It's been far too long since my last post and so much has happened! Let's just start off by going back to late August.
On August 19th I snuck off to race Ironman 70.3 Timberman. By "snuck off" I mean just that. Only about 4 people knew I was heading out there to race. I really wanted this race to be about me, and doing the work. I didn't want a lot of talk, predictions or people telling me about the course to cloud up my head. I just wanted to train my ass off and go race hard. My goal for 2017 is/was to qualify for World Championships 70.3 for the 50-54 age group. So, I have been training and testing the waters with Ironman 70.3 Coeur D'Alene and Timberman. I wanted to see not only where I stacked among the 45-49 year olds, but how I would have held up in the next age group.
I went out to Timberman with a girlfriend who was also racing in my same age group and another woman who is a bad ass in her age group of 55-59. All of us are fierce competitors with different coaches, so it was fun to see what everyone's pre-race workouts would be. As I suspected, mine were way dialed back from the other two. Even though I had the urge to chase and keep up, I stuck to what I know works for me.
On the flight out there one of my traveling companions was watching "What about Bob" on her iPad on the flight. "What about Bob" was filmed at Lake Winnipesauke where the race takes place. In an opening scene you see Bob repeating the Mantra "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful." I had no idea this was about to become my new race motto.
As travel races go, what could go wrong, did. So, all of pre-race leading up to the starting line was a true test of will power, perseverance and sheer determination to have a good race day! I won't go into all of the details, but TSA is a bitch! Anyway, once the bike was working, checked in, dinner had and alarm clocks set I was ready for a great day.
My training leading up to the race I felt was pretty spot on. I had done a FTP test about two weeks prior and had a 10 point WATT jump since my previous one. I also had started taking and testing out a new product that aided in recovery and repair. My workouts felt great, I was getting really good sleep and I just really felt good.
Race morning was a bit crazy with getting everything organized, set up in T1, port-o-let lines were so long that I was getting a bit anxious. When I finally got out of the port-o-let, everyone was headed to the beach for the start of the race. I could hear the National Anthem and I still needed to get into my ROKA Sports Pro Wetsuit. I was the 3rd wave of athletes to start so I hustled through the line and tried to put on my wetsuit while I was walking!! Not the best situation, but I made it happen somehow. By the time I got to the beach my wave was lining up. I found my friend in the front of the line and she waved me up. I graciously said no thank you, I knew I couldn't hold front of the pack swimming and her speed was way too much for me to even jump on her feet. Everything felt so rushed, that I really didn't have a chance to be nervous. I just put on my ROKA R1 goggles and got in. The water was perfect, well besides the occasional person swimming diagonally in front of me, I had a great swim. My fastest all time Half Iron swim time at 35:51.
Heading out on the bike course I was a little intimidated as I knew there was as much climbing as CdA, but not all in one mountain climb. And we didn't get a chance to drive the course the day before, so I had no idea what was coming or what to expect. So I just rode. I settled into a strong pace, kept on my nutrition plan that I had been working on with nutritionist Meredith Terranova and focused on being solid and consistent. I don't have a power meter on my bike, so I just had to go with how I felt.
The bike course was awesome! It was so beautiful, well signed, lots of volunteers, good water bottle hand ups, just a really great course. At mile 48 or so I saw my friend off in the distance ahead of me. She swam a 31 minute course and now I was closing in on that gap. I really couldn't believe it as she has been known to push such big power and fast speeds in training. Once I caught her we played a bit of cat and mouse for a while before I reminded myself to stick to my own race plan. Which is never a bad thing!
Coming off the bike I felt great and cleared the bike course in 2:53:00. Super solid effort for such a hilly course with over 2589 of course elevation. Going into T2 I saw my friend and knew that the next 13.1 miles were going to be long and it was going to be really fun. My legs felt remarkable great.
The hardest part chasing a friend is truly not blowing yourself up trying to keep up, pass or win. So again, I had to remind myself to run my own race, have myself the best day I knew how to do. On the run it was great seeing the women I had come to town with, but I was also sad because I am used to seeing so many more people I know. I kept looking for someone to smile at, high-five or call out a number to say "Great Job!". For me racing is thrilling, but it's the community of the athletes that makes the day.
Shortly after the run had started there were a few good size hills to contend with. I thought of that scene in the movie. I started to say in my head. "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful!" and I did. So, I kept doing it! Every time things started to hurt or my pace slowed down, I said it. Over and over. Sometimes out loud so the person next to me could hear. "I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful" and my pace quickened. My feet and knees didn't hurt, my nutrition was on track. My breathing was good, my heart rate was lower than normal, the view of the lake was beautiful and I did feel wonderful! That 13.1 miles wasn't the easiest, but it sure wasn't hard. I finished that race with a 2:02:17 and it was my fastest pace of the year! My total overall time had me at 5:35:21, 15th place in my Age-Group and ahead of my friends that traveled with me.
As soon as the race was over, we had to box up the bikes and head to the airport to go home. That, was another fiasco. It took me two days to get home. But the most amazing part was, I wasn't sore at all. Not one ounce of soreness. I couldn't believe it. So, amazing race, perfect nutrition, great recovery supplements that I take daily still and an amazing race. I can't wait to head back there to support my athletes in 2017 as Timberman is 100% coach approved.