Monday, July 13, 2009

Buffalo Springs 70.3 Race Report

Texas Girls Weekend!

The two Julie’s and I set off Friday morning for our weekend adventure to Lubbock. I’d been to Lubbock in my college days (played golf against Texas Tech), so I knew this trip was more about quality chick time/racing and less about sightseeing. All three of us signed up for this race late last year, after watching the Ironman World Championships recap and after our friend Merilee picked up her Kona slot in AZ. We all wanted to try and join her in Kona and figured this would be a great place to go after it.

We enjoyed a course preview Saturday morning. I can’t stress enough how important it is to drive a bike course before a race. It was so helpful. I counted eight climbs/descents on the bike, and with my love for climbing I was really looking forward to pushing it on the bike. The run however was very intimidating. With 3 significant climbs (at mile 3, 5 and 9) I was pretty nervous about what would happen out there. To add to the anxiety, it was over 95 degrees on Saturday, so I was getting worried about how my body would hold up in those conditions.

Race morning came quickly and we were on our way to the Lake bright and early. Not quite early enough however, as the traffic coming into the park was a brutal, and I had minimal time to get myself in race mode. By the time we finally arrived in transition I was pretty frantic trying to get my stuff organized before the kicked us out. I had to skip any form of a warm up, but in the end, that worked out. Thankfully the weather took a turn Sunday and we were greeted by much cooler temps, high winds and rain.

The water was very warm, but age groupers were still allowed to wear wetsuits. I think they know where the ‘Springs” are to drop the thermometer. Of course of love the buoyancy of my awesome Blue Seventy suit, but would have been very happy with a non-wetsuit ruling this time around. Swim was pretty uneventful- on my own most of the time. Once into T1, and I noticed one person in my AG at their bike. I quickly peeled off my wetsuit and managed to get off on my bike in front. My plan was to stay ultra conservative on the first 5-10 miles, and I stayed true to that. I felt great, and with the W35-45 starting 5 minutes ahead, it was great to have a few targets on the course.

This course has three turnarounds, so it provides plenty of opportunity to check in on the competition. With the hills nicely spaced, this course seems to pass by very quickly. The winds didn’t bother me out tere, but the wet roads made a few of the technical descents rather tricky. I felt good with my effort on the bike and came into T2 feeling strong and leading the AG. It was really cool to see Jules in T2. She got out about 30sec in front of me, but I was excited to have the chance to run with her. Again, being pretty new to this distance stuff, I wanted to start off very conservatively on the run. It felt effortless, and was happy to see my first 2 miles right on the 7min pace. I was very happy with that, but I knew there was a lot of hard work ahead. Julie and I had a chance to run together for a while, which was a real treat. I climbed the first big hill still feeling in control, but when I hit the climb at mile 4.5, I felt like 100 lbs were added to my back. That was a tough one. At the top, there’s a 1.5 mile flat out and back, so I worked hard to get myself back in a rhythm and back on pace. At the turnaround, I had a chance to check in on the swift footed Charisa in serious pursuit. I knew it was just a matter of time, but I kept trucking along hoping to hold her off as long as possible. I felt ok-no gut or body issues, just getting pretty tired. C eventually passed me at the 9.4 ish mark on the big climb before turning into the park. We ran shoulder to shoulder for about 10 seconds, and when we hit the turn, she was off in true C style. I didn’t think there were any other Amateurs ahead of us and by looking at my watch, I knew that if I held it together for the last 3 miles I could get myself a PR and a Kona slot (C picked up her slot in CA earlier this year). I suffered through to the finish and crossed the line in 4:46. I was Very pleased.

After the initial excitement wore off, my body started to shut down. I was pretty dizzy, and I was having a tough time seeing. Thankfully for me, the med tents folks were handing out IVs like candy so I was quickly offered a pick me up.

After thinking back over my nutrition for the day, I realized that I had consumed less than 450cals during the race, and I was obvioulsy dehydrated. I went to the BR before the race, and not again until 2+ hours after the race (and that’s with the 1L IV). I’ll do a better job with that next time.

So the Kona slot was mine…What to do??? The decision took a few hours, but after a few Margaritas I decided to pass on KONA, and the three of us accpeted Clearwater slots. Another big party in the making!!

I’m just not fired up for an Ironman this year-I love the OLY distance, and I’d like to do a few more 70.3 this fall. When I decide to invest the time and money into an Ironman, I want to be really jazzed for it. I know it will come, but just not this year.