I can’t believe Summer is almost over! I have spent the past week recovering from my race and enjoying time with my kids before they head back to school this week. So, I’m finally getting a chance to sit down and write about my experience last weekend at Timberman!
Originally, my plan for the Summer was to do the Rev3 70.3 triathlon this weekend. However, back in May, I was invited to become an Ambassador for Women for Tri. The race they asked me to represent was Ironman Timberman 70.3 in New Hampshire. This was an opportunity I could not pass up, as I was thrilled to have been chosen as an ambassador for this wonderful group of women! The mission of Women for Tri is: “To identify and diminish primary barriers to entry, and mobilize triathlon advocates to encourage and engage female athletes across all distances and representing all athletic abilities.” Put simply, we want to encourage more women to get involved in the awesome sport of Triathlon!! It is a fantastic and supportive community and I am honored to be a part of it! (Please let me know in comments if you would like more information about it)
I headed to New Hampshire late Friday afternoon with my friend/coach (Erin), who was also doing the race. This was the first time my family was not able to join me and it felt a little awkward to not have them come with me. I do think it was probably best for everyone, as the weekend was so busy!
I got up early Saturday morning and headed to the Ironman Village Expo to spend the day at the Women for Tri tent. Erin came along to help me and I was so appreciative of her support! I had so many women stop by to chat about triathlons and ask about the “Women for Tri” movement. I love triathlons and can talk about them all day, so this was the perfect opportunity for me! Here are some pictures from the day:
A highlight of the day was having professional triathlete Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae stop by to tell us how appreciative she is of the “Women for Tri” group. She went on to win the race the next day!
It was a great day! I would not change a thing about it, but it was probably not ideal for me to be standing in the heat for 7 hours the day before my race, as I was exhausted by the end! After the expo, I went back to the hotel, showered and went out to dinner with Erin. I never got in a pre-race “shake out” bike or run, but that was fine.
I was in bed at 9:45 pm, as my alarm clock was set for 3am for the race. The hotel we were staying in was 25 minutes away from the race start and we wanted to get there as early as we could to avoid traffic. I was surprised at how well I slept that night, I only woke up once before my alarm clock went off!
We left the hotel at 3:50am and did end up hitting traffic on our way into the park. The parking at Ellacoya State Park (the race start) is limited, so if we did not get a spot there, we would have to drive back to the Gunstock Resort and take a shuttle, which we were trying to avoid. Fortunately, we got a spot at the park!
It was 4:45 am by the time we were all settled, so we had 2 hours before the race start. I took my gear to Transition and got everything all set up and pumped up my tires. I neurotically checked my bike tires and gears about a dozen times… (If you have been following my blog, you know why!). Then, I went to get in line for the bathrooms. The port-a-pot line was ridiculous! I waited in line for at least 35 minutes and by the time I was done, transition was closing and I was rushing to get my wetsuit on.
I managed to make it out of transition and to the swim start 15 minutes before my wave went off. Everyone was buzzing around the start nervously as the gun went off for each wave. I was in the 5th wave and I was happy that the swim started in the water. We walked about 100 yards out in the water to a buoy to start. I got on the inside close to the buoy line as the gun went off and my journey started. The swim was very crowded and I was getting hit and kicked as I struggled to find my space in the water. The water stayed crowded as I counted the bouys on my way out. There were times that I felt like I was not even swimming, but letting the draft carry me as I put one arm in front of the other protecting my head and preventing my goggles from getting knocked off. The water was calm and warm, but I was not enjoying the swim. When I came to the second turn buoy, I started to wonder how much time I had been in the water. I really had lost sense of time and I was not swimming hard, so I started to get nervous that my swim was too slow… “Has it been an hour since I entered the water?’ The thought of this scared me and I got out of the crowd of people to swim more freely, even if it meant swimming a little more distance. Soon, I could hear people cheering and my hands started to hit the rocky & sandy bottom of Lake Winnipesaukee. I knew it was time to get up and run! I stood up and looked at my watch and it said 44 minutes. I was so relieved! I was a bit dizzy, but managed to run to the wetsuit strippers and have them tug my suit off. (I later looked back and according to my Garmin, I had swam 2,285 yards…)
I got in and out of T1 as quick as I could, which was still slow…around 3 minutes. I got on my bike and started climbing right away! The bike course was congested and I was just trying to stay calm as I settled into my ride. I desperately wanted a good, solid bike leg at the race, I really didn’t care about anything else. My confidence in my bike had been shattered after the disasters at the previous 2 races in Mont Tremblant. I stayed to the right and let people pass me until I felt comfortable to get out and start pushing. the first 15 miles of the course were extremely challenging with some very steep 9-10% grade hills. The course was crowded and the roads were also open to traffic. At one point, there was a pick-up truck who was inching his way along and I had to pass the truck on a very narrow strip of pavement to get around him. I felt very stressed for the majority of the bike leg, despite my best efforts at enjoying the ride. I could not seem to break away from some of the male riders and they were bombing through the course, riding on my wheel, attempting to pass on the right, etc. Here is what my 56 miles looked like:
I think I was so spoiled at the races in Mont Tremblant where the roads were closed to traffic and there was so much space that this took me by surprise. However, I made it through the bike course successfully without any mechanical issues and I was thrilled. My time was 3:21 for the 56 miles, which was a bit faster than what I thought I could do on the hilly course, so I was happy!
Once again, I tried to get in and out of Transition quickly, but it still took me almost 3 minutes! I had my fuel belt there and contemplated whether to put it on, and decided it was best as it was so hot and humid out. My goal for the run was to keep a solid 10 minute/mile pace and finish feeling good! I started off and felt ok, my pace was in the 9:50’s. The miles were going by slow and I was dumping water over my head at each aid station. My fuel belt was weighing me down and the velcro came undone, so I had to stop and adjust it. I cursed that I had brought it along and even thought about throwing it in a trash can, but sanity took over and I kept running with it. Around mile 5, my pace had slowed to 10:00 min/mile and a wave of fatigue came across me that I had not experienced before during a race. I took a gel and kept putting one foot in front of the other.
The run course was challenging with some long slow climbs and I began to wonder how I was going to make it through 8 more miles. Did I mention it was 85 degrees out? I started to walk… I plugged away walking, alternating with running. Every time I ran, I felt like I was going to throw up. I would run until the brink of vomiting, then stop and walk until the feeling subsided. I was disappointed, as I had trained to RUN the 1/2 marathon, but I was suffering so much. I knew if I really got sick that it would be over, so I did what I could to prevent it. I walked, I ran, off and on, until mile 12. At this point, I decided to run as hard as I could, which was still pretty slow! I looked at my watch and it buzzed 13 miles, and I turned the corner and saw the Finish Line and ran toward it. The Finisher’s Chute was lined with people cheering and I was thrilled to make it across the Finish Line!
Erin was waiting for me when I finished. As I walked a bit, I could feel my heart rate and blood pressure drop. I became extremely nauseated and was white as a sheet! I did not want to go to the medical tent, so I managed to find a private area by the lake and prop my feet up in the air. I laid there on the ground until the feeling subsided and my blood pressure normalized. Then, I slowly stood up and made my way into the lake to cool off. Sitting in the water was the best feeling after being so hot and ill during the run. My finish time was 6:39, it was 9 minutes slower than my goal, but after thinking about my day, I am pleased with it. I pushed myself to the best of my ability and was able to listen to my body and do what I needed to do to get across the Finish Line!
Did you do a Big Race this Summer? How did it go? Do you have any favorite ways to deal with running in the heat? Thanks for stopping by and reading about my day! Please let me know if you have any questions about Women for Tri or the Ironman Timberman 70.3 race in the comment section below. Have a Great Week!