When I think of Lake Stevens 70.3 I always think of 88+ temps and melting on the run course. Not so much this year. This was my 1st full triathlon in almost 2 years, not counting IMC in 2010. I was looking forward to seeing where my levels were at and really learning from this race. I was a bit injured from a half marathon trail run 2 weeks before and talked it over with my coach Mark that if anything felt off on the run I’d DNF and save the leg for the real goal of the year, Canada.
I knew my swim was stronger in the last month than it had been before and wanted to take it out at a steady pace from the start so I started at the far right and then worked my way over. Only 2X did I ever put in a hard effort, above 85% perceived effort, and felt calm and steady the whole time. About 4 minutes from the swim exit I started my run down of what was next.
1. Pull Zipper
2. Right sleeve OVER Garmin
3. Left hand grabs goggles and cap
4. Pull arms out of wetsuit leaving goggles/cap in arm sleeve
Hit shore and all went to plan.
Sweet! Looked at my watch and seen 35 minutes - Crazy! I felt like little or no real work had been done.
T1: I was held up by rethinking arm warmers at the last second and having to go back 3-4ft to grab and slip on before heading out.
I noticed after the excitement of T1 that the weather was getting worse not better. I had a plan for the bike course and it started w/ the 1st crappy climb at about mile 3. Take it EASY on the climbs! My mantra on the climbs was ‘My ave. is their max’ Over and over, I would use the saved energy for the flats and for the last 2 climbs of the day. By mile 10 the heavy mist turned to a steady rain and the temp felt like it dropped a bit. Keeping warm was going to screw w/ my bike plan in a major way.
From the training I remembered key spots to keep the speed up and more importantly where to slow down as to not overcook a turn. Around mile 18 was a S turn that I was ready for, got in position to take a clear line around to the right that lead into the next hard turn to the left. Easy. I touched the breaks and nothing. Once more with a bit more pressure. Nothing. By now I was into the turn and moving WAY too fast. I ended up on the shoulder across the street. WHAT! I had too much speed and should have ate it next to the 2 other cyclist laid out in the ditch, but somehow made it out upright. I kept thinking, ‘Pick a spot and hope it’s soft, you’re totally going down!’
After that I honestly lost my nerve on the bike. I didn’t push the down hills and I was hesitant on all sweeping turns from down hills. The rain stopped around mile 30 and I quickly realized that I didn’t have brakes in the rain, but quickly had them, as soon as it stopped raining. This just made for a stressful stressful day on the bike. I kept telling myself ride safe and just stick to your plan. Nutrition was spot on for the bike, never felt lacking of energy the whole time.
Approaching the last 13-16 miles of the bike, where all the hard hills start was where I started on the last part of my plan for the bike. On Ingraham Rd. I’d put in a hard near 90% effort, 190ft climb in just over a mile. Felt great, passed 16 people (cuz I was counting) and settled back in at a sustainable pace once at the top. Next was Trombley Rd. Same thing, passed a group and settled back in for what I knew was going to be the biggest time grab, 260ft over just a mile on 171st. A group of us, about 15, made the turn and the plan was to sit in after the turn, get a rhythm make a few people work hard long side of me then just take off with what feels good. I took off from the group and 3 seconds later saw Randy with his cowbell cheering out on course. He yelled something like ‘at least make it look tough’ and in my excitement of seeing him I upped my speed and was off. I love see peeps out on course, nothing like it!
I looked over my shoulder and the group was way off the back.
I started laughing out loud, not out of disrespect but because I stuck to my plan and, even though it had to be modified, it was working great and I felt great. From that point on I was bridging up to groups and working my way through my and off to the next group. My goal was a sub-3 hour bike, which I did 3:03, the time lost was from the brakes and riding cautious. That over hitting the deck I’ll take any day!
T2: Uneventful = Sweet
The run, I love Jerry Lee (my bike), but I just needed the bike to be over with. I could not wait to get on the run, time to hunt! Leaving T2 I was hit with the wave of screaming TN family and supporters! Love it! And got to see Alley finally, I was totally overjoyed!
I wanted to run to feel and not look at my Garmin. When I did finally I was trucking along at 7:15 pace just after mile 1. Slow down! Where’s the fire? So I stayed at 7:30 until about mile 3 and 7:11 was where I kept landing so I just stayed there.
Going by the team tent at mile 3.5 was what I waited all day for. The screams. The high fives. Family, friends, teammates there wanting to see you do your best, and caring for you when you can’t. Best thing ever! I hit the first climb and all felt great, saw some other TN peeps out there running strong and looking great. Saw T running and felt a great sense of pride seeing her running strong knowing a little about her road to recovery.
After the team tent around mile 8 the wheels started to grind to a halt, the knee was find it was my quads that started to cramp. New plan, new mantra: Hold 9:00 pace, ‘this is a recovery pace you can handle this’. Back through the team tent I couldn’t look over, I felt like if I lost concentration I’d fall over or just stop altogether. The last downhill was mentally tough, but I didn’t want to stop or break pace because that was exactly the training I needed for Ironman Canada. The pain is right here, talk with it as long as you keep pace, this will be over soon.
**Note that the pain was the common pain felt during any race. Any pain from the knee and I would of stopped and pulled out immediately.
I finished the run steady and was happy to be finishing at all, given the weeks of injury beforehand.
1. Loading the bike on the car the day before a noticed a bend spoke.2. No brakes when it rained.
3. The seat lowered about .25” from the start(Race sticker was that far down the seat post)
The Run -
1. Slow it down and stay at more sustainable pace from the start.
Over all -1. Stick to your plan, even if sh*t goes south, adjust, regroup and get back on plan.
It was a great day and I had fun with all my teammates both the ones cheering and the ones out on course. Alley was amazing, as always, at keeping me focused before and safe after. I successful day like yesterday proves that all the hard work and hours spent apart from her and the pups make it worth it.
So as one of my TN peeps said yesterday: OK, in 6 weeks we do that twice!