Time for Part 2 of my 70.3 Ironman World Championships recap! If you missed my post yesterday, you can read about it here. The race morning started at 5am. I got up and did my usual race morning routine, then arrived at the race site around 5:45am. My wave wasn’t scheduled to go off until 8:44am, so I got to the race sight super early. Usually I arrive about 2-2.5 hours before my wave, but in this case, we were worried about getting parking and also transition closed early, so we needed more time.
I was feeling pretty tired, but excited to start this big race! After I was done warming up, John and I headed down to the water to wait for my wave.
I was grateful that the water was calm that morning compared to the day before! I got to the water and put on my wet suit. I decided on my sleeveless suit since I tend to swim better in that suit, and I have less anxiety with wearing it. I waited until 20 minutes before my wave start, and then I hopped in the water for a short swim to loosen up a little. Then I ate one last Hammer gel, and got in the line with my wave. We had an out of water start, which I’ve actually never done before! Immediately, the girls in my group started sprinting toward the water! I was a little surprised and kind of hung back a little at first. I ran in around the middle of the pack, and started swimming midst the chaos. In any of the past races I’ve done, the first 100-200 meters of a swim are pretty crazy-lots of people thrashing, kicking, and swimming over top of you. I was expecting this, so I wasn’t surprised when I got hit and kicked by several people at first. What did surprise me though was that it never let up the entire way! We stayed in a really tight back the whole race! It was pretty funny to me. I realized though, about half-way through the swim course that when you take the top people from each age group from all the 70.3 races all over the world, and put them together in one race….chances are they’ll all be about the same pace! Yup, a lot of us were around the same speed. I came out of the water right at 35 minutes. I ran up the path, got my wet suit stripped off, and then headed over to the T1 tent.
It was about 1/2 mile from the swim to the T1 tent. Inside, I grabbed everything I needed for the bike, then ran over to the transition area to grab my bike. In this race, they didn’t let us keep any of our gear by our bikes–the only thing in transition was the bike itself. Our T1 bags were in the tent, and our T2 bags were in a separate area of transition.
I exited transition with a bit of a stomach ache, but figured it was due to in-taking so much of the water during the swim. I was also pretty cold from the water, and the air temp was still in the low 50s. I pushed pretty hard on the bike through the first few hilly miles but my legs were cold. I was glad around mile 6 when I came out onto open highway. This was supposed to be a relatively flat section where I would make up some speed. Unfortunately though, it was VERY windy! I made the decision not to fight the wind, but to take it easy and just enjoy the ride and the scenery. I wanted to enjoy every part of this race, and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy it if I pushed too hard in the wind.
The scenery was beautiful on the bike course, and I loved riding through the small downtown of Tremblant! I didn’t so much enjoy getting passed by just about everyone in the race! One thing I realized about athletes who qualify for World Championships….most of them have a strong bike leg! I don’t……it was humbling.
With about 12 miles left of the bike, we came back close to the transition area, and made a turn to climb up the mountain. I have NEVER climbed so many hills on the bike!!! It was unbelievable, but actually really fun! I enjoyed the challenge, and LOVED the downhills. I got back to transition in 3:07 (very slow for me), hopped off my bike (took my feet out of my bike shoes while riding for the first time ever! I was pretty proud of myself for that), gave my bike to a volunteer (they racked your bike for you!), and ran to my T2 bag. I quickly put on my shoes, grabbed my handheld bottle and gel flask, put on my bib belt, and left transition! I used a port-a-potty real quick, and then began my 13.1 miles of running. When I started the run, my stomach still wasn’t feeling the greatest, but after a few miles I started to feel awesome! I also got to see my family less than a mile into the run, so that perked me up!
I seriously LOVED the run course! The air temp was maybe 60 degrees, so though I froze on the bike, it was now the perfect temperature for running! I began passing TONS of people! This was very encouraging to me after getting passed by so many people on the bike. The course was two loops, and went through the whole town, as well as the resort village. It was awesome! The whole course was lined with spectators cheering their hearts out for me and all the other racers! I came to the turn around feeling better than when I started, and was able to pick up the pace for the second loop of the run!
When I came back into the resort village for the second time, I was so excited! People were cheering and screaming, and the finish chute was in sight! I reached into my handheld bottle and pulled out my American and Christian flags. I held one in each hand and started kicking hard toward the finish, while waiving my flags high! I finished in 5:27 which is my worst time ever in this distance, but it was also the hardest course I’ve ever done, so I expected to finish around 5:30.
I had such a great experience racing with such elite people from all over the world! There were about 2,250 athletes racing, and I was 1 of only 800 from the US. I was proud to represent my country and my God all in one race! I truly enjoyed the experience and feel very blessed that I was able to qualify and participate in the race!
I hope you enjoyed my recap of this race!
Do you have any big races coming up?