Welcome to my new triathlon race series! In the past, I used to write the occasional pre- and post-race reports, but now I’m embracing a consistent schedule. I’m calling this my Finish Line Report, and in each entry I’ll hit on the following points:
- Race Name
- Number of same-distance races done up to this point
- Bib #
- Age Division
- Most encouraging thoughts going into the race
- Most discouraging thoughts going in
- Overall level of rest
- Overall nutrition
- Mental strength
- Swim highlights
- Bike highlights
- Run highlights
- Race fuel
- Mistakes and missed opportunities
- Biggest markers of success and perseverance
- Next step for training
I want to learn from my races, to mull over the highs and lows and integrate new working knowledge into my triathlon practice regularly. What better way to do so than to write about it all? Triathlon is a journey that demands both humility and reflection. Plus, as of tonight, I’m officially training for my first-ever Ironman course. I have my heart and my sights set on racing IM Arizona in 2018.
After seven years of embracing this sport, I can now say that my body and mind will be ready for this behemoth of a challenge. My ascent towards a new level of perseverance starts now, and I’m ready to shed some more blood, sweat, and tears. By the end of this chapter, I’ll know myself more deeply, a result of validating the wisdom and fortitude I know I already possess. I hope you’ll join me for this journey.
Without further ado, here’s my Finish Line Report.
Race Name: Redman Half-Ironman 70.3
Number of Half-Ironmans done up to this race: 2 (both Buffalo Springs)
Bib #: 1074
Age Division: 25-29
Most encouraging thoughts I had going in to this race: “I’ve been injury free for the past five months, and I’m training smarter, thanks to my coach’s support and instruction on how to maintain my run form.”
Most discouraging thoughts going in: “It’s damn windy here. Can I really do two Half-Ironmans in one year? I wish I’d done at least one century ride this summer…”
Overall level of rest: I slept poorly two nights before the race, but still woke up feeling somewhat recovered and alert. The night before race day, I got a solid seven hours of sleep after passing out fairly quickly. Listening to Hammock has that relaxing effect on me.
Overall nutrition: A solid 4 out of 5. I’ve stuck by my Pescatarian diet while allowing myself reward meals on race days. Eating meat seemed to help me as far as eliminating the slight lethargy I was experiencing earlier in July, but I’ve had no other noticeable setbacks as a result of my diet. Eating plenty of beans, vegetables, and simple carbs seems to be working well. I love me some jasmine rice.
Mental strength: My mindset was excellent going in to Redman. I had some pretty strong self-talk and validated my training gains in a convincing way.
Swim highlights: Though the water was choppy, I felt strong in my swim form. I was able to breathe fairly easily and sight well. The fact that the swim course was cut short also helped me to have a quick and efficient swim. Time: 27:37
Bike highlights: I made the most out of the tailwind I got for the first half of the bike. I kept my cadence in a solid range of 70-80, and though the first six miles or so of headwind were discouraging, I made sure to focus on being in the right gear and embracing the wind as just one of many race variables. Time: 3:03:04.
Run highlights: Surviving the first lap, during which the heat and winds were at their worst. I had to walk a dozen times, but again, with my strong self-talk I was able to keep my mind on track and focus on my new race goal: “Finish in under 6 hours.” Mission accomplished. Time: 2:25:51
Race fuel: Throughout the race, I packed in a couple of Huma energy gels, a couple of Clif nut butter-filled bars, and a couple of Honey Stinger waffles. Having Macha Green Tea Skratch Labs in my aero bullet on the bike was a good choice, and I was able to take swigs of that and my water every ten minutes or so. On the run, I avoided cramping and bloating by eating a couple of sandwich pickles at a few of the aid stations, drinking a couple of cups of pickle juice, and munching on baked Lays chips. I’d say escaping Redman without a single cramp was a success in its own right!
Mistakes and missed opportunities: Though my original goal was to have an overall race time between 5:15:00 and 5:30:00, I became more flexible and accepted the fact that my run pace would be slower than expected. I respected the grueling winds and the heat, which are my biggest challenges given my build.
Biggest markers of success and perseverance: Not only did I not cramp, but I finished the race with a time of 5:59:28. I left it all out there on the course and still crossed the finish line with my head up. Also, I’m proud of myself for averaging an 18.4 pace on the bike portion. And for not being blown off the road either, haha.
Next step for training: Now that my big A race for this year is done, I’m going to cut back on training for a week and let my body recover. Then I’ll talk with Ben and start getting my training plan for IM Arizona in order. I’m most excited about volunteering at IM Arizona this year. It’ll take a few leaps through some logistical hurdles, but I’m confident that I’ll be able to volunteer and get a solid feel for the race by spectating.