Sunday, June 2, 2013

Cracking Top 10 at Raleigh 70.3!

3rd weekend in a row of racing completed! I raced Raleigh 70.3 today. I finished 6th! Super tough course and it was WARM. The details:

Photo by Bob Hennessy @cdrbob62 Thanks Bob!
Swim – 27:13, 3rd out of the water!! Bit of a debacle to start…At pre-race briefing, they told us the water temp was 80 and there was NO way it would be a wetsuit-legal swim (76.1 degree cutoff). I brought my wetsuit anyway, JUST IN CASE. Low and behold, the water temp dropped to 76.0….wetsuit-legal! Some pros weren’t too happy because they only brought a speedsuit. I came prepared! I found myself early on, leading the chase pack after GBennett and TTollakson. At the first turn I glanced back and saw I had gapped the rest of the field! Despite the heat, my Xterra Vendetta was flying! I exited 3rd, easily my best swim performance to date!

Bike – 2:14:22, 7th off the bike. The bike course was BRUTAL. Rolling hills the entire way. In hindsight, I think I actually fair better on a rolling course than on a flat one. Maybe because I spend most of my uphills out of the saddle?! Bad habit? Maybe.. Actually, I took a wrong turn in the first mile but corrected myself and only lost about 30 seconds. I hooked up with a group of 4 other riders and we rode the entire way together. Two of them got away towards the end but I made sure to hang on to the remaining two. I even fought through a bee sting to the forehead to stay with these guys! I put out maximum effort on the bike today because I didn’t want to get dropped and I didn’t care if my run suffered because of it! I was determined.

HURTING with less than a mile to go.
Run – 1:24:40, 6th at the line! The run was one out-and-back with two small loops at the ‘out’ part of the course. Out of T2, I linked up with one of the US Pro Tri athletes and he and I ran in 5th and 6th together for the first 4.5/5 miles. The run was also rolling and for miles 1-4 and 9-12, it was all on one, unshaded rode that was the type of road you could see very far ahead of you! Totally psychologically taxing. Around 5 miles, I got dropped just before the hilliest part of the course (that we had to do twice). My legs were sputtering in and out of cramps but I tried to stay as efficient as possible because I felt like inefficiency exacerbated those twinges! At 10 miles, my UCLA bros, Nick De Felice and Austin Ramos, told me I needed to make the last 5k the best yet and that 5th place was just up the road struggling badly. I pressed and caught him with a little less than 2 miles to go. Then out of nowhere, a guy blew past me that I hadn’t seen the entire race! Where’d he come from..? He was MOVING and I had no response. I was currently the Mayor of Cramp City so I was trying to hang on for dear life. I made it to the line in 6th, 4:09 on the nose!!

Joy and relief of finishing 6th!
This distance is very humbling, because I normally have a TON of confidence on the run in Olympic’s but that’s NOT the case in half’s. I’m still trying to figure out how to run off that LONG bike but what I can tell you is that I felt a lot better on that run than my previous two 70.3s!

A double thank you goes out to the volunteers on the day. Never have I seen such enthusiastic volunteers out on course! I would approach an aid station and people would run towards me asking me what I need and then sprint back to the station yelling my request! Hilarious, but AWESOME. And of course, my sponsors! The greatest, simply put. Even though I didn’t use it, XterraWetsuits bailed me out big time when they sent a replacement speedsuit the day before the race (because I forgot mine like a newb)! From San Diego people! If that’s not support for your athletes, I don’t know what is!! Xterra Wetsuits, Champion Systems, Skechers Performance, Royal Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Company, DT Swiss, Rudy Project, Evolution PT. Go to their websites, buy everything and tell your friends and family to do the same!

Time for some serious R&R! Not racing until 6/30 in Buffalo Springs.

Thanks for checking in, talk soon.