Earlier in the year I had pegged Pigman as an important race to see how I’ve improved over the last year. Unfortunately things didn’t really go as planned; I’ll talk about that after a quick recap of the race.
Saturday morning I did a quick run and my dad and I were on the road by 8am. My schedule leading into the race was complicated. I was averaging about six hours of sleep a night, which is about an hour less than normal and that adds up quickly! Luckily my dad was driving and I got to setup camp in the back of his car to catch a couple more hours of sleep on the way down (Thanks Stopwatch).
I arrived in Iowa right around noon in time to help out Gear West at the expo; they were pretty tight staffed wrenching at many MN Tri events over the weekend while still having to open the shop (Pretty awesome how much they support our races!). After the expo I was able to relax a bit before meeting teammates Thad, Bridget and David for the traditional pre-race dinner at Zio-Johnno’s. Unfortunately Kevin was still commuting and just missed us.
Sunday morning I was woken up by some severe thunder storms at 3 am. The rain and thunder continued through till my alarm went off at 5am. After running through my normal race morning routine we packed up and headed out to Pleasant Hill park. By the time we arrived the rain had just about stopped and I was able to get my gear into transition fairly quickly. Nearing 7 I took my bike out for a quick spin, followed by a short jog. It was the first time all year that I was able to do a warmup ride – quite the treat. After the final touches in transition I headed down to the beach to get into my Helix.
The elite women took off just under six minutes before the men (the CR differential for the equalizer). After the usual mess of a swim start cleared I was able to set a decent pace and took off the front. The swim was simple: straight out along the buoys then a 180 degree turn back to shore. I felt tired; all I could think about is how I wanted to be back on shore. I arrive on shore just as the men were taking off, only a few seconds slower than my swim here last year. Running up the hill to T1 I barely felt like I had the energy to take my wetsuit off and the first thought in my head was, “I want a nap.” By the time I got to my spot Jackie Hering (another female pro) had made up the 20 second lead I had gotten in the water. I fumbled getting my feet out of my wetsuit and we ran through transition together with our bikes. There was a little confusion at the mount line so I pulled out ahead but she passed me right back as I was getting into my shoes.
I knew I had to work hard on the bike to get a lead for the run but I was losing time heading out to the main road. Looking at my power numbers I knew I should be going faster. I slowly crept my way back up to her and when I was ready for a pass she smoked me up the next hill. At the top of the hill I was stuck in my little chain ring so I was fumbling to get switched over to the big gear for the downhill that immediately followed. I didn’t let her out of my sights and slowly creeped up on her again and this time made the pass. Unfortunately, minutes later, she passed me on an uphill climb back into the park. I tried not to lose too much ground and was lucky that she slowed down for the wrong entrance to transition so I was able to ride into T2 right behind her. I quickly got into my shoes and ran out of T2 in the lead.
Again my lead didn’t last as she set a strong pace from the start. I tried to hold on but she slowly vanished in the distance. At about mile 2 David flew by me and I tried to use his pace as motivation to pick up mine. I crossed the finish line in second, a couple minutes slower than my time from last year. It was a fun day but probably the most disappointing race of my career because I expected a better performance out of myself and I wanted to perform on “home soil” (at least as close as I may get to it this season).
Now I really hate to make excuses for anything but I also have to be realistic and reevaluate my expectation for this race. I need to consider what happened the four weeks leading into this race. Here’s a quick recap:
May 11th: Begin a slight rest for Knoxville Half on May 17th (easier training week).
May 18th: Monday off, Tuesday easy swim, Wednesday easy bike and didn’t sleep due to intense stomach pains, cold sweats, fever, flu like symptoms etc. Thursday – Sunday sick in bed with aforementioned symptoms living on crackers, applesauce and rice, none of which my body could even process.
May 25th: Monday, my stomach still hurt and my body was aching so badly from laying in bed, I mustered up a swim, which was slower than I swam after taking a 2 week hiatus in December. Tuesday I did an easy ride and Wednesday an easy swim. Thursday was my first run since Knoxville and probably the most painful run in a long time. The next few days were more easy everything.
June 1st: Monday I had the day off, Tuesday an easy swim and run, Wednesday was my first interval ride on the bike, Thursday was my first long run, Friday some more bike intervals and Saturday a pre race warmup run.
In summary, I had an easy week, some days off, then spent 5 days sick in bed. That was followed by 5 more days where I still wasn’t processing any of the food I ate but could manage some easy workouts. Finally the last week was made up of easy running and a few bike interval sessions. In that time frame I had 10 days in a row with no running (which is longer than my off season run break) and zero speed workouts before the race. There were also 4 days in a row of no exercise whatsoever, which I probably haven’t done since I was in high school.
So while I still can’t help but be a little disappointment in my race, I think there’s sufficient evidence to support that this race just wasn’t going to go my way. I’m glad to be over my illness and happy to me getting back into a more normal workout routine, I have a lot of work ahead! Huge thanks to my support team, Patrick, Mom, Dad, Gear West and Blueseventy, I couldn’t do this without them. Hope everyones tri season is off to a great start, we’ll see you out there! Results.