Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steelhead 70.3/Duathlon

St Joseph is a quaint little shore town on the banks of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan never ceases to amaze me. At 307 miles in length and 118 miles wide it looks and acts like an ocean.
My first few days there I enjoyed calm waters but that was all about to change race day!

The day before the race I made my way down to the pro meeting where we were informed that despite the deceiving blue skies a storm was headed our way and the once quiet waters of Lake Michigan were about to become narly 3-5 foot swells, a mosh pit of angry whitecaps and that our 70.3 was probably going to become a duathlon. We then went on to vote in what order we would like to start out TT race on the bike. The vote was unanimous that the highest numbers would go first. I knew immediately that this was not going to work in my favor as those registered last would start at the front and the fastest girls would all start last. I was going to be starting in the front and I would have no idea where anybody was in the race until the end. It was going to be a cat and mouse game and I was the mouse…

Race morning ...

We all sat around the start for what seemed like a long time…over 2 hours to be exact. There was a lot of friendly bantering going on and a fairly cheerful atmosphere. The wind was howling and the skies threatening to rain and I was happy they made the decision to cancel the swim. All of us pro's can swim in rough water if we have to...but the added anxiety of not being able to site and swallowing tons of water every tome you try raise your head to breathe is never fun!

So we just sat and waited....We were not allowed to take our bikes out so we would be starting the race cold with no warmup.

At 7.15 the guys lined up and started there 30 second take offs….I would be the second women to start. 3,2,1 and I was off…legs felt a lot better than I thought they would..actually better than after a swim. I was surprisingly warm despite being freezing for 2 hours waiting in the wind. My legs were cooperating and the watts Coach Jesse and I had spoken about were coming fairly easy….Always a good sign.
I was quickly passed by the third place girl and decided to pick up my watts and stay with her. I was now working a little harder than I would normally and was enjoying having someone to ride with. With the lead cyclists in front of us it was easy to believe that we were really in the lead group…sadly this was deceiving as the Heather Jacksons and Melissa Rollinson were working there way up through the 22 pro girls that were ahead of them.
By the half way mark I was feeling the harder effort especially two weeks post Ironman Lake Placid so I made the decision to ride on my own at the pace I knew I could handle on that day. Nobody was in sight either in front or behind me and that is the way the bike would stay for the next 90 minutes. When you are on your own you have to stay present and focused 100% otherwise the time slips by and you can easily lose valuable minutes. I think i did a good job at this yesterday and kept the focus and was happy that by the time I headed into T2 my power would be a little above where I needed to be. Therefore I was on track and with a 2.24 bike one of my fastest 70.3 splits and my highest power numbers I had pushed.

T2 was a long run and then I was happy to head out onto the run course feeling pretty good. The first mile is a long slight uphill and I reminded myself not to panic as my mile time was slow. Sadly I could n't seem to push my heart rate up where it needed to be either….I was worried I might have put out too much on the bike.
By mile 2 Heather and then Mellisa came flying by me. I could not believe that they had caught me so soon. I started doing the maths and panicking a little. I had lost ten minutes to them. I assumed all the rest of the girls were right behind them too. I tried to stay positive but the added stress just worked on my stomach and I then spent the next 2 miles battling the need to hit a portojohn with none in sight. That too puts further stress on me and my focus is no longer on running and pushing the pace but on a search for an emergency stop. I finally could not hold it in anymore and darted for some bushes. My timing was impeccable as all the guys started to run by me at that time which made me laugh and the go find a deeper section into the woods. Now I was losing some serious time….

Here is where I fall short in races….I definitely spend way to much time thinking instead of just focusing on the task at hand which is run faster. Jessica Jacobs had now made her way past me and I was feeling quite distraught. My only saving grace was then seeing a few girls that were still a couple miles behind me which pumped me up and with a stomach that was now feeling a little better I started to work on refocusing and pushing the last 6 miles. My miles were looking significantly better and by the last three miles I was really able to push hard and finish strong. I was happy to negative split the marathon and bike.
I definitely think the lack of speedwork since IMLP played a big part in me not being able to make the adjustment to push hard in the beginning. Racing is such a mindset and I will continue to work on staying present!!!

Coming in to the finish I was told I was 4th and had to wait for a drug test. I was pleasantly surprised to be 4th and happy to see them drug testing girls. Later I found out that two girls that started near the back were indeed 50 seconds ahead of me which moved me to 6th place. Ahhh my immediate thought was that was a $1000 dollar bathroom stop…Ouch that hurt!!!!

I really need to figure out my stomach issues one day….

So all in all I was really happy with the effort 3 weeks after IMLP. I had been feeling really fatigued a couple days before so it was nice to be able to race and have my times be right there with my best half Ironman paces so soon after Ironman.

Next up IM Canada!

1 comment:

mdsi2000 said...

Hi Jacqui,
It was nice meeting you again at the expo in Steelhead. Hope to see you again with more to to chat.

-Peter Gonzalez