Thursday, April 25, 2013

New Orleans 70.3 and post race fun in the "BIg Easy!"

The " Big Easy"...Home to the best music, street performers, food and the New Orleans 70.3 of course! This was a race that I had put on my schedule back in August of last year and I was so excited to be racing there again!

Having done this race twice before I felt confident that there were not going to be too many surprises!

Me race morning...feeling good despite a very restless nights sleep!

The morning started with a powerful prayer and moment of silence for those affected in the Boston attacks. All week I had been glued to the TV, with my emotions running high, and with such a heavy heart. I found the prayer to be much needed and I  I let the tears run freely. I was to dedicate my efforts that day to the victims that I had such great empathy for! 

Moments later we were jumping into into a slightly choppy  and slightly cool (64degrees) Lake Pontchartrain.  I was grateful to be wearing my Blue Seventy wetsuit and was ready to race!!!  The change of the location of the swim course  was an excellent idea as the last previous years the swim was either super choppy or cancelled!  I welcomed the South Shore Harbor swim, even if it meant zigzagging your way through a tight set of buoys.

The swim start went well and I noticed once again that I was keeping up with the front girls… But with UBER swimmers Amy Marsh and Haley Chura that did not last long! The  chop made me feel sloppy and out of rythm and the group quickly broke up. I found myself and Beth Shutt pulling the second group of girls. Despite the close quarters and the constant current pulling us off course, I thought it was well marked and I felt I did quite a good job navigating between the many orange, green and yellow buoys. Well until the last 3/4 mark where I went left to shore and everyone went right and I had to kill myself to catch up to the lead girls. I exited in 30 min a little disappointed but happy to be with a pack!

On exiting the swim I was determined to have a smooth transition and to get on the bike and to stay with the girls no matter what and thats exactly what I did. I quickly settled right into the power/zone that Coach Jesse and I had spoken about and I felt quite comfortable there. This year I signed on with Quintana Roo and my CD0.1 felt so smooth and comfortable! 
I was very impressed with the efforts all the girls and the drafting marshals made to keep this one of the cleanest 70.3's I had raced in a long time. The ride out would head directly into a head wind. The plan would be to push a little harder on the way out keeping this in mind.  At some point 2 of the girls pulled away when the girl in front of me was given a drafting penalty.  I was annoyed as I had to slow down to wait for the motor bike and biker to have a whole conversation and by the time I could get pass the other two girls  were 1 mile down the road. So I pushed the remaining 40 miles solo.

This ride went ALMOST perfectly but I never leave out the annoying details . In Los Cabos my aero bottle straw somehow went MIA on the bike. So I assured Coach Jesse I would tape that sucker on. I trimmed it down to what seemed like a reasonable height. I even rode around the french Quarter dodging horses, trolleys, tourists, cars…to make sure it seemed ok. But never the less 2 minutes into the bike I was painfully aware that I had made it just a hair too long. Enough that for 2hours and 27 minutes I had a straw constantly hitting  my chin which was not pleasant. The funny part was the following day I was wandering what on earth was wrong with my face. I seemed to have broken out all over and under my chin. Only realizing moments later that straw had left a mark!!! 

 If I can critique the 70.3 race directors at all it would just be the lack of aid stations on the bike. I recall there only being four. The first and last were within 10 miles  of home when you did not need them as much. Thus I was once again in a situation where I was completely out of fluids twice. So that is something that I still need to work on...

The beauty of having raced an extremely hard Ironman four weeks before was that the bike went extremely fast! I was very grateful for the tailwind most of the way home despite having to stay 100% focused to keep the power up. I came into transition relieved to have executed the bike perfectly! I was told I was 7 minutes behind the leader and 1.30 behind the girls in front of me.  

I headed out onto the run and was immediately aware that it was pretty hot and humid! My legs too were not feeling too fresh and they felt very heavy running. At times I felt like I was running through quick sand but I just tried to keep some sort of turnover. Team mate Kim Scwabenbauer ran by me looking so strong as she had at our 
QT2 systems training camp 6 weeks before. I cheered her on to go catch the girls ahead not realizing how close we all were. At the 6 mile mark  another team mate Jocelyn Cornmyn passed me looking fresh and speedy. I yelled at my legs to cooperate and I decided not to let her go…enough was enough. I would take my heart beat up a few notches and I decided to stop the abuse I was putting on my self but instead I started thanking my legs for being strong and injury free and allowing me to push as hard as I was pushing. Coming off of an Ironman and only getting in 2 weeks of speed work and in the middle of a build for IM Brazil this was all my body was allowing and I was at peace with it. I directed my run once again to those athletes who would now face the challenges of wearing prosthetics. I prayed for them and that they would find the strength to return to the sports they love. I found all this took away the hurt I was feeling and I noticed that my pace had dropped 5-10 seconds a mile and I was executing my run as well as I could. 
Love my Pearl Izumi N1's

 I ran into the finish 11th place , 20 seconds out of top ten and only less than 3 minutes out of 6th place. I view this race as a step in the right direction. After a few slower 70.3's last year this was the fastest I have raced a 70.3 since my crash almost 2 years ago! This gives me some confidence that I can reach my goals going into IM Brazil. 

Big thanks as always to Coach Jesse Kropelnicki of QT2 Systems, and all my sponsors that keep me going! PowerBar, Quintana Roo, Normatec, Pearl Izumi,Blue Seventy, Fuel Belt, Dr Sears Zone and Clarence from Brielle Cyclery!

After the race I headed back to the French Quarter to really spend the next day soaking in the many charms the French Quarter has to offer. This town is very special! There is no place like it in the world!

A video of some street performers!
Beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde

Oysters and crackers post race!


Bre said...

I love that you post the annoying little things from race day as there are endless things now that I do pre-race thanks to your blog/race reports- nothing like learning from the best! :) New Orleans sounds amazing- a fun race and a fabulous trip, and sounds like you are right on track to rock IM Brazil in a couple of weeks!

Beth said...

I thought the same thing about the aid stations on the bike!!! What the heck - there were absolutely none in the middle of the ride when I actually needed water! HA! Anyway, great meeting you Jacqui and congrats on a great race! Hope training for Brazil continues to go well!

Jacqui said...

Bre, thanks as always for reading!!! Glad my mistakes can help you or anyone else reading!!! There are some races destinations that you go to that are just the same old same could be anywhere! They lack character but I have chosen to find the best race destinations I can find and share them with anyone who reads....I mean this is about having fun and enjoying the adventure!

Jacqui said...

Beth, It was great to meet you to! Glad I was not the only one who noticed the lack of aid on the bike. Sometimes I think I am just making this stuff up in my head!!! I just read your RR! It seems we have the same swim times...I think we swam together in Cozumel too! So I am hearing you on the sub 30 min , sub 1 hour swim times!!! Congrats and good luck in St George!