and let me body take over. The first four miles were all pretty downhill so I stayed relaxed and just rolled with the terrain. At mile three, the eventual winner passed me (Good luck at Hartford!) and I tried to keep her within eye sight but then reminded myself that there was 13.1 miles, not 6.2 and settled into my own rhythm. This was perfect as it was on the country roads I miss so much, but also a great test of will and determination. At halfway, I thought about how it was a road PR and would have been content with the finish there as the rest of the race is spent climbing back up from the start. Fortunately for me, the course was rolling. I started catching the early starters around mile 7, and to my benefit they gave me something to focus on. With two miles to go, I kept reminding myself that I could do anything for 15 minutes while waiting for the final hill. This is also when one of the men started catching me. First, I didn’t care, then I got competitive and DID care and carried that with me to the finish.
I can’t remember when I did just a running race – this was a great day and I had so much fun. A huge thanks to Kelly and Ryan for letting us come race this wonderful little event.
As always, thanks to Coeur Sports, BTS Nutrition, Drink Maple and Honey Stinger for keeping me comfortable, hydrated, and fueled. A bigger thanks to my family and friends for their continued support and understanding while I chase these crazy dreams. Next up: Ironman Louisville!