I was fortunate to have met an awesome tri couple back at Silverman 70.3 that relocated to Puerto Rico and offered me a home stay for the race. I put PR on my calendar back in December but life happens. Three weeks before the race I happened to check out houses on the market in the neighborhood and came across an unusual property that more than peaked my interest. It was on one of the blocks I’ve always dreamed of living on. I quick shared the images with Patrick and before we knew it we were emailing the realty company to get a showing. In the next week, we had some showings, made an offer and came to an agreement. Suddenly we were buying a new home, something we hadn’t planned on for about five years, so we had two weeks to get my house on the market. The next two weeks looked like this: go to work, come home for workouts, then work on the house for a few hours until bed. I got sick almost immediately and it was more than exhausting, but the work needed to get done. The house went on the market the day I left for Puerto Rico. All I could think about was that I’d have some time to sleep and not have to work on the house 🙂 Obviously the weeks leading into PR were far from ideal but like I said, life happens and we just have to make the best of it. Here’s my quick and dirty race thoughts:
- The water was nice and warm making for a non-wetsuit legal swim, my favorite! The water in the lagoon was fairly calm with a bit of a current on the second half swimming towards the tide coming in. I exited the swim in second.
- I think the run to T1 should count towards the half marathon as you have to run over a half mile to transition J. Knowing I’d be running on uneven terrain through the street, along the sidewalk and around the track/grass in the stadium where transition is setup I left a pair of shoes near the swim exit to slip on for the jog. The two swimmers that exited near me probably gained about 30 -60 seconds on me with this run alone, ouch.
- Heading out onto the bike my visor kept fogging so I finally removed it and tucked it into the back of my tri suit. Hot, humid weather is prime condition for visors to fog and I should have elected to wear sunglasses versus the visor. After a little while I spent some time trying to get my visor back on, it fogged again and I went through the same process until my hair/head had dried enough so that the visor wouldn’t fog anymore.
- As people passed me on the bike I tried to hang on as long as I could but my legs just had nothing. I felt so incredibly weak and I mustered up what I could. As more pro women began to pass me, I again tried to hang on but I just had nothing. Finally I was able to keep one of the athletes in my sight, we went back and forth a few times and I finally made it back to transition.
- Jumping off my bike at T2 I could barely walk. The announcer said, “There’s Heather being smart being very cautious as she heads to get her run gear.” It definitely wasn’t what I wanted to be doing but my back gets so stiff coming off the bike it’s really hard to run immediately. Trotting out of T2 my back started to loosen up a bit and I could settle into the long run ahead.
- It was hot, sunny and humid so I took ice at every aid station to dump down my tri suit. An added bonus they gave out ice in zip lock bags so you could hold onto it for a good period of time. At the far end of the course you run out along a trail that’s part of the historic fort, on one side the ocean is crashing to the rocks and the other side is a high wall to the fort. They call this section of the course “the microwave” because there are no water stops for this mile section, no trees to block the sun and no wind with the fort wall. I was lucky to have a slight sprinkle of rain hit my first time through the microwave, the second round I wasn’t so lucky.
- Aside from being hot, the run is also very hilly and there are sections of cobbled roads, this was definitely an added challenge. I actually find I enjoy the hills to break up the course and get your legs churning a little differently.
- While I was pretty miserable on the run, I stayed fairly positive in my head and had a few moments where I felt like I could try and push the pace. My time was far from where it should be but that’s what I had with the training and the events leading into the race.
- After I finished I quick gathered up my things and headed out onto the run course to cheer. My homestay host, some of the athletes he coaches and most of his fellow Puerto Rico Alligators Tri Club teammates were racing so I got to cheer most of them on 2-4 times on the run course. I stayed out there cheering for everyone running by until the course cut off time.
- Post-race I got to hang out with the Alligators crew, many of which I had met earlier in the week at a team dinner. I was thankful to have such an awesome group welcome me as an honorary team member.
While I didn’t perform as I would have liked, I don’t think I’m the only one that felt that way on this day. I’m lucky to be racing and training as I am and I have plenty of opportunities in the future to try again. Thank you to those that continue to support me in what I love to do, Gear West Bike & Tri, Dr. Michael Williams of Premier Sports & Spine and Tri Team LC with Ventum, Santini, Kask, Koo, Hoka One One and Pacific Health Labs.
Check out some pics from the week, me and Sir Triton, me and my home stay Doug, me with the amazing PR Alligators and a couple awesome race shots from Paul Phillips of Competitive Image.