A couple years ago I raced Raleigh 70.3, due to some navigational errors on my part, I didn't have great results but I decided to try this race again this year. It is a drivable distance from where I live and it usually has a competitive field, with $50,000 split between men/women top 8.
This race has split transitions, on Saturday I had to drop off my bike at T1 which is a 45 minute drive from T2. I also had the pro meeting at 3. It made Saturday a busy one! I woke up and jogged a few miles of the run course, then rode a little of the bike course before I dropped off my bike. It was incredibly hot on Saturday and just a 20 minute ride had me soaked in sweat. I took some air out of my tires and reluctantly left my bike, knowing it was suppose to storm that night.
Saturday night I tried to get to sleep early since I would have to get up earlier than I typically do at most races, I still had to drop my shoes off at T2 and catch an early shuttle to the swim start. The shuttles started at 4am. That night I could not sleep. I kept thinking about the race and everything under the sun. I was awake for hours. I pry slept for about 4 hours but it has happened before, I've had good races and workouts after nights I couldn't sleep. I wasnt worried.
After setting up transition I had to drop off the morning clothes bag that I stuffed my transition bag in, finally I had everything done and was ready to go!
The water temperature was over 81 degrees, no wetsuits for anyone today. I broke a sweat just putting on my Xterra speed suit! We started 8 minutes after the pro men.
I had a good start, a lot of girls all over me, grabbing my feet and swimming into me but that's alright because it meant I was with a group of girls and finding a draft is always good. The only time touching a strangers feet is perfectly alright!
After the first turn the water was pretty choppy. Two girls started to pull away, It seemed like we were a little far out from the buoys but everyone was swimming far out and drafting would be much better than swimming alone on the buoy line! The last 600-700 yards I made an attempt to catch the two girls ahead of us, I could tell everyone else was still behind me.
I was getting very warm in the water and was looking forward to getting out. I was 6th out of the swim with a few girls following closely behind. 7th out of transition. I had a good transition & starting out on the bike, there was a short out and back, within the first 5 miles I could see where everyone was. I was excited to be in a good position. I stayed conservative in the first few miles of the bike knowing it was very humid, hot and the first 5 miles was mostly uphill. Within that first 5 miles I did pass a girl and could see another cyclist in front of me.
I made sure I was staying hydrated and taking in calories. By 20 miles I caught up to the cyclist in front of me. Since the officials were hanging out with us for about 20 min I was careful to stay 12 meters back. I kept looking for the right time to pass but It was hilly at this section and she was still riding a decent pace I would have to wait to pass. Finally there was a long stretch that was somewhat flat, I was sure I could complete the pass in 25 seconds, the officials were still with us. The next 10 miles we're pretty lonely. No one in sight. Eventually I heard the officials again and knew there was a few girls behind me getting ready to pass. The officials don't just follow you for no reason! I realized my power was really fading, I was drenched in sweat, picked up some water at the aid station. I had drank everything I had and picked up another bottle at the last water stop. I poured some of the water on me to cool me down. The officials were still following me and then I started to get passed. First one girl, then another, I had to drop back, It was a little frustrating. Before the end of the ride another girl passed. I was now in 8th place, still a podium spot! I needed to have a good run. I Put on my running shoes and started out on the run. It was supposed to rain in the afternoon but instead the sun was coming out. I was passed by three more girls by the time I reached the 5k point. It was a little heartbreaking watching it get away from me like that. It wasn't that I was running really slow, I was just spending way too much time at each aid station. I wanted water, ice, then ice with water, cola with ice...do I have to leave? Can I just jump in the ice bucket?!
My stomach didn't feel great so I avoided taking my gels, i had some salt which helped but I have to say I pretty much went down in flames! I was feeling a bit out of it, got chills and it took everything I had to keep running forward and make it to the finish line. I finished in 12th place.
I have a month to put in some solid training ...in the heat!
Thanks again to everyone for the support, to Epix Gear Xterra, ISM, Flying Fish Bike and of course my fiancé for taking the long road trip with me!