Ironman 70.3 World Championship - Triathlon

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Mont-Tremblant, Quebec
World Triathlon Corporation
70F / 21C
Total Time = 5h 36m 29s
Overall Rank = 1806/2189
Age Group = F30-34
Age Group Rank = 103/117
Pre-race routine:

I qualified for 70.3 WC at Buffalo Springs 70.3 ten weeks prior to the race (which was only eight weeks after my A race for the season, St. George 70.3), so I knew that between recovering from BS and tapering for WC, it was going to be a somewhat marginal build and not enough time to make any real improvements....but I really wanted to race in Mont Tremblant and was excited to see the caliber of athletes a race like this brings in. So I committed to it and started the build....which felt great at times, but also felt like death might be better at other times (thank you, Houston climate!).

I booked flights for Friday through Wednesday -- about three and a half weeks out from the race (and right at the end of one of those weeks where death seemed like the better option over training!), I learned that they were requiring packet pick-up on Thursday and Friday, and that my flight (with clearing customs, picking up baggage, renting a car, and driving to MT) would not get me in before they closed up. I immediately tried to contact WTC but could not get a response. I had nearly written off the race altogether at that point, though I didn't actually stop training. Finally, a week later, they eventually got back to me and said they'd make an exception and allow me to pick up my packet late, which turned out to be a really good thing cause we actually missed our flight on Friday morning and had to book a later one! I think we were like four minutes past the bag check cut-off (and the lady said she'd have worked hard to get us on if it hadn't been for the bike, but couldn't make it work with the bike).

Eventually all the drama was behind re-booked, bags checked, landed in Ottawa, cleared customs, picked up bags, grabbed the rental car, got dinner, drove to day, I did a quick ride/run, picked up my packet, dropped all my race gear off, and settled in for an evening with my book and pre-race beer in hopes of having a good night's sleep. I usually sleep pretty well before races, but didn't sleep great that night for whatever reason. I wasn't nervous....I already knew I was going to be vying for last place!

When my alarm went off, I got up, ate a bagel with peanut butter, got all ready....and promptly had an extra 30 minutes before I needed to leave. When it was finally time for me to leave, I got to transition and got all of my stuff ready for the day....and promptly had an extra 30 minutes before I was supposed to meet Stephen. Clearly I am way more efficient than I give myself credit for ;)

The men's pro wave went off at 8:00 and my wave didn't go off till 8:32, so I had plenty of time to eat a banana and get into my wetsuit after transition closed at 7:15. I eventually worked my way into my wetsuit and decided to take a quick swim before my wave took off.
Event warmup:

I waded into the water and swam for a couple minutes to get acclimated (the water felt great....air temps were a bit chilly, so the water felt quite comfortable). The wetsuit seemed to be situated fine on my shoulders, so I got out of the water and lined up with my wave just as the previous wave took off. That gave me four minutes to get lined up and ready to go. I never got nervous, which was a pleasant surprise because I'm usually a basket case until the gun goes off!
  • 33m 29s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 35s / 100 yards

The swim was the only leg I thought I might not be BOP (though certainly did not expect to be FOP!). It seemed that it was not more than 2-3 people deep in the "line" as people mostly spread out. I lined up to the right of the buoy line as I tend to breathe left -- the announcer had just made a comment that it was fine to swim on the inside of the buoys as long as you round the two corner buoys, so that was my plan.

There really wasn't a lot of contact throughout the majority of the swim (the only real contact I remember was on the back stretch nearing the exit and I think it was basically all due to the latter wave catching us and having to navigate through us). At BS70.3 (and many other OWS's), I get into this "when is this going to be over? I feel like I've been swimming for-freaking-ever" only real goal for the swim leg was to keep my mind from going there. I actually did a pretty good job and enjoyed the swim.

I was hoping to find some feet to sit on for the swim, but I didn't do a great job. The one set of feet I did find that were working out nicely had another person following already, so after trying to squeeze my way in a few times, I gave up and looked for another set. It seemed that we were swimming in a fairly large bunch, so I hoped I was getting some sort of draft pack benefit, but seeing my time in the end tells me that either I wasn't getting much benefit, or I was simply sand bagging my swim (Garmin said it was 1.27 miles, so I might have not been swimming as straight as I could have). I was expecting about a minute faster, so the swim time wasn't devastating! And there were still a few bikes left on the rack, which was pleasant as I knew there wouldn't be any run bags when I got to T2!
What would you do differently?:

I don't know, my pool swim times have been improving over the past two years, but my race swim times seem to be fairly consistent. It would be nice to make some improvements, but I'm pretty okay with this as I do feel like I'm coming out of the water fresher, which is setting me up for a better bike/run in the end.
Transition 1
  • 06m

Longest transition ever!! Coming out of the water, the wetsuit strippers were like right there! I pulled my Garmin off quickly (too bulky to have the wetsuit come off over it) and clamped the strap between my teeth. I pulled off my cap and goggles with one hand while unzipping my wetsuit with the other....I was trying to get my wetsuit half way down, but it was stuck on my wrists by the time I got to the strippers....they made fairly quick work of it, but this whole getting stuck on my wrists thing is getting old.

Then it was a LONG run to the T1 tent. Inside the T1 tent, the ground was slippery, so I opted to slow down a bit rather than risk eating it. I made quick work of getting shoes and socks, and helmet and glasses on, then took off to the bike racks. Of course it would have been nice to not have to run in my bike shoes, but with the number of people who did, in fact, eat it trying to do their flying mounts (I saw one and Stephen told me about countless others), I knew this was the right choice. Got just past the mount line, pulled off to the right side, clipped in, and got moving.
What would you do differently?:

Need to figure out the wetsuit wrist issues -- otherwise, the transition was alright, despite it being slow (I saw lots of T1 times in the 5-6 minute range, so I wasn't abnormally slow)
  • 2h 57m 26s
  • 56 miles
  • 18.94 mile/hr

The bike used to be my favorite leg of a race, but has recently become something of a nemesis. I used to feel like I was a decent rider, but the improvements have stopped....and maybe have started going the other way. So it's probably time to a) take some time off and mentally recharge, and b) revamp my bike training because clearly something is not working.

I knew going into this race that there were going to be some very strong riders....and that I was going to have to keep myself in a mentally decent place despite the fact that I was going to be continually getting passed. Mentally, though, I struggled.

Shortly after first getting on the bike, my right hip flexor was incredibly tight and uncomfortable. I figured it would loosen up over time, but 15 miles in, I was contemplating a DNF....not that I couldn't push through the bike, but if my hip flexor was bugging me this much on the bike, how was it going to feel running?!?! But I kept plugging away, and 40-something miles into the bike, it finally came around.

For those who know me, you know that I'm a fairly small girl. Leading up to the race, I was starting to feel really burned out and having issues recovering from one workout to the next, so I decided to just eat when I was hungry and forget about my weight. I was probably a few pounds over race weight, but never bothered to actually check (honestly, I didn't want to see the number!). So when it turned out that the ONLY place I was consistently passing people was on the downhill, I started joking with myself that I must have packed on more weight than I thought....maybe I gained 50 pounds and somehow still fit in my tri kit ;)

Seriously, though, everyone was blowing past me on the flats (I get it, my raw power output isn't huge) and on the uphills (I can rationalize this....though my power to weight ratio is decent, I was pretty strict at capping my power so I could run after).....but why in the world was I blowing by tons of people on the downhills?? Is it because I was desperately trying to hold my target power instead of just coasting? Is it because I'm a bit of an adrenaline junkie and enjoy the rush? Is it because I somehow gained a ton of weight?? Hah, whatever it was, it didn't matter because I was having fun and passing people though I knew they were going to pass me back almost immediately.

Around mile 45, I started feeling like I needed to pee. I seriously contemplated trying to pee on the bike. I thought about it a bit, but decided that I didn't want to have pee in my socks as I wasn't planning to change socks in T2, so I committed to just using the porta potty in transition....again!

Going into this race, I realized that my bike training had peaked for SG and that I was going to have to hold back a bit more if I wanted to have a good run. For SG, my AP/NP goals were 150-155W (which I undershot).....for BS, my AP/NP goals were 155-160W (which I WAY undershot) for 70.3WC, my AP/NP goals were 148-152W.....which, again, I undershot. I just never felt good -- hip flexor was tight, quads were feeling kind of burn-y, I was in a bit of a mental funk watching people blow by me, so as I watched the watts drop off, I didn't bother to try to make up for it. In the end, it probably worked out to my benefit as my run actually felt pretty good.

AP: 139
NP: 143
TSS: 161
Nutrition: three Stinger Waffles (480 calories) and two bottles of Skratch (240 calories) for roughly 240 cal/hr

On a different note: I try not to worry about what others do and generally just remind myself to keep my shit in check, but I was appalled at the number of HUGE draft packs out there. I understand wanting to go as fast as you can and not wanting others to get an unfair advantage, but this is a fucking championship race -- don't you want to win because you're the best and not because you're the best cheater? Whatever, didn't really bother me as I was clearly BOP, but I truly was surprised.
What would you do differently?:

For this race, I would have liked to block out the mental funk I was in from continually getting passed such that I only worried about myself and how I was feeling (not in relation to how others appeared to be feeling). In the long term, however, I need to revamp my training as I'm clearly not making gains and have a LOT that could be made.
Transition 2
  • 01m 38s

Just after taking the right back into the village, I started to work my way out of my shoes....two races in a row where I actually took my feet out at the right time instead of WAY too early! Coming up to the mount line, I slipped my right leg over my top tube and dismounted quickly and efficiently. Best part about this race? I got to hand my bike off and let someone else rack that bad boy!

I ran to my T2 bag and as soon as I stepped on the turf where the bags were sitting, I realized that it was wet and my feet were now soaked. I guess I should have tried peeing on the bike since I was going to have to change socks regardless!

This transition was fairly smooth....quickly changed socks, shoved my feet in my running shoes, grabbed my hat with race belt and nutrition, shoved my helmet into the bag, and headed out. I stopped to use the porta potty, but it turned out that it was just outside of transition as it was definitely not reflected in the T2 time!
What would you do differently?:

Learn to pee on the bike??
  • 1h 57m 56s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 09m  min/mile

While the bike has only recently become my nemesis, the run has always been my nemesis! On this race, I only dropped one spot on my run (yeah, yeah, that might be because I was already nearly last place, but whatever, I'm calling it a victory!!).

As I started my run, I reminded myself to not go out too fast for the first mile....gauge how I was feeling and keep my shit in check. The first mile clicked off nicely and I was feeling good. I told myself to take the first loop easy and then to bump up the effort....let it hurt a little on the second loop. Plan was to take three Gu's -- one at roughly 3, 6, and 9 miles -- in an effort to not hit that dark place I found at BS. This ended up working out perfectly. I took water at most of the aid stations (seemed like there were a lot, which is always nice!), drinking a little and dumping some on me, while trying not to soak my feet. The weather was perfect, so keeping cool was actually not difficult at all -- nice change of pace from the crap Houston's been throwing at me recently!

Finishing the first loop brought me back to the village, the unknown part of the course for me. There were spectators cheering us on by name, which was really cool....until we got to this brutal, mean, practically-cobblestone, nearly straight up a wall out of TdF hill. As I started to run up it, I thought, "What evil fucking genius decided on this? This is just plain mean!" But with all the spectators cheering me on, there was no way I was going to let them down and walk up the hill....nuh-uh, this hill will not win! I made it to the top and, of course, realized that meant I had to run down a hill nearly as steep....goodbye, toe nails! But for whatever reason (my guess is that I got them cut sufficiently short, and not that I miraculously figured out how to run downhill), my toes were not screaming out in pain, so I just used whatever free speed I could get from running down the hill.

This is the first race I've done with two loops, and even though I always figured it would suck to have to run right by the finish line, it really wasn't that bad. At this point, I was on track for a PR half marathon, so I was in a really good place....I ran by, not really even longing for the finish. Being in a good place on the run is a huge victory for me -- maybe even I can figure out how to enjoy running!

The second lap hurt a little more....I bumped up the effort and was also starting to feel the effects of a long day. But the volunteers were so supportive and I was running toward a PR, so I was feeling good. Right about the turn around, I noticed that the bottoms of my feet were feeling hot and like I was going to get a blister on each one. I started counting down the time ("less than 30 minutes, you can do this!" and "less than 20 minutes to go, you're good!" and "less than 10 minutes, you can do anything for 10 minutes") and chanting my "make mile 11 your bitch" or "make mile 12 your bitch" mantra, which made the time go by relatively quickly.

And finally I turned into the village and pointed myself up the mean hill....I said to myself, "mountain goat your way up this fucker!", so I did. And as I was coming back down toward the finish line, I found some crazy second wind and blew by a bunch of people on my way toward the finish line. I was so excited....I knew I'd had a good run and a run PR....and I was proud of myself for staying in a good place mentally, and for finishing a race despite being one of the slowest racers out there. I was so fact, I almost got choked up after I finished.
What would you do differently?:

I might have pushed it a little harder at the start and let myself hurt a little earlier, but I'm really very happy with this run. It's a tough run course, but the weather, volunteers, and spectators really made it quite enjoyable.

I know the run is my weakness, so this winter I've committed to a run focus. I have a fear of getting even worse on the bike, but I'm hoping I'll gain more on the run than I lose on the bike. We'll see!
Post race
Warm down:

To be honest, I was pretty underwhelmed by the finish line at this race. I crossed the finish line and they ushered me straight into the food line....all I wanted at this point was to have a bottle of water and some time to stretch, but it seemed as though that wasn't an option. So my warm-down was less than ideal....and I paid for it in the days to come!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Natural ability, doing a bunch of "mini builds" throughout the season instead of having A races separated by a reasonable amount of time

Qualifying for this race (yeah, through a massive roll down...) and having the opportunity to race it with everyone else was truly an honor, but I'm not sure I'd do it again if I don't make some major improvements. I know I should just focus on myself (and I did on the run....and came away VERY proud of myself) and not worry about how others are doing or what they think about me, but unless I find a way to shave off 20+ minutes from my bike and 10+ minutes from my run, I'm just not sure I'd toe the line at a race like this again. It was a great experience and I'm in awe of the other athletes, but I kind of feel like my slot should have gone to someone who was there to compete instead of complete.

Event comments:

For the 70.3 World Championship, I was pretty underwhelmed. All of the other WTC races I've done have had better pre- and post-race activities. Until I found the poutine, this race also had (by far) the worst post-race food selection....yeah, I race so I can eat :)

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Last updated: 2014-07-01 12:00 AM
00:33:29 | 2112 yards | 01m 35s / 100yards
Age Group: 79/117
Overall: 0/2189
Performance: Average
Suit: TYR Hurricane Cat 5
Course: Rectangular course, swimming clockwise around a peninsula
Start type: Run Plus: Waves
Water temp: 69F / 21C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Average
Time: 06:00
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:57:26 | 56 miles | 18.94 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/117
Overall: 0/2189
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence: 85
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Below average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:38
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal Average
01:57:56 | 13.1 miles | 09m  min/mile
Age Group: 0/117
Overall: 0/2189
Performance: Good
Course: Two loop course with an incredibly mean, brutal hill through the village!
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 3
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 2