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The usual post-race night hit again. Barely slept so I got up and figured I would get my race recap started! This past weekend, I raced the inaugural Maine Ironman 70.3 in Old Orchard Beach Maine with my parents and my brother. It was our first family triathlon as my brother just got into it this year. The race was well organized, volunteers were amazing and the course was great. Definitely on my list for next year. On a side note, it’s crazy to think that this will be the first September in 20 years where I’m not returning to school! Crazy!!

Bib #10 feeling cool! It’s the little things! 

My family came down from Montreal and my boyfriend and I drove up from Boston Friday afternoon. We then all met at check in, I got my race wheels on (should have done that earlier…) and both family’s met for dinner at a nice little Italian restaurant in Portland for a carb heavy dinner.

On Saturday morning I got my last big meal in, even got a donut! Spun my legs and tried the wheels, which were rubbing on the brake, so got that adjusted and racked the bike in transition. We then just chilled in a park, rested and ate some more before it was time to get some sleep.

Ready to brave the 60 degree weather at 6am

Race morning – 4am

This race started much earlier than other half Ironman I’ve done in the past due to having to run over a train track. We had to be done before the train passed that morning. So having a 6h20am race start made for a very early breakfast… The usual oats, banana and water weren’t fun at all, but necessary. After a quick drive to transition I then organized everything and realized I had forgotten my chip at home… (Problem #1) Thankfully Ironman knows it happens all the time so I got another one. The ocean was 60.7F (<16C) but the air Temperature was colder so the first plunge in wasn’t too bad. I warmed up in the water, well I jumped in got some water in my wetsuit to warm things up and head back out immediately!

Swim – 34:17 – 5th AG

Beautiful morning

The start was a self-seeded rolling start, not even lined in speed order. I went in the first 25% hoping mostly fast swimmer would be in front of me and was in the water 5 min after the official start. The first third of the swim was really fast due to the current and I was so excited by my split, but I quickly realized that it wasn’t really because I was a great swimmer all of a sudden… As we hit the first turn buoy and started swimming parallel to the beach things got choppier and people were breast stroking a lot. My feet were getting cold and I was just trying not to drink too much salt water. With the last turn and last 600m to do, my shoulder started to cramp and I felt the current going against me so I just concentrated on my technique and getting out as fast as possible. It was a very bad swim for me and the time was definitely not great. Someday I will nail the swim leg of a Half Ironman, Sunday was definitely not that day…

Transition was 600m away from the beach were we ran on the pavement the entire time. Having bib number 10 was cool but that also meant I was the farthest bike from the swim entrance so by the time I got to my bike the palm of my feet were red and burning! Quick transition and foot rinse and I was off for 56miles (90km) of biking!

 

Bike – 2:47:54 4th AG (included all mechanicals)

I did most of the bike course with my brother early in May and I knew that the first half was harder than, the mostly flat and downhill, second part so my plan was to hit the power and HR number right on the first 25 miles and then have fun with it on the rest and go by feel. My plan didn’t happen though…

Before things went wrong

Right when I got on my bike, I could hear a weird noise coming from my back wheel, I didn’t think too much of it as at I thought it was the noise race wheel make when you go fast, but I wasn’t going fast and people were passing me like crazy. However, between my numb feet and my legs trying to warm up I thought it was normal. Then at mile 5 I got passed by a group of 4 girls (including one in my category) drafting off of each other, which gave me a little boost, and made me push harder to try and keep them in sight but the power I was putting didn’t translate to the speed I was going so I finally stopped on the side (my dad passed me at this point) and realized that the back wheel was completely rubbing on the brake. I tried to readjust it and did a pretty good job at it but did not use my back brake for the rest of the race afraid it was going to misaligned the wheel again. (Problem #2)

At this point I thought to myself that things always seems to go in threes, which mean I probably jinxed it. 5 minutes after that I guy passed me a little too close so I made a sudden movement and hit a rock which puncture my tube. Thankfully, two minutes after starting to change my tube one of the mechanic on the course came around and helped me change it. Now, I was really bummed about all of it but I forced myself to get back into it and concentrate on my own race. If there’s one thing that triathlon as though me over the years is mental strength and perseverance. It took everything to not give up and just leisurely ride but I tried to put my head back into it. Even though I knew that any sub 5 goal that I previously had was not going to happen.

At least the bike looked sick!

The rest of the bike went ok, I know I didn’t put the power I could have, cause my head was not 1005 into it, but that’s ok. I need to practice pacing on the bike. I finished the bike 9 minutes behind the first girl in my age group and was determined to close the gap. Quick transition and I was off for the run.

Run – 1:40:52 2nd AG, fastest run split in AG

Right of the transition my boyfriend gave me the split and I knew I would have to pull a fast run to catch up to the 3 girls in front of me. The out and back course would also gave me the opportunity to see where they were. I caught up on the first 2 quickly, and then, I put my head down and just concentrated on running. The run course was great. It’s nice to have a crowd out of the transition and at the end but I like when it’s calm and peaceful when I’m having fun (Type II fun : sucks the entire time you are doing it, but you look back in retrospect and value it as a character-building episode). We ran most of the race on the Eastern bike train which was in the shade, calm and packed dirt. Perfect conditions. It was nice to only be with the other competitors, as you know they are pushing as hard as you and suffering with you. Even though it’s an individual sport I like this feeling of knowing that I’m not alone.

 

I started at a pace I knew I could sustain, at least thought I could, and hold it for the first 14km but the next 5 were painful and I slowed down, would have had started 5 second slower per km maybe I could have sustain the pace the entire time, who knows, but I’m happy with my run time as the ideal plan was sub 1h40, with a more realistic Plan A of low 1h40, and I manage a 1h40min50sec. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch the first girl and lost by 45 sec, but I narrowed the gap by more than 8min. One more mile and I would have probably gotten it, but got to give her credit she raced well. I didn’t hit the sub 5 hour mark I was hoping for unfortunately it will be for another time.

Finish line always a great feeling

Of course knowing I lost at least 3-4min on the bike dealing with mechanical is hard to swallow, I also had a bad swim an didn’t push like I wanted on the bike. It’s easy to become critical, and have I had been 20second faster in each transition I might have had it. But the positive points of that race outnumbered the negative ones and those are the important one to remember. I finally put down a run I’m proud of. Slowly working to getting back to sub 1h40 off the bike is something I have been working on all year. I didn’t give up when everything was going wrong on the bike. I got to race with my entire family. My bother did an amazing job at his first half Ironman finishing 5thin the M18-24 at 19 years old. My mom and dad did awesome, and I had an amazing cheering crew and photographer all day.  Oh and I also finished second, and it the first 4% of all women with the 13th best running split. It’s the little things.

2nd Place AG

Thank you to everyone who cheered from the far away or at the race, thank you to all the volunteers, we wouldn’t be able to race without you. Thank you to E3 Triathlon and coach Jorge for all the guidance and making me faster and ready on race day! Thank you to Spencer who was everywhere during the race, yelling at me to push, giving me split, taking sweet pictures (I have so many) and just being the best support crew all weekend and all year! And Thank you to my family for always supporting me, it does help that they are as crazy as me and enjoy  suffering for 5+ hours like me.

7th place for my dad, 5th for my brother and 2nd for me!

Now for those who though it was time to rest and recover, you’re wrong! I have a heavy training week because Ironman 70.3 World Championship is in 11 days and I have to get ready, for an against current river swim, a mountain climb in the middle of the bike and a hilly run!

Cheers

Steph