Last weekend I had to chance to race at the second edition of the Ironman 70.3 Maine in Old Orchard Beach (OOB) If you’ve ever been to OOB, it has lots of holiday goers, a fun fair, tons of bachelorette parties... you get the picture... but it was quite refreshing to be in the town that honestly couldn’t give AF about the little triathlon going on. As you might have read in my last blog post "update" I had a less than ideal build the last 2 months, but I managed to get 2 good weeks in August that helped build my confidence a little bit.
Taper week went by pretty fast as I had my last finals to deal with and getting ready for graduation. On Friday afternoon, we drove to OOB to check in, I got a quick shake out run, and had dinner with my mom and brother who were also racing. Saturday was the usual bike check in, carb-loaded breakfast, quick workout and movie marathon.
Race day, call it; I had nothing to loose or I felt like I was underprepared given the summer's unfortunate event, but I went into race week, weekend and even race morning, neither nervous nor anxious, which is, for people that have seen me before a race, a pretty big deal. This race was particularly early with a 6:20am start time so waking up at 3:30am to eat oatmeal was a little harder than usual. I arrived at the race venue to set-up my transition around 5:30, got everything ready, 2 porta potty stops, went for a quick warm up and it was time to race!
While I think I've gotten faster in the water this year, let's not fool anyone, I'm nowhere close to a sub 30min 1.2mile (1900m) swimmer, but we were lucky enough (expect if you are a really strong swimmer!) that it was low tide at 6am. I ran at least 1min30sec from the start before I hit the water. I loved it! The swim was a 2 turn course, about 450m out in the ocean, 1km parallel to the shore and then 450m back. I felt very conformable swimming in the ocean compared to last year, but I have been practicing open water swim this summer, happy to see it paid off. The water was also a lot warmer, which is always nice. While my time was faster due to the running, the actual swim part I swam, was faster and felt good. I did get hit a few times, but that kind of part of the game! I started feeling a little nauseous and not comfortable towards the end, but I just accelerated more and got out of the water 6th in my category, 24th overall, definitely a big improvement for me! 1/4mile run to transition, quick change and off on the bike course. I had 1 gel pre swim and a full water bottle.
This bike course is a little flatter than Mont-Tremblant so my first goal was to ride faster than in June, but most importantly have a better ride than last year, where I had both a flat and a rear wheel rubbing, which ended in a very bad time and a lost of motivation halfway through the bike course on my part. While I've been riding with power for a while indoors, I've only been riding outdoor with it for 1.5months and I'm still not the best at it. So my coach gave me a range both in Watts (80-83%) and Heart rate and told me I could probably go sub 2:40, which sounded crazy to me. I started way to hard, (high point of the range given 83-85%), and by the halfway point my legs were dead, I decided to listen to my body and step down a notch. Thankfully, the second half of the course is easier, so I maintained a similar pace, and managed a PR bike time. However, I could feel, that my legs were destroyed from the first 1h30, and I was pretty afraid to start running. Overall, I'm very happy with my bike time, but I have a feeling that a more balance effort between the first and the second half could have resulted in a overall better time, fresher legs for the run and simply a master thing to do. I'm still nowhere near where I want to be on the bike, especially when I see how fast girls around me are riding. I've also realized I have a hard time staying focus during 2h40 at race pace effort. While, it's hard not to compare myself, I just have to keep working hard and improvement is going to keep coming. Nutrition wise I did something very similar to Ironman 70.3 Mont-Tremblant, but increased the food a little on the second half, trying to mitigate the effect of my blowout from the first half. I had 2 halves of a sports bar, 4 gels, 2 water bottle and 1/2 of my sport drinks mix. I felt like the energy was there, but I did start to feel some weird stomach things happening, it felt fine until the end of the bike. I put my bike down 6th in my category, and 38th overall.
As expected, the run started pretty bad, while the goal was to try and repeat the run I did in Tremblant, everything went away as soon as I started to run. I also started to feel stomach pain and was afraid I would have to do a few pit stops along the was (thankfully didn't happen) The first 2 miles were rolling and slightly uphill and very slow, legs felt like bricks. The run changed from last years. This year, it was a 2 loops course instead of a long out and back on bike/run dirt pack trail. Which made it slightly harder because we had the up and downhill twice. It also got very crowded on these second loop and I've rarely said on on your left that often during a run. It made it harder to concentrate solely on your self and your race as I had to avoid elbow and feet a lot. Back to the dead legs, I finally managed to get a better rhythm after the second mile and I even started to feel good up until mile 10! I was vey pleased to see that the legs responded well once I got more food and just zoned out. I had a lot of fun running and passing people. My run ended up being only 2sec slower per km (3.5sec/mile). There really isn't much to say on this run except that I'm very please with the effort, as my goal this year was to try and run a sub 1h40 half marathon in a 70.3 and I'm 2 for 2 this year. I ate 2 Skratch Lab gummies every 2 mile with 2 cups of water and switch to gatorade in the last 4 miles. The last 2 miles got really hard and the 1km straight line to the finish line lasted forever. I'm very pleased with my running this year, and got the 2nd time in my category and 4th fastest womens running time.
This is now my new Ironman 70.3 time with an overall time PR of 4:51:34, 4th place in my category and a record overall place for me, 8th women overall. Very happy with my race, but a few mistakes here and there and seeing other women ride much faster than me, gives me hope and proof that I can still improve a lot. I'm excited to see how the next few seasons will unfold as I continue to hopefully put consistent work in.... But, I'm also in a good place now, and I've decided to race another time this season. I will be doing the Ironman 70.3 in Atlantic City on September 23rd.
This race was, for once, not too eventful and went well, almost according to plan... which I will take. My brother also PR'ed, arrived first in the Male 18-24 and took the slot of Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nice, September 2019. My mom had an awesome race, I even got to run the last 500m with her, which was awesome. I'm so proud of my family and thankful for their support. As always thank you to my coach for making me better, and to my Fiance for the constant support at races, during training, for the pictures and the cheering. (so weird to say that!)
Thanks for reading! Cheers