This weekend I am heading into my second race of the year: Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga. I have heard great things about this course’s beauty, and you’ll never see me scoff at a downstream swim! An incredibly strong field is signed up, so I look forward to see how everyone lines up at the finish line. The cycling numbers v. effort have improved the past few weeks, which is typically a good sign, but it is never a good idea to try to overly-predict a race result. So we shall see what transpires!
My first race was in mid-April at Ironman Texas 70.3 in steamy Galveston. Now that I am heading into my 6th solid triathlon season, you would think I would get over the “wait how did // do I do this again?!” scattered thoughts, but not so much. It was good feeling to get this one out of the way after a long racing break.
The morning was beautiful and I enjoyed having teammate Jessica Jones’ company as we pulled on the BluSeventy Helix wetsuits headed down to the swim start. Smooth water always calms that pre race anxious feeling (trust me I know this will not always be the case), but once the gun went off that heart rate shot up as I tried to find some good positioning. This did not happen and unfortunately I swam mostly alone. Aside from catching a draft, open water swimming is more enjoyable
and comforting with company! Complaints aside, I have definitely exited further back from the front in my tri days so I cannot complain.
The new 2016 Argon 18 bike setup felt very smooth. The winds were rough out there alone, and riding in aero for 56 miles STRAIGHT on FLAT terrain in aero position was a shock to the system, but that was all from the user side, not the equipment. I just tried to stay steady and consistent with with INFINIT nutrition and and not blow out my legs. I got passed by a handful of ladies, but I have learned that there’s no use burning all the matches to try and stay (legally) with someone who is just plain riding stronger that you are!
The run leg was a good reminder that even though you legs feel like lead off the bike, they WILL loosen up with proper pacing, hydration and nutrition. To a point, I felt better as I went, and tried to pick up the pace the last 5k. The course had loads of turns, which actually kept me ‘entertained’ as I tried to hold my pace around them. As I crossed the finish line in 7th, it was a relief to just knock out a race and get the season really going. With fewer races across the board, the bar has been raised at the pro level in this sport, which in many ways is a good thing.
After the race I was frustrated to learn that I was seconds from the person ahead of me (AKA a paycheck:)), but when I reflect back it was a positive season opener with a finishing time of 4:20, and I can say that I did what I could with what I had physically on that day.
There are highs and lows that come along with anything we pursue, and one phrase that I try to remember during those moments that lean towards the lows side is:
Not to say on this day I felt like quitting per say, as there were plenty of high points, it’s just always nice to remind yourself of the core values – whatever they may be – that made you get up and out the door and sign up for a race.