Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Eagleman 70.3

Well, I toed the line at my first professional race June 8th at Eagleman!  To give a little back story.....I started working with a new coach early April.  It's not that I disliked my old coach, I just felt there was a need for change, especially after my hip injury, and I began to have doubts as to whether I could really be a successful short course triathlete.  My questions began....do I make my body do something I'm not designed for?  Am I limiting myself based on fear of distance due to my previous knee injury?  Can I do a half ironman?   Well, my questions were soon answered when I began to work with Tim Snow at Qt2 systems.   They have a methodical approach, an algorithm, a formula, sweat tests, heart rate parameters, you name it.  What I was looking for in a coach was someone to guide my training to race the distance best suited by my physiology and strengths. i.e.: if I wasn't meant to be a sprinter, why kill myself to only get to a certain point.  With a few quick test sets Tim quickly informed me I was better suited for 70.3 but more so for ironman.  The thoughts that I had about myself, body and training were, in turn, correct.  We came up with some short term goals.

1.  Run further i.e- run pain free and consistently without injury
2.  Gain confidence in my running
3.  Become a more durable athlete- STRENGTH
4.  Maintain swim fitness
5.  Do A LOT of biking, and I mean A LOT

After the Rev 3 series cancellation for Pro's we quickly changed our game plan 4 weeks before Eagleman.  Eagleman it was!  I was informed this race would be about execution, not necessarily about results given I'd been running after the hip injury since April giving me only about 10 weeks of run training and a long run of 12 miles just the week prior to EM.   I learned lots of fun things in the 4 week build.....overload training (20hrs), a nutrition plan (that's a lot of salt) and a new affection for training solo with the Eric Church pandora station and a lonely country road down to Elizabeth City and back!  I put my head down and did the work, all the while I was lucky enough to have Anthony here holding down the fort.

On to the race......

I had a rough night prior to race day....the usual "can't sleep", toss and turn with nerves.  I SWEAR I didn't sleep a wink.  Although the day prior had been fairly relaxed with Anthony and Lanie cracking jokes left and right to keep things light, I just couldn't darn sleep!

Swim Start:  this comes quick when you are second wave off. Unfortunately only about a 5min warm up and we were off.  Not sure what happened here, as swim typically is my strength, I totally panicked at the amount of feet and struggled for clean water when I should have just put the head down and stayed with the pack.  I went left, lost the pack then swam solo the entire way. UGH this stunk!!!  I was super disappointed with the swim and knew right away I had made a mistake but for whatever reason I just couldn't hang with those girls on that day...... onward!

Bike:  I was given pretty strict instructions to hold a certain watt and HR so I quickly set to dial it in.  I knew we'd have  a head wind to mile 30 and so I tried to keep cadence up and focused on nutrition ( 3 bottles of perform, 1 gel, 6 cliff bloks, 2 salt stick) for the ride.  I made the mistake of putting a water ONLY bottle on my bike (lack of sleep) so I tossed it at an aide station and picked up a bottle of perform, crisis averted.  Several women passed my on the bike which always is a bit of a disappointment but not today.....with my instructions I was hoping to set myself up for a good run.  Not knowing if I could even run 13 miles, I knew blowing up on the bike was not worth it.

Run:  On to the run, once my favorite discipline, has been an area of constant concern and heartache.....from the knee surgery, the hip stress fxr and lack of serious run training in almost 3 years, my confidence really lacks here.  Leading up to EM I'd only really done zone 1 running which although consistent, isn't fast.  I settled in to the pace Tim prescribed and checked the HR frequently.  I was given instruction to open it up a bit after mile 6 if I felt good and I did!  I was able to negative split the run with room in the tank.  As I was running down the finishing chute I still couldn't believe I'd raced a half ironman.   True, I wasn't competitive in my first Pro race but heck,  4 weeks of true half IM training and my longest run in 3 years, YES that is success in my books!

1.  I've raced a Half Ironman and I survived with no knee pain or swelling
2.  I need to make the swim pack- ouch
3.  My bike just needs to get stronger......c'mon legs
4.  I never in a million years thought I'd be here able to do this again, I'm grateful.

Thanks to Anthony my rock and number 1 supporter, without him I would have probably given up a while  ago.....my family for driving up from the beach at 2am to watch me race.  My dad for his fun photos,   Coach Tim for all of the support and communication, The awesome kit borrowed from Rachel Jastrebsky, Qt2 systems, Powerbar, Zootsports, Bon Secours in Motion PT. The Cantrell Center for Physical Therapy and Postural Restoration.