I’m finally posting my recap from the Ironman 70.3 Syracuse race yesterday! I wanted to get this out earlier, but we drove home last night and fiiiinnnnnalllly made it around 2am. Needless to say, I slept in. So, here’s my recap!
This race was a little different for me because instead of racing by myself, I had my husband, sister, and brother in-law racing “with” me as well! Also, my parents came to cheer us on. During the race, I quite enjoyed this. It was fun to see my parents occasionally, and it was also fun to have people to celebrate with when they finished. Unfortunately, it wasn’t super fun for me the day BEFORE the race. I have a very particular pre-race routine that I like to do, and it was stressful for me having other people around. In the end though, I very much enjoyed it and would love to do a race with everyone again!
Race morning started at 4am. We got up, got everything packed, ate breakfast, and got to the race site by 5am. I like to be at my races 2 hours before the start, so we were right on time! I did my usual pre-race routine, and was relaxed and ready to conquer!
I then got ready for a quick warm-up swim before the swim start. Looking back, I probably didn’t need to since it was an “in-water” start. BUT, I’m a creature of habit, and I always do a warm-up swim.
After my warm-up swim, I lined up on the beach to get ready for the start. John came by to give me some last-minute strategy advice. The ever-coach even when he’s racing!
My wave went off at 7:05. The first age group wave right behind the pros! It was a ROUGH swim start. I felt fine, but we were in HEAVY traffic until almost the half-way point! Usually it’s just rough for a few minutes and then we thin out, but the girls in my wave were just so close in pace that it took forever! This slowed me down a lot because it was very difficult to pass people with so many in front, both sides, and behind. Finally I broke out though and had a smooth second half of the swim! I came out of the water in 37 minutes. Much slower than I’d hoped for, but I was pleased with how I managed the chaos.
I had a slower transition than normal. The air was still cold, so it took longer than normal to get my bike shoes on. I was off on the bike after just 4 minutes though, so not too bad!
I didn’t have the greatest bike ride. For the first time ever in a triathlon, I was hungry already after the swim, so I started the ride with a gel. I continued eating them every 40 minutes and that held me over. However, my gel leaked in my fuel bag and “glued” the zipper shut before I could eat my last gel! That made me slightly grumpy.
The course was VERY hilly, but I knew that ahead of time obviously. I’d prepared, and my new crank system was working great! I made it up the 12 miles of climbing quite well! I even passed several people on the climbs. Unfortunately, after that 12 miles, I thought it would be basically all down hill from there. WRONG! There were still several steep climbs.
I also had a bit of a mechanical mishap with my bike! I was cruising along at 23 mph around mile marker 20, and all of a sudden, my chain locked! I couldn’t pedal anymore, so I pulled over and checked it out. A rock must have gotten lodged in the chain, because after shifting and turning my crank, it was fine. I got back on my bike quickly; determined to get back into my grove. 5 miles later, I was still struggling to “get back into it”, and wondered why I wasn’t cruising anymore. I looked down and realized my front brake pad was rubbing on my tire. I must have hit it when I leaned my bike over to fix the chain. So, I pulled over AGAIN, and quickly fixed that. Immediately, it was so much easier! Sad I went 5 miles without realizing that, but glad I stopped to check! The rest of the bike race went by without a hitch (other than my stupid gel holder). I came into transition with a 3:02 bike ride. Longer than I’d hoped, but the hills took more out of me than I thought they would (and the mechanical issues!).
I made a very quick transition to the run, and was off in 2 minutes! My legs were tired from all the hills, and I was still hungry! I had a gel as soon as I started running, but that gave me a stomach cramp. I think it was because of the quick transition and the immediate gel consumption. After 2.5 miles though, the cramp subsided and I started ramping up my pace! The hills on the run were WAY steeper than I thought they would be! There were 2 very steep hills than I had to go UP and DOWN TWICE! This was hard on me, but I maintained my nutrition and cooling plan and was able to run the entire course without walking. My second loop was much faster as well! I was feeling great by mile 5, and picked up the pace each mile until the finish! I averaged a 7:30 min/mile pace on the run. This was slower than I am capable of running, but with the heat and hills, I took it conservatively. I finally finished at 5:24. Slower than my previous 70.3 time last year, but Syracuse is WAY harder than Muncie!
I was proud with my effort and my ability to stay strong until the end without bonking. I’m looking forward to racing Muncie again in 3 weeks! Hoping for a PR this time, and hopefully qualify for 70.3 World Championships!
I know you’re all wondering how my husband, sister, and brother in-law did in their first 70.3 as well! Leah had an awesome race, finishing in 6:06. Peter came in at 6:03. John had a great swim but suffered with cramps very early on in the bike. He pushed through and finished the bike course, but not in time to be allowed out on the run. He was disappointed, but came out with a plan for a better attempt next time! Overall it was a great weekend with the fam!