Calgary 70.3 Race Report
As directed by Coach David, I got a proper run warmup in even with what I thought was chaos (the point to point format meant we had to drop our transition bags, we weren’t allowed to take our bikes out of transition, the sheer number of people). I had thought that we would be able to take our bikes out of transition to warm up, but I was wrong. I didn’t get as much of a swim warmup as I would have liked – about 15 minutes. But this was actually all I needed.
The women started with the men and there were a lot of us – over 40. I assumed this meant it was going to be rough so I started on the far right outside. We needed to make sharp left around a buoy at about 100 meters so I chose my spot to try to stay out of the man-crush.It worked well and I got a clean start. These starts are so much easier than the ITU starts! The pace is just so much more relaxed, even with guys in the mix. As I was swimming I started to panic a little (like in Muskoka) because the neck of my wetsuit started to feel too tight (I was swimming in my favorite brand, but it was a new suit and I hadn’t adjusted it properly for my size). I swam to the outside and kept the kk up while I loosened the neck flap. This seemed to help and I pulled a few strokes hard to get back in the draft.
In general it was a chaotic swim. I really had no idea where we were going, where I was in the pack or who I was swimming with. I tried to work as hard as I could, reminding myself not to get complacent, finding good feet and conserving energy when I could. Because I didn’t know where we were going I was tempted to keep sighting, but I stopped myself because it wasn’t helping me swim any straighter than simply watching the feet in front of me.
Unfortunately about ¾ of the way through I started to get very frustrated at not knowing where I was going. This compounded with my perception that I was swimming slow! As we approached shore we came headlong into packs of swimmers that were starting. This was just a little terrifying! I let go of the throttle a little and just swam easy in to shore – the last thing I wanted was a concussion. I took the time to mentally prepared myself for T1.
The run into transition was nice. This may be my favorite part of the 70.3 distance (did I just admit that 😉 ) It is sooo great to be able to run at a comfortable pace instead of busting so hard that you feel like your heart is going to explode out of your chest and plop onto your aerobars.Once on my Trek, I felt amazing. My bike training had been REALLY hard going into this race, but it prepared me really well (thanks coach!). I had to really control myself in order to keep my power output in check.
I drank about 2 litres of liquid for the 90 kms. It was a mix of Gatorade + electrolytes, water from aid stations and a solution of concentrate (caffeine pill, 6 electrolyte tablets and water). This doesn’t seem like much on paper, but I peed several times during the bike and didn’t end up using all the liquid I had carried with me. I had a gel flask (4 gels) with me that I had in the back of my Suguoi race suit. I consumed this and 2 gels I taped to my bike.
I felt strong on both the uphills and I pushed the downhills. I was able to keep my power up over 180 all the time other than some instances when going downhill. I tried to stay aero as much as possible and tried to maximize all momentum that I had (minimizing any braking through corners, etc). I had to force myself to not go above 200 in the last 30 kms. I kept wanting to push the power. I couldn’t believe how quickly the first 30kms flew by! 60kms came and went just as quickly and the last 30kms felt like I was holding back the whole time.
There wasn’t any tightness or muscle cramping or fatigue in my legs. My back got tight around halfway through, but I expected this. It wasn’t as bad as it has been and I don’t think it affected my power. I did shift my position a few times to try to give my back a break, and I tried to stretch it out a bit when I wasn’t pedaling down hills and around corners.
Coming off the bike into T2 my legs felt fine. I stepped off the bike and ran easily into T2. There wasn’t any heaviness in the quads and the Achilles felt good. At my shoes I was disappointed to see that there about 10 bikes already racked 🙁 I opened my T2 bag and grabbed my Asics. I had stuffed a sock in each shoe but when I went to pull them out I only found one! I searched the bag and my shoes, but no sock. So I decided that my right foot would get the sock this day.
I was instructed by Coach David to run no faster than 4:20 per km for the first 8kms. At the time he said this it seemed excessively slow. On the day it felt about right and fairly comfortable. I had forgotten my watch and so I was using the “song time” on my ipod to keep track of my pace (This is one of the things I love about the long stuff is the problem solving that needs to go on. Plus it gave me something to think about because I had to do some math to calculate my pace). On the flat sections I was hitting about 4:10-4:25 which seemed comfortable.
My left adductor started to twinge at about 2kms and so I took an extra electrolyte pill which I was carrying in my suit (PS I love the Suguoi suit that I wear for these long events, they have these great pockets at the back for things like my gel flask and electrolyte capsules). This cleared up straight away. I sipped away at my gel flask. It was carrying about 4 gels mixed with a few tablespoons of water 200mgs of caffeine and some extra electrolytes. I drank water at every aid station, but I soon started to feel thirsty. They indicated that there would be aid stations every 2kms, but there weren’t. And I don’t think I was drinking enough at each of the stations.
There was one major downhill and uphill section and I felt really slow on both the descent and ascent. Once at the top I started to feel mentally pretty bad. I didn’t feel like eating gels any more and I just felt like I didn’t have any bounce in my step. I was only catching one girl and I knew that I was running in around 10th which upset me because I had hoped for a much better placing. The rest of the run from about 5kms on went by pretty slow. I mentally and physically tried to pick up the pace after 10kms, but I don’t know if it made any difference. I could see two girls in front, but I wasn’t making any ground and I could feel both feet blistering. The socked foot was blistering against a seam on my big toe. The downhill on the way home was painful because of the blisters and it made them worse.
I passed one more girl just before the hill and tried to stay away. With 2kms left I completely lost it mentally and physically. I slowed to what felt like 5:00 km and literally could not lift my legs. I was repassed by one of the girls with just over 1km to go.