Training for Kinetic was a completely different animal than training for Timberman (my first 70.3.) I heard people talk about how tough "early season" can be, and I figured it would be different, but it was even more challenging than I anticipated. Motivation is tough when it's dark and cold outside. The pool, trainer, and treadmill can become super boring. And May just seems so far away in January, February, and March. But then suddenly it's April and my race is in six weeks and I feel totally unprepared.
|Photo from my one and only OWS prior to the race|
I trained for seventeen weeks, beginning on January 16th, under the careful guidance of my amazing coach. During that time I swam about 40 miles, spent about 55 hours on my bike/trainer, and ran about 207 miles. And even though I had included long rides and brick workouts in those seventeen weeks, none were as long as my prep for Timberman. By comparison, for Timberman I trained 32 weeks, including 66 swim miles, over 100 hours on my bike, and 405 miles on the run. Furthermore, so much of the seventeen weeks training this time around was indoors. What I'm trying to say is, I was a little bit nervous about Kinetic. I knew I could do it, but I also knew I wouldn't be setting any records. So I needed to shift my focus and expectations. Here is my Facebook post prior to the race:
"This early season stuff is tough. I've been trying to shift my expectations and adjust my focus. This isn't Timberman when I trained for nearly eight months working up to that day. This is Kinetic where I trained sixteen weeks and heavily indoors.
So, I'm going to expect to have a solid day, but not the fastest. I'm going to focus on things within my control and putting forth the effort. I expect this to show me where I'm starting this year and where I need to put my focus for the rest of 2017. So... here we go!"
Now on to Kinetic. My husband and I were traveling down on Friday before the race, which was on Saturday morning. It was only a four and a half hour drive to Lake Anna for us so we got the kids on the school bus and hit the road.
We arrived around 1pm and met up with our friends, Lynn and Charlie. Lynn would be racing the international distance aqua bike in the morning. Packet pick-up was scheduled to start at 4pm, so we decided to drive the course. Aaron drove as I noted the hills, turns, and rough pavement. Overall, the course looked awesome. No large hills and several areas to get aero and move fast. We got back to the park and learned that Lynn and Charlie were delayed on their drive due to a downed tree on the course.
Race staff had opened packet pick up early so I got my stuff (including a cute tee and nice socks!) then headed over to find my spot in transition. Let me just tell you, I did a happy dance and could barely believe my eyes when I got to my spot. I was on the rack closest to the bike out/in entrance- in my opinion, the best spot ever!!!
Once Lynn and Charlie got back, Lynn and I put on our wetsuits and went for an orientation swim. The water wasn't bad, warmer than the air.
Photo cred: Charlie Guttendorf
It had been raining the entire day so we decided to forego any bike riding in favor of heading to our AirBNB house. We got all settled and ordered delivery from Bella J Cucina. After dinner it was time to race prep and then turn in for the night.
Alarm woke me at 4am. It was still raining. Hard. We had seen the forecast and were ready for it, but had been hoping for a dry day. My breakfast was two pieces of really hearty peanut butter toast, a banana, and coffee with creamer. We all got ready pretty quickly and left a few minutes before 5am. Getting into the park was no problem at all. The volunteers parking us did an amazing job. We unloaded our bikes and headed toward transition. On the way was body marking, and since we had picked up our bibs the day before, we stopped and got our ink. At the entrance to transition is where you picked up your timing chip. Chip in hand I made my way to the best spot ever and discovered I was the first one to my rack! I set up my transition, checked it, double checked it, went to the bathroom, and then triple checked my transition set up. I had a Clif bar and some other things to eat, but my nerves got the better of me and I just couldn't do it. After a final check of my transition, I finally left to head over to the swim start.
|In there somewhere!|
|Leaving the water|
Photo cred: Charlie Guttendorf
T1: 00:04:49 During the pre-race announcements they stated there would be wetsuit strippers, which was awesome because at packet pick-up they had said that there would likely not be. However, I exited the swim and there were none to be found. Bummer!!!! So I ran up the sidewalk, into transition, through a ton of squishy mud, to the best spot ever. Got my wetsuit off, toweled off, magic jacket on (thanks Coach!!!), sock, shoe, sock, shoe (that part was tricky- fingers and feet kinda numb), helmet, glasses, gum in mouth, go!
|Tent is bike in/out. Didn't I tell ya?!?! Best. Spot. Ever.|
BIKE: 03:13:52 - 17.3mph - 5/10 in AG The bike begins on a hill. I already had my bike in an easier gear, so I had no issues getting going. Aaron said he saw at least five athletes pop their chains and one guy fall coming out of transition. Best advice is to start in an easy gear! The bike course is great, totally loved it. The rain was still holding off, the volunteers were wonderful, and although the roads were open, traffic was very light. The vehicles that were on the roads, however, acted totally clueless about what to do with the bikers everywhere. Multiple times I saw cyclists pass a car on the left because the car was going that slow. And the course has zero shoulder. It was a little frustrating, but slow and cautious drivers are preferable over fast and reckless drivers any day. Aid stations were at miles 15 and 26, and since it was a double loop you hit the same stations again at miles 35 and 46. My neck and seat were starting to complain only 20 miles in. A bad sign. Also, taking food and drink was totally unappealing to me. A big problem. By mile 40 my neck and seat were in agony and I just wanted to get off that bike. And I had probably only eaten 5 of my Power Bar Cola Chews (I had twenty ready), my Lara Bar, half my bottle of Tailwind, and only sips of my Power Bar Perform. I lost a lot of steam toward the end. Definitely was getting passed a lot more than being the one doing the passing. Was so, so glad to be done.
Five mile splits: 17.6, 16.3, 20.2, 18.2, 17.8, 16.7, 18.3, 17.3, 16.5, 15.9, 17.5
|Deliriously happy to be done with bike.|
T2: 00:04:52 Rode to the dismount line, dismounted my bike and that's when I realized the extent of the numbness of my feet. It felt like I was walking on ankle nubs. But I had the best spot ever in transition so I didn't have far to go. Racked bike (after moving another rude athlete's gear away from my stuff), helmet off, change shoe, change other shoe, swig of Perform, gum in mouth, hit up portajohn (I was still holding it!!!), then ran through the muddy transition which they had since covered up with hay.
|Heading out on run!|
Photo cred: Lynn Pierson
RUN: 02:09:52 - 9:53/pace - 7/10 in AG I was still wearing magic jacket but realized very quickly I didn't want it on anymore. The rain had held off all day. It was still cool and overcast, but the sun was peeking through every now and then and it doesn't take much for me to get hot. The course is a 4.5 mile loop that you get to run three times. You were supposed to get a green silicone bracelet at the completion of your first two loops so the volunteers would know to direct you into the finish chute on your final lap... as if I could possibly lose count! It's pretty hilly, nothing soul crushing, but I felt the hills a lot more than I thought I would. My nutrition was all but nonexistent during run. I tried the chex mix, but that was a no go. The gatorade was a mouth-puckering, toxic sweet, lemon-lime. I couldn't do it. So I'd swish and spit water. Bite and suck on an orange slice. I felt extremely tired, like sleepy tired. I kept imagining laying down in the grass and taking a nap. There were four aid stations on the course and you went by each three times. The volunteers were really nice and helpful.
|First loop! Thanks for the pics, Aaron & Lynn!|
The first two loops went by pretty good, but the third one was rough. I had begun walking quite a bit and then three in my AG passed me in the twelfth mile. That super sucked. Although I guess there's no way of knowing which lap they were in. Maybe they looked so good because they were only in their second lap. I suppose that's possible. I am proud of my last mile, though. I saw the twelve mile marker and thought, "When you get there, you can walk." But I got there and thought, "Hell no! Finish this!" And the last mile was one of my quicker miles, so yay!
Splits: 9:04, 8:40, 9:35, 9:02, 10:36, 9:13, 10:46, 9:24, 11:06, 10:13, 9:51, 11:57, 9:13, (0.10) 7:54
Photo cred: Charlie Guttendorf
TOTAL TIME: 06:17:46 - 7/10 in AG
Got done, layed down in the grass, very quickly became cold, so I got up and moved toward truck. Aaron reminded me I had to go get my bike (waaaahhhh!) so we got in truck and drove to transition where I almost puked in the parking lot. So I gave Aaron my bib and they let him get my stuff. I slept on the way back to the house wrapped up in a fleece blanket and Aaron's fleece-lined Gortex coat with the heat blasting in the truck. I was able to drink some ginger ale (which I had the foresight to bring from home- go me!) while showering and I started to feel much better.
|Oh so done.|
It is so funny. During the race I'm thinking about how dumb it all is, how crummy I feel, and wondering why in the world do I do this to myself?! During the race I'm regretting already signing up for two more 70.3s this year and I'm thinking that I have no business dreaming about a 140.6.
But less than 24 hours after crossing the finish line all those bad feelings lift and fade away. I feel amazing. I can own my achievement. I got myself to that starting line and I crossed that finish line on my own two feet. And I honestly can't wait to do it again.
I just have to say a big THANK YOU to Coach Dennis. I was worried. You knew that. But you also knew I didn't need to be. I'm glad you were right. 😉
And another huge THANK YOU to my husband and kids who continue to be the best ever crew this athlete could ever ask for. I simply could not do it if you didn't support me. I hope I make you proud. I hope I inspire you to try your best.
|Simply the best.|