Race Report – Racine 70.3

As with all races, this one started out early; 4:00am. I ate my Justin’s Nut Butter on a bagel and drank some Mt. Dew to get the juices flowing. Gathered up all of my stuff and headed to another hotel down the road to meet up with a great friend from high school. She is a rock star and does full Ironman races! We were staying in Milwaukee but the race was in Racine so we had about a 30 min drive ahead of us. I was feeling pretty good considering that I had been traveling the 2.5 days prior and not sleeping in my own bed.

We got set up in transition pretty quickly and then walked to the swim start which was about a 15 min walk up the beach. I kept starring at Lake Michigan. It looked more like an ocean than a lake to me. I’m used to swimming in lakes in Colorado where you get some chop but not usually full on waves that crash onto a beach. With lakes in CO you can also see the other side. It’s clearly a lake. Lake Michigan disappeared on the horizon more like the oceans on the east or west coast. I was starting to get nervous. Most triathletes “dolphin dive” to get over the waves as they’re heading out. I have never trained to dolphin dive, therefore, I was left with only the option of running out into the waves like a kid on vacation. The water temp was 66 degrees. 66 is a tad cold but really not bad, especially when the day before I had heard it was 61 degrees. I chose to wear my long sleeve Zoot wetsuit and was very happy that I had brought both! Originally I thought I’d be swimming in my sleeveless. The gun went off as I said in my head “here we go”. I pushed myself though the waves that were pounding me backwards towards the shore. It felt like it took forever to get through the breaking waves. Once I was at the first buoy we turned right to head south paralleling the shoreline. The waves were approaching from my left side and I kept thinking “thank goodness I breathe on my right side”. At times, I would be caught in a wave when all of a sudden it went out from under me and I would plop back down onto the top of the water. Other times, as my left arm was in recovery it would be completely engulfed in a wave and never come out of it. When I would get smacked in the face with a wave I would do breast stoke for a bit to regain composure. While my head was above water I could see all of the swimmers that were being rescued by boats and athletes that were hanging on the sides of kayaks. I kept thinking that it felt like I was in the TV show “LOST” and that our plane had just gone down and I was trying to swim to shore. It felt more like a survival swim than a race. Needless to say, it was the hardest swim I’ve ever done. I’ve now been seeing on the internet that the waves were 4-6 feet high.

Swim 1.2 miles, Time: 57:52

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I was happy to be done with swimming and onto the bike leg of the race. My bike feels very comfortable and I was happy to be perched on top of it. Until, I started feeling the awful cracks in the road. Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump. It would not stop. It was like they were purposely set equidistant apart. I usually don’t have too bad of a problem with my saddle but by mile 20 my crotch was killing me. Bump, bump, bump, bump. It continued. Ugh. I was getting annoyed and figured that my bike photos would surely show me grimacing. There was a smooth part of the road every now and then but the cracks were ever-present for the majority of the race. As I rode, I would think to myself that if those were the only roads I had to ride on for training that I would seriously not be a cyclist or triathlete. I actually decided that I would not do this race again based solely on how awful the road conditions were. The course takes many turns right and left and somewhat retraces the course back after the half-way point. I felt good corning and realized that some of my training in that area really paid off. I mostly passed people in the turns since they would slow down so much. There are three sections of rumble strips approaching mile 25 that proved hazardous to some. Thankfully I was riding to the right and missed them entirely. Speaking of riding to the right…let me just point out something. When athletes are riding to the right in a race and someone is approaching on the left to pass, the person passing does NOT need to say “on your left”. That is the whole idea in a race. People ride to the right and pass on the left. I don’t know what it is lately but it has been irking me that I ride as far to the right as I can and I still have people saying “on your left”. It’s just not necessary and quite often sounds rude depending on the person’s tone. Now if someone does not understand the rules of riding to the right and they are hogging the left side of the road then by all means say “on your left” since you are trying to correct their behavior and get them to move over. Okay that’s enough of my soap box for now. 🙂 Towards the end of the bike course I could not wait to get off my bike and run. My crotch was screaming for some relief from the bumps in the road and running seemed to be just what I needed.

Bike 56 miles, Time: 3:22:47

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In transition, I realized that my stomach was not feeling that good. I waited in line for the porta potty as they only had about 4 of them available. It was a wasted trip. My stomach was just jumbled and nothing was going to change it. I started running and my left side immediately developed a cramp. I kept pinching the cramp and breathing out while I landed on my foot on the opposite side (a way to get rid of cramps) to no avail. When I would walk it felt better but there was no way I could walk the entire half marathon. That would really suck. I would run for awhile and then be forced to walk. I was really tired and the only thing I could focus on was getting to the finish line. I saw my friend just past one of the turnarounds and I yelled out “good luck” which made no sense. I had slight tunnel vision and couldn’t think of anything beside finishing. At the half-way point I saw a great friend from college who had come out to support us. She is such a great friend and I’m so thankful that she was cheering us on. I couldn’t get much out of my mouth since I was slightly stupid at that point but it made me smile for a moment! My nutrition plan pretty much went out the window at this point. I started eating potato chips, coke, bananas, and oranges at aid stations trying to find some miracle food that would make my cramping go away. Nothing changed. I plodded though. I saw my Beginner Triathlete mentor a few times during the race which would give me a pick up. I would think about how supportive he is to our group and about how I wanted to finish the race. About 3/4 of the way though the course I tried to use the porta potty again. Nothing. I finally got it into my head that the cramp and I were one and that we needed to get along so that we could finish together. I knew about where I needed to pick up the pace to finish strong so I walked just before that to save up some energy. When it was time, I picked up my knees, put on a smile, and tried to run without giving thought to that stupid cramp that wouldn’t leave me alone. I finished strong and felt so relieved to be done.

Run 13.1 miles, Time: 2:49:55

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Overall Time: 7:21:45

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The highlights of this race were definitely the crowd support and the support I had from friends. It was great racing with my high school friend and knowing that she was there. I can’t believe the generosity of my college friend spending the whole day there just to cheer us on. That was amazing and really appreciated. I also appreciated the words before the race of my BT mentor and seeing him on the course (he did the race 2 hours faster than me, ha). The crowds were lined along most of the streets and in certain areas it was a full on party. The crowd and volunteer support were amazing. Thank you to all.

Now, I didn’t get my post-race beer right away but later that night I did have an Avery Hog Heaven barley-wine which was heavenly!

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~ by willtriforbeer on July 30, 2013.

4 Responses to “Race Report – Racine 70.3”

  1. Nice job on the race! Way to push through the pain and finish strong =)

  2. Congrats on your race Jen and for sticking it out under such trying conditions!! You did awesome!!!

  3. I am proud of you, like always. Do I use these great photos or will I get some by email? You are really in great athletic shape. Didn’t know lake Michigan is really an ocean did you??? LOL

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