I was excited to race Raleigh 70.3. Looked like it was going to be great weather for racing and training had been going well. After not being able to finish my last 70.3 in New Orleans because of mechanical issues on the bike, this was my second 70.3 attempt this year.
This race is very inconvenient because the swim start is about 45 min from the second transition and the finish line. There is no parking at the swim start so everyone has to get on a shuttle for the 45 min ride to swim start on race morning. This required me to get up before 4 am, since I would be one of the first waves. I got on a shuttle around 4:30 and arrived at the swim start/bike transition with time to set up transition, warm up and be ready for swim start. The lake water was very warm (they said it was 75.6, which felt more like 80 degrees) but it was wetsuit legal, if everyone else is wearing full wetsuits I better put mine on too. While warming up for the swim I felt really hot in my wetsuit but nothing you can do about it at that point.
Swim started and I found some feet to draft for a couple hundred yards but they began to pull away and I couldn't stay with them any longer. I could tell there was another group behind me and figured if they caught up to me I could swim with them. The farther I swam the hotter I got. I was feeling light headed and began to wonder if I was going to make it through this swim. I felt like I was on fire. I stopped a couple times to let water into my wetsuit. It helped temporarily. With about 500 yards left a few girls who were swimming behind me began to pass me. I felt so hot and weak by this time I wasn't sure if I would even be able to stay with them. I ended up exiting the swim with 3-4 other girls, I immediately starting taking off my wet suit. Whew!! I was glad that was over.
I got on my bike and didn't feel well. Felt like I had been sitting in a hot tub the last 30 minutes! There was a hill the first couple miles out of transition so I took it easy, drank some water and tried to get my legs warmed up on the bike. I could see a couple girls up the road, figured I could catch them within a couple of miles. Over a hill, there was an intersection with cones and a police car. I didn't see anyone ahead of me so thought they must have turned there. I was still kind of out of it from the swim. I turned and went flying down a hill but still didn't see anyone in front. I went around a couple more corners but nothing. Then I began to think, maybe I wasn't supposed to turn. There were people at the corner and no one said anything. After a couple minutes of questioning myself I turned around. At that point someone from Ironman had driven out to let me know I took a wrong turn. :( I tried not to get too upset about it. I just gave away about 5-8 minutes. You can't really recover from that on the bike with this group. I got back on course and tried to forget about it but I couldn't. It was a hilly course and was mostly in one direction, the wind was not in our favor today. I went 20, 30, 40 miles without seeing anyone. Many times I questioned if I was on the right roads then I would see some sign reassuring me I was. I have never biked 45 miles in a race without seeing another cyclist. That's what happens when you take a detour! :( I did finally pass another girl on the bike and had a couple guys from the wave behind me pass, at that point I at least had someone I could see so I didn't have to think about which way the course went.
I was happy to get off the bike when I arrived in Raleigh. That one was tough.
I started out on the run which went through the city and up some hills. It was such a nice day to run and Raleigh is a beautiful city. After about 6 miles of running I started to have fun and enjoy the race (took long enough!) I was still quite frustrated finishing in 14th place, but the bad races make the good races better. I'll just learn from it and move on...