Sunday, May 5, 2013

St. George 70.3/US Pro Championships Race Report

The St. George adventure began about 8 days prior to the race when my parents came to visit Pittsburgh from South Carolina.  My father flew home after a few days but my mom stayed on in Pittsburgh so that she could accompany me to St. George as race sherpa extraordinaire.  We had fun prior to leaving for Utah.  We played Scrabble, watched movies and of course, prepared for the race.

Doesn't every mom love packing bikes?
My mom and I got into St. George mid afternoon on Wednesday.  That day there were 30 mph winds and I was scared.  Mostly I feared getting attacked by tumbleweed.

Big tumbleweed on the side of the road.  I seriously didn't know this stuff really existed - I thought it was just in the movies!
Luckily as race day approached, the winds calmed down significantly and while it did also warm up quite a bit, I think St. George gave us it's best conditions possible on Saturday.  Thank you St. George!

Onto the race!

Swim: 29:52

The quest for making the swim pack continues!  I feel like a broken record but my swim played out pretty much as it has been thus far this year - I miss big swim pack/I swim by myself/I pull other swimmers around the water/I swim 30 minutes.  Ah well - what can you do but keep trying each race to finally attach to faster feet?  I will say that despite not swimming anything in the realm of impressive, I am swimming much better than I did all of last year.  Patience young grasshopper!  

I will also say that swimming in Sand Hallow Reservoir was truly awesome.  Clean, clear beautiful water in a breathtaking backdrop!  I would do this race again just for the chance to swim in that fantastic body of water! 

The swim course took us around that little island out there.  Look how purty the water is!
Chad and I pre race.  Xterra buddies!
My mom got a good view of the swim course.

Bike: 2:33:27

I exited the water with a nice little group of girls and because the women's pro field was quite large (bigger than usual anyway!) there were also several targets up the road that I could see.  Unfortunately when I started riding my legs didn't seem to want to participate in the fun.  I didn't panic, knowing that they could most definitely come around.  Which they did a little, but still, I spent most of the ride feeling flat and like I was lacking my usual power and punch.  This is bound to happen if you race often enough.  Some days your legs just don't have it.

Nevertheless, I wouldn't call it a terrible ride by any means, but rather just "so-so".  I moved through the field some and finally caught sight of the pack of girls that I wanted to be riding with (because I wanted to run with them).  But catching sight of them is all the further I got because try as I might, I could not will my legs to push hard enough to actually catch them.  I was terribly frustrated at one point but finally resolved to just keep chasing as hard as I could because that would at least keep me focused.

Oh, and by the way, the course was not only the most beautiful bike course I've ever raced on, but the toughest too!  The 2.5 hours on the bike went by incredibly fast because we were either going up, down, around or being treated to breathtaking views.  Really, you MUST do this race if you get a chance.  You won't be disappointed.

My pictures don't even begin to do it justice.

I definitely ran out of gears in both directions.  3244 feet of climbing per my Garmin.

Run: 1:34:29

If the bike was one of the harder courses I've ever raced on, the run was THE hardest 70.3 run I've ever encountered.  Out of transition we climbed for 4 miles and some of the climbing was pretty brutal!  This terrain definitely discouraged going out too fast which was good for me.  When I left T2, I just set my sights on the next girl up the road and slowly tried to reel people in.

As "blah" as I felt on the bike, my run legs were feeling a little peppier than usual!  Not that I was moving fast by any means but I did actually pass people on the run vs my usual just getting passed by others!  I was most pleased with my "fight" on the run.  St. George isn't a PR course so success has to be measured in other ways.  I definitely felt like I had a much improved run over New Orleans just 2 weeks prior.

1168 feet of climbing on the run course is no joke!

Charisa and I at the finish line with the INCREDIBLE Sue Hutter!  :)

Overall:  20th female/4:41:14

I'm proud of this race.  It wasn't an amazing or breakthrough performance by any means, but I fought hard and stayed in it on the run.  I'm also very glad I did this race -- not really an obvious choice of venues for me as there was no real chance of getting a paycheck or a boatload of points for Vegas in this stellar field.  HOWEVER, the way I see it is, there isn't really any better way to learn how to race like the best other than racing against the best!  I like putting myself in situations where I can see how I truly stack up and where I can really learn and that's exactly what happened yesterday.  I'm smarter and much fitter for having done the US Pro Champs.  And also super hungry to keep chipping away at those long term goals.  I had a great first pro year last year where I truly surprised myself in many ways.  But this year is about raising the bar and St. George was an important step in doing just that.

Thus ends my "3 70.3s in 5 weeks extravaganza"!  And now I don't race again for 4 weeks.  Uh-oh, I think that means I have to do some "real" training now!  No better time to get after it though - Pittsburgh appears to have finally emerged from it's deep freeze and summer feels right around the corner!  YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

As always I owe a big thanks to so many.  My Mom, first and foremost for coming out with me and doing all things triathlon for 4 days!  Nothing like waking up at 3:30 am and carrying around heavy bags all day!  ;)  Also big thanks to a wonderful group of sponsors who make this possible.  To an amazing husband who REALLY makes this possible.  ;)  And to an awesome coach who keeps me believing.  Our conversation after the race yesterday has me quite excited for what lies ahead.  Thanks for all the twitter/FB/texts cheers and encouragement - it means more than you could know!  

And finally, some more pictures.  To end what was already an awesome day, Chad came up with the idea to visit Zion National Park.  So Cary (good friend from my MAO days), Chad, Mom and I piled into the car and made the 30 minute drive and it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!!!!!!!!!!!!  Being among such grandeur has an awesome way of making me feel so small and insignificant.  God sure has created some fantastic beauty in our world.

Mom and I in Zion National Park.  Very good memories created!

So big and beautiful and like nothing I've ever seen before.

Chad made us climb up this (just kidding...but I think he was considering it...).

Cary, Chad and I!  :)


  1. Me like the run part, it's nice having an accountability partner in this quest to run damn fast off the bike. And oh, finally had a good swim so hang in there too and keep knocking on that door!

  2. How nice and special that your mom was with you! I think that course looks HARD but oh so pretty and its surely on my bucket list. I hope you are out of the freeze in PA, we are still needing a tow rope to hit >50 consistently. Sigh.

  3. Awesome job Beth!! Looks beautiful :)

  4. so beautiful. looks exactly like the type of course I would love. Congrats on continuing to go big :)

  5. Love that you keep chipping away, Beth...and that the passion still gets you going! :) Congrats on your race!

  6. Way to go!

    Thanks for giving a great shout out to our fine state here! After living in Pittsburgh for some 14 years, when I drove through the Top of Utah (Bear Lake area) I knew I wanted to move here one day. I didn't have a clue about the full extent of the beauty of Utah until I drove on through Zions, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Arches, etc.

    Fortunately, 12 years later I call Utah home (for now).

    Oh, and XTERRA US Championships are a bit north of St. George (5 hrs) in Ogden. The canyon is different than St. George, but it is home to some of the best trails around which we hike and run nearly daily. (Plus there's great skiing on those trails!)

  7. Gritty race. You are is scary to sign up for these races with deep fields and daunting terrain...but such challenges are breeding grounds for growth. Great job! See you at Eagleman?

    1. Thank you for your encouragement! And....YES, I'll see you guys at Eagleman! That race is just a bit flatter. ;)

  8. That is a beautiful part of the country and a great Ironman. One of our coaching friends raced it as well and he agrees - it is the most difficult Ironman course he has encountered.