Saturday we did our normal pre race workouts, then Sunday rolled around. I was anxious as to find out where my fitness is. My swim workouts have been pretty solid, but not quite where they once were, my bike workouts have been mostly indoors due to the weather, and my running has been going pretty well. Again, not where I have once been, but not far off to be honest. Vector 450 has really helped with these workouts as I am recovering faster than I have in the past. It helps with the inflammatory process and reduces the soreness from the harder workouts, making it possible to do some harder workouts on back-to-back days.
The biggest question I had was about my bike and my nutrition. I was using Generation UCAN for the first time for a race and was excited about it considering I have been using it all winter for my workouts. My bike is a few years old, and I don't remember the last time I got it tuned up. I did my best but apparently my best isn't very good. My personalized bike fit got me comfortable on the bike, but my bike wasn't ready for the bumpy roads of NOLA. Thankfully I was riding my my ISM Attack seat which was fantastic for those bumpy roads.
After some research on the best approach with UCAN for a 70.3, I planned on taking two packets of the UCAN Pomegranate blueberry powder mix in 1 bottle for the bike, with 8-12 Salt Stick tablets. I also had a shot of Eboost to take in final mile of bike as a final pick me up before running. I had a 10 oz bottle which I mixed 1 more packet of UCAN sitting in T2 to take with me on start of run and consume before the first mile.
Sunday morning rolled around, and I got everything prepped, and we went to the start. I set up everything, and headed to the swim start. My heart goes out to the family that lost a loving father/husband in the cycling accident just 2 days before the race. He had traveled to NOLA from Atlanta for the race and was riding when a car struck him from behind. His widow came down to speak to everyone before the start which was awesome of her. Remember to keep her and her family in your prayers. You can find out more about this accident at Slowtwitch.
|Just a few minutes before swim start.|
After the pro introductions, we jumped in the water, and got a 2-3 minute warmup. They got everyone behind the start line, and fired the cannon with no count down. Two weekends in a row, I was caught with my goggles up. I quickly put them on and got out fast. I stayed smooth, found some feet, and cruised in a pack to the first turn. Just 100 meters after turning, I sighted a yellow buoy which I thought was our next turn (it wasn't). I swam in that direction for just 1 minute or so before realizing I was going to wrong yellow buoy. I got back on course, but lost the feet of the group I was in. That probably cost me 30-45 seconds but I stayed smooth and finished the swim very comfortably and feeling good. I ran into T1, slipped on my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet and had a decent transition. Once on the bike, I was right in the middle of the Pro field. I held 275-280 watts for the first 15 miles or so, keeping everyone in sight, then that is where I realized my lack of cycling fitness. Somewhere 15-20 miles in, I heard a little noise, but just assumed it was the car that had just passed me. Well I kept hearing it and looked down to see that my left, front brake caliper/pad had come loose and was pointing straight up and down (supposed to be parallel with ground). I pulled it away from my wheel and that stayed for a while, but the further I rode, the looser the brake pad got. The last 41 miles, I rode by myself as everyone slowly pulled away. I had a few guys pass me and I just watched as they went. My power dropped to 255-260 until about 45 miles. Those last 10 miles, the brake pad got really loose and it was rubbing my wheel. I spent more effort trying to keep the pad off of the wheel and my power dropped significantly while dealing with this. (This is by no means an excuse as to why I didn't finish as high as I had hoped, this was just a distraction. It maybe cost me a minute or two on the bike.) I came into T2 a little annoyed about my bike situation, but was going to get in a good long workout no matter what happened. I would walk/jog the run if need be. I took off at what I thought was about 7:00 pace. It was actually closer to 6:00 and I was surprised to go through the first 4 miles right at that pace and then hold 6:10's for the next 4 miles after that. Once I got to 8 miles, I was in no man's land with no one behind really catching me, and only 1 guy right in front of me. That last 5 miles were right around 6:30-6:40 pace as I threw in a few short walk breaks. I tried to pick up the pace a handful of times, trying to remember how it feels to really suffer, and that is something I will need to work on. Those final miles of a 70.3 are always brutal, no matter what pace you are running.
I ended up finishing as the 15th pro and 18th overall. Definitely not close to where I wanted to be, but it provided me with the information that I needed. I finished with my wife yelling and screaming. She was so excited for me to finish a 70.3 and that made me so happy. I realized that I was happy to finish and that the finisher's medal does mean something. I used to just take for granted that I would finish and be upset if it wasn't fast. Sunday, I was happy to be competing again and grateful for everyone's support.
Tri4Him took a chance on me taking me onto the Pro team without any Pro results for the past 2 years. I am forever grateful for that opportunity. Casey has supported me in every decision that I have made. I wouldn't have been on the starting line Sunday without her. The Lord has blessed me with the athletic ability to compete in triathlons and presented the opportunity to Glorify him while doing so. He has also blessed me with more family and friends then I thought was possible. I love hearing from everyone on Facebook, text messages, Twitter, etc. It always reminds me of my support team, and puts a smile on my face. I met fellow Tri4Him team member Jodie after the race and we talked briefly after the race. It is awesome to see our team uniform out at the races and meeting new people every day.
My next race is Rev3 Knoxville which is 5 weeks away. I plan on spending those 5 weeks on the bicycle.