Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Racine 70.3 Race Recap

What a crazy weekend!  Two late nights at pretty awesome concerts, with a little 70.3 thrown in for good measure.  I knew back in the winter when I was buying tickets and registering for the race that it was going to be a heck of a few days, and they did not disappoint.  This was one weekend I will never forget- hopefully I will forget the exhaustion that went along with it.  

But let's talk about the race.  After a week of crazy hot temps in the Midwest we were given a huge break when the Sunday forecast was upper 70's.  You really can't ask for much better in July and with the cool lake breeze, it was going to be a pretty pleasant day.   

Oh yeah, and the cool lake.  For the second time when I have raced Racine the lake "flipped" a few days before the race and the water temp plummeted almost twenty degrees!  This is some sort of phenomenon where the shallow beach water is pulled out into the lake and the cold, deep water replaces it.  I am not particularly fond of this phenomenon.  However, by start time it had crept back into the mid- 60's and was a very manageable temperature.   

While we may have gotten lucky with temps, we paid for it with the waves.  This was definitely not the choppiest swim I have endured but it was constant turbulence for 1.2 miles.  The first 200 meters or so out to the buoy was near impossible as we were diving over whitecaps and getting pushed back towards shore.  After the first turn things were a little easier but still hard to sight to the next buoy as waves were blocking most looks.  Finally after the last turn it was smooth sailing, as the current rolled me onto the beach.

Just before I had started the swim they announced that the first pro men had just finished in 25 minutes. Once I heard that number I knew I had to adjust my goal of 30 minutes, so I was not surprised when my watch read 33 as I trudged (quickly) through the sand to T1.   A dropped chain and some greasy hands later, I was up the hill and on the bike.   
Not too much exciting happened on those 56 miles.  It did feel windy in all directions except heading west.  And, wow, those roads were bumpy!  My first 30 miles were pretty strong, at my goal of over 20 mph, but by mile 40 I was totally over the constant bump, bump, bump.  My head was hurting and my pace slowed.    I was not particularly please with my bike split, but was so happy to be off the bike it did not matter.

So starts the run.  The first few miles felt great and then fatigue starts to set in.   I have not yet broken that two hour mark at the end of a half ironman, although I feel I am completely capable.  Today was no exception.  The first loop was right on pace but starting that second loop, so clearly not going to get my PR of 5:23 on this course, I just couldn't keep it at that 9 mile pace.  My splits climbed and I climbed up to 9:30s, and even a couple of 10's.

But just when you think you have spent every ounce of energy, you are almost there.  The last 1/4 mile of this course is downhill to the finish line and lined with spectators.  This is why you race.  For that feeling of accomplishment and knowing that you gave it your all.  Once I hit that hill a smile spread across my face and I just tried to take in everything around me.  That was the only part of the race that went by too quickly.

Five hours and thirty nine minutes- way off my goal time, but the course seemed a bit slow in general. It is really hard to give that much of yourself and come away disappointed, so I am embracing the feeling of accomplishment that comes with racing long again.  I really had forgotten how much these long ones hurt (and am already starting to forget as researching destination 70.3's).

Congrats also to Elisabeth, Kate and Kevin for finishing their first 70.3's and my husband Gene for running the entire run on his second.  Love you all and as Jay-Z would say "On to the next one, on to the next one."
September 8th in Madison, that is.  

-Coach A

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