Friday, September 9, 2016

It’s been challenging to find the time to blog as much lately but I wanted to take the time to post about the inaugural Ironman Ohio 70.3 triathlon. It was a race that I did not feel especially prepared for. Between running my first Boston Marathon this April, starting a new job in a new technical industry this May to spending the summer prepping for a move to a town an hour away, I just couldn’t dedicate as many hours as I wanted to in all three sports.

Whereas last year I was swimming 2-3 x a week 2000-4000 meters each time and cycling religiously all spring and summer preparing for Beach 2 Battleship 140.6, this season it was maybe 1-2 swims a month of 1500 meters each and cycling as much as I could manage mainly 3-4 fast lunchtime spins of 35 minutes and some longer stuff up to 50 miles on the weekends. The run base was strong coming off of some long distance races so that was really the only thing I felt confident about. I debated even not racing with it being within a week or so of our planned move. But then I realized it was just a race and races are meant to be not just results but also fun. It’s not just what place you end up in but also seeing your friends out there and quite honestly taking in the whole experience. Racing is a Zen thing. Sometimes you are more fit than other times or more rested or more stressed out than other times. This was one of those races where I was stressed and feeling not as fit as last season but I could take some of the pressure off of myself to enjoy the race for the experience versus killing myself for a PR or a podium spot. This race was for me. It truly was about enduring and being. And it was one of the most fun races I can recall in recent years – especially the running part!

My swim of 48:18 was slow but I expected that. The last couple of seasons when I practiced more a 40 minute half iron swim was average for me but with the lack of swimming I put in to train I am happy with this result. Especially for it being a non-wetsuit swim. I expect that with a wetsuit I would have been up to 5 minutes faster. One thing I took away a couple of seasons of Ironman races is confidence in the swim. I will never be a fast swimmer but I am a confident swimmer. I am not rattled by people kicking or bumping into me. I don’t worry if I’ll beat the cutoff time. I know I can swim for a long time at my slow pace and I am okay with this just as some are okay with being slower on the bike or swim. This is triathlon and what makes it interesting is our own unique mix of skills in each sport. So this swim I thought went fine. The water in Lake Delaware was warm and almost soothing. At times it was aggressive with so many people but it almost made it more interesting. It felt a bit long but without a GPS in the water I cannot say for sure.

My first transition is generally slow. I like to sit and dry my feet off and I like to eat a snack before I hop on the bike this time was no different. 3-4 minutes average. This was 4:16 – not a big deal.

My 56 mile bike had some challenges. Namely my bike computer was not working when I left
transition. This was not good so I stopped to adjust the magnet to get my oldschool Cateye wireless computer to work. After a minute or so it was good to go so off I went. Then I hit a bump and here we go again. This went on a couple more times as the beginning of the course was bumpy. I finally said forget it for a little while and just went by feel versus mph. This explains why I had a negative split on the bike! I also lost one of my water bottles in the first miles so I was down to one for the race. I stopped at the first aid station to pee (I was hydrated) and I fixed my computer again (this time it lasted) and grabbed a water for my empty cage. Off I went to smoother riding for the rest of the race. And faster! I averaged 18.22 mph for 32 miles followed by 20.35 mph for remaining 24 miles for an average of 19.06 mph with a bike time of 2:56:16. This was somewhat an average half iron bike time for me so I was pleased given the little amount of work I dedicated to the bike this season relative to the last couple of years.

T2 was 2:55. A bit faster but still a slower transition than I could have managed.

My 13.1 mile run was most certainly the highlight of my day. I loved the course, which was a mix of
flat and rolling hills with a good amount of shade. I went out faster than planned at a sub 8 minute pace for the first 10K or so and then slowed down to about marathon pace, which was the plan to try and use this 13.1 as a longer tempo run for my upcoming marathon in Erie this weekend. It was fun to see so many friends out racing and volunteering and that really gave me motivation to push to a personal best half ironman run split of 1:46:25 (8:07 pace). I was very happy with this leg of the race. I finished feeling strong and it was great finishing on the track!

My final time of 5:38:10 was better than I expected given my training. My run being 10 minutes faster than usual certainly helped with that! This gives me hope that I can still PR this distance.

Post race it was great to hang out with the hubby who also had a decent race and our friends from Snakebite Racing, CTC as well as Baucco Squad. Northeast Ohio had quite the showing of athletes and volunteers! Special thanks to Dan Hopkins from CTC for the race photos!

I’m not sure what the next year will hold. Right now I am focusing on my crazy fall running schedule:

Sept 11 - Erie Marathon
Oct 1 – Doan Creek Trail 50K
Oct 29 – Run with Scissors Trail Marathon
Nov 12 – Conquer the Castle Trail 100K

If I survive all of that, I am taking a long hard-earned break!

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