This was my first year attending this race. I was excited to kick of my 2011 racing season on a very challenging course. The morning of the race was a balmy 39 degrees. I tried to get my transition set up as quickly as possible so I could jump into my sweet Orca 3.8 wetsuit. My wave was the last of the morning. I jumped in the water 15 minutes prior to my start. The water actually felt refreshing at 60 degrees compared to the air temps.
It was a rough start to the swim. I lined up in the middle and got boxed in at the start. I got whacked and almost lost my goggles. I went pretty hard at the beginning, but then went anaerobic and couldn't catch my breath. I literally had to do a couple of strokes of back stroke (very comical). I got it back together and felt good after that. This has not happened to me in about 6 years. I'm not sure why this happened, but maybe it was a combo of the cold water and my first high end effort of year.
I was pretty chilled getting out on the bike. The first 5 miles are pretty flat and fast, which did not help to warm up. However, after that we hit the hills and I was immediately warm. This was a very challenging course with some major climbing. I had a very consistent effort and held back as Paul, my coach, had prescribed. My Timex Ironman Race Trainer was reading mostly low 140 heart rate range (low zone 2). However, my heart rate did climb into the 150s on the climbs. My race nutrition felt great! I did have one event on the bike that would come back to haunt me on the run. I dropped my salt tabs at mile 15 of bike after only taking 2 salt sticks (500mgs) I usually race with 800-1200 an hour. Fortunately I did not cramp at all on the bike. I believe this was due to the cooler temps and my reduced effort.
I felt really good heading onto the run. I did not take it out to hard but felt good as I warmed into the effort. Then at mile 3 I cramped really bad. I was very nervous. I was screaming for salt but all they had was pretzels. I grabbed a handful and stuffed them in my mouth. I almost choked. I decided to grab a Gatorade at every aid going forward and I stuck a pretzel under my tongue until the salt melted for the rest of the race. It was not ideal but it worked. I held it together with only a couple of cramps. I shortened my stride and just tried to run steady. I was a bit bummed because I think I could have put together a better run effort, but that’s racing.
I finished up in 4:20:13, which placed me as the top amateur and 7th overall. Once I thawed out on the course, I really enjoyed this race and would recommend it for anyone looking for a beautiful East Coast destination race.
10 months ago