Well, at least I beat my goal time of 5:15… but that’s easy to do when they shorten the race and cancel the swim.
Ya, remember the preview and warnings of weather? It hit. Storms in the AM pushed the start back, canceled the swim and shortened the bike course, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Lets set the stage.
I rolled into Racine Friday and made it time for packet pickup. That was awesome as it gave me all day Saturday to get some quick course recon done and enjoy the day… and find another place to stay.
Check in was painless and easy. Minus the overpriced race gear, I did find some bargains that didn’t break the bank and I’m always optimistic about Black Friday and sales on race gear. 😉
This was the first time I used Air BNB. While I’m sure it’s a great program, I rolled the dice staying in a room and sharing a house with someone. Turns out it was with 4 other people and the owner slept on the coach renting out all of his rooms. Mine was an office with a bed and makeshift doors added the day I got there. Wood chips on the floor and no door handle to prove it.
|Office nook… I mean bed nook.|
|Door with a view?|
|Look ma, no handle! Had to prop the door shut with a chair and my bag on it.|
|Filing system of champions.|
It was sketchy at best. I slept there 1 night and just wasn’t feeling it so I overpaid for a hotel room 20 miles away. It was worth being able to have a home base and get ready for the race.
While it was a stressor to deal with the Air BNB deal.. I managed to take care of it and friends staying in the area for the race helped me out as well! Pays to know people. I’ll be planning accommodations better next year.
Day before the race.
It was awesome getting a Lake Michigan swim in Saturday to get used to the lake water and temp (bit chilly), and as I foreshadowed, it would be the only time I’d swim in it.
Also ran a quick 3 miler on the path to get my bearings.
Overall the day before was a good recon day and just getting the lodging issue settled. I always recommend having a full day before a race to get your bearings at the 70.3 level.
We’re on… we’re on hold… we’re on but less distance…
Around 6am they informed us not to walk to the swim start and delayed the start to 7:30 from 7 and told us to seek shelter for a storm rolling in.
Here’s where it pays to have friends staying local. I shacked up with 2 families that had a house up a hill from transition. They had their families, covered patio and coffee! What else could you want with the start delayed to 10:30am and a shortened bike course to 31.4 miles!?
Honestly if they weren’t there, the delay would have SUCKED. People had to go sit in their cars and hopefully they had real food and water for the 3.5 hour delay. I had to snap back to reality and switch back to water and find a quick peanut butter cracker snack bag I stole from some kids. Otherwise I would have had nothing from breakfast at 5am until race start at 10:30am. Can you say bonkville?
It would have been more of a bust if I hadn’t noticed A LOT of people packing up and heading home. I knew with a full event, I would have no chance at qualifying for Worlds 70.3. Would enough people leave in order for me to have a shot? Stay tuned! But, it did give me more motivation to just say “screw it” and go all out for the entire race.
31.4 miles screaming on the bike and 13.1 miles on foot at whatever I had left.
On a side note, it was a totally awesome morning for a swim, until the storms showed up.
BIKE // 31.4 miles // 1:23:48 // 22.48 MPH // 53rd AG
By far the best bike average in any race I have done. I just mashed the pedals the entire time and was drained by T2.
The winds were pretty harsh in spots and with the “time trail” start being more like “line up and you all go out as you fit out of bike out arch”, it was wall to wall bikes. You had to pop out on the road in spots to pass and some had car traffic to deal with.
Nerves of steel is the only thing that kept people passing in some spots… or stupidity.
I’ve never raced roads so filled with bikes. The only issue I had with how they handled the race changes was the bike start. All else was great. It should have been something more like 2 bikes go every 5 seconds to avoid the chaos.
They other issue that was my issue to deal with was nutrition. I was utilizing Hot Shot nerve cramp drink and some fruit squeezies (same as powerbar or clif, but couldn’t find any local) with UCAN in my sports bottle. Normally I’m all over it after the swim and for 56 miles of biking… but bike first and for only 30 miles… I didn’t wrap my head around what I would need until I got back to transition to dry out my stuff and set up.
I slammed Hot Shot 30 minutes to start and took the squeezie 10 minutes before start to simulate what I would have been doing after the swim. During the ride I had to remind myself I would need some sort of nutrition (squeezie or GU gel – I brought both) and also need to drink water.
I succeeded at the GU gel and sipping UCAN, but failed at taking in enough water which I would pay for on the run.
The moral of the story is I was off my game due to a shortened amount of time to take in nutrition and fluids for the half marathon, and it was getting HOT in a hurry.
Nutrition – YEAH
Fluids – BOO
RUN // 13.1 miles // 1:47:05 // 8:10 min/mile // 34th AG
Even with jacking up my hydration, I managed a good clip until mile 11. Then, it was crampsville.
I felt them coming on for the second lap, and I knew it was a matter of time vs distance to go.
I truly believe Hot Shot got me as far as I got with the lack of hydration on the bike after taking another shot after the bike. I was sipping water on the course at aid stations, but I was sweating out more than I felt safe to take in. I could feel my groin and hamstrings twinging and wanting to cramp, but something held them off.
In retrospect I wish I would have taken the extra shot I had on the run since I didn’t do the swim to take half way through. I was motoring at sub 8 min/mile til mile 8, which was the onset of twinges.
Mile 11 was full on groin cramps, which I walked off.
Mile 12.6 was hamstring cramps which I had to stretch and walk off to be able to jog it out to the finish line.
Let me tell you it sucks to stand there unable to run watching people in your age group jog by.
I estimate I lost 5 minutes due to the cramps. Lesson learned on hydration on an altered course. Had I drank enough on the bike, I believe I would have been fine.
On a sad note, I had to retire my go to ASICS FuzeX shoes since they got abused upwards of 300 miles. I switched to my Cumulus 17’s that had a little more life left in them. Sad shoe moment.
FINISH // 44.5 miles // 3:12:17 // 34th AG
Overall not bad.
Not Worlds qualifying material, but I knew it would be a long shot with a new baby and new job.
What are you going to do?
But, I still had a great time with friends during the delay, race and afterwards. The 10 hour drive home, not so much.
Had it not been for friends renting a house by transition and racing with me, this would have been a totally different experience. I’m definitely looking forward to gathering up more like minded friends for future race outings.
Goes to show you that not every race is going to be the same 70.3 experience. From the Air BNB experience to the weather delays and race change issues, you just have to roll with the punches sometimes and find the silver lining.
- Find a place close to the race. Use a trusted source for bookings. Use a rental so you can buy local food and avoid eating out all the time unless that’s your think.
- Try to include a group. It’s just more fun.
- Don’t skimp on lodging.
- Be ready for anything.
- Carry water around at all times and drink it often!