Ohio 70.3 Race Report
So I was not going to do a race report as I did not finish the race- DNF. This is my second year competing in triathlons. Last year August 70.3 was my A race. It would be my first 70.3 race, and fourth triathlon. I trained and trained and I was so scared I would not finish. Like the D stood for death. I finished and was so happy. I felt a great sense of accomplishment that is hard to put into words. This year I took the ultimate challenge and signed up for an Iron Man 140.6. All of the races this year were to prepare me for the big one– IronMan Louisville. So I made my list with my coach October 2018 and Ohio 70.3 would be a nice preparatory race. It would be my third 70.3 race.
It was my fourth race of the season. I took it seriously as I do with all my races. Train, race plan, and the usual pre-race prep. The week prior my training group had traveled to Louisville to ride the course and the temperature got up to 100 degrees. I thought I was recovered enough to have a good race. My legs felt good, and the week of training was not intense the week prior.
I drove to Ohio on Thursday. I am a methodical person and tend to do the things the same way every time if they end up being successful. I think it is in the surgeon in me. I drove to Augusta Thursday before my first 70.3. So I planned to do the same with Ohio. Driving to Delaware, Ohio was the most boring ride ever. I was out in the middle of nowhere. I was nervous and made sure to drive the speed limit. I did not want any trouble.
I arrived and checked into my AirBnb. It was a studio apartment that was adjoined to a main house. The host was the best, it was so comfortable I felt like I was at home.
The next morning I met with Khadijah Diggs who is a superstar from Black Triathlete Association (BTA). We had talked virtual but I never had met her in person. We did a practice swim in the area of the beach that they have roped off. I swam in my swim skin. There was a question where the race would be wet suit legal. The water was calm, cool, and murky. I had a good swim, and thought I should be good with the swim skin. We then rode the bike course. Khadijah gave me tips on the course. The course looked relatively benign. There were only a few turns, and a couple of hills at the end of the course. Also the roads were good. I did not see any massive pot holes, or rough terrain. We then went to check in and go to the race briefing. There were informed that the temperature was 80. This meant no wet suit, unless I choice to be in the party wave–optional wet suit wave at the end.
Following the briefing Khadijah and I rode the run course in the car and on the bike. I then headed to my place, and charged my bike, bike computer, and got my bags ready. Ohio has a mandatory bike and run check in as there are two separate transitions. You have to check your bike on Saturday, and run bag on Saturday as well.
On Saturday I met my Infinity Crew that I train with for breakfast. Following breakfast. I rode for 20 minutes, following by a run on the run course. I ran up the first incline just to know what if felt like. It was the steepest part of the course. I then took my run bag, and tried to get some landmarks so could find my spot quickly the following day. I was close to the 20 yard line. The race ends on a football field on the track. I then headed over to Transition 1 and racked my bike. I also left all of my bike stuff. So all I would need to bring Sunday was my fluids, nutrition, and swim stuff. In the registration packet we were all given a white bag– for clothes and shoes that we would wear before the swim. They would transport white bag to the end of the race. We also got a bike bag that was blue ( bike–blue). The bike bag should be called a swim bag, all of the swim stuff-googles, swim suits, swim cap went in it after the swim to be transported back to end. We also had a run bag (run–red) again to leave at transition two.
After checking in, I headed to get my usual pre-race food– Pad Thai. I then prepared all my nutrition bottles. I use F2C Glyco-durance for fuel. I use Ultima and F2C Hydro-durance for electrolytes/fluids. I also eat a pack of almond butter, and a honey stinker waffle. I mixed my bottle and froze the one I would need for late on bike. I also eat dates on run, and have a collapsible bottle. I had some extra packs of Ultima for the run.
I actually get to bed early, but I could not sleep. I get up at three, and head out at 3:30am. I get to the County Office there was free parking lot there and they had shuttle buses that would transport athletes to transition 1. The parking spot was also a 10 minute walk to transition 2. I wanted to set all my run items in order versus just leaving them in the bag. I then headed back to catch shuttle. We get to transition 1 and I place my bottles on my bike, and put my computer on the bike. I then go get some air for my tires.
They allowed us to do a practice swim. This usually calms my nerves. My swim cap kept riding off my head. I had one of my caps, and the official one over it. After the swim I tried to place my caps again and they both tore. I go to the officials and they don’t have anymore non-latex caps. I have a latex allergy. They ased if I had mine other caps, I said no. I swim with a cap called My swim cap as I have allot of hair depending on my hair style. It is large and neoprene. I would normally have in my transition bag, but due to space and the fact that it would not fit in the small blue bike bag I did not have my extra stuff. Someone had a silicone cap they gave me and it actually fit better than the official cap. We lined up at self-seed time. My coach told me to line up at 45 to 50 min pace. My first 70.3 I swam 52 minutes, and the second 60 minutes.
I was a totally nervous wreck. I get in the water around 7:45 am. I started off fine, then the swim cap pops off. My googles are loose and I have a mini-freak out moment. I called for a kayak and adjusted my googles. I then started back. There was so much contact. People were everywhere. I felt like I was dodging people but I thought I was swimming fairly straight. It was hard to see some of the buoys so I just make sure to stay between the kayaks until I saw them. The swim seemed forever. As I was swimming I felt someone wet suit during a stroke. I thought okay they party wave has started. I finally see the last buoys I run out and looked at my watch. I see 1:23:17. I think oh my God. I was really out there forever. I think should I just stop as that is a DNF. I then think maybe my watch is off, and this is a practice race anyway. I love biking so I should as least do the bike. I might actually have a better overall time even with the swim although I still won’t have an official time. So I continued on.
Actually time 1:22:46
Garmin states I swam 3059 at pace 2:43 which is slow end of my average pace but I did not think my sighting was that bad.
Goal 5 min
Bike started well. I had all this thoughts of the swim in my head, but I was trying to block it and enjoy the ride. The first 15-25 miles was awesome. I was rolling, but then I made a turn and there was so much wind. Per report it was up to 15 miles per hour. I looked down at my power meter and realized I was doing work but my pace had slowed down tremendously. I kept pedaling, although the swim was still in my head. I tried to drink my fuel and electrolytes but I got to the point I was tried of drinking. I was tired of wind. I was tried of the flat course. I am crazy I like hills. It breaks up the monotony. The hills came at mile 50, and I said to myself yes. I made it back to transition 2.
Actual time 3:54.33
I must have been delirious because as I stated before my bike was at 20 yard line. I also had another landmark that lined up perfectly with my row. I forgot my number obviously. I get to what I think is my area and freak out. My stuff was gone so I thought. There was a bike on my number. So I move it over and cramp my bike in and look around. I don’t see my stuff. I then realized that was not my number so I get my bike out of the tight space that I made. I moved down to my real spot , and racked my bike. I then grabbed my visor, dates, water, and shoes. I had wasted so much time with all that I was more upset. It is actually funny now.
Actual time 7:26 min
I started on the run. I was feeling defeated as the whole day pretty much sucked. I see Natali Villarruel at the start of the run cheering me on. I thought back to Augusta when I was coming back from the bike that kind of beat me down and I heard my name and see Natali Villarruel cheering me on. I started off good for me. It was a hot run. I ran to the first aid station and grabbed some ice and put in my top to cool off. I continued running and I made it up the hill. My pace slowed but I keep moving. I then started walking my energy was fading. I thought I have too many miles to go I have to get it together. I tried to run again but could not keep up with my intervals. I tried to run some between walks, but I was basically walking. I was getting hotter and hotter. I was drinking but obvious not enough. I think around mile five I got lightheaded, and felt like I was spinning. I see medics by aid station and stopped and have them check me out. They get me some water but my lightheadedness does not go away. I saw on of my Infinity Crew and she give me some gels with sodium. It didn’t get better so they sent me to the medical tent. I held back tears, I was disappointed, but I said I would live to “Tri” another day. I was checked into to the medical tent. They took my blood pressure. My blood pressure was low, not extremely low but lower than my usual. They had me drink more liquids with electrolytes. They were trying not to have to put an IV in. I finally felt better. The lightheadedness resolved and I felt I had to go to bathroom. They released me.
The propose of my race reports are to recap the experience for myself. If helps me analyze and plan for the next one. I also go back and review after other races. I also love to share my experience with others. It is always nice to have a first hand experience. After I got over myself and realized that the DNF- is not like death. Seriously, a cyclist was hit and died during the race so my DNF is literally nothing in comparison. I had to dig deep, and realize why I decided to do this sport in the first place. I also had to realize that my overall experience is not about one race. It is about the overall progress. After a race whether good or bad, I analyze and make a plan to improve. So that is what I did after a few days of moping. I got into this sports because it is fun, it is challenging, it stretches me in ways I never thought possible, it helps me be a better version of me. That did not change after Ohio. A quote I heard on a podcast resonated with me.
” You don’t often understand you need to learn something until you have had the lesson”
Well I learned a plethora of lessons that day. Just like I learned a few lessons the day I got four flats at Michigan Mountain Mayhem. Life goes on, and I will Tri, and Tri again. It was also got to see some of my Tri family and met Robbie and Mike from Crushing Iron. I listen to their Podcast every week.