Preparing for this race proved to be a little more challenging than I had anticipated. My training was absolutely stellar...up until about 11 days before the race. I had one of the best training rides ever on May 29th, but lack of sleep and stress caused my body to go into an absolute tail-spin! I was tight and fatigued up until a few days before the race. I knew I had done the training for it, so I kept my focus on the moment at hand and tried not to stress at all about what I might feel like on race day. It felt like it took forever, but I eventually shook out most of the tightness and fatigue, but the mental and emotional fatigue were threatening to overcome me at any moment. At one point I wrote a note to myself..."Now is not the time to give up on yourself. It might feel like the only way out - but you are stronger than that and can overcome what's in front of you. No second guessing and no looking back. All in - ALL-HANDS-ON-DECK"
As we arrived to Lucky Peak Lake 2 1/2 hours before my scheduled wave start, it was raining pretty good and about 45 degrees. Ryan (iron sherpa/saint) helped me hike my gear up to the Lake and I got everything situated. As I was in line for the bathroom trying not to shiver all the energy out of me, the announcer proclaimed a course change. My first thought was PLEASE don't make us get into the lake, the temp had dropped a few degrees from the day before and was now between 54-57 degrees :( WHAT?!?! Then the worse news I could imagine - the bike course had been cut significantly, from 56 miles to "about 15" due to driving rain, snow and 50mph wind. The bike is my absolute favorite part of racing. This news just added to being BEYOND my comfort zone, all I could do was laugh. For some reason, I never even thought about dropping out...maybe because I had spent a LOT of money for this "experience". The constant stream of athletes leaving the lake shocked me, I couldn't believe it...we're triathletes! Someone told me they were leaving because the couldn't stay warm...I offered them some warming oil, and they just looked at me like a freak! It was either the warming oil comment, or the fact that I was jogging in my wetsuit w/ a coat over it and a hat. For a second I even thought it would be a good idea to bike in my wetsuit (apparently I wasn’t the only one, at least 12 people were spotted biking in wetsuits, including champ Matty Reed). As we were being corralled to the start, I saw people already being dragged in from the swim, shivering uncontrollably. Way beyond out of my comfort zone.
DEEP BREATH. I thought the water would feel warm compared to the air temp, but it did NOT! I don't know why I never considered dropping out of this race, but I knew it was something I was supposed to be doing.
The swim not a very good experience. I could not get comfortable and never found a rhythm at all. I just tried to keep moving forward, one buoy at a time. There was supposed to have been a "warming tent" with propane heaters, but I never saw it :( I just kept running to the wetsuit strippers - which I was very excited about. I sat down stuck my feet up and was basically drug around the turf by my feet until finally my wet suit slipped off. It was not fun, or fast. I hustled to get my bike gear and opted for just vest and gloves, but I would put my gloves on as I rode so my hands could dry a bit...obviously I was thinking clearly!
I slowly rode over the dam and was able to slip my gloves on in between speed bumps, and off I went! The ride was very fast and loaded with traffic. I was worried about a blocking violation since I spent the whole ride on the left, but I never once saw an official – whew! Even though I knew it was short, I thought I should probably not all out sprint the bike because a 1/2 marathon is still pretty long and I needed to have a decent run. The last time I ate was about 6 hours previous, and the citrus Clif shot in my pocket was calling to me, but between the cold, wet roads, passing people and breathing hard, I was only able to choke down about 1/2 of it. Somehow I managed to have the 2nd fastest bike - my only guess is that everyone must have been saving up for the run.
On a side note, the poor spectators that patiently hung out in the cold/rain/wind all morning, worrying about their athletes becomming hypothermic; had planned on having 2.5 hours to get down to the run course, now had to madly rush down to town along with the hundreds of racers packing up in 1/2 hour...as if spectating wasn't stressful enough!!
Transition was a little slower than I would have liked, but it wasn't long before I was off an running. I knew my tendency is to go out too hard, so I held back to a pace I felt was comfortable and not as hard as I could go. Something happened to my GPS so I was just going off of "feel", and I felt really good. On the run, it was as if the first part of the race had never happened. The sun was out, hardly any wind and everyone was smiling. I tried to shift gears every 3-4 miles, but by mile 12 I could NOT kick...which is not like me at all. Suddenly my legs were starting to cramp up..eeek! RELAX, relax, relax. And just then a girl in my AG passed me - good, I'll stick with her and out sprint her...ummmm, ok...or not. My legs had other plans, so I just went with it and was happy to finish still running and smiling - woohoo!!! Considering everything, I managed to PR in all 3 ;) disciplines. Even though the swim ended up being more significant than the bike - I managed to eek out a 4th in my AG and 17th over-all female, and a spot to 70.3 Worlds!
It was definitely an unconventional race (29.3) - certainly not a combination I would have willingly signed up for, but I am so glad I did it :) I know there's no way I could have done it w/o the support of so many people - my entire loving and supportive family, Ryan and his family, my coach, friends, co-workers and community, not to mention the Boise 70.3 team. It was an amazingly well run event and so much fun – this will not be my last IM 70.3 experience!
Race day nutrition:
7:30am - blueberry bagel w/ almond butter and honey
8:30am - 1 Ensure
9:30-10:20am - 2 scoops carbo pro + nuun
12:25pm - 1 Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot
12:39 - swim start
Bike - 1/2 citrus clif shot, swallow of water
Run - 1 citrus clif shot and 1 PB Gu, plus a sip of cola
More pictures to come.