Race Report: Steelhead 70.3 2018

Steelhead 70.3 – August 2018

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Nathalie’s Race Report:

Why do a report on a race you DNF? I guess because it was a learning experience that may be worth sharing… I did not train consistently this year and hopefully I will retain the lessons.

My husband and I like to destination race and discover different venues. So we headed to Benton Harbor, Michigan: we flew to Chicago with our bikes and it was a couple of hours drive from there.

The swim was a bit challenging. Although it is a lake, it is a BIG lake and the waves can be a bit rough. The temp was just above wetsuit legal, I am not a confident enough swimmer to go into choppy water without a wetsuit for that distance, so I elected to join the last, wetsuits-only, wave of swimmers.  And I am glad I did as I passed a number of athletes who struggled and stopped to hug buoys along the way.  It was a long 1.2 miles in 56mn…

The bike was rolling hills, a bit of a blurr now that I try to recall, rather scenic, 3h34 for the 56 miles is not unusual for me.

The run, usually my preferred leg, was my demise. It was getting hot, but I have raced successfully in hotter conditions. I thought I was going to make it ok and maintain 11 mn mile, but at mile 5.5 I started hyper-ventilating and it went out of control. I was not able to manage my breathing, had to walk, and was forcibly (and noisily) gulping air, which alarmed fellow runners and spectators. I was on the verge of panicking and realized that I was not going to recover and finish. And this is the part that is new to me: I never had to rely on the support system of the race. As I went through several bouts of hyperventilating and crying, the spectators, volunteers, police officers, medics all in turn attended to me, guided my breathing, reassured and comforted me. They were amazingly empathetic and kind, and I am so appreciative and grateful to all these strangers who were helping me in a moment of distress.

All is well, this was not a lasting injury and I learned that I can’t just fake it and rely on general decent condition to go into distance racing. I need to prepare adequately, and resume a path of more consistent training. This will be possible with the fun camaraderie and strength of my fellow Team Envision members and coaches. And I am looking forward to it!

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