What a great learning experience. I love this sport and MMTC is such a great group! I was using this race as a training run for my nutrition and the heat for Ironman Louisville. Thanks Coach Mike for making me do this!
Race morning: Being a Type A person, I needed to be on site at 4:30. Needed to make sure of good parking, etc. Good news is being that early, transition is not even open but there are no lines for the bathrooms! I got to use them about 4 times before I waited in any line! Of course, Heather was already there setting up and getting the tent ready. I easily determined that she and the volunteers had a much tougher job then anyone actually racing!
I spent a lot of time debating what to wear on the swim. I had gotten my Team ASA uniform the day before from David and was not sure how it would do in the water. But even though the rule is don’t try anything new on race day, I figured why not! I am proud to be part of the team and was honored that he brought it for me to wear so I decided that I would give it a go! I also debated wearing my garmin for the swim so that I could track my overall time. I usually put my garmin directly on my bike but then I don’t have any idea what my overall time is. I decided to go without my watch which you will see was a mistake in the end.
SWIM (37:55): I am a swimmer and love to swim in a pool. Open water has always been a problem for me. I don’t understand why there has to be so much contact and it really freaks me out. However, this year was much better. I was able to get out to the far side and there were not many people. But, I had lost my normal goggles at Columbia and spent some time on this swim getting the water out of my goggles, I could not sight when they filled up and the water was hurting my eyes. But I would rather that then being hit all of the time. I finally felt good by the first turn buoy and really enjoyed the rest of the swim.
T1 (2:06): I decided to try no socks for the bike since they are always wet before the run – from the water and sweat (YUCK!). It was nice to not take off a wetsuit so tried to make quick work of getting on my shoes and helmet and getting out! Lots of traffic at the bike start point so it look me a minute to get on my bike.
BIKE (2:54:41 – 19.24miles/hr): My goal was to do this bike in under 3 hrs. The last two years I have been just over 3 hours so I wanted to prove I could do it. The no socks was fine. I have changed my nutrition and was only using Infinite and water. I also had SCaps for extra sodium in the heat. The first few miles were great but there was the normal wind on this course. I was also surprised by the heat. You don’t really feel how much you are sweating because of the heat and the wind. However, one lesson learned, if you need new bike cleats, do it before the race. I spent time during several portions of this course reclipping my left foot as the cleat was worn down way too far. Several times I almost fell off as my foot slipped out. I had been having trouble with my aero position and thanks to Mike and Bike Doctor in Crofton, it was great. No issues with my shoulder and stayed in aero the entire time, except when my foot slipped out of my clip and I had to get my balance and reclip. I had also promised David Slomkowski that I would catch him and Shane (the athlete that was racing for ASA). He challenged me and said not a chance; they started about 50 minutes before me. So around mile 35, I saw them ahead and gave a big yell to Shane! What inspiration to keep pushing. I was tracking closely to less than 3 hours so just had to keep pushing and not let wind or anyone else slow me down.
One lesson learned, the SCaps need to be in a baggy. I had just put them in my bento box but as water and sweat fell on the box, the Scaps dissolved, along with my extra sodium. I ended up running my finger through the box to try and get some of the powder. Not recommended and really just gross! Just as I was finishing the bike, Lisa Faris caught me. I had been waiting for her for the entire bike course. We had a good talk and I told her to go get ‘um! Great to see and cheer for others along the way.
T2 (2:51): All was going quickly until I started to run out of the transition area only to realize I did not have my watch. So back I went to get it off my bike. Glad I did as I needed it during the run just to watch my heart rate and get my pace. Lost time there and lesson learned!
RUN (1:56:12): Unlike most, I love this run. I like the sun and heat. I felt great off the bike and really starting running too fast. I had planned to just take water and Gatorade and Pepsi from the course and brought my sports beans and some SCaps for sodium. My first two miles were 8 min. miles. I was glad I had my watch and my heart rate was way too high and I knew I could not keep up that pace so I had to slow down and watch my pace and heart rate. I kept the water/ice/Gatorade at each aid station and put ice down my bra at every stop. It was great to keep cool as well as eat along the way. I was really thirsty between the mile 2 stop and the one just before mile 4. I think they needed another stop along this open stretch. I know it would be tough in that area but it was way too long in that heat and I was really off by the time I got to the aid station. I was more prepared along the way back but I am sure this stretch caused lots of pain for many. I learned again that the SCaps must be in a baggie to stay dry and gave up on trying to get any sodium from them. Between mile 4 ½ and the turn around I had a hard time. I was getting the chills and really struggling to see clearly. I stopped and walked the aid stations and tried to keep my heart rate down.
The best part of the run is that it is an out and back so you can see all of your friends along the way and cheer them on. I learned last year that it is best to just keep smiling! No one wants to see misery and if you smile you feel better (or at least you think you do!). The last mile was the best. You know you are home free and I really enjoyed that last long stretch along the water. I was running with another girl and she was struggling, I offered her some ice (yes, from my bra) and she was just happy to have something to help cool her down and get her to the finish. That is what I love about this sport! People are always there to help when needed! No sure any other sport would talk about or do some of the things we do!
Nothing like crossing the finish line at Eagleman. The course is mentally challenging but so worth it. I had a few friends who did not make it due to injury and one who passed out at mile 4 and spent the rest of the day in the hospital so the conditions are tough and you have to learn how your body will react.
I did not have any idea what my overall time was but figured it was around 5:40. My best time at EM was two years ago when it was perfect conditions – 80 degrees and cloudy – 5:31. Now I realize, you need a watch to track overall time. Had I known that I was that close to a PR, I might have pushed it a bit harder on the last few miles of the run. Who knows, either way, very happy with my finish and the fact that I am able to do things like this race!
I definitely learned a lot that will help me survive hopefully Ironman Louisville but I can tell you the entire run all I could think is “If you think this is bad, just wait until August when you get to go twice the distance in similar conditions!” Well, at least I have a few months to prepare!
Thank you to the club and Heather and the tent volunteers and the MILLER LITE! I think this was the best beer I have ever had! It is so nice to have a place to call home, especially when your husband and kids can’t be there. And thanks to Lisa’s mom who made the trip that day to cheer everyone on! Great to see and hear her along the way!