I signed up for this race back in 2019, when I was 2 months pregnant with Ryan. It was supposed to be my first postpartum race! But, 2020 had different plans. Now, here I am with an 18-month-old and this race is finally happening! Ironman Washington 70.3 was a “B” race for me in my lead up to Ironman Arizona. I didn’t have any big goals for this race with my volume being pretty high, the unpredictable weather forecast, and this new course!
Saturday: Tim and I went to packet pick up to check in. We all had to wear masks around the venue, which really wasn’t a big deal. Especially since it was pretty cold outside. I got my packet with my bib # 96. I got a pretty low number for being All World Athlete and scored the first row of bike racks! I did get stuck with the furthest shuttle parking lot though and that was an experience.
For lunch we went to Jersey Mike’s and got a white bread sandwich.
Dinner was Olive Garden Chicken Gnocchi soup and a breadstick.
We had a relaxed night and went to bed at 9:30pm. Since we didn’t have to travel for this race, Ryan got to sleep at home in his crib so there was no mix up in his nighttime routine. With the unfortunate weather forecast, we decided it would be best for Ryan not to come to the race It wouldn’t be fun for him in the rain. And it wouldn’t be fun for the grandparents either!
Sunday: Race day!
Wake up! Eat breakfast: English muffin (white bread) with peanut butter and a banana. I ate a little bit of a Skratch rice krispy in the car and sipped on my Skratch hydration.
Arrive at the shuttle. Hopped on and got to transition by 5:50am
The porta potty line outside transition was completely empty so I took the opportunity. I forgot my bike pump so I was that person “can I borrow your bike pump?” The guy was super nice and it wasn’t that chaotic yet so it was fast and easy. Tires were pumped up and I laid out my transition. This was also my first time not swimming with a watch! Swimming with a watch has only been a disadvantage for me. As I have to push buttons, take it off and put it back on, and do I really need to know my swim time when they are recording my time? It ended up being a really good decision for me and I will do this in the future as well.
7th place in age group
I lined up with the 30-33 swim group. I spotted my friend Nicole right away! We chatted and danced to the song “Stacy’s Mom” as we got closer to the swim entrance. After the “beep, beep, beep, Go” I ran, dove in, and started swimming! The water was a perfect 67 degrees. It was a chaotic swim for a while. It took me until the halfway point to really spread out and find a group to swim with. I was swimming over people, swimming into feet, getting elbowed. It reminded me of my old water polo days! Coming back, it was hard to see the buoys. My goggles were a little foggy and the yellow buoys didn’t stand out very well. I followed the other swimmers and made it to shore! I jumped out of the water and didn’t have to fiddle with my watch at all!
My transition spot was all the way at the front so I had a long way to run! Not complaining, much better than having to run further out of T1 with my bike! I dried off quickly. Jacket on, gloves on, helmet on, oops forgot my sunglasses, oh well! Ran to the bathroom and was finally out on the bike!
29th place in age group
Starting out on the bike there were a lot of hills! There were short gradual climbs and some technical curves. It was challenging, but I have been doing so much climbing this year that it was manageable. The course description had the bike marked at 1900 ft of elevation gain but I ended up with 2,382 ft! I tried to keep my FTP around 150 watts but my legs, particularly my hamstrings, were tired. I had to get up out of the saddle several times and stretch them out. I was shocked to see that I was right on point with an average normalized power at 151!
The weather held up for the most part. It was all very localized. It rained going out towards Enumclaw for a couple of miles. Then, it was sunny. Going back, we hit that same rain cloud and then it cleared. There was some wind, but nothing too crazy.
Nutrition: The first hour I had a bottle of Skratch hydration, 1 pack of Skratch gummies, and a scratch bar. For hour 2 I had the remainder of bottle #1 of Skratch, water, Skratch bar, Skratch gummies, salt tab. Hour 3 a bottle of Skratch, Skratch bar, and Skratch gummies. I listened to my body. I kept up on my hydration and fuel needs and felt great! I had to stop at mile 45 to go to the bathroom because I drank so much fluids!
T 2 3:58
I racked my bike and took off all my bike gear, gloves, jacket, bike shoes, helmet. Threw on my run shoes, race belt, hat, watch and I was out of there!
11th place in age group
My goal for the run was to stay on top of my nutrition and if all went well hold around a 9-minute pace. When I started running, my feet were frozen! They took a couple of miles to warm up. Then they got really itchy from being too hot! Luckily, that went away quickly. At mile 1 I took in some water and a Skratch gel. Mile 3 I had a salt tab and Gatorade. I switched off with that combo until mile 10 when I started taking in some super powered flat Coca Cola. The majority of the run course was on gravel rock. Luckily, the rain held off until after I crossed the finish line and the trees helped block some of the wind. I was able to hold a consistent sub-9-minute mile pace the whole way through! Including my fastest split at mile 10 with an 8:05! I knew if I didn’t hit negative splits my coach would yell at me for going out too hard so that motivated me :)
I crossed the finish line with a time of 5:56:28 and a new 70.3 half marathon PR! Placing 12/49 in my age group!
Things that went well
1. Swimming without a watch! I am so glad I was able to try this before Ironman Arizona. It worked out great and will definitely swim without a watch for future triathlons!
2. My pre-race meal with no fiber and simple carbohydrates was a game changer. No more oatmeal! Just an English muffin with peanut butter, banana, and Skratch rice crispy. My race nutrition and hydration were spot on! I drank early and drank often! I stayed up on my electrolytes and listened to my body.
3. My run pacing was great! I really surprised myself on that run and stayed consistent!
Things to work on
1. Biking! I got passed on the bike all day long. I stayed positive and biked MY race! But I know I still have a lot of work to do on the bike.
2. Transitions. Even with the watchless swim, extra bike clothes, my T1 time could have been faster. I need to get faster at taking my wetsuit off.
3. Sighting. Even as an ex-water polo player, I could do better at sighting during the swimming. I veer away from the buoys a lot when I could be closer and therefore not swim as far.