A 48-hour whirl wind trip to the state where everything is bigger might not have been what I wanted after back to back weekends of travel, but turns out it was exactly what I needed.
"B" races are essential but often a frustrating part of proper periodized training. You can't sell your soul and have "porta-potty" moments as I call them at every race you toe the line at. Sometimes you just need to show up, go through the motions and execute to enhance the "A" race.
I flew down to Houston on Friday night and on Saturday morning got up and headed to get my bike raring to go. Then straight to the expo to check in and hang out with my good buddy Matt Miller at the Base Performance tent. Salt and the perfectly balanced electrolyte profile Base Hydro sport drink would be a huge part of this toasty race.
I met up with my good Iron-friend Bruce, had a quick coffee (decaf of course) and headed back to my hotel graciously reserved by my sister and her boyfriend horrified that I had previously chosen to stay at the Motel 6!
The morning of the race I picked up Bruce at 5:15 we headed down to transition and got organized. I was calm, cool and collect strutting around listening to my song of the moment, Roses by the Chain-smokers when I suddenly realized…I had no timing chip…ooops. We headed down to the swim start, got me a new one ($75 dollar fee, ouch!) and got warmed up.
The goal of the day was to swim all out. I have put A LOT of time into my swimming this past training cycle. I joined Swim Fit at the Westport Y, a wonderful group of outstanding swimmers who have elevated my swimming. I have learnt to suffer in the water and more importantly how quickly you recover from hard swimming! I jumped in the water, for once, oozing with confidence in my swim, got in the middle of the pack and hit a 2-minute PR, smiling ear to ear as I made a quick, easy and seamless transition to bike.
The bike and run I planned to stick to my heart rate zones. The first half of the bike was effortless for me although the cross winds provided some challenges that put my bike handling skills to test! My new bike and set-up has made a tremendous difference on how my legs feel when I hit two feet. The first two laps of the race I stuck with my pacing plan and at mile 8 emptied the tank. My last lap was the fastest improving by about 45 seconds per mile and finishing strong.
I finished the race in 5:22, just 10 seconds slower than my previous PR, which was Challenge Maine last summer. It was bittersweet as I felt I had more gas left in the tank (hard to feel this way for a type-A, overanalyzing, competitive athlete) but also confident in my ability to repeat this double-time in 5 weeks at Ironman Texas. My recovery was excellent and after a little low intensity training this week I will be back in action to peak and taper for the full on May 14th. Practice isn’t always exciting and glamorous, but it also (just maybe) makes perfect!