July 24 2016
Another Ironman70.3 in the books!
This one was hard. I did my first 70.3 last year and my goal was to finish, learn something from the race, and get a decent time. I came 19th in my age group and finished the race feeling like I would recover quickly and move on to the full distance Ironman a month away as prepared as I could possibly be.
This year, I wanted to be fast. I wouldn’t say I was less prepared, but my training was a bit more of a clusterf*ck. I improved my cycling and running on their own, but in my new found freedom from having a coach I think I really blew the recovery. That, in combination with trying to race a 70.3 hard, nearly killed me. As it turns out, half ironman is A LONG WAY. oops.
After my swim performance in the 5051 two weeks before, my old coach called me and told me to get in the pool every single day between races, so I did. It made a huge difference. I came out of the water in 34 mins, which includes the run in and out. My plan was to go hard on the bike and make some gains.
My plan failed. I went hard on the bike but there were no gains. The climb back up to Whistler was a grind. I came off the bike at 3:04:48 and started the hardest triathlon run I’ve experienced to date.
The run starts in the village and then loops around in a figure 8, so you go through the village twice before the finish line. My legs were immediately toast. Mentally I had to break down the run into portions and just try and grind it out. I knew I’d loop through and see my friends and family at around the 5km mark, so my first goal was just to get
that far. You get some sort of power up when you see them. I figured after that I just had to go for a 10km jog, zone out a bit, and I’d see them again around 17 or 18km. After that you just ride the high of the finish to the end and then you’re done. So, at km 2 I was struggling, but in my head I was essentially finished. It’s funny how during these moments it’s entirely mental. Convincing myself the race was over, my pace picked up and I passed a few women and handfuls of men. My age cat was the fastest in the race with the top 5, also placing top 4 in the gender.
I had a blast the last 10km. I really do love these races and Whistler is the most beautiful setting. I got to that 2nd power up and pushed to the finish line, coming in 11th in my cat. It was a tough day, but given the talent in my group, I was really happy to improve by 8 spots.
The only regret I have is not being fully recovered at the start of this race and I’m sure that’s what killed my legs. The 5051 Olympic distance race was 2 weeks before. That’s a tough race to give it your all in and then fully recover for a half iron 2 weeks later and I think that hurt me a little. I also got a little carried away in those two weeks and crushed my legs with some heavy lifting. That was really dumb, but I’ve just loved lifting lately and, as per usual, when I love something active I get a little carried away. The Thursday before I lifted hard enough to not be able to walk that night, and that one got me.
Looking back over the spring and early summer, I’ve had a fairly gruelling race schedule. My half marathon, 13km trail, 10km, full marathon, ultra, Olympic tri, and Ironman70.3 were all just a little too close together. And while all this has taught me that I can tough it through just about anything, I’ve also learned that pacing yourself applies to much more than individual races.
Until next time, Ironman!