Haines City 70.3 Race Recap

Staying at home the night before a race is totally underrated. I got to sleep in my own bed and make my own food, which really helped me stay relaxed. Yes, we had to leave 30 minutes earlier than if we had stayed at a hotel, but totally worth it because I slept great and felt awesome in the morning.

Swim

Wetsuit legal at 74 degrees, which for this time of year was very surprising but a happy surprise. Got off to a great start, behind one row of strong swimmers, so I wasn’t climbing all over people at the start. I did catch an elbow pretty hard to the goggle in the first 5 min which shook me a little, but I was able to settle back in. However, the swim never really spread out. The M shaped course stayed very congested, although it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be around the turns. I felt like I was swimming hard and strong, and was able to draft for a bit at the beginning, until we caught up with stragglers from the wave ahead of us.

Somehow I couldn’t shake this girl who was swimming next to me (I nicknamed her Crazy Arms) which was annoying because she would draft off me, then sprint up next to or in front of me and smack me around. My turns went pretty well, and sighting was good since there were a million buoys. Getting out of the water, I felt pretty good, but was a little disappointed that my time was still just under 40 min! Wondering if the course shape had anything to do with it. Got a little stuck in my wetsuit (damn timing chip!) but otherwise transition was smooth. LOOOOOOONG U shaped transition area was interesting.

Bike

Hopped on nicely and got off to a smooth start. Felt scary good for the first half of the bike, heart rate steady at 155-160, and speed around 21mph average. Seriously felt like I was going downhill with a tailwind, and it was awesome. After working so hard in the swim, my triceps were burning for a while and I was having trouble sticking to aero position, but that subsided after about 30 minutes and I was able to resume comfortably.

Mile 30-45 were pretty rough. The course took a turn to rougher roads, a few more hills, and a nice headwind. Luckily that all let up in the last 10 miles and I was able to stay strong averaging just under 20mph for a 2:49 bike split. Goal was under 2:50 and I got it! First half I was on course for a 2:45 but I lost about 4 min on miles 30-45.

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Like a rookie, I crashed getting off my bike in T2. My legs were pretty tired apparently, and my inner thigh caught the rear mount bottle, just enough so I went down literally face first. NO ONE CAUGHT IT ON VIDEO! I was a little bummed Mark wasn’t there to catch my glorious fall. You’d think after a season of cyclocross I’d be used to dismounting. Bloodied up both knees, the top of one foot, and lost a big chunk of skin on my other big toe. Whoops.

Run

After a great start to T2, the rest of it went smoothly. I was glad I remembered last minute to put my socks in the transition are, because I don’t think I would’ve been able to run sockless with my bloody toe! As I’m putting on my shoes Mark says “whoa, look at your knees…and your toe! Just get up and go, you’re fine, it’ll just hurt later”. I’m pretty sure the woman next to him who had just told me she would say a prayer for me thought he was the meanest husband ever.

Despite the boo boos, I got off to a great start on the 3 loop run course. I held myself back for the first mile because I know I tend to feel fantastic and go out too hard then bomb out at the end. First loop was unremarkable, I felt good and strong, and was holding a steady pace and heart rate, despite the one long hill I knew would get annoying by the end. Second loop, my toe started to throb, and my legs started to get a little heavy, but still wasn’t having a ton of trouble keeping my pace.

Third loop: different story. With 4 miles to go, my quads decided they had enough for the day and didn’t want to work anymore. Lefty started to cramp/seize up first, then a few minutes later righty joined. Uphill was ok, but dramatically slower on the last lap. DOWNHILL SUCKED!! My quads were over it, and I’m pretty sure I said “ow ow ow” a few times going downhill. With a mile to go I realized I had to drop my pace a little to get under my 5:15 goal. Dug really deep to put in a strong last mile despite the quad malfunction and got in just under my goal.

All around solid day, despite getting stuck in the wetsuit and falling down like a ding dong