2014 IM 70.3 Boise – I Won A Race!

It is the best feeling in the world running down the finish chute high fiving a massive group of people cheering for you.  It has been since March of 2012 that I got that feeling in a 70.3 event and it gets better every single time.  Thank you so much Boise! Taking the lead out of the water and never relinquishing it is a first ever for me and is a testament to the hard work we are doing down at our little pro swim club at Crystal.  Thanks so much to Clint Lien and lane four: James, Sara, Stevo, and Geoff.  You guys are the best!

2014 boise win

 

Photo from ironman.com

Wrestling the win away from the pro ladies in Boise took it out of me.  Liz Lyles is a phenomenal runner  so until the final stretch I was never sure I had it.  Sue Buse came from behind to run into third place with the best run of the day and my Blueseventy teammate Kate Bevilaqua set the pace for most of the swim to set up a Blueseventy 1-2 out of the water and she still held on for fourth on the day.  A very strong group of professional women rolled out at high noon to do battle on the day.

I was a bit more tactical this week on the swim.  After the start, I was trying to take the lead with Kate strongly keeping pace on my hip.  I made a few quick peeks behind us and saw we were towing the group, not unlike last week where I towed two girls, one on each hip.  Since Kate wasn’t interested in my feet, I chose to hop on hers.  Why make it easier for everyone behind us?  So I swam on her feet until someone kept surging up my side. I had no interest in a non Blueseventy athlete coming out of the water first, so in the final stretch I made sure it was a Blueseventy Helix across the line first.  This is when I took the lead.

Onto the bike, I was excited for a nice windy race.  I am riding with the new Rudy Project Wing57 helmet which is super aero but light and cool… no overheating brains in it.  I was riding the Bontrager Aeolus 9 that I had been riding in Hawaii which was perfect on the day in the never ending crosswind or blasting headwind.  I also raised the angle of my extensions on my Trek Speed Concept which improved my handling in cross winds and made me feel much stronger than last week.  Getting these little details ironed out takes a lot of riding, I have discovered.  I think you not only gain fitness from racing but you also get ‘race feel’ from racing.  That is why I am improving.  I definitely felt better on the bike than last week, so that is encouraging.  Even my Powertap files are improving week over week so it isn’t just me thinking I am better – I have objective data to prove it.

I came into T2 alone but had no idea where the field was and I honestly never believe any splits out on course.  Thinking the run was pancake flat, I started out at 3:55/km pace because I am capable of 1:24 or less and wanted to run sub-1:24.  However, instantly I knew my split was not going to be in that range given how hard that pace was for legs that were relatively ‘good’.  Sure enough, the MEN ran 1:18 so not looking and panicking about what my splits were was the right decision.

The first lap I only lost 25 seconds to Liz, a much stronger runner than I, so that was encouraging.  The second lap was very hard.  I don’t know if it was running second half marathon in 7 days fatigue or just hard bike-to-run garden variety fatigue, but the miles went by very slowly on the second lap.  I actually ate a world record’s worth of Powerbar Powergel for me, still falling short of what Brent can pound back, but three full gels on the run after six on the bike is amazing intake for me.  I held my losses to Liz to about a minute so that was a very good run for me- even if I grossly miscalculated the splits.  What I would say is using perceived effort when you are racing is a very important skill – don’t be a slave to your gadgets in training!

Running into the finish line and getting a high five from Brent who had also won was also pretty awesome.  We had a fun two weeks hanging out being training buddies.  I think his awesome work ethic rubbed off on me a little and thanks to him I had an excellent motorpacing session the day before the race that sparked my bike legs up nicely.  I need to match my schedule to his as riding together seems to work out well for me the day before the event.  I also have to thank Michael and Jenny Tobin, my XTERRA buddies, for not only being part of the organizing committee but also providing housing in the super athlete pied a terre at their place.  There was lots of inspiration for excellence there.

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Celebrating a job well done! Idaho Statesman photo.

Thanks to my sponsors Trek, Bontrager, Shimano, Powerbar, Powertap, Champion System, Rudy Project, Blueseventy wetsuits, Sci Con Travel Cases, Frontrunners Westshore, Synergy Wellness, Trek Procity Victoria, Wiink2, USANA, and Saltstick.   Congratulations to my Trek Factory Racing Jenny Fletcher in taking 6th a week after Alcatraz-solid effort!

 

I am so proud to fly the flag for all of you from the top of the box.  Thanks for the cheers!

2014 Honu 70.3, Kona, HI

2014 marked my second trip to Kona, Hawaii for the Honu 70.3.  I fared much better in the race this time around, earning 3rd place after the fastest bike split following Angela Naeth and Bree Wee to the line.  The race was a Canadian trifest with Brent McMahon also taking the men’s win and numerous Canadians stepping onto the podium.  Way to go, eh?

Glamorous pro racing attempting to fit a Trek Speed Concept into a rental Chevy Spark – an astonishingly tiny vehicle.

 

Warm water in Hapuna Bay greeted me in my Blueseventy swimskin-and with present swim form I was expecting a fast split.  However, I missed the train of the pro men (we started together and stupidly I chose the Brent McMahon side which was too fast) and ended up towing a barge of girls around the swim course. Despite aiming directly for buoys to try to convince them to move to my feet instead of my hip but I couldn’t get free -so coming out of the water I gave up and swam on some feet to conserve energy.  I need some ITU swim strategies in my arsenal maybe?  That meant a deficit of about 50 seconds to the lead girls.. including Magali.

Then we moved onto the bike where I took a good while to get going. I was instantly dropped by Angela while Magali rode away with her.  I was feeling tight, sore, and too hot.  I encouraged myself by reminders of how fast Angela and Mags are on the bike, how each race I am getting stronger and I also made a deal with myself that if I toughed it out as hard as I could I didn’t have to go to Boise next week.  Haha!  Then I drank a bunch of Perform, ate some gels and waited for my legs to get better.  Which they did.

After the turnaround to Hawi I could see that I was no longer being dropped and instead was pulling back the leaders.  I caught Mags and felt like maybe I was getting closer to Angela up the road.  Sure enough, I closed all the gap to Angela on the hill back up to the Queen K so I was definitely climbing fast but Angela was faster than I on the downhills and flats.  That girl can push a lot of watts!  I was happy to be climbing very well on the new Trek Speed Concept and that brought me back to the front of the race.  Although I feel I didn’t have a good first half of the race, the average watts according to my Joule for this event were higher than both my other races this season despite the long downhill so I believe my bike form continues to improve.

I rode tubular Bontrager Aeolus wheels for the first time and I have to say that tubulars are very nice to ride.  There were a lot of pre-race jokes about changing a tubular flat and breaking a nail but the road was swept perfectly for the race.  Thank you to all the Honu organizing committee for maintaining such a nice race course.

I have been slowly building back my running but every step forward I have been slowed down by a bit of an injury so I really didn’t know what I could do.  So when I led out of T2 I just said to myself to stick like glue for a minimum of 4 miles.  I trailed Angela as close as I could but by mile 3 she was gaining about 5 seconds per mile.   When we got to the hot, terrible hill at about 5- 6 miles my elastic band to her back broke and I went through a rough mile.  I pulled it together again but at the terrible hot, down/up out and back 10-11 miles I was dizzy wondering if I was going to have another Hawaiian DNF.  No amount of Powerbar Powergel or coke was bringing me back.  Then started my 12-13 mile death march where Bree went sailing past.  I appreciate that she kept looking back to see if I was going to respond but I had all kinds of emergency warning systems going off in my body so there was no response.  I also appreciate the kind age group man running by me who said “less than five km to go” because I really did need this reminder.  I ran in for third which was absolutely all I had on the day.  Magali stayed strong to finish in fourth and fellow Canuck Karen Thibodeau took sixth.  

The Hawaiian leis for this race are so beautiful and smell delicious and the prize is an ‘umeke which is going to be a wonderful keepsake for all the podium finishers.  The warrior escort to the podium is quite unique and fun as well.  I think everyone should experience a Hawaiian race in their triathlon career-XTERRA or Ironman.

 

 

The awesome Hawaiian leis and bowl.

The good news is that this is the first race where I finished without my leg and foot thing flaring up so I think the injury is behind me and I can start to run a bit more consistently.  I really appreciate the help from Jamie Grimes at Synergy Wellness in Victoria helping me through this.  I also appreciate the help from Marilyn Arsenault at Mindful Strides in Victoria because if I hadn’t changed my run form I was never going to be able to run injury free.  I am encouraged that I am coming back.  I may have lost time to Angela and Bree on Sunday but both are formidable competitors who had very strong races and for most of the race, so did I. 

Thanks very much to Marcy and Bo Fleming for hosting Brent McMahon and I at the spectacular Ke Kailani housing development… what a treat!  It was fantastic to hang out with them and the whole tri crew from Oahu at the post race party they hosted. 

I enjoyed a few extra Hawaiian days at my own favorite happy place on Maui with my friend Dr Aaron and his nephew Marc, who was my training buddy during the week.  We had a great time hanging around Paia style.  Mahalo Aaron and Marc for the awesome stay and I look forward to seeing you guys again in the fall.

Maui selfie.

So until next time, thanks to Trek, Bontrager, Powerbar, Champion System, Shimano, Rudy Project, Powertap, Blueseventy, USANA, saltstick, Trek Procity, Synergy Wellness and Wiink2 for the continued support.  This year is really a lot of fun and is getting more successful as we roll along.

I am optimistic about how my body has been coming around since the race so I am really looking forward to Boise 70.3.  I guess I am going to renege on the deal with myself that I made in a weak moment in Hawaii.  I am excited about the super strong field that is waiting for me there and I am planning to be relentlessly positive throughout my race no matter how it is going.   I am hoping to challenge super MBK and defending champ Liz Lyles.  I am cautiously optimistic that I can perform better on the run this coming Saturday.

My post Kona digs.  Not bad, eh?  Thanks Marcy and Bo!!