On Saturday, I went up to Everett/Lake Stevens to attend the pre-race meeting and drop off my bike. Rode 20 min easy on the course one last time to make sure the bike was good to go. Managed to lose my driver’s license during that short ride :( If anyone found it during the race yesterday – let me know. I guess I should get one of those road IDs.
I enjoyed fresh linguine with smoked salmon as my pre-race meal and spent the rest of the evening packing my gear and going over my race plan. I froze solid my bike nutrition and water bottles overnight given the hot temps that were expected for race day. Went to bed at 9:30pm.
Up at 3:30pm. Quick shower, breakfast of champions (bagel with Nutella, coffee and OJ), out the door at 4:15. I arrived in Lake Stevens close to 5am and took the last parking spot at Bike Works 2 blocks away from transition (the owner does bike support for the race and is cool with athletes parking at his lot for free). Arriving early gave me plenty of time to prepare my transition area, stand through the bathroom line twice, get my wetsuit on and still left some time for chatting with a few friends and just relaxing before the start of my wave. I always get a major case of butterflies in my stomach the day before the race, but somehow I manage to be totally calm in the morning before the swim start.
Swim – 35:46
The swim started out very smooth. I found the underwater cable right away, found myself behind a couple ladies who were keeping a consistent pace. I settled in and enjoyed a pretty relaxed swim – didn’t even need to sight – it was like swimming in the pool behind someone who’s slightly faster than you but makes for a perfect person to draft. It was the most enjoyable race swim experience yet. This changed after the turn around as we caught up with some folks from the previous wave. Since everyone else also enjoyed swimming along the cable I kept having to go around people. I still tried to keep the cable in sight but lost the girls I was drafting.
Came out of the water and realized that my stop watch was completely dead, so I had no idea what my split was.
35 min was my goal for this race, so I am satisfied with my swim. Also, this confirms my suspicion that the course at Troika 2 weeks ago was short because I feel like I swam just as well at Lake Stevens as I did at Troika.
T1 – 2:45
I felt great coming out of the water and passed a couple people on the run to the bikes. Found my bike rack fine, but missed my bike on the first try and ran too far and had to track back. As I was taking off my wetsuit I saw my friend Cathleen and asked her what our swim time was, she said around 35 min. Great, right on goal. I sprayed on some sunscreen, put on my shoes, helmet and race number. As I was putting on my sunglasses, a lens popped out :( (This has happened before when I dropped them but not if I put them on carefully). I rushed to put it back in, but as I put the glasses on for the second time, it happened again. Finally, on the third try I had my glasses on, all smeared with sunscreen which, coupled with the sun glare made it hard to see. Sorry if anyone heard me swearing in T1!
I feel like this time is ok given that I missed my bike and had to mess with my glasses. Buying new glasses before my next race!
Bike – 2:49:54
It was really nice to be intimately familiar with the course and know exactly what’s coming after each turn and when the true top of the hill is, etc. I knew the main trick yesterday was to not screw up my nutrition/hydration because of how hot it was. I drank some of my carbo pro mixture every 20 min, took salt capsules regularly and drank A LOT of water. Originally, I planned to drink 2 bottles of water, but I think I ended up drinking 3+.
I watched my watts and made sure I stayed below my cap on the climbs when possible and kept it in my target range on the flats (I think there were about 4-5 flat miles on the whole course). It was pretty crowded the whole way which made me check my speed on the descents a bit more than I do in training. It was nice to get some friendly competition from my rock-star-bike-racer friend, Carly. We kept passing each other back and forth for the majority of the ride. She kicked some major butt yesterday!
At mile 48 I stopped getting the speed reading. It’s not a big deal since I ride by power, not by speed, but turned out that the sensor piece got knocked out of its cage and was just hanging off by the wire that connects it to the computer. It was ok at first but with a few miles to go it got caught between the wheel and the fork and made a terrible noise. I thought for sure it was getting torn off my bike, but it got pushed out the other side of the fork and was just hanging like that the rest of the way.
My bike split was a bit slower than I hoped for (my goal was 2:45), but I don’t think I made any mistakes in my execution, so I’m happy with it.
T2 – 1:31
T2 went a lot smoother than T1. Changed my shoes, took off my helmet, grabbed the small bottle of coke and some gels for my nutrition and I was on my way.
Run – 1:38:52
Felt pretty good at the start, especially after I drank the Coke during the first mile. (This time I de-fizzed it the night before so I didn’t spill quite as much on myself.) Unfortunately, my watch was dead, so I couldn’t take my splits and didn’t know my heart rate. I ran exclusively by effort. I consumed 2 gels over the course of the first hour and made sure to drink extra water or Gatorade at each aid station to stay hydrated and keep up my electrolytes. I think I did a really good job with hydration, nutrition and electrolytes on both the bike and the run because I never felt hungry, thirsty, dehydrated or overheated. I never got cramps either which happened in the last 2 races.
The long hill on the out and back seemed particularly steep yesterday. I usually barely even notice that it’s a hill on training runs, but that was not the case yesterday. Despite the fact that I was managing my temperature ok, it was still a tough run. I felt like my effort and pace stayed consistent the whole run, but I have no way of verifying that since I don’t have my splits. On one hand, I think maybe I could have pushed a bit harder if I had my watch and knew that I was behind on my splits. On the other hand it’s hard to imagine working any harder than I was, so maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t have my splits.
I picked it up a bit when I knew we only had a half a mile to go. It was weird crossing the finish line having no idea what my finish time was. I did know that I left it all out there on the course though. I couldn’t even walk after I crossed the finish line. I just wanted to lay down and not move. The volunteers even made me go into the med tent for the first time ever. I wasn’t feeling sick or dehydrated though, just really spent. So I laid in the tent for a few minutes with some ice bags on my legs and drank some water. It was kind of nice.
Overall – 5:08:46
I did notice that the clock said 5:36 when I crossed and I found out that it was from the pro start which I knew was 28 minutes earlier than our wave, so I figured I was in the 5:08-5:09 range. I was a little disappointed to not break 5 hours, but I kind of knew it wasn’t going to happen after the bike. Given the heat, I think it’s a respectable time for me and honestly, I feel like I executed well. I can’t think of anything I’d do differently... except for maybe run a bit faster, but don’t we all wish that :) It was just a tougher day than I planned for. I am sure happy with getting 3rd in my AG!
It was nice to get a massage after the race and to watch some of my friends finish. I got to watch Sister Madonna go into the finish chute. That lady has some kick! She sprinted in the last 100m, it was awesome to see!
I hung out for the awards and for the Clearwater spots roll-down. Only 2 slots in our AG this year, so I didn’t get one automatically. None of them were claimed though so I knew I’d get one. Really happy that Carly and Daniel got their slots too! Lots of friends to train and go down there with!