This past weekend was my first 70.3 Ironman event and 2nd half. I was super excited to have a big race only a few hours away in Sonoma. We got to swim in the Russian River, bike through wine country and run on a challenging hilly course.
Unfortunately, my race did not end up how I thought it would at all. Leading up to the race, I felt good and strong. I made sure I was eating well, getting lots of sleep and paying attention to all the other small details that goes into training and racing preparation. I was, however, really nervous the morning of and didn’t eat much breakfast. Being new to ironman, my naivety was about to show. Unbeknownst to me, I burned all of the energy from my mini breakfast and then some.
The swim was a deep water start and 1.2 miles up and down the super shallow Russian River. It was an awesome feeling to toe the line with such a stacked women’s field.
When the gun went off, I put my head down and swam hard. I knew there were a bunch of really strong swimmers in the field so making sure I got on their feet was crucial. As we approached the turn around point, I started to experience muscle fatigue in my arms and could no longer hang with the lead pack. I found myself struggling and swimming solo for the second half of the swim. I exited the water in 6th place about 30 sec back from the leaders in 24:46
This was the most disappointing part of my race. As soon as I got on the bike something felt very wrong. My glutes immediately burned with each pedal stroke and couldn’t get any power from my legs. I rested a fair amount so it didn’t make sense as to why I was feeling like this. I didn’t realize how detrimental a lack of pre race calories would affect my overall performance. The muscle burn continued to get worse, what is my deal? I groaned and continued to push through. I tried to catch up on calories but was burning more than I could consume. The thought of catching the lead pack was quickly fading. Then, I started to get passed like I was standing still! All the pro women were not only catching me but making me look foolish. I didn’t know what was going on but I wouldn’t give up. My mind was in a rough place for most of the ride and got to T2 about 25 min slower than planned mentally drained and running on fumes.
I put my running shoes, race belt and my pink trucker hat on anyways and decided to give it a shot. I thought back to a year ago when I was in the hospital thinking that I would never get to race again. I was healthy and wasn’t going to allow this race to defeat me and unless I couldn’t walk, DNF was not going to be posted next to my name on the results list.
I ended up walking most of the run but was determined to get to the finish. It was all I could do to put one foot in front of the other. I put down Gu and drank at every aid station but my legs wouldn’t allow me to run longer than short bursts being so fatigued.
As much as this race hurt my pride, I actually learned some valuable lessons. My next race will be the Lake Stevens 70.3 in Washington State where I will put my new learned lessons to work. I am even more motivated now to compete amongst the best and prove myself as a top level pro.
Thank you to my sponsors for still believing in me! Freeplay Magazine, Core Motion Athletics, Gray Wheels, Huub Wetsuits, Salming Running, Fluid Nutrition, Finis, Natures Bakery, Temple Coffee, Swift Carbon Bikes, Rudy Project USA.