It feels like it has been a long time since I raced a 70.3. I was supposed to race Indian Wells in December but was injured and unable to compete. I was also planning to race Pucon 70.3 in January but had to miss that one as well.
Since my injury it has been a process getting back to running. My calf healed without a problem but I continued to have hip and knee issues. I have spent some time doing Physical Therapy at Tampa Sports Academy and lots of work in the gym to strengthen my hips. I had to slowly work my way back into running starting with 20-30 min runs every other day. Running too far too soon would irritate my hip. I finally got very comfortable with 60 min runs and slowly progressed from there. I only had a few long runs before this race. I was unsure how the run would go. I have been swimming and biking a lot and was very excited to race!
Getting to Peru was pretty easy from FL, there is a direct flight from Orlando so the trip wasn’t bad. We did get delayed and didn’t end up arriving until Thursday around 3am.
The first day we walked around a bit, went to the beach, I went for a swim and a short run.
One thing that was really different for me here was the driving. The way the roads are set up, no stop signs, constant horn honking. We did not have a car but all the Uber rides were an experience! Sweaty hands for me!
Also, the dogs that roamed the streets were interesting. They just casually walked around, going on walks by themselves, not bothering anyone, they would even wander into the grocery store and be sleeping on the street corners. I wanted to take some home with me! :)
The day before the race was busy, as usual. Our pro meeting was at 2:00pm then I had to make sure everything was packed up and ready for race morning. I had dinner and relaxed. I slept pretty good besides all the horns and car alarms going off all night and dogs barking. Very noisy place and it seemed like Saturday night was one of the most lively. People were still out on the streets when we headed to the race.
Race started at 6:30am and transition closed at 6am. It was a 4am alarm, Sunday morning. The main road was closed since the race was taking place there. We had a bit of a walk downhill to get to transition. After setting up transition I went for a short run then headed to swim start.
The water was 65 degrees, we were allowed to wear wetsuits. The swim start was a beach run in for the pro men & women. There were a lot of spectators. It was hard for the race directors to clear an area for us to start.
The swim was straight out 900 meters, across 200 and back in 900. On the way out it felt like it was against the current. Salt water swims are my favorite and I felt right at home. Loved the cool water. There were two girls ahead of me in the swim and one passed me towards the end but I swam alone. Not ideal but I had a good swim, out of the water in 4th place mid 27 min.
The bike course was 4 loops on a 3 lane highway. The entire road closed to cars. It was pretty cool having the whole road to ourselves! There were quite a few rumble strips along the road. Thankfully they covered them in the first lane, it became a little clustered in those areas after the 2nd loop when all the age group athletes were on the bike course, but it worked out well with all three lanes. The road was mostly flat except for two hills each loop. They were short and punchy like Florida’s hills!
My bike ride went well, fastest bike split for me so far (2:19)! This bike course was similar to what I train on at home. Along the course there were beautiful views of the coast, big waves and lots of surfers... but you had to really stay focused on the road, some surprise holes and lots of rumble strips to dodge! I almost hit a few holes. After the first couple laps you know where all the holes are and where to ride. I came off the bike in 6th place.
On to the run it started off on some dirt terrain around transition then onto the boardwalk where there were lots of people cheering, lined up along the run course. It was warm during the run. I lost some of my nutrition including my salt so I had to go without it. First few miles I felt good. I did slow down through some aid stations to make sure I was staying hydrated. The 2nd loop did not come so easy. My legs were getting pretty tired by the last 3-4 miles, I was really pushing myself to keep up a decent pace. Maybe my lack of distance these past couple months. My legs felt pretty destroyed. The finish line was a welcoming sight! I finished in 5th place (4:24). I am so thankful to be able to get back to racing AND my hip didn’t bother me at all during the race or afterwards!
Thanks so much to my coach, Michael Lovato, who has kept me motivated, even through the months I couldn’t run and challenges me to go outside my comfort zone! While my run isn't where it needs to be yet, I know it will get there soon, I just need a little more time to work on it, injury free.
Im very happy with my first race of the season. I am planning on doing FL Gulf Coast 70.3 in Panama City, May 11th.
Thanks to everyone who pushes me to be better... Clearwater Masters swim group and swim coach Matt Hess, who kicks my ass 3 mornings a week. Also, AWOL performance strength sessions, getting me stronger!
Thanks to Flying Fish Bikes for keeping my bike in great shape, First Endurance keeping me fueled, ROKA helping me swimming faster and Epix Gear for the awesome kits I get to wear training and on race day!
As always, I very thankful for my husband who supports me and traveled with me to Peru, I couldn't do it without him!