Due to high winds and dangerous conditions, the swim at Eagleman was cancelled but the bike got us just as wet in the wind and rain. Despite the challenging conditions, I had a great race with PR on both the bike and the run.
I had been trying to avoid watching the weather and getting anxious in the days leading up to the race - too many people in the FB group were doing that for everyone already. So I was surprised to find how windy it was when I arrived in Cambridge on Saturday and in my ever-optimistic thinking figured that, surely, it won't be that windy on Sunday for the race - it just can't be. That'd be too hard. I know, I'm really cute. So I had time to mentally prepare for how I was going to handle the swim the next day and went to sleep thinking about staying calm and doing the best I could. I was still figuring that out as I stood in line for the port-a-potty staring at the fast moving water minutes before the swim start. Suddenly everyone was shouting that the swim was cancelled. I was much more relieved than disappointed, although there is always the feeling of cheating somehow in this type of situation.
It took a while to actually start the race given that they moved to a time trial start and my number was 1463. I knew it'd take a while for the riders to get organized given we were all bunched up at the start. This, however, never happened. The whole ride there were packs of people riding 2-4 across the right lane, forcing riders to cross the yellow line and pass in the other lane. I was focused on my race strategy from my coach, Tim Delss, just focus on my HR targets for the first half and then increase slightly for the second half. Having participated in races for years but never being coached or having an actual strategy, this was excellent for me. I pushed harder than I would have, especially against the wind and in the rain, and I stayed focused. I felt pretty good for most of the ride. I trust Tim and know that he gives me what he knows I can handle, but into the second half of the race I was struggling to keep the HR up, so I just did the best I could and by the end was motivated to just get off the damn thing.
Moving into the run I was surprised that I was moving as fast as I was and I was determined to follow my HR targets for the entire run. I tried not to think about anyone around me, and to remind myself that the run course I spotted as I was coming in from the ride was going to feel tough but that it would only be over when it was over and not to get myself discouraged at the long lonely lengths that were going to stretch ahead of me. And that I wouldn't walk - something I'd done in every 70.3 previously. I was especially motivated when I saw a woman 15 years my senior moving along and getting in front of me - increased my determination. I only walked through a couple aid stations and just kept focusing on making it back. I was doing OK but losing energy toward the very end when it suddenly felt like everything ached. Still I managed to keep running and made it through the finishers chute with a smile.
I had managed to bring my bike just under 3 hours and a 2:10 run which was about 20 min faster than previous 70.3 races. I'm thriled to see such significant improvement in less than a year of coaching and know the discipline of the workouts with race strategy that works is going to support my next 2 70.3 races and get me ready for the finale of IMMD in September.