Ironman Racine 70.3



Racine

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This past weekend was my first trip to Racine, Wisconsin. It was a six hour drive from St. Louis and we drove through some gorgeous farm countryside. The day before the race, Racine skies were beautiful with sun and 73 degree air temps. I love riding through America’s farmland as the crops are so beautiful this time of year!IMG_0504
We woke up race morning to gloomy skies and unsettling weather in the forecast. The alarm went off at 4:10AM (I had the alarm set for 4:30AM but Nate always set’s his earlier). We left the hotel around 5am to make the short 15 min drive from the hotel to race site. The water temperature was reported to be around 57 degrees…so I was very thankful to have my Blueseventy Helix Wetsuit with me and my Blueseventy Element Goggles. About an hour before race start, officials announced that the race start would be delayed due to weather that was moving in and due to hit around 7AM.  The race was postponed until at least after 7:30AM when another update would be announced. I fortunately had some extra Glukos energy bars with me to snack on due to the postponed start. I also found a spot near a children’s playground that had a shelter to hang out in during the heavy rain. At 7:30, it was announced that the start was going to be postponed to 10:30AM due to more weather approaching (heavy rain and lightning). It was also announced that the swim would be cancelled and the bike would be shortened to 31 miles. The run would remain a full half marathon. I was super disappointed not to be able to swim, since this discipline is a strength of mine. Looking back at the race, I don’t understand why the professionals could not have gotten in the water (even for just half the swim). After the storm the water was safe, but I feel like often decisions are not made based on the professional athletes and our performances are jeopardized. I did not let this mentally get me down and focused on relaxing and heading back to the hotel for an hour or so.IMG_3582

Nate and I arrived back at the hotel just after 8AM. At 8:30, the hotel fire alarms started going off due to smoke in the fifth floor (everything was ok). We quickly packed up the room and headed back to race start. At 10AM, the sun was shining and we were ready for a race, or a version of it.

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It was announced that the men would have a mass start on the bike at 10:25AM, with a women’s mass start a few minutes later. The start of the bike was at the bottom of a short hill that was lined with barricades. I think the race officials realized that this type of start could be disastrous; especially after shocking looks from all the professional athletes. The officials decided to let the athletes vote weather or not they wanted a time trial start or a mass start. I could only imagine the carnage of all the athletes starting together and then trying to get in a non draft legal line. The downside to time trial start racing is that you never really know where you stand while racing. I had the lowest ranked number, so I had the honor of going first. To be honest, this is the toughest position because I have no idea of what is going on behind me on the bike and I don’t have anybody in front of me to chase. All the while everyone behind me is getting time splits off of me during the race. Knowing this going in I had to focus on racing the clock on the bike.

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On the cycling course I road my Fuji Norcom-Straight 1.1 that was set up with: SRAM e-Tap Wireless components, Zipp Fire Strike 404 front Tubular with Zipp Tangent SpeedSL Tire, Zipp Super 9 Tubular Disc with Zipp Tangent SpeedSL Tire, Zipp Vuka Stealth Base Bar with Ski Tip Extension’s, Quarq Elsa R Power-meter, ISM PS1.0 Saddle, Speedfil A2 drink system, Sampson Stratics-Carbon-Ti pedals, Along with wearing my Rudy Project Wing 57 Helmet, Rudy Project Tralyx SX Red Fluo Glasses, and my Sarah Haskins Triflare Blue Poppies Triathlon Suit.    Growing up in the midwest I knew the cycling course was going to have some great roads, but also some roads that have bumps and grooves that can send you flying. These cracks and bumps are due to the harsh winters that cause frost heaves in the roads. I started off the bike treating it like a 40k. I new before the race started that my nutrition plan was going to change a bit with the changed format. Nate mixed two packets of Glukos Orange Energy Powder mixed with 30ounces of water on the bike along with two Glukos Lemon Energy Gels. The first half of the bikeI felt good and had a couple scary moments with super strong crosswinds blowing me sideways on my bike. It looked as if I was holding my own the first half. The second half of the bike got a bit busier with lots of amateur athletes coming at me many times crossing the double yellow and more traffic on the roads (since we were riding at 11AM) I found myself having to slow down a couple of times due to the traffic on the race course, but I know that is all part of racing. I came into transition still in “first” but I really was in “third” since Sarah and Lauren Barnett had made up around 45 seconds on me. Here is my Quarq Elsa R powermeter file presented by TrainingPeaks.

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On the run I used my Skechers GoRun4s, Mission Fitness Multi-Cool , T1 Pro race belt, Rudy Project Tralyx SX Red Fluo Glasses, and had three Glukos Lemon Energy Gels in my hand flask. I was feeling pretty fatigued coming off the 31 mile bike I was not feeling like I had too much pep in the legs. I think the morning events took it out of me a bit mentally and physically. Lauren Barnett passed me 2.5 miles into the run and she looked awesome. She started 1 minute back, so at this point, she already in front of me. The last mile, Sarah Piampiano passed me and she started 90 seconds behind me. Towards the end of the run, I began to get mentally defeated. My mental strength that kept me positive before the race started to strain and towards the end of the race the positive self talk was not so positive. I knew deep down the entire dynamics of the race would have been so different if I was able to do the swim portion of the race. What made it hard for me to understand was that the water was not unsafe for us to swim. If the water quality was poor or there were treacherous rip currents, I could have a better understanding of why the swim was cancelled. Due to the fact that it was a “time sensitive” issue did not make sense to me because it took over 30 minutes for all the professional athletes to complete the time trail bike start. We could have all swam half the swim distance in less than half that time and it would have at least made the race a triathlon. As professional athletes, this is what we train for, how we make our house payments, pay for our families health insurance, etc. It frustrates me when I don’t see more of an effort made to keep the race in a more true format, especially when large amounts of prize money is on the line.

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I crossed the line and honestly had no idea where I would finish up. Shortly after finishing, I was told I made the podium by one second! Wow! Thank goodness I had that one second; otherwise I would be agonizing over all the seconds where I could have made up time! Congrats to all the girls that raced as it was a mental battle before the race even started. A special huge congrats to Lauren Barnett for the win and Sarah Piampiano for a strong second. Although my goal heading into this race was a win, due to the unforeseen circumstances and the race changing to a duathlon I am happy with my 3rd place finish. The day after the race I had many moments shedding tears of frustration, but it was also a very happy day celebrating my daughter’s third birthday. My next race will be NYC on Sunday. Time to recover and get back to the race course. Thanks to all the volunteers out on race course who braved the elements pre-race and thanks to all my sponsors and supporters.

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