Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Longhorn70.3 Race Report

I'm not sure why I like this picture a friend took of me at Longhorn, but I do. Perhaps because it represents how I felt during the race, clear on my reasons for being there, but just a bit out of focus.

I had quite a bit go right last weekend but I also had some things go wrong. First and foremost what went really right. I really want to thank Chef Dina Knight for assisting me with my race prep, nutrition and post race recovery. For a race where I ate nothing but raw natural food and drank absolutely no water, I must say I'm stunned. When Dina said, "Remember, NO WATER today!" To say I was skeptical would be an understatement. But her reasoning was sound. Water, she said, would throw off the nutrient electrolyte balance in my system and hinder performance. Okay, I was sold. Nothing to do but go out and test that theory in the field during a Half IM. I have to admit, I think it worked.

This was the first race I can remember not having to deal with at least the "threat" of a muscle cramp. I was also not thirsty all day. This isn't to say I didn't drink. On the bike I had coconut water. On the run when I ran out of that, I had gatorade.

My swim felt effortless and I came out of the water about 30 seconds ahead of what I'd done last year. My transition was also faster which I chalked up to being less taxed on the swim. I've been going to a stroke clinic so I'm gonna place the credit for the effortless swim there. Thanks Coach Maurice over at T3!

Heading out of T1 I noticed my I'd dropped my chain. I'm not sure how long I took getting it back on but that and a bathroom break at about mile 20 were the only things that really slowed me down. I had a goal to keep my heart rate aerobic on the bike, so I let most of the steep climbs come to me versus attack them. I kept a steady cadence and managed to cruise through about 5 miles every 14:30 during the first half of the bike. The back half is a bit more challenging coming back into the wind and some gradually climbs but I was still moving at about 15min for every 5 miles while keeping my heart rate around 148.

At the time I thought that was pretty good, but in retrospect I perhaps should have kept my heart rate on the bike at about 145. The second half of the bike was definitely more challenging than the first and around mile 50 I was feeling some fatigue in my legs even though I was maintaining the same pace without too much extra effort.

Out of T2 my legs felt tired but they were turning over and my stride seemed normal. I have to attribute coming off the bike with any turnover at all to the work I've done on my running form with yoga and to Chef Dina's nutrition plan. This has to be the first time I've ever raced with a completely full tummy.

The first half of the 13.1 mile run went "OK" but somewhere around mile eight I really started to struggle and my legs just felt toasted. I was having problems with my left shoe which was causing me to alter my running form. This in turn was punishing my left IT band. I kept stopping to deal with the shoe and finally decided to take it easy on the off road sections and walk a bit on those rather than risk a more serious injury.

After the off road stuff was done on the second loop, I focused on my form and foot placement and jogged the rest of the way in. All in all it was a solid effort. I had a great swim and bike and my nutrition and hydration seemed in line. My aerobic fitness is continuing to progress and I have a load of information to process and take into Arizona and next season.