Ironman Maine 70.3 – August 26, 2018
Catherine’s Race Report:
Pre-race & Event Venue
Got up to the event on Friday to prep for the event. Stayed at a motel right downtown, and while the convenience factor of being able to walk to all race venues was good, the location was fairly loud due to the amusement park, bars, and kids. Would suggest staying further away from downtown if you choose to do this race. On Saturday did a bike + run easy, short brick to shake out the bike and the legs which was good to resolve any bike travel issues. Also did a swim in the afternoon. Would suggest doing a test swim in the morning, the afternoon water conditions were not at all the same! Went into race day excited, but typically jittery.
Ate my oats and blueberries while getting ready, and headed off to transition and set up. Had very little room, this was a much bigger race than I was used to, but seemed ok getting everything in place. Long-ish walk over to swim start. Husband walked with me and I handed off my transition bag and flip-flops to him before getting onto the beach.
Swim – 35:48
Swim was self-seeded waves of 6 people at a time by estimated swim finish. I seeded myself in the 35 – 37 min wave thinking I’d be a bit slower in the ocean, and that seemed to be pretty good. On start had to run down the beach, then walk/wade out into the water a good 50 yards or so before it was reasonable to dive and start swimming. Felt like an eternity, but everyone was in the same boat so tried not to rush it. Swim went really well, water temperature was great this year. Came out of the water no issue and ran up to the wetsuit strippers. BEST. THING. EVER! First experience with that, and loved the simplicity of it. Then had a little bit of a haul down the road to transition, but it went by quickly.
T1 – 6:42 (I think this counts the run over to transition)
Note that the exit is out of the back for the bike – I started going the wrong way as I thought it would be where we had been walking in and out of transition since yesterday. Forgot to throw the extra pack of clif gel blocks into my back pocket so only had what I could fit into my bento which is fairly minimal. Hoped that I could get non-caffeinated blocks on the way once I realized this. Finally got my garmin edge set up properly pre-race so I wasn’t messing with it for the first 10 minutes of the race ride this time.
Bike – 3:01:51
The course is hilly with various stretches of flatter spinning. First half flew by, and felt like I was doing a good job of keeping it consistent & easy given the hills. Was eating and drinking a lot. Second half, I realized I had miscalculated a couple of things: I had two water bottle holders, with two bottles full. I had no place to take on water bottles from aid stations, and I was going to go through the 3 before I was off the bike. Started to try to moderate on the third bottle of water so I could get in at least one more salt tab before the run started. Should have left one holder empty since they didn’t have bottle swaps, they only had poland spring bottles. Also ran out of fuel. Aid stations had fuel but I was nervous to eat some of it. Managed to get and eat a clif bar. As far as power/speed, felt great throughout. Second half I made a few game-day decisions on some flats and hills to power through a bit stronger since I was feeling like I wasn’t working very hard out there. In the end this was probably my biggest mistake of the day as these likely contributed to a terrible run.
T2 – 3:11
Many of the bikes around me were already back, and there was no room for my bike. Had to move some other bikes around on the bar to fit into my spot. Saw husband and his family screaming me on, went over to give some high fives on my way out which was energizing and fun for both parties.
Run – 2:34:50
Wow. This run nearly broke me, I’ve never experienced anything like this in a race before. Started off on the run and felt rough, but not as bad as I’ve felt off of my old road bike so thought I was doing ok. Kept looking at my watch and it was saying numbers like 10:50, 11:15, etc, so thought I was on track for where I should be for the first few miles before I picked up to a 10:00ish pace. Note that Old Orchard Beach doesn’t have the greatest reception. My Garmin seamed to do fine on the bike, but my iWatch didn’t seem to do that well. Ends up I was running 9:30s off the bike. I had decided that I would walk through the water stops so I could get enough water in me, especially given the shortage at the end of the bike. Around mile 4 or 5, I started to feel my hips and legs really just aching, my back was really painful, and running was feeling overly challenging even though the course really wasn’t that bad. Ran/walk stretches then ensued between mile 6 – mile 12. My back eventually eased up on the pain a bit, but my hips, knees, and legs were screaming at this point. This physical state left me in a pretty bad mental state, and I found myself struggling even to do simple miles left math. When I finally got to mile marker 12, I just went with a mantra of “I have a mile in me” and jogged the whole way to the finish. In this race you pass transition about 1/4 of a mile from the finish which is a nice reminder that you’re nearly there. Have a love/hate relationship with running, but can usually find some flow during the race that wasn’t there this time!
Final thoughts and lessons learned
Ironman Maine 70.3 is an extremely well supported, well executed race. Support staff, police, race directors were all fantastic, well prepared, and had a great attitude towards the race. If you’re looking for a very well organized race, this is it. Everyone in the town supported the road closures and race beyond expectations. My only suggestion if you are not into the kid scene is to find a location to stay away from downtown. There were plenty of ways to have a buddy drop you at transition rather than relying on walking.
I need some power goals on the bike. I’m not disciplined enough race day, and I race harder than I train every time. I need to train harder, race easier, and need some numbers to orient this. “By feel” is clearly too subjective for me to do this well enough.
CORE WORK. I think my back was killing me because my core wasn’t strong enough for the speed I was pulling on that bike ride. Winter goal: LOTS of core work.
The apple watch has got to go. Time for a Garmin! I felt totally mislead on the run looking at my numbers after the fact.