On June 10th, I kicked off my triathlon race season at Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge, Maryland. I may not have finished in the time I had known I was capable but I finished, gained a TON of mental toughness and learned some valuable nutrition lessons along the way. Oh, I also had fun out there. I love this sport.
When I learned the news the swim was wetsuit legal, I was relieved. I’m not confident in my swimming, in fact, my goal for Lake Placid is to into the race without the “if I make it through the swim, then I’m okay” mentality. So, while I was relieved, I honestly think this is where my dehydration started. It took about 40 minutes to get into the water (I think). The air temperature was humid and warm and there I was, in line, wearing a long-sleeved wetsuit not knowing how sweaty I was underneath until felt a drip of sweat going down my hand about two minutes before I got into the water. Whoops, lesson learned the very hard way. I started in the 46-50 minute swim wave, which based on my swim time was the right wave to start in, however, I know I could have swum faster if I my sighting didn’t suck. Another huge thing to work on. The water was very low at the beginning, I’m not sure how far I was able to walk into the water but it was definitely past the first buoy. Shortly after I started swimming, I got kicked in the ribs by some dude and it took some time for me to catch my breath. Once I did I swam but didn’t settle into a groove until after the second turn. After that felt like a decent feeling swim. I swam to the boat ramp, got my wetsuit stripped off and hustled on onto T1.
In and out! Or at least, compared to Maine that’s how it felt. I rinsed my mouth, my feet, put on all the necessary bike gear and rolled on out to the bike course.
I love this bike course-fast, flat and beautiful scenery. So beautiful I actually started thinking “well it’s not too far away I could drive out here and do a training ride!!” I it was also HOT, humid and sunny. Normally I love this weather but that day, I did not. I took in a big sip of concentrated Skratch every 15 minutes and only ended up taking in one pouch of Skratch chews. I went through two and a half bottles of Skratch and only 1/2 bottle of plain water. Up until mile 45-ish I felt like I was flying then all of a sudden I felt dizzy. I kept going but slowed down a lot, kept sipping on Skratch and eventually made it back to T2. I don’t really remember the last 10 miles of the bike but do remember feeling relieved when I made it back to transition. My problem was dehydration. It could have been worse, but if I had taken in more water on the bike it could have been a completely different race for me. Mid-race is a hard way to learn a lesson, that’s for sure.
Whew! I was still really dizzy. I racked my bike, put my socks and running shoes on and just stood there assessing if I felt okay enough to start the run. After several minutes, the answer was yes and off I went.
Shortly after starting the run I found I could only actually run in five-minute increments until the dizziness returned.Then I would walk for as long as it took to feel better again. This continued for approximately the next 10 miles. I was also incredibly frustrated that my legs wanted to go but my brain said nooooope. I just kept moving forward, just like my doggo Delilah would on even the hottest walks. I was doing this race for her, after all. I drank water at every aid station, put ice cubes down my top and in my armpits to cool down (sleeved top for the win!!) and ate a plain snow cone at mile six. I also met some fun people, also having a crappy day but had the most positive outlook. Spectators with sprinklers and hoses were my heroes. Around mile 10, after taking in a good amount of water though all the aid stations, I started to feel better and was able to run in longer increments. So I would choose a point up ahead and run…then keep going past it until I had to stop. I did the run/walk thing until I hit mile 12 then I had to run it in. As I ran toward the finish line, tears streamed down my face like every other tri finish. Otherwise it was kind of a blur through the finisher chute until an awesome young boy volunteering at the finish line asked if I wanted him to dump a half-gallon of water over my head-I leaned over and said “go for it!” and that was the best feeling ever.
My husband met me on the other side of the finisher chute. I remember saying “I’m probably way over seven hours aren’t I?” He responded “NOPE! 6:59:57! and you PR’d your swim!” To which I replied, “FUCK YEAH I DID!!” Not sure why that came out but I was so excited! Honestly, I’ve never been happier at the end of a “bad” race.
After that I purchased an Eagleman coffee mug, got a slice of pizza from the athlete food tent, grabbed my things and we headed out. The line for the shuttle back to the parking area was pretty long so we opted to walk back because it was only a couple of miles. By that point I wasn’t dizzy and my legs were relatively fresh because I had walked a good portion of the half marathon. I like to think it helped jumpstart the recovery process 🙂
Race Day Stats:
Where: Cambridge, MD
Weather: Overcast turning sunny later in the morning, high of 83 degrees, low 68 degrees. Humid all day.
Water temperature: 75.6 degrees, wetsuit legal for age group athletes.
-Don’t put on my wetsuit till it’s almost go time.
-Drink water (in addition to Skratch) + eat enough calories on the bike
-I need a new bike fit after losing 20 lbs (haven’t had a new fit since last year when I bought the bike)
-Untie my running shoes when put them in transition, because duh, I won’t spend time uniting them after the bike.
–Not wearing my Garmin/obsessing over my pace was refreshing. I plan to go watchless for the remainder of my races this season.
I think that’s it, thanks for reading. A separate post about everything else race weekend will be coming your way later this week.
Huge thank you to my C26 coach, Robbie, not only for a solid training plan but seeing your athletes as humans and not triathlon robots. Thank you to everyone who wished me good luck and congrats on social media, I know I haven’t responded to everyone yet but I will-promise! And to Tyler, love you + thank you for putting up with all the triathlon crazy, waking up at ungodly hours and flying home for this race. You being at the finish line is always nice, but this one was just extra special.