One fact of racing triathlons is that each race is different. This was my 3rd year participating at 70.3 Rhode Island. I really enjoy the race. The point to point format makes the race unique. It is a bit challenging from a logistical standpoint, but the course is very fair. The swim is in the ocean off of Narragansette, RI. Then the bike rolls from the beach to downtown Providence, RI. The run is a two loop, hilly, course through downtown Providence.
The swim: 29:35
Paul Regensberg (www.lifesportcoaching.com), my coach, asked me to try to really hit the swim hard. I had qualified for the Hawaii IM at 70.3 Buffalo Springs and Paul wanted me to use this race to start my preparation for Kona. My wave was the 9th of the day. As soon as we started I jumped out to the front and tried to find the right feet to follow. I found feet and I swam with a high effort, but I don't think this was exactly what was prescribed. I came out of the water quite a bit slower then I was hoping for. However, that's racing. So I quickly made my way through T1 and out onto my Orbea Ordu.
The bike: 2:21:38
The gameplan for the bike was to take it out hard. This was a different strategy for me on this discipline. Usually I take the first part of the bike a little easier and build into the effort. However, the strategy this day was to go hard and see what I could do on the bike. However, I just couldn't do it. I was having a hard time keeping my heart rate in my racing zone. I felt muscularly limited. I felt like I was riding pretty well, but I just couldn't take it up a notch. So I just focused on what I could control, my caloric intake and maintaining a steady effort. As I said at the beginning: each race is different. In 2009, we had a tailwind on the bike section. However, in 2010, we had a headwind. It wasn't too severe, but it was enough to slow my time by 7 minutes even though I had the exact same normalized power as 2009. I rolled into T2 feeling like I had kept my sodium intake (about 800mg/hr) at the right level. However, I had backed up a bit on my liquid calories. I tried to play catch up a little bit towards the end of the bike as I realized I hadn't taken that much down. The result of this caloric tardiness was a bloated stomach as I headed out on the run.
The run: 1:18:39
I felt very awkward heading out on the run. So I just focused on shortening my stride and trying to maintain a quick cadence. A few of the pro men were starting their second loop as I was starting my first. So I tried to que off of them to find my pace. This strategy worked pretty well. I was able to hold a decent pace, although I did not feel fluid at all. I went with a slightly different fueling strategy for this run. Usually I hit the cola very early on the run to get the simple sugars. The cola is great to give me a lift, but it plays havic on my GI system. So I had decided to run with a flask of carbopro for the first 9 miles, then switch over to cola for the last 5k. Finally at about the 7 mile mark, I started to feel decent and find a rythm. While I had spent most of the run feeling off, my energy level had stayed very constant. In fact, this was the first race in a long time that I felt stronger at the end of the run. Every race is different.
I crossed the line and looked at my watch: 4:12:39. I was shocked. It was 10+ minutes slower then last year. As I started to talk to other participants I quickly realized that it was completely different race conditions then 2009. I found out later that I was the top amateur overall.
1 year ago