Now if I were to say that this was my first race of 2015, I’d be lying. Truth is, I actually have done a few: a 5 mile road race, three indoor triathlons, a half marathon, and a 5k road race just the week prior. Best part—they all resulted in overall wins. So coming into New Orleans, I felt that my fitness was in a good place…..for short distance. 2014 was a big year for me with doing a total of 3 full Ironman races, 3 half ironman races, and a slew of shorter ones. With only one full Ironman on the radar for 2015, I didn’t put the endurance (long) training in over the winter. Instead, I did a bit more high intensity / shorter workouts. Now this all seemed to pay off well as I actually ran a new 5k (3.1) mile best averaging 4:49 per mile just a week ago. With good speed, I knew my endurance was a lagging a bit, but I wanted to test where I was anyways and see what would happen.
The race started off just like any other triathlon- my least favorite part (but actually easiest)- the swim. The last time that I wore my wetsuit was 8 months prior, and I probably should have done some swimming in it leading into New Orleans. I could tell right from the start that my arms were not used to having any slight restriction over them. Even after a few minutes, my arms felt slightly fatigued and I wanted to be done. Luckily, the swim was a bit short and and I popped out of the water 10th out of 203 in my age group.
Onto the bike- heart rate high from pedal stroke 1 with low power. Kept asking myself what is wrong!? Still put my head down and was moving through the field ahead of me. With a nice tailwind, I was able to average over 30mph for the first 12 miles. Hot pace came back down but still went through 27 miles in the first hour. My power started to come up while the heart rate came down…both good! Now the bad- I dropped my nutrition bottle with 15 miles to go. Debated on stopping to get it, but figured I would be ok and grab some gels at the aide station. The other bad- my legs were starting to cramp. Could have been a few factors: 1) dropped my aerobars pretty significantly just 2 weeks prior. So I’m not quite adjusted to the position, and 2) being the first long race, I forgot to add my salt to my nutrition bottle, and 3)it was HOT (right around 90 degrees) and my body was not used to this. Even with all that happened, I was still able to roll into transition passing just about everyone. Was sitting in 2nd in my age group starting the run.
The run: normally my strength, but wasn’t in the cards today. Somehow, and I have no clue how, I went through the first mile in 5:37. It was pure pain. My lower quads shut down completely and I had difficulty even bending my knees. Not quite sure how I even managed to run..but it was more of a shuffle. The pain in my muscles was unlike any that I have ever experienced before. Physically, I was done for and just wanted to go home. Mentally, I pushed as hard as I could to just keep moving. The pain never went away the entire run, and I even managed to maintain my position, but with less than a mile to go, one more guy passed by me. In the end, I limped my way to a 3rd place overall finish. Not bad considering my swim, bike, and run were all off. It not only qualified me to race in the World Championships held in Austria later this year, but also qualified me to race as a a professional triathlete (if I wanted). Well I accepted my spot to compete in Austria, but will do so as an amateur. The professional racing will come in time, but not yet. There is still work to be done.
Post race, ended up in the medical tent with 2 IV’s. The body completely shut down and muscles went into seizures. Time to figure out what went wrong and apply it to the new one!
Claimed a slot to the 70.3 World Championships in August