Another 6th place AG finish for me at Ironman Santa Rosa 70.3!! It’s ironic how at Chattanooga 70.3 in May I was SO excited to come in 6th, because it was a huge improvement for me from Oceanside and I didn’t think I would do that well, and now a 6th place 2 months later feels like a disappointment. I guess that’s what happens when you set the bar high for yourself! By the numbers, I really didn’t have a bad race: my swim was average, I set a 60 and 90-minute power record on the bike, and I PRed my run by 5 minutes! But racing is more than numbers sometimes, and I came away from this race feeling like I had been distracted, disengaged, and hadn’t given it 120%. It’s only my 3rd half iron, and I try to remember that and the fact that there is definitely a learning curve; the 70.3 is a whole new beast compared to the Sprints and Olympics I did last year. I worked very diligently on my run before Santa Rosa and it paid off big for me; unfortunately, I didn’t do that with the swim and bike and when it came time to get in the zone, I’d forgotten where that zone was. Better believe I won’t be making that mistake again!
SANTA ROSA 70.3 — JULY 27, 2019 — TIME: 5:15:32
6th/86 F30-34 — 52nd/598 female — 289th/1,974 overall
Race weight – 113
Water temp – 74 Temp – morning in the 60s, heated up to the 90s
Bike – Quintana Roo PR Five
Wheels – Enve 3.4 with Conti tubeless, full disc with tubeless Conti Wetsuit – ROKA Maverick
Kit – WYN Republic, Neptune Collection
Helmet/Glasses – Rudy Project
Shoes – NIKE Pegasus 35
Breakfast – Toast with nut butter and jam
LARA bar before swim
small Gatorade in T1 between swim and bike
ON BIKE : Nugo protein bar, half LARA bar (dropped other half), 2 Manuka gels (one with 25mg caff), GU gel (35mg caff), ½ SiS (75mg caff)
bottles: 1 bottle (2 scoops SpeedSauce), 1 bottle water, ½ bottle water from aid, ¼ bottle (2 scoops SpeedSauce)
2 Hammer Salt capsules
ON RUN: alternated water/Gatorade/Red Bull depending on what I felt I needed
2 Manuka gels, 2 GU gels, 1 ½ SiS
*I ate a lot more gels than normal, it’s possible there are 1-2 more I don’t remember!
I woke up at 4am, had a bowl of KASHI cereal, a piece of toast with jam and a big cup of coffee. We picked up a fellow Team WYN member on the way and got to Downtown SR around 4:45am. Because the lake is 30 miles away from T2 and the finish line, Ironman was running school buses out to the lake – they ran it very smoothly! We showed up and were able to hop right on a bus, and then we were dropped off right outside of T1 and the swim start. First thing I did was use the Port-0-Potty outside Transition before I went in because I knew the lines would be crazy long when I went in – good call because they were! NOW: here is what I really didn’t like about this race: both of the transitions were “clean transitions”. Normally this is fine, however, we also were not allowed to leave our shoes clipped onto the bike which REALLY does not make sense to me!! They said in the briefing that the point of these “clean transitions” was to make it more fair for everyone; that some people hog space at the racks and it’s not as fair. I’m sorry but leaving your shoes clipped in does not take up space!! Checked that all my nutrition and bike gear was bagged, and we’d taped all my nutrition on the night before, so after a quick bike check, I was ready to go.
SWIM – 34:00
We had a little bit of fog on the lake as the sun was rising and I was so nervous they were going to cancel it, but they didn’t! It was a self-ceding rolling start into Lake Sonoma which started with Pros at 6:40 am, and my official start time was 6:47 am. I had debated whether or not to wear my wetsuit because I run hot and knew the water temp was borderline, so even though it was a close call I thought the benefits would outweigh the heat distraction and I wore it. Sighting was a little tough out to the first buoy as there was a little fog and the sun was in our eyes, but after making a quick right turn, the rest was a great swim course. I felt like I did a better job drafting here and was able to find people to draft, which is something I’m not totally comfortable doing but definitely have been working on. Although the swim wasn’t terrible, I found myself coasting a bit – I never really got into my groove and didn’t give it the fight that I normally do. As predicted, I also got overheated, which can be incredibly distracting.
Notes from Coach Jarrod: “You never want to type a race report saying you should have gone harder in the swim – EVER.” Wise words – lesson learned!
Quite a long run up the boat ramp to T1!! I’d walked it the day before so knew to pace myself and it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I had discussed the heat issue with my coach before, and he advised to have a small Gatorade in my T1 bag since I will have probably lost extra fluid. Grabbed all my gear from my bag, and drank the little Gatorade as I ran to my bike – put my shoes on at my bike, and ran to the mount line.
BIKE – 2:51:55
I had heard about these notoriously nasty roads, so I went tubeless for the first time. This was also the first race I’d used a solid back disc! Coming out of T1 and hitting that first hill was bomb! I used to be such a chickenshit but now I LOVE a good downhill and maxed out at 40mph! I managed to set 2 All-time power records – 60 min & 90 min, however, from the get go, I knew that my legs didn’t feel 100% and after reflecting with my coach, it seems like I rode in “preservation mode” a little bit rather than really going for it and attacking the course. Similarly to the swim, I felt distracted; I didn’t really get in the “zone” or get into my rhythm until way too late on the course. People were complaining about the roads but I actually really didn’t think they were too bad…. until the end of Chalk Hill road when I hit a big pothole and the top of my Q Box came off! Then of course when I hit the next bump my CO2 came out; luckily I did not need it. I’d been playing cat and mouse with a lady for a few miles and she was behind me at the time and upon passing me the next time around, she said, “Oh I’m sorry about your box! I was going to stop and get it for you but it shattered!” How nice is that?!?! I’m glad it shattered because I would feel terrible if someone ever stopped to pick up my stuff!!
So I committed the cardinal sin in this race – I wore a new kit without having worn it before. BIG MISTAKE. Not once, but twice on the back half of the course I was reaching up to tuck a gel inside my bra strap and the zipper flew wide open….like all the way down and was about to unzip. It was one of those shitty big-toothed cheap-o zippers. I could not for the life of my get it back up and had to stop and re-zip the zipper. UGH. So… when you lose 5th place and the podium by less than 1 minute, shit like this REALLY SUCKS!!! Overall, it was an absolutely gorgeous ride that was lined with wineries, small farms, animals, and beautiful California views with a few short but tough climbs.
Notes from Coach Jarrod “You MUST get into the race mentality of racing hard – the whole time.”
T2 is VERY long. Luckily my bike spot was right inside the Bike In, so I didn’t have to run a long way with it. It sucked to run barefoot on the hot asphalt all the way down to the T2 bag racks at the complete opposite end and my feet were really hurting (more than normal – I think also from the foot issues I’ve been having leading up to this race). Unfortunately ran past my bag and had to go back around the rack, so probably lost 10-15 seconds there. The hilarious thing about it is that the “run” and “bike” bags were 2 separate colors (red and blue) and for some reason, I got 2 of the same color bags. My “run” gear bag was literally a different color than everyone’s and I STILL ran past it! D’oh.
RUN – 1:41:05
Leading up to this race, I focused on my running a LOT. I spent a lot of time on the
treadmill pounding out tempo blocks and 800 repeats on the track, obsessing about my form, watching my HR, and making little tiny fixes. It definitely paid off for this race! Once I got going and settled into pace, I knew exactly where to go in my body and what it should feel like. I enjoyed the course, it was a good mix of road and a very shady and flat trail. The legs felt good from the beginning and even though the temps were rising, I knew I was having a good run and that also gave me a lot of confidence. Because I’d made the big mistake of waiting too long to cool my core at Chattanooga, I started with the ice (in mouth and in bra and kit) and fluids immediately on this run, even if I felt like I didn’t need it. I started with sips of water and then alternated with water/Gatorade/Coke depending on what I felt like my body needed – sometimes I hit 2 in 1 aid station. The last 4 miles got a little mentally tough; I was really hoping to run a 1:40 or under and I was calculating as I ran the past couple miles, hoping that I could pull it off, but I just barely missed it. Damn.
The best part about this race was the beer garden and VEGAN PAELLA from Gerard’s at the finish line!! I was incredibly sore the next day… like I think more than normal! Even my jaw was sore! Not sure what that was about but literally everything hurt. I am still learning so much every race – about pacing, planning, nutrition, mindset, etc. This race was very valuable in understanding what the training looked like going into it for the run, because it was tedious but it worked. I’m excited to take this plan and apply it to the 2 other sports!
Now it’s time to focus on 70.3 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!