Ironman Steelhead 70.3

Steelhead70.3 August 12, 2018

This past Sunday, I raced in Benton Harbor, Michigan.  On Friday, Nate and I drove six and a half hours and arrived around 6pm.  Surprisingly, Benton Harbor is just past the time zone change, so we were in the EST (which made for a 3:15AM wake up CST race morning~).  On Friday we drove straight to race site and did a very short swim.  I wanted to shake out after the drive and check out where the race was located.  The swim was located in a beautiful park in Lake Michigan.  The water was surprisingly warm and it felt great to get in and enjoy the clear, beautiful water. 

After the swim we went to an Italian restaurant and enjoyed a sit down meal (a rare occasion for us these days).  We wanted to bring the kids this trip since it was within driving distance, but Caroline had kindergarten orientation Friday evening and I didn’t want her to miss that.  She begins Kindergarten on Tuesday!   We made the error of booking our hotel reservations too late and thankfully found the last hotel room open in the area at the America’s Value Inn.  Minus the think cloud of cigarette smoke in the halls (despite no smoking signs everywhere) and a leaking ceiling over the vanity, it worked out great.  

  The last 70.3 I raced was in March of 2016, so it has been nearly two and a half years!  I woke up around 4:15AM and started hydrating and getting in breakfest.  I had all my gear packed the night before, minus filling up my bottles.  I noticed my aero bottle had a leak in it that was going to carry my race nutrition (mix of gel and water).  We tried taping it, but that didn’t work.  We tried gum, that didn’t work!  So I decided to fill a gel flask and put it down my suit before I got on the bike.  Fortunately, plan B worked just fine.  I felt a little out of sorts pre-race as I knew that I didn’t want to do too much warm-up before a long day.  I racked my bike and jogged for just a couple minutes and did a few strides.  I headed to swim start and did a short five minute warmup. 

The water was very choppy and had a strong current.  The swim was also a beach start, so I wanted to attempt not to fall on my face again like I did earlier in the year in California!  I took the start a little more chill on the run in and began swimming after 20 meters.  I took the lead by the first buoy and the remainder of the swim. I worked on sighting and breathing at the correct timing of the wave so that I would not swallow water!  I felt good in the water although it was hard to get into any sort of rhythm due to the waves and chop in the water. I used my Blueseventy PZ4TX swim skin with the Blueseventy Element Goggels.  


I felt good getting on the bike and it felt strange not to go hard from the get go (like I would do in an Olympic distance race).  The bike had some rollers, but was mainly flat and great road conditions.  It was a one loop course, so I no idea where any of the other ladies were, but just focused on getting in my nutrition and hydration and keeping up with my goal wattage.  I remember my legs getting really fatigued in past 70.3’s around mile 40, but I was surprised to feel pretty good still at this point.  With about ten miles to go, my arms were really starting to hurt and I got out of area position on any slight incline.  My gear for the cycling portion was:  Fuji Norcom Straight 1.1 out fitted with SRAM e-Tap wireless shifting, SRAM Red Dzero Quarq Powermeter, ISM PN 3.0 saddle, Zipp Vuka Aero bars, Zipp 808 Firecrest Carbon Clincher, Zipp Super-9 Carbon Clincher disc, both with Tangent Speed Tires’ , Sampson Stratics Carbon Ti Pedals, Rudy Project Wing57 in my favorite color!! Also a huge shout-out to Performance Bike Shops for getting my rig ready to race!! Here is my Quarq Power meter file presented by Training-Peaks

When I started the run, my legs felt pretty rough the first mile and my low back felt really tight.  Around mile two, the legs came around and the first five miles seemed to fly by.  I was getting some splits that I was a couple minutes ahead of second.  At mile 7.5, I got a split that Jackie Herring was only 55 seconds back.  I knew at that point, I had to pick it up.  This may be the first half distance race I have ever negative split, but I was happy that my legs were able to respond at the end of the race to pick up the pace.   I felt good until about the last mile, when fatigue was really starting to set in.  I was happy to break the tape for the win. My run gear for the day  Mission HydroActice Multi-Cool,  Rudy Project Tralyx Slim in my Favorite color,  Triflare Custom Lace Sarah Haskins line, T1 Pro Race belt, with Altra Escalante’s on my feet, and I was able to race in my Groove Life ring

Behind every win is lots of hard work, training and organizing workouts weeks and months prior.  Special thanks to my family for helping me with all the training and organizing.  One of my favorite parts of this race was hanging out at the beach afterwards.  I met many different athletes from all over the midwest and it was fun to hear their stories of how they got into the sport and share race day experiences.  

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