38 In race report/ triathlon

race report // liberty 70.3

Here we go! My second 70.3 ever: Liberty Triathlon. I had butterflies all week leading up to Saturday’s race, but was excited to test my fitness and all the hard training the past four months.

The alarm sounded at 4a, and we were up, chowing down on the usual pre-race breakfast: gluten-free toast + espresso. Because my car is still in the shop after my accident, we had to use the old trunk bike rack, which really didn’t work well with race wheels, so after some rearranging, my Argon went in the back seat and Nick’s Felt stayed on the rack. We watched the sunrise on the 45-minute drive to Lake Rebecca Park Reserve… what a beautiful sunny day for a 70.3!

Pre-race

We arrived shortly after transition opened at 5:30a, and Nick found his coach, Andy Schiesl, we all set up at the best spot: at bike in and out. After a quick change in the mini bif (I highly recommend changing prior to arriving) and eating a banana, Nick, friend Chris and I went for a quick warm-up run. My legs felt good, and it calmed my pre-race nerves a bit. Friend Jen was just a row over, so we chatted about the race and our lack of open water swimming so far this season.

 

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Swim // 40:24

Given this was my first open water swim of the season (and my first time ever swimming in a wetsuit), I started near the back to avoid the chaos. Once the gun sounded, it took a good 10 minutes to calm down and finally get comfortable in the calm, clear, relatively weed-free water (Lake Rebecca is gorgeous if you haven’t swam there). I found a good rhythm about a quarter in and kept it until the turnaround, where I once again had to calm myself down by repeating: you’re in the home stretch, halfway! The second half went fairly quickly, and before I knew it, I stood up, a little disoriented, and was running up the beach and what seemed like a bazillion concrete steps to transition (time includes this, which added about a minute). Pretty sure my heart rate spiked around 200 here (at least it felt like it).

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TI // 2:48

I had such a time getting my wetsuit off. And, for someone who’s a bit claustrophobic… yikes. It came off easy until my ankles, when I had to sit down in the wet grass to pull and fidget with it. I got the right leg pretty quickly, but the left was stuck on my ankle timing chip, and it took probably close to a minute to finally get it off. After that, helmet and cycling shoes on and a quick drink of water from the extra bottle I had at transition, and I was off.

Bike // 2:51:05, 19.6 mph average

Oh, the bike. There really wasn’t anything fun about the bike today, which is strange because I LOVE biking more than anything. My legs were really heavy from the get-go, and I told myself to just go with it and let them warm-up the first 10 miles or so (and, disregard the few girls who passed me). They felt a bit better by then, but by mile 25, all I wanted to do was get off the bike and run. My hamstrings burned, my seat was painfully awful and my neck ached. And, for pretty much the rest of the bike, that’s all I could think about. And, then the hills. With 2,008 feet of climbing (per the Garmin 910XT; my Garmin Edge said 1,703… HOW ARE THEY DIFFERENT?!), there were a lot of them. There really was no chance to settle into a good pace and cadence; it was either 27 mph or 14. As soon as I’d find a rhythm, it was up another hill and then down, shifting gears into and out of the big chain ring. With 10 miles to go, I started talking to myself – only 10 miles to go! single digits! embrace the suck! you can do this! – and did the mental math of how many more excruciating minutes I had left in the saddle. What saved me the last seven miles: A tailwind + flat road. Even with it, though, my hammies and crotch protested loudly; I stood up a couple times, and it was tough to sit back down and start peddling again. But, if it would have been as hilly as the rest of the course… ugh. I normally love hills, but today was just not my day on the bike.

So, needless to say when I rolled into transition, I was pretty pumped to get off my bike. Even better: My sister Ami, cousin Margaret and niece Finley greeted me with the best signs and cheers of encouragement as I dismounted. I was SO happy to see them! Nick’s mom, Mary, was there cheering, too, and came over to transition and gave me some much needed words of encouragement.

Bike nutrition: I wasn’t hungry at all on the bike, but made myself eat: Two bottles of raspberries Skratch (with two servings each for 320 calories), Honey Stinger energy chews (180 calories), half a Bonk Breaker bar (~120 calories). And, yes, I know this isn’t enough.

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T2 // 2:33

Nothing exciting here, just a quick change of shoes while trying not to fall over and putting on my visor and race belt. Not sure how it was nearly two minutes because it felt really fast, but I did walk through transition to run out because my hammies weren’t too happy.

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Laughing at Margaret’s sign: Smile if you peed in Lake Rebecca! Ummm… yes, yes, I did :)

Run // 1:48:24, 8:17 pace

After such a horrendous bike, I was so thankful to be running. The first mile was the slowest (9:25), but as I warmed up and adjusted to running, the miles ticked by, and I felt awesome. The out-and-back course was one of the most beautiful courses ever… we ran under a canopy of vivid green trees (shade!) the entire time, and I high-fived Nick and friends Jared (nice to finally meet you!), Deion, Chris, Jeremy and Sonia… such a great energy boost to see them!

Again, there were so many hills (1,148 feet of climbing), and I walked up some of them so I didn’t burn myself out. Despite the terrain, I managed to keep my heart rate pretty steady; it averaged 154 bpm. Between miles five and six, I passed a bunch of girls who passed me either on the bike or early on during the run, so that was fun. And, between miles six and seven, the course mileage got all fancy and skipped about a half mile. Around mile nine until the end of the race, the balls of my feet burned. Not sure what that was about because in all my years of running, that’s never happened. But, I powered through and kicked it into high gear the last 1.5 miles (mile 12 averaged 8:10, the last 0.44 miles averaged 7:21), chicking two guys at the finish line who passed me around mile 11.

As I crossed the finish line, overcome by emotion and not overly happy about my day, I started to hyperventilate. The weirdest thing… that’s never happened before. It took a solid five minutes of ujjayi breathing to calm down.

The run was all about being present, enjoying each step and focusing on what I could do. To get over my terrible bike, I cheered on my fellow triathletes and did a lot of positive self talk. I knew if I didn’t, that awful time in the saddle was going to wreck my day, and I didn’t want that to happen. This is a work in progress, still. My mantra now and always: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Run nutrition: I carried a couple Honey Stinger gels in my tri top, but never ate them. I drank water at every aid station and HEED at a couple of them. Again, not enough, but never once did I feel like I needed any calories. My normally wonky stomach felt settled and good the entire run.

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Official results // 5:25:11, 3rd AG, 21st OA female

After getting over the disappointment of my bike, I’m pretty happy about my race. I mean, who wouldn’t be pumped about a 39-minute PR?!! There’s lots of room for improvement, and I’m excited to hit training hard in the next two months leading up to Ironman Canada. It’s gonna be a busy, fun couple months of swimbikerunning!

BIG congrats to my partner in crime for crushing his 70.3 time by 24 minutes! He raced an amazing 4:33! So, so proud of him!

And, props to my friends and teammates, Sonia, Jen, Jared, Jeremy, Deion and Chris as well as Coach Joe of Moyerland Coaching for fantastic races and rockin’ PRs, too! An amazing day all around.

Thanks to SOAS Racing, I was decked out in the best and most comfortable kit around! I got a ton of compliments on it from the ladies on the course. And, surprisingly, I didn’t see anyone else wearing it.

And, kudos to Final Stretch for putting on such a stellar race! It was well organized, and the post-race food was tasty (fresh strawberries!). My only complaint: The bike course was a bit tough to navigate. It was two loops, and the signs directing Olympic and half iron racers were small and difficult to read, even with race officials directing. When you’re biking 20 mph into a corner, signs need to be BIG.

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My awesome sista and cuz Margaret! Thrilled to have them there cheering me on!

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My favorite cheerleader today: Finley Kathleen. Pretty sure she’s gonna grow up to be a triathlete like her auntie :)

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Me + my partner in crime. Love this guy so much and am so grateful he gave me the little push to get over my triathlon fear last year.

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My teammate Sonia and coach Joe. Stellar race days for both!

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38 Comments

  • Reply
    hyedi
    06/10/2013 at 7:46 am

    Comparison is the thief of joy. Isn’t that the truth?! But I love the progress you’re making on this — I’m working on it too :)

    There aren’t words to express how proud I am of you — and Nick, too! You guys are SUCH an inspiration and what better examples of how hard work and training pay off? Congratulations!!!!!!!!! Whistler, here you come :)

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:19 pm

      We should check in occasionally :)

      Aww… thank you so much, friend! That means a lot :)

  • Reply
    vardotrichic
    06/10/2013 at 7:47 am

    Awesome job!! I too had a hilly bike at Ironman Kansas 70.3 yesterday, but it was a great day for racing!! Congrats on your 39 minute PR…that’s huge!!

  • Reply
    kellie
    06/10/2013 at 8:21 am

    you are so incredible!! I’m happy to hear you have to talk yourself out of ruts too – sometimes that’s the hardest part.

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:21 pm

      I think every endurance athlete has to… it’s part of the game :)

      Thanks, Kellie! Can’t wait for your 26.2! I’ll be cheering!

  • Reply
    amikoch
    06/10/2013 at 9:27 am

    Awesome post, Sista!! You had an amazing race and I’m so glad we got to cheer you on!! I’m excited for the next one. :) (wish I was going to Vancouver…) xoxoxo!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:23 pm

      Thank YOU, Sista, for being there and cheering! It made my day to see you, Finley and Margaret on the course :) Hope you can come to Whistler! xoxo!

  • Reply
    Emily Dingmann (@nutritionisteat)
    06/10/2013 at 10:50 am

    Congrats Erin! What a day, it’s amazing what you can do. (And love all the pictures!)

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks much, Emily! xo.

  • Reply
    Maggs
    06/10/2013 at 12:24 pm

    Congrats on a great race!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks, lady!

  • Reply
    ktfit
    06/10/2013 at 1:10 pm

    Congrats Erin! What a stellar race! So proud of you! And the photos are AWESOME!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you, Katie! Congrats on your 70.3, too! My sister and Nick take some pretty great photos :)

  • Reply
    Sonia
    06/10/2013 at 1:12 pm

    Great job, Erin! It’s awesome to watch your progress. You are an animal!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:27 pm

      Thank you, Sonia! Are you still racing a half this year?!!

  • Reply
    Heather Brustuen
    06/10/2013 at 1:23 pm

    You are amazing and such an inspiration – GREAT job!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:28 pm

      You’re so sweet, Heather… thank you!

  • Reply
    Julia
    06/10/2013 at 8:08 pm

    Hey, funny. I was racked across from you and i saw your cute outfit. I was talking about being sore and you said ” its a good sore right?”
    congrats on a great race! You did great and you will learn to force more kcals in on the bike:) it just takes time!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:30 pm

      That IS funny! Thanks for stopping by :) The tri and blog worlds are small, aren’t they?!

      And, it sure is a good sore… hope you’re recovered!

      Congrats on your great race, too! Gotta head over and read your report tonight…

  • Reply
    rita
    06/10/2013 at 9:42 pm

    erin! so amazing! i’m so proud of you and impressed by you! congrats!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:30 pm

      Awww! Thanks so much, dear! xo.

  • Reply
    Luv What You Do
    06/10/2013 at 9:51 pm

    Way to go!!!
    I loved reading your recap and seeing your beautiful pictures! It’s great to see what is going through your head during the swim. I love how you used your mantra’s to calm yourself and finish an awesome swim. Sorry to hear that the bike was not as fun, but your run time is amazing! I’m pumped about your PR! Hope you are enjoying a nice relaxing week!

    • Reply
      erin
      06/11/2013 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks, lady! Mantras are so helpful to get through the swim anxiety. It’s been a relaxing couples days, but back at it tonight with a brick!

      Is your tri this weekend?! Good luck!

      • Reply
        Luv What You Do
        06/11/2013 at 9:59 pm

        Yup!
        Thanks! It’s a baby tri, but I am excited and nervous as expected : )

  • Reply
    ironman canada | week 18 | sweet sweat
    06/12/2013 at 8:17 am

    […] in early April; prior to that, likely years). But, on the other hand, it was a big week given my first 70.3 of the season and a pretty significant PR. The big build to Ironman Canada is just ahead, so I should probably […]

  • Reply
    Carrisa
    06/14/2013 at 7:10 am

    What a great race Erin!! Congrats!! p.s. love the racing kit :)

    • Reply
      erin
      06/14/2013 at 8:50 am

      Thanks much, Carrisa! Hope your marathon training is going well! Welcome back to the tundra, too :)

  • Reply
    pen (pen at peace)
    06/14/2013 at 3:53 pm

    Congrats on a killer PR! And–way to keep your chin up even as the bike wasn’t going your way! You are going to be so ready to tear up that IMCA course in a couple of months!

    • Reply
      erin
      08/04/2013 at 8:29 am

      Thanks, lady! I cannot wait for IM Canada! Hope your training is going well!

  • Reply
    Lee
    06/15/2013 at 10:05 am

    You are absolutely AMAZING. Seriously, you inspire me every single day! I love all of the photos you got of you during the race and the one of Ami taking your photo! I can’t keep an 8:17 pace for 2 miles so I am VERY impressed! Seriously, love it! KEEP up the amazing work.

    • Reply
      erin
      08/04/2013 at 8:30 am

      You’re so sweet, Lee! Thank you! YOU inspired me, too, so thank you for that!

  • Reply
    ironman canada | week 19 | sweet sweat
    06/18/2013 at 10:21 pm

    […] My legs weren’t quite recovered from Saturday’s 70.3, so I cut my planned two-hour run down to eight miles in 1:08. The last two miles were tough, but I […]

  • Reply
    race report | lake waconia triathlon | sweet sweat
    07/05/2013 at 4:29 pm

    […] // 2:18. Like at Liberty 70.3, I could not get my (borrowed) wetsuit off. Darn thing once again caught on my ankle timing chip, […]

  • Reply
    Jen
    08/03/2013 at 1:04 am

    Great job! PR’s, ahhhhh, the concrete sign of improvement, in sport and life. Keep at it!

    Jen

    • Reply
      erin
      08/04/2013 at 9:17 am

      Thanks, Jen! PRs in sport and life feel good :)

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