20 min PR after 10 year hiatus from HIM racing!
I am serious about staying in shape. But training for racing has taken a back seat to family and work since 2012 – when I did Ironman Canada. Before that I completed 2 half ironmans – and a bunch of shorter tris, as I transitioned from marathoning. So long story short, although I’ve done a couple of marathons, long distance cycling events and 2 mile OWS events, I haven’t completed a HIM since July 2011! So I was nervous. About the heat, about the bike (not about transitions – more on that later) and the non-wetsuit swim.
Pre race, Elly, my husband, and I headed to Columbus on Friday so we could do my set up in leisurely fashion on Saturday. Hot tip – we had dinner on Friday at Speck in Delaware and it was hands down the best Italian meal we’ve had outside of Italy. Great food, ambiance and a good wine list. Good for date night! And Delaware. Super cute town!
Ohio 70.3 has T1 and T2 in two separate areas – which was slightly inconvenient but not onerous. Did a test swim in the Delaware reserve. It was warm and completely brown. High turbidity. Yuck. Because of threatening rain and thunderstorms overnight I elected to bring my T2 stuff with me on race day. Dinner at the most mediocre Italian-American restaurant in the Columbus area. Joined by Mike Frothingham, Kar-Ming Lo and Brian Green + K-Lo’s incredibly fast pal from Canton (more on Mark later). After carbo dinner it was off to our hotel room, to watch the Olympics, do final day of packing and sleep by 9 pm
Woke up at 3:50 am and wheels up at 4:20 am – light rain dissipated by the time we got to Delaware, 30 mins away, and I dropped nutrition at T2, ran into Mike et al on their way to T2 and then went to catch a shuttle bus. For the 15 min ride to the swim start. Which took almost an hour bc the organizers can’t figure out that no private cars should also be allowed to park at T1. a bit of stress as I got to T1 with 30 mins until race start (nice to see Eric Gibb on the way in!) So once at T1 I set up my Bike stuff, and then paced around, going to the loo, jamming on my skin suit. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting. I finally got into the water at a seeded phased start about 60 mins after the advertised time bc the shuttles were so balled up they had to wait for all the athletes to get there. I did meet up with CTC (Jeff Grover, Steve Long, Ann Cugliari) and Endurance Nation (my coaching - super awesome) peeps and got to wish them well, and saw Elly too – so it all worked out.
Swim – this is my weakest event, and as I like to say, the worst part of my day done first. Because the water was so warm, wetsuits were not permitted – which is a distinct disadvantage to me. I struggled to find my pace and the dirty water made it impossible to see other people or follow feet. Out of the water in 49:53 - slow even by my standards. Oh well – room to improve.
T1 – 8:29 – Mike joked that I baked a cake in this time – not true. I made soft boiled eggs. Seriously, this is super slow, lots of faffing around. I need to get more efficient. There is no reason for an 8 min transition. An opportunity to pick up 3 mins in the future.
Bike – I crushed it. Moving time was 3:02:xx and clock time was 3:05:35 – because I got off my bike to pee. Sorry all but there is no way I can learn to do that on the bike to save time. Not gonna happen. This time is a result of the butt kicking long rides I’ve had with CTC pals Mike, Brian, Tony, Venk, Mark, Brian, Nancy, Kar-Ming, Suneel – a whole bunch of people made me faster. This is a very flat course and there was a 5 mph west wind – super easy. In the last 15 miles I knew I had it in the bag and picked it up. And here’s the fun thing. My NP (normalized power) for the entire ride was 118W – very low. I should be in the 130W zone. So there’s more that can be achieved there. Nutrition note – I used two bottles of Infinite Go Fast and a couple of gels – perfect.
T2 – following the theme of a leisurely transition, this one was 7:52 – again super slow. And then I was on the run at 11:30 am – 82 degrees going up to 90 and 60% humidity and sunny. Just what I like. (um no – I hate the heat). But this is my strongest event, so let’s do this thing!
Run – this is my best event. I’ve run over 25 marathons, countless 1/2s and 10Ks. Qualified and run Boston a bunch of times, yadda yadda. I like running and once upon a time I was fast. But with age and switching to triathlon I’ve slowed down. However, I’ve been pacing to 9 min miles through my training and I felt pretty confident I would hit that – if it was overcast and or raining. And it was neither. By 5 miles I was seriously considering walking off the course. And then I saw Froth – who was in the hurt locker – lost his salt tabs on the bike and cramping on his second loop - he gave me a piece of advice that I knew but needed to hear again. To get through these very tough conditions, I should run 100 steps and walk 50. And that’s what I did for the last 8 miles and it got me to a 2:20 – not my goal but it was great to finish upright and smiling. Nutrition note – I had two 8 oz bottles of infinite with me and only drank about 8 oz. I drank a ton of water on the course, ice down my front and back and Gatorade on course. Treated myself to Coke on the last aid station. There was LOTs of ice and water on the course – they never ran out. Kudos to the organizers for that
Final time – 6:32:53 – about 20 mins off my “best day” goal – but that’s okay. The run conditions were brutal and I suck at transitions. So lots of room to improve. Here’s the silver lining for me. I PR’d by 20 minutes on my previous time, when I was 10 years younger. I am 58 now, so I feel like a pretty big badass right now! A very well organized race (notwithstanding the shuttle screw up) with lots of community support all along the course. I’ll be doing this one again!
It’s worth mentioning as well that I would not have had such a successful day without all the support of my husband Elly. He sherpa’d everything – my stuff, hotel, post event food and put up with a super cranky grumpy wife. And took great pictures of me in action. I’m a lucky gal.
Oh, and K Lo’s pal Mark? He clocked a 4:55 – second in his age group (55-59)!