Aside from keeping up with the Be Iron Fit training, and doing something between the intermediate and competitive plans, the first major thing was finally meeting/skyping with my nutritionist. Shout out to RD Jennifer Brunelli, who's an amazing nutritionist and I would highly recommend to anyone looking for one. Her and her husband both also have swimming backgrounds and she is an all around nice person. I had my first skype session with her (since she's not local) on the 18th. I had my plan by the 22nd. We talked quite a bit about what my goals were and some potential challenges I might face, but did ultimately come up with a plan that worked for me and my CRAZY schedule! I didn't make any drastic changes to my training nutrition right away, since I didn't want to change too much right before my "B" race of the year. The big thing was making sure I was getting enough calories and eating the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats at the right times.
The second major thing, aside from training and the race, was that I paid off the rest of my student loan debt. I had a goal to do it before I turned 30. Did it with a month to spare, although it did deplete my savings more than I would have liked. Such a great feeling to be debt free (aside from mortgage).
Now, for the Raleigh 70.3. Keep in mind this is all from memory since I didn't write any of this after the fact (which would have been extremely helpful).
Pre-race: My parents came down to watch, which is awesome and I love them so much for coming to support me. They've always liked coming to and watching my meets growing up, so it was only fitting that they came to my first Ironman race. Love them! All the packet pickup and expo went great. I picked up a mini squeeze bottle to try watering down a goo to see if that helps. I also bought some Base Salt. (Best stuff ever)! Recommendation was a lick every 5 miles on the bike and every mile on the run. I know, don't try anything new on race day, but since this would just replace salt tablets, and I'd have a day to try it out, I was okay with that. Since the race is a point-to-point race, we all had to drop off our bikes the day before. I learned that you deflate your tires when you leave your bike out in the sun so the tires don't pop. Good to know and not something I ever thought about before. I was sure to do that. When I first arrived, I ran into Cindy, who I bought my bike from. It was so nice seeing a familiar face in unfamiliar territory, so to speak. It may sound odd, but it really did brighten my day and relieve some stress. We chatted some and it was nice to catch up. Now, to the one thing, and probably the greatest piece of information I received yet. I was telling Cindy that I can't find underwear that don't bother me on the bike. She laughed and said that's because you're not suppose to wear any, that's what the chamois in the shorts is for. Talk about a Eureka moment. I said, "are you sure? I don't know if I should try that tomorrow, you know, the whole nothing new on race day thing." She told me to trust her, I wouldn't regret it and I'd be much happier at the end of the day. So there it is, the one thing I've tried new on race day. No underwear under my tri-shorts. By the way, she wasn't kidding, so much better and way less uncomfortable! Although, I will say that my shorts didn't have much padding, so that's probably good from a being wet standpoint, but not so much from a comfort one.
Race Day: Early, early! I don't even remember what time I got up, or what I ate for breakfast. I remember heading downtown to drop off my things at T2 and then getting on a bus that would take us out to the lake. I do remember there being construction traffic, but despite that delay, we still made it there in plenty of time. Transition was busy. Everyone was getting their tires filled and setting up their area. Race was wetsuit optional, so no wetsuit for this girl. that went right back in the T1 bag. I set out all my stuff and tried to stay warm and hydrated. There is a lot of waiting in Ironman. Waiting for the race to start, waiting for your group to start. Since I was in a younger age group, my group was one of the last to start. That really does suck. I mean, I understand that they don't want to start the slowest and oldest people last for time reasons, but all that does is make me have to run over a bunch of people. I really try not to run over anyone, but I can't help bumping into people. I was expecting a time of under 30 minutes for the swim split, but I think that the course was either measured wrong, or the tiniest diversion off course resulted in a lot of added yardage, because my Garmin had 1.67 miles (granted it is usually a bit over, but not that much), and my swim split was 34:35. When I saw that coming out of the water I was pissed. WTF! I can swim way faster than that. Oh well, shake it off and get ready for the ride. Ended up being 9th overall in my AG on the swim, so not bad from that perspective.
|Swim Exit - before I saw my split!|
I made sure to put on sunscreen in T1 so I didn't fry. Otherwise, got something to drink, put on my socks, bike shoes and helmet and made my way out onto the course. It was nice having ridden the course a few weeks earlier. I definitely moved a lot faster through this time. The only issue I had on the bike was when I stopped to refill my water bottle about 35 miles in, my chain came off when I started to pedal again. I was able to get it back on with little trouble, took a min or two, but got it done and was on my way. Chris and my parents were waiting at the end of our street for me to go by. I saw them as I approach, waved, and waved, and waved. They didn't see me. As I rode by I said "HEY! Thanks for coming out!" That got their attention in time to say "GO KC" and that's all I heard. I knew I'd see them at the finish line, so I focused on the last 6 miles or so of the ride. Overall I was really happy with my bike section. Split was better than I expected 3:09:57 and just under 18 mph.
Now, here's the part that straight up sucked! The run. For one, I was nowhere near conditioned for a half marathon, so there's that. But add on top of that how hot and humid it was, forget it. The first loop wasn't so bad, and I saw a lot of people I knew, which helped. However, in the Raleigh 70.3, when you finish the first loop you "get" to run parallel to the finisher's shoot to start your second loop. No amount of mental toughness would make you not think "man I wish I was finishing my second loop right now!" But no. So I started my second loop. This is were things started to go downhill. I was thankful for the cooling towel I had bought, and the sponges along the way. Mostly though, I was thankful for the volunteers. They are the reason I kept going, why I'm sure a lot of people kept going. They were encouraging and gave us all whatever we needed. Food, water, a spray of the hose or sprinkler. It made all the difference in the world. Those volunteers were the best, bar none! Anyway, back to the race. I finished the run. I walked more than I wanted to, hurt more than I wanted to, but I finished. I was hoping for a time under 6:30 (before I got injured I was shooting for under 6). My run split was 2:37.22, way slower than what I'm capable of when I'm well trained. Overall finish time was 6:32.25. Not too far off my goal, but still wish I could have done a bit better.
I did have the thought after I finished "never again, I don't want to do that ever again." But that was a fleeting thought because I knew that it was only my run that killed me, and that was only because I hadn't gotten completely back from my injury. I look forward to improving my time next time. There will be a next time. One thing I did do after the race was get a massage. OMG, amazing! Want to do that after every race it was so good. It helped quite a bit. It was amazing having my parents and Chris there at the finish to be with me and help me out. Afterward we went home and I showered and changed, then we went and got food. Lots and lots of food! I remember it was Italian, and that I ate a lot. Can't remember exactly what though.