I learned from Ann Ciaverella the 3 tier goal process for races. A) would be the absolute best I thought I could do if everything went perfect and I was ahead of where I thought I was fitness wise; B) would be where I would finish if everything went pretty well and I am right where I thought I was; and C) would be if I was on track, but a few things went wrong here and there, but I still pulled out a solid race.
My goals for the race were this:
A) Age group podium finish, no time goal
B) Top 10 Age group finish, no time goal
C) Top 20 Age group finish and under 4:45
This day started very well for me. I had a solid two weeks of training leading up and was on a nice 5 day taper, I was eating and drinking right and getting plenty of rest. I had a solid 7 hours and 45 minutes of sleep the night before, so I really thought that I would have a solid race.
I was sharing a room with Christian Isakson, and we were staying only a two minute walk from transition, so we went down to transition at 5:15 and set up then went back to our room to chill and mentally prepare for the race. Our wave went off at 7:48, so at 7:15 we headed down to the harbor jumped in the chute and swam out to the start.
I had heard horror stories of this swim, with it being so cold, and the sun in your eyes on the return, but I did not think it was as cold as people had described, and they have enough buoys, and the harbor is so narrow it’s not like you can drift off because you cannot sight.
I lined up front and center and before I knew what was happening the horn went off and everyone took off, I totally did not hear the countdown. I took off strong and hard for about 200 meters and looked around and was with a couple other guys but I could not find a good position to draft from either of them. We were right on the previous wave almost immediately and it was pretty narrow so this slowed us down considerably (I have no idea why they put the fastest age group last, it makes no sense). I swallowed a good amount of salt water about this time. Almost to the turn, my stomach started gurgling a bit and I was burping quite a bit. I did not give it too much thought and continued to swim, it was very hard to find any sort of rhythm because there was always someone to swim over or avoid swimming over. At the end of the swim you have to run up through an isle of volunteers that help you out of the water, and this sucked because there were like 50 people trying to get through it at once and you had to go single file. All and all good swim, I definitely need to get some open water swims in with my wetsuit. My shoulders and back fatigued much faster than usual because of the different motion the wetsuit makes me have and my muscles were not used to it. Total time 28:48. Not a great swim time for me at all but that’s fine.
Running through T2 I got a side ache so I slowed down a bit and took a couple deep breaths at my bike. I threw on my helmet, sunglasses and race belt and ran out. I started pedaling and my stomach was churning and I was burping a lot. As I hit the straight stretch I slipped into my shoes and pedaled a bit harder, and as I climbed the hill out of transition my stomach was very unsettled. My legs felt good though and I tried to keep my power at 230 watts, about 30 minutes in I new I needed to take some nutrition so I did, and instantly burped it back up and puked everything else out of my stomach. My stomach started feeling better and my legs were feeling good too, but the thought of drinking my nutrition made me queasy. An hour in I new I had to drink or I would bonk. I took a couple pulls from my bottle and it stayed down. While my stomach was still unsettled, I was having a very solid ride and my legs were feeling really good. There were 3 solid climbs that I felt very good about. I only had 5 outdoor rides since January1, so I was a bit skeptical of how I would handle the hills, but I had no problems. I tried to keep my power down and stayed aero as long as I could on each of them. I really do not remember too much of the bike course as my mind was focused on my stomach and drinking my water and nutrition as well as keeping my power where it should be. But I do know there were some nice headwinds at times. At about mile 40 I got passed for the first time on the bike and he was in my age group so I stuck with him and hung about 10 meters back and let him pull me in. It’s cool to watch the power drop even 10 meters back. I was very happy with my bike. I averaged 241 watts, but I only took in 300 calories of the 850 I had, and only drank 20 ounces of water on top of that so I was pretty worried about what would transpire on the run. Total bike time 2:33:49
Again single file and no passing in transition for about 200 yards. ANNOYING and a pain in the ass! My legs felt surprisingly good as I ran my bike through transition. I took my helmet off slipped into my new zoot running shoes grabbed my visor and was out.
The first mile of the run felt great, although I knew I needed to fuel bad. I took some gel, water and two thermo tabs and almost instantly my stomach cramped and started bubbling, I thought Oh you have got to be kidding me, I am going to have to crap in a race? I ran the most uncomfortable 4 miles from there, trying to sip water and gel here and there but it just made it worse every time I put something in my stomach. At mile 5 it was all I could do to make it to the porta pot. The good thing was I was in and out in 1:07, yep, my race went from timing mile splits to timing toilet splits. I felt great again I thought I just saved my race but another half mile and I was back to painville. I made it to mile 8 and hit the john again, this time a bit slower 1:10. Felt good for a brief moment and tried to fuel and there came the cramps again. Luckily the turn was only a mile after mile 8, so I knew I’d be back to the porta pot soon. This stop, my best of the day 1:01!!!! From there I only had 10k left and I was going to do what ever I could to get across that line under 4:45 so I ran. Went back to timing my miles and ran the last two miles just under 6:30 pace and finished the run in 1:36:10. For a total time of 4:44:11; 13th in my age group.
Aside from having to figure out what went wrong and what I did differently nutrition wise, I think I have some ideas by the way, my race went pretty well. I think this race proved that I am ahead of where I thought my fitness was, and I think I am even ahead of where I was in November, just maybe not with the top end fitness, which will come when I start hitting the speed work soon. I just need to focus on staying healthy and working on my nutrition. I am very excited about my race in Boise on June 1st.