Friday, September 24, 2010

Syracuse 70.3 Race Report

I really didn't know how this race was going to go for me, I figured since I was here anyway and was entered I may as well give it a go and if it all turned to poo I could just pull out. After the other 2 Ironman's I have done I have always had about 2 weeks of easy swimming and biking and no running at all, so to do a half Ironman only one week after Ironman was going to be pretty interesting.
My legs had been pretty sore for a couple of days after IMMOO but the worst thing was the blister in between my 1st and 2nd toes which was a bit of a problem and was taking a long time to heal. I managed an 18min run the Thursday after Wisconsin and things felt ok, I did one easy 1000m swim and didn't get to ride my bike at all until we got to Syracuse so I couldn't really tell how I felt.

I don't have any photos from the race but have included a few from the day before.

A very large transition
We racked our bikes the day before the race then it rained overnight. I forgot to take any lube in the morning so my chain was not going to be working very smoothly. I also realized on the drive in that I had forgotten my Taptap head unit which aside from my actual bike and wheels is one of the most important parts of my bike. To be honest I actually wasn't so concerned, I had a watch so could roughly see my bike time but was a bit sad that I was going to be missing out on all that power data. I figured I would just ride to how I felt, maybe it would be better not to have power/speed so I couldn't see how slow I was going.
The weather in the morning was not so great - not too cold but a bit rainy and cloudy. I was a bit concerned about being wet then getting cold but the commentator assured us that the rain was going to stop between 7.30 and 8 so I decided to stick with just the tri top and shorts.

Nice lake for swimming
 There were only 11 of us Pro Women and we started 4mins behind the Pro Men and 4mins ahead of the first wave of AG men. The start of the race was delayed by 15mins because of traffic issues so by the time we were lining up to start I was already shivering after my swim warm-up. The water was about 17degrees and dead flat. The gun went off and after about 50m I had already been dropped. I tried to bridge the gap but it just wasn't working so I swam by myself the whole way and by the end was about 2mins behind the last girl ahead of me. Basically my worst nightmare for a swim. I had to run out of the water all by myself with all these spectators giving me claps of pity and I'm sure they were wondering why on earth was this slow girl racing pro. My swim time was 33mins something which is pretty bad for me. In fact it is probably slower than my time at Tauranga when there were nasty currents and big waves and I got stuck under a buoy and had to be rescued. Shame.
I felt like I was swimming ok, I just couldn't go any faster. So far my race wasn't off to a very good start.

Swim exit

Poor old RooRoo was waving around in the breeze and feeling pretty lonely as the last bike on the Pro rack so I jumped on and off we went. After about 15mins I began to seriously regret my clothing choice. It wasn't raining but the higher we climbed the colder and foggier it got, the downhills were the worst - I would get a little bit warm up the hills then would freeze on the downhills. My hands started to go numb so eating became quite a problem. A few AG men passed but none of them I could keep up with. All I could think about for the first half of the ride was how cold I was and I started to think I wouldn't make it to the end of the bike. I hadn't started shivering uncontrollably yet but I didn't think it was too far away. At a few stages the visibilty was so limited that you could only see about 20m ahead of you which made some of the downhills pretty interesting. Luckily they had flashing lights at the intersections and they had lined one part of the road with flares which was cool. Gradually the fog subsided and I started to get a little bit warmer. I had no idea how fast I was going and only had the 5mile markers to know how far I had gone. Since it was a hilly course I was thinking it would take somewhere between 2hrs40 and 2hrs50 but really had no idea.
At about 20miles I passed one of the other Pro women which buoyed my spirits a bit and then passed another two before the end of the bike. The second half of the ride was a lot easier - mostly flat and downhill so I think I picked up a bit of extra speed through there. Rolled into T2 with an official time of 2hrs41 which was only 10mins slower than the fastest girls bike split so not too bad an effort I thought.

RooRoo waving in the breeze, the racks were far too high for us...

The run course was point to point and was supposed to be overall slightly downhill so should be a fast course. Legs didn't feel too bad starting out and I ran the first mile in just under 6.50 and the next one in about the same. Mile times don't mean much to me so I stopped checking them after the that, I could have tried to calculate for each mile but that would have done my little brain in. There was a short out and back section at the start of the run and I couldn't see any of the girls that I had passed on the bike which was good news.
Passed a few men in the first couple of miles and after about 5miles the last girl I had passed on the bike came running past me. I tried to keep up but it wasn't happening so I let her go and hoped the other girls wouldn't do the same. I fell into step with an AG man somewhere around the 6mile mark and pretty much ran with him the whole way. I tried to pass him a couple of times but he wouldn't let me get even a step ahead which was pretty annoying but he was running at a good pace so I stuck with him.
The run course was less than spectacular - 75% of it was on a 6 lane boulevard going past run-down buildings and through heaps of intersections. The marshalls did a really good job of controlling the traffic so there were never any issues with that.
The run was pretty uneventful, my legs felt tired but nothing like the pain of Ironman which was so fresh in my memory. I had gone back to sock-less running and my feet felt so much better than in socks the week before.
Finally the finish line came and no other girls had passed me so I ended up 9th Pro Women in a time of 4hrs55 - incredibly the first time I have ever broken 5hrs! My run time was 1hr33 which was also the first time I have broken 1hr40 in a half so not a bad run. The fastest girls run time was 1hr23.

Apart from my piss-poor swim I was happier with this race than IMMOO. I didn't really feel like doing Ironman the week before had any affect on me which was pretty surprising and it has cemented my idea that more racing is better for me.
So now it is back to NZ to start training for IMWA where I shall redeem myself from my IMWI demons...

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