race reports from a bus, part two

MEGABUS // I-65 between West Lafayette & Indianapolis — Despite the painfully slow wi-fi on this bus, I have time to write another blog post, because that’s how bad the traffic is on this, the worst interstate in America. 

Speaking of painfully slow: I did a half Ironman last month, and I did that thing you’re not supposed to do — I went out too hard on the run. It wasn’t nearly has messy as my last half Ironman, but this time the struggle was much more physical than mental. After a solid 6 miles, my pace slowed, and slowed, and slowed — it was the most my legs have ever hurt in the 7 years I’ve been biking, running and triathlon-ing.

So this was me at the end of Ironman 70.3 Racine:

Screen Shot 2016-04-06 at 7.29.09 PM

But I was really happy with it. I shaved a lot of time off my first half (I finished in 5:31:55, 14th in my age group). My teammates Alex and James raced, too, and because the run is a two-loop course, I got to see them along the way, in addition to my personal cheering section: Erin & Mama DiGang. Coach Rick and teammate/IM70.3 stud Kelly came to watch, cheer and take care of us with the inTENT, and that was amazing, too. Having support like that makes such a huge difference.

I also decided I love the people of Racine, at least those who were out on their front lawns that Sunday. I have never done a triathlon with so many community spectators on the course, and so many of them had their sprinklers on or waited for runners to pass, yelling, “Thumbs up if you want to get sprayed!” It was such a hot day, and not only did I appreciate the extra coolant, I fed off their positivity. It was much needed.

last-minute sunscreen application. Katie is pumped.
last-minute sunscreen application. Katie is pumped.

Things I’ve learned about half Ironmans:

  • I want to do more. It’s my favorite distance so far.
  • Having a properly fit bike really helps. I hadn’t gotten my bike fit since I first bought the thing in 2008, and I’d been racing with lower back discomfort and numb feet for years. When I mentioned this to my coach, he insisted I fix that immediately (after he rolled his eyes in disbelief). The guys at Johnny Sprockets got me feeling much more comfortable. I feel much better, but I probably left a lasting impression with Coach Guy that I am ridiculous. He is not incorrect.
  • I need to get a different handheld water bottle or modify my run nutrition. I like sipping on Endurolytes Fizz during long runs, but the carbonation, combined with a slipstream water bottle nozzle, turns into me getting squirted in the face with the drink every so often. It’s kind of funny. But not really.
  • I need a plan for the post-race hungries. I wanted to eat everything in sight for like three days after the race. I should probably go grocery shopping before these races occur. 
  • Visualizing each part of the race helps me stay confident and excited, even though I’m about to go nonstop for nearly 6 hours.

For the tri nerds/the curious, here’s a more technical breakdown of the race

Pre-race nutrition: 1 serving of Hammer Nutrition HEED

On the bike: 1 serving of Perpetuem (strawberry-vanilla), 1 Hammer Bar (oatmeal apple), 1 Gel in the last 5 miles (Nocciola — YUM). I also took 6 Endurolyte capsules, two at the start of the bike, two in the middle, and two at the very end.

On the run: 1 Gel at mile 6 (raspberry). Endurolytes Fizz (mango + whatever it mixed with all over my face)

Post-race: Hammer Bar (coconut cashew chocolate chip) & pretzels. 

  • swim (1.2 miles): 33:34
  • bike (56 miles): 2:48:22
  • run (13.1 miles): 2:04:37
  • total: 5:31:55

 {image: James, me & Alex — INTENT crushing it at IM 70.3 Racine.}

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