Where do I start with this race report? I don't want to give you the blow by blow....for a 70.3...it would take me all night.
I think most of you know that I did this race because I lost a bet last year. Soma 70.3 was selected by my previous Coach. When I lost the bet, I immediately signed up....even though, my heart wasn't really in it.
BUT....I committed to doing the race cuz that's how I roll. I lost the bet. I held up my end of the bargain.
Let me say this: The training that Coach Liz had me do was the BEST training I've ever done for a 70.3.
And, there's more. A week ago, she sent me an almost 6 page email about specific recommendations for the week before, two days before, 1 day before and the day of my race.
All of the recommendations were things I'd never done and in some circumstances, never even heard of. Last week, I was sold. I bought into everything. I did everything she said.
She said, "No sweets or alcohol." I cut out all sweets. (I don't drink anyway, so that was a slam dunk).
She gave me specific dietary guidelines. I followed them to the best of my ability.
For the day of the race:
The swim: She told me to treat it like a warmup. If I wanted to build throughout the swim, that was fine, but ultimately I had to look at the swim as a warmup.
The swim at soma is a deep water start. It was complete chaos. Women took off like crazy fast. I thought, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?" Me? I just kept saying, "Warmup. Keep it easy." I knew that even going easy, this swim was going to be a PR.
And it was, I passed 3 and 4 (at least) waves in front of me. I didn't care where my AG'ers were. I was here for me. I got out of the water with a huge smile on my face. I was joking with the volunteers, and I yelled at Mr. Tea "Well THAT's the first PR of the day."
(I don't have any times for you because I'm unable to upload my garmin, but I think garmin shows a 1.36 mile swim in 37:XX. I have no idea what pace that was.)
I ran to T1. (By the way, I had one of THE best transition spots. I was at the very end....on the very end of the rack. The people around me were the NICEST triathletes I have ever met).
Liz was very careful about my bike plan. She repeatedly told me to be conservative on the bike because of the heat. Race day temps were supposed to be around 92. I was under strict instructions to not exceed 80% of FTP. She stressed over and over the importance of making sure I hit my fueling.
With that in mind, I head off on the bike. OH! While I was bobbing around in the water at the swim start, I talked to a women about the bike course. I asked, "Is the course as confusing as it seems?"
She gave me the BEST advice. She said, "Use the first loop to get familiar with the turns and uturns. Take the first loop easy. Then, the next two loops will be very easy."
Liz wanted me to take the first 30 minutes easy. The loop was about 18.5 miles....so what if I went easier for the entire first loop? I kept my watts at the low end of my range. Took the turns very conservatively, and felt great at the end of the first loop.
At that point, I started thinking, "I'm feeling really great. I mean spectacular. What if I go a little harder for this loop (and stay within my range)??? Yes. Let's do it."
I can't even explain how I felt on the bike. It was downright magical. Coach Liz told me that many age groupers lose focus at "these points". She said I'd hate the bike. She said that my legs would want to stop....that I wouldn't want to eat.....and I kept waiting for all of it....and none of it happened. I was smiling the entire time. I was talking to other athletes and volunteers....
I didn't want the bike to end.
When I got to the third loop, I thought, "What if I went a little bit harder?" At this point, I was catching and passing everyone and anyone. There were women who passed me at the very begining....I blew past them all like they were standing still. I went up the hills in aero the entire time when other people were standing.
I felt absolutely unreal. It was like it wasn't even me out there.
Every loop averaged 18.2 mph. I believe my garmin said my time was 3:04 for the 56 miles. (There's quite a bit of a run from dismount to the timing mat.)
When I got off the bike, I felt fantastic....no noodle legs....no cramping....no discomfort. I felt amazing.
I nailed the bike nutrition. I nailed the watts.
Now it was time for the run. I spent extra time in transition (again) as I reapplied the sunscreen. I grabbed all my gels. I took salt tablets. I put on socks (which I don't do for short distances).
All the while, I kept thinking, "Wow...I can't believe how good I feel".
Another little tidbit from Liz "lose the heart rate monitor,..don't wear it".
That might be the BEST advice I've ever gotten.
We had a pacing plan in place. I was doing really well with it. Then, I had a bathroom emergency somewhere around mile 7-8.....you know the kind.....the BAD kind.
I ran to a porta potty....open the door and immediately shut it. One of the race marshalls saw me, and I said, "FAHGEDABOUDIT" He laughed and said a mile up the road are real bathrooms. Ok....I can wait.
A quarter of a mile up the road, I need to go NOW. ON the bike course, I saw an out house. I made the decision to go off the run course and hit the bike porta potty....I mean NO ONE Ever uses those. I was right. Unfortunately, it was a delay that really slowed my average pace.
AFter that, I just couldn't get my average pace back up to where I wanted it. Granted, I also wasn't giving it everything I had, but my mental state was positive. I was thankful to be there. I knew I was heading to a big PR, and I was STILL smiling.
I kept fueling. Ice in my top. Ice down my back. Water over my head. Coke. Gels. Water. Ice. Ice. Baby. And more ice.
The plan that liz recommended was: hold pace. walk the aid stations to manage your heat level and ICE ICE BABY.
It really worked.
I knew I was going to have a PR. I knew everyone was tracking me. I ran from aid station to aid station. I only walked the aid stations. I still felt good (well....except for the GINORMOUS blisters on feet that I felt popping one after another). I thought, "Hey. no matter how slow..always run...running is faster than walking. just keep going hold pace."
When I got to 12.1 miles, I had 1 mile left. 1 mile left of my season. I never really thought it would end this way. All I wanted was to break 7 hours. That's it. I would check my garmin every 3 or 4 miles, and I couldn't believe I was going to do it. I was going to have a HUGE PR.
PR's at all three events. A stellar swim. An amazing bike. And ok....not my best effort run, but my best HIM run ever.
And I couldn't really believe it
I rounded the last quarter of a mile....there was Mr. Tea. I would have smiled, but now I was all about getting the race done.
And I ran. I ran straight down the finishers shoot. People were cheering. It's like 93 degrees, and people are out there screaming and yelling for me. No one else was around. I felt like I was winning the entire race.
I crossed the finish line.
I thought, "WOW." That was it. I mean. WOW. I saw Mr. Tea. He came over and hugged me....I think he did....maybe it was a stranger. I don't even remember now.
Then he asked, "What did you think?"
I said, "Never again."