April has been a busy month for me, besides work and training, I have had a race every weekend the passed three weeks. It has been fun but has left me a little tired. This week I am focusing on recovering and getting ready for next month.
The first race I did this month was Escape From Fort Desoto. It was a sprint triathlon (1/2 mile swim, 10 mile bike ride and 3.6 mile run) and is local. There are a few triathlons each year at Ft. Desoto and as a teenager these were some of my first triathlons I competed in. They are fun and bring out some good local competition. This year they had a Elite/Pro wave. The conditions were great. Very little wind on the bike and the Gulf was calm. I felt good at this race and won overall female and my good friend Nick Chase won overall male. It was great to see a lot of teammates and familiar faces.
The following weekend I went to New Orleans for the New Orleans 70.3 ironman. This race is usually hot and windy. I heard New Orleans had been having some bad weather with lots of rain and possible flooding so I was hoping the race would go on as planned. Fourtunatly, it stopped raining race morning which left us with some hot and muggy weather when the sun came out.
Since Ironman has taken pros/ prize money from 11 events this year, it has seemed to make each race have a much larger pro start list. This race seemed to be larger than last year.
The temperatures were warm and the water had been in the mid 70's the day before the race but they said the temp had dropped by race morning and we were allowed to wear wetsuits. Always a plus to get to put the suit on! I decided on my sleeveless Xterra wetsuit so I wouldn't chance getting too hot in the full wetsuit. I had a good start, the swim was a N shape and we had a slight current in two directions which helped make it a fairly fast swim. I got out of the water in a good mix of girls in about 10th place.
Starting out on the bike there was a strong tailwind. I kept thinking how the way back wasn't going to be as fun! It was a very windy ride but it's flat and there are two turn arounds where you can see who is ahead or behind you. I didn't feel as fresh on the bike as I was hoping, it was very humid and I went through both of my water bottles before the 2nd water stop. I managed to grab a water through the 2nd water stop and soon that was gone as well. By the time I reached the 3rd water stop I felt like I really needed some water. Unfortunately I did not get a water bottle thru that stop. I tried but I was still going a little too fast and knocked it down instead of hanging onto it. I had 8 miles left on the ride, which was into a strong head wind, making it a very long 8 miles and all I could think about was how much I really wanted some water! ( lesson learned ...next race I will be bringing 3 water bottles with me). Right before transition you go up a ramp which was much more fun coming down the other side with the tailwind! Around the corner is dismount so you have to be ready to slow down!
I racked my bike and began the run. I wasn't feeling very good on the first mile, usually I feel much better starting out on the run. I stopped at the first water stop at mile one and drank water and gatorade. I wanted to drink everything! The start of mile 2 was a bridge which was a bigger hill than I remembered. I started to think this is going to be a long half marathon. Running along the lake there was a strong headwind, there wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was a hot day. I was really struggling and I stopped through every aid station (they had one every mile). I finally made it to the turn around passed 6.5 miles and was out of the headwind. I began feeling worse, took a gel, drank some coke, anything that would give me a little more energy. The finish line was a welcoming site! It was not a good run for me but I think a lot of people struggled though the hot/windy conditions. I finished in 12th place (4:39).
The following week, after a couple days, I didn't feel too bad, had a couple good workouts and was not sure what to expect doing a Olympic distance race the weekend after a 70.3. St. Anthony's is a very competitive Olympic distance race. It is in my hometown and a race I do every year. I didn't want to skip it so I decided to take a chance and see what I could do. The week went by very fast and before I knew it, it was race day!
It looked like Sunday was going to be very windy and warm. I was prepared for a rough swim, which is typical for this race. It was choppy and against the current and we were not allowed to wear wetsuits. I had a decent swim start and got through the choppy water. I was 7th out of the water.
A couple miles into the bike, my legs felt pretty dead. I didn't do very well but came off the bike in 6th place. When I started the run I felt much worse. I had no energy, no speed, I was exhausted. I've never wanted to quite a race so bad. At the turn around I saw another girl coming up behind me. I knew I was in 8th place. I somehow managed to finish the run before being passed. I was happy to make the podium but not happy with my race.
I have learned a few things this month which will help me in the races to come.
My younger sister was in town from OR for her wedding. My brother-in law was competing in a relay at St. Anthony's as well. My sister was getting married in the afternoon so it ended up being a great day celebrating their wedding that evening and spending time with family and friends.