As I type this, I am functioning on 3 hours of sleep, after having been up for 24 hours. We arrived in San Antonio (from Lubbock) at 4:00am this morning (Monday). We left Lubbock at 9:00pm because we stayed for the awards ceremony after the race. This was not the original plan. The plan was to race, clean up, and head back home. When you’re a mom, and one of your athletes traveling with you is also a mom, you have kids to get home to right away. But staying for the award ceremony became the new plan after I crossed the finish line in 2nd place in my age group with a chance for a slot at Ironman 70.3 Worlds.
But before I get into my race report, I must brag on my athletes. They insisted we stay in Lubbock for the evening ceremony knowing full well we wouldn’t arrive to San Antonio until 4am. They have jobs. One has kids. This was a huge sacrifice on their part and what a blessing they are! They are so special to me. Thank you Liana, Bud, and Crystal. And to Mary Evelyn who came all the way up to cheer for us! Thank you!!!
So many of you have asked about my race. Thank you. Several have asked if I plan to blog it. I didn’t plan to, but since you have asked, here you go! Thank you for your support.
A little background info leading up to the race: One week before the race, I pulled my Peroneus muscle. I did it by rolling my ankle when walking. When I began researching the injury, and I learned it manifested from muscular and alignment imbalances. It comes from tight hips, tight calves and tight IT bands. This puts strain on the outer muscles and tendons of the leg (the Peroneus) and a trigger, like rolling the ankle, further aggravates and stretches the muscle group to the point of injury. Mine seized up due to my rolled ankle and each step I took on my left leg was painful. I could not walk without a slight limp, and wondered how was I going to run 13.1 miles in a week?! I was aggressive with my therapy. No running, just swimming and cycling. I iced it, used compression, taping, massaged the hell out of it, and saw a neuromuscular therapist that I swear by. She got my hips back into alignment and that, in combination with my prior treatment methods, got me pain free the day before the race. What a relief! But I hadn’t run in a week! I wondered how my legs might hold up…
Injuries are never fun, but I love how they teach us valuable lessons. If we allow ourselves the opportunity to learn from them, we become wiser athletes. I became a wiser athlete and coach because of this particular injury. I now know what strength and stretching exercise to do to improve run form and prevent this injury from reoccurring.
Also, a week before the race, I got a new triathlon-specific bike, a Shiv!!! It was too beautiful not to ride at Buffalo Springs! That week, I rode on it three times, all of which felt great. The longest training ride on my new bike was 25 miles, and I would be racing 56 miles. Would my new bike and the aero position work for me on race day? We would see!
And lastly, I hadn’t raced in over a year, and my last Half Ironman was over two and a half years ago. I didn’t know what to expect. But, I calmed my nerves by going over my race plan and telling myself, “this is a race to see where you stand in your training and to boost confidence going into Ironman Arizona.”
Here’s the thing, you don’t know how your training is going if you don’t race. Races test your strengths and weaknesses and allow you to adjust your training planning accordingly. I was excited to learn what my strengths and weakness would be! I was also excited to learn how my athletes would do! And they did great by the way!!!
The swim: What fun this was! I wore Sharon Sander’s Xterra speedsuit. She told me I would overheat in a wetsuit, and to borrow her speedsuit. Boy am I glad I did! The water was warm and she was correct, I would have overheated in a wetsuit! I have never worn a speedsuit before, so race day was my first experience. Not a wise decision, but since I was riding a bike I have never raced on before, I figured, why not?! Let’s be two for two! 😉
The bike: By mile 10, I knew I was going to have a great ride. My bike performed beautifully! My legs felt great, my seat was comfortable, I was comfortable (only at mile 50 was I uncomfortable and wanted off), and I did a decent job of nailing my nutrition. Along with homemade rice cakes, I drank Skratch electrolyte drink, an all natural sports drink (waaaay better than Gatorade or Powerade), and felt I had the electrolytes I needed. I also took salt tabs at the halfway point on the bike (you can get both nutrition supplements at Bicycle Heaven….along with a sweet Shiv if you so dare!). I highly recommend both the supplements and the bike! Seriously.
Regarding my pace, I made sure to ride conservatively and listen to my body. I knew the wind and hills would be a challenge, and I wanted to save some energy for the run. At mile 40, my hip flexors were angry as they were not used to being in such a tight, aero position, but I sucked it up and kept pedaling 😉
This course is one that will chew you up and spit you out if you let it. Those hills were challenging. The wind was ferocious. Gusts up to 25 mph! And the crosswinds were really awful. The bike course was a series of uphills and downhills (in and out of canyons), headwinds, tailwinds (not enough of those 😉 ) and crosswinds. Intense!
Best part? Riding on a sweet @$$ bike and seeing my athletes on the course with me! What a joy that was!
The run: During the first mile of the run, I began to feel dizzy. Then I began to cramp. Uh oh! At that moment, I knew I needed more electrolytes. Thank God the aid stations were every mile, because at mile 2, I loaded up. I felt better. I could tell I had not run in a week. Added to that, I was not trained for the heat. It hasn’t been 100 degrees in San Antonio, so I was sensitive to the heat. My legs were heavy and by mile 8, it was in survival mode. The heat was not helping. It was so hot! The last mile was brutal. I was grunting with each breath. What saved me was a racer ran by me, squeezed my hand and said, “Keep pushing, you got this! I have done this race 4 times, and this is by far the hardest one. You look strong.” And then he ran away from me. When he said the words, “this is the hardest one” it validated my thoughts of being a hard race. I sucked it up and keep pushing to the finish. I never found him after the race. I wanted to thank him for the very words I needed to hear. Again the best part of the run was seeing my athletes on the course and us cheering for each other! Best part of the whole race? Hanging out in the water! Bliss!…well, some cramps too 😉
When I learned I got 2nd in my age group, I was stunned. There were so many amazing, talented women racing, so to place in my age group was a complete honor. To get a spot for Worlds, icing on the cake!
So there you have it. My race report. Well, I guess I better get back to training…and another cup of coffee….
Oh! Can you help send me to Canada? Here’s my fundraiser site here: