Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Raleigh 70.3: Part #1 Of The Dubious Double

First, I'd like to start by saying that this race is awesome.  I predict that it will be one of the most liked courses on the 70.3 circuit and will be a perpetual seller-outer.  AWESOME course, AWESOME spectator and volunteer support, AWESOME race organization (especially considering it was a first year race), and AWESOME city in general.

Want to know what's not so awesome?  Swimming hard in a wetsuit for 1.2 miles when the water temp is 76 degrees.  I seriously thought my eyeballs were going to pop out of my head.  Holy overheating batman!  This is my only complaint of the entire weekend.  WTC - PLEASE change the wetsuit temperature rule.  I understand it's my choice to wear one or not but let's be real here, if all the other pros are wearing one am I, an already weak swimmer, not going to partake also?  That's kind of like riding with a flat tire...

Swim: 30:57

As previously stated, I was really hot.  Like REALLY, REALLY hot.  Like my HR was in the high 180s when I got out of the water hot.  But what can you do?  It is what it is.  The swim venue was absolutely gorgeous and overall, other than being hot it was a pretty standard swim for me.  Laura Bennett swam a 24 which was faster than ALL THE MALE PROS (my mom said she got out of the water in 3rd overall despite the fact that we started 3 minutes behind the pro men), there were 3 women that swam in the 26s and then I swam the whole swim by myself and was out of the water in 5th place.  I have never been so happy to get out of a wetsuit in my entire life!

Pre race banana.  HUGE thanks to my mom who rode the shuttle out to the lake to hang out with me and snap some shots!
Apparently contemplating life.  Or perhaps just really wishing the water was about 10 degrees cooler.  :)
Bike: 2:25:45

The first 10 minutes of the bike I felt awful.  But I just needed to give my body time to cool down and my HR to get back to normal and once both happened, I started to feel GOOD!

I had a couple goals for the bike.  One - drink more water than I ever have before.  Drink like it's your job.  Drink, drink, drink!  (can you tell that the southern heat and humidity scared me a little?).  Two - enjoy the beautiful scenery and course.

Both goals accomplished!  I absolutely LOVED the bike course.  Probably one of my favorites of all the 70.3s I've raced.  It was a relatively fast course but I certainly wouldn't call it flat - mostly rolling, with beautiful roads and awesome countryside views!  And the fan support was AMAZING!  When I drove the course on Friday I thought it would end up being a pretty desolate ride given that the roads were relatively rural.  Much to my surprise however, there were tons of people out cheering - on the sides of the roads, on their boats from the water (I kid you not!), from bridge overpasses.  It was really cool.

And I'm really glad to have had all those people cheering, because I certainly didn't see any other women in the race for the entire ride!  Unfortunately I had a feeling that this might happen.  Other than "passing" Anna Clever who was on the side of the road and not riding, I knew the other fast swimmers up ahead were either riding just as fast or faster so it would be a tough time to catch them.  Nevertheless, I feel like I kept pretty good focus and kept the pressure on to continue to ride hard despite being solo and at times feeling like I was out on a training ride.

And the drinking?  Oh man did I drink like a champ!  4 bottles total which of course meant I REALLY had to pee.  But I was hydrated for that run!  :)

Photo courtesy of Denise Worden
Photo courtesy of Bob Hennessy

Run: 1:32:45

I started the run in 4th place and in no-man's land.  Luckily there were a fair amount of people out on the course cheering including my awesome family -- my father, my sister and my brother-in-law (and eventually my mom once she got back from the lake!).  I was really looking forward to seeing them!  I was also looking forward to seeing my friend Kari out on the course as she had told me where she was going to be stationed. She did not disappoint.  She had many fun signs to read!

The run went as runs usually go.  I started off feeling pretty good and I made it my mission to drink at every aid station.  Although the heat wasn't any where near as bad as I had built up in my head (keeping in mind we were obviously an early wave and those in later waves had it much worse I'm sure), it was getting toasty out there!

My stomach was good and I was really working on my positive mental "I'm a good runner" attitude.  Of course I knew Jess Jacobs (she of very fast running) was lurking behind me but I was actually thinking forward instead, telling myself that, especially on a hot day, anything can happen up ahead.

I thought the run course was relatively tough.  You climbed for the first several miles (gradual, but a climb nonetheless) and then you got onto a bike path that was NOT flat.  It was on this very bike path that I, in my own little world, decided 13.1 miles was not long enough and therefore took a wrong turn to add on some distance.  DOH!!  Totally my fault because when I did get corrected (a VERY nice lady on a bike thankfully chased me down), I did see the arrow that very clearly marked the proper way to go.  DOUBLE DOH!

I was SO mad at myself.  Like really mad at myself.  I had gone about 2 minutes out of my way which isn't totally insignificant.  Fortunately, in the end, it didn't really matter because Jess would have caught me anyway but nonetheless, it most certainly took a little wind out of my sails.  I kept telling myself to "just let it go" but it was a few miles before I could do so.

So yes, Jess did finally catch me, as she went onto record the fastest run of the day.  Although I never saw her pass me because it happened when I was on my detour.  I will say I held her off until about mile 8 which is longer than I managed at Steelhead last year when she passed me around mile 5.  Progress!  :)

The finish itself is pretty awesome.  You make a turn and run down a long stretch with tons of people cheering on each side.  It reminded me of the finish at IMCdA.  I am glad though that my sister told me when I turned I still had a half mile to go because I was expecting the finish line to be a lot closer!

Overall a good day for me.  I was happy to be on my first "podium" (I know 5th place isn't really a podium but awards went 5 deep) of the year with a pretty select crowd and also happy to have felt relatively good throughout the day.  Mostly though, it was just really awesome to have my family there and to be able to see them at the finish line.  I am eternally grateful to my family for their awesome support and encouragement.  I wouldn't be where I am otherwise.

Look - I'm in 3rd!  No wait, 3rd and 4th just forgot to come.  :)  Also, I feel short.
And now, 2 days later I'm still in North Carolina.  I've had a great time with my sister and brother in law and I'll be sad to leave tomorrow!  But another race awaits!  So far the recovery is going well from part #1 of this double.  Time to tackle part #2!!


  1. Congrats on 3rd!!!

    TIme to kill it again in a few days!

  2. Sounds like a fun day! Congrats on your awesome race and finish! Love that hot pink Rudy helmet!

  3. You are amazing Beth!! Way to go on a podium spot - I have no doubt you will continue to climb the pro rankings!!! Love following your blog.

  4. Congrats Beth! Great race. And I've totally run off course before even when arrows are right there telling me where to go. So frustrating when it happens but I'm impressed with how well you mentally bounced back.

  5. CONGRATS BETH! Great race - sorry about the "going off course!" UGH. And, the water temps are EM are going to be on that borderline too, I bet the water will be 75 ish for EM, so it will be a HOT wetsuit swim. AH!

  6. Glad you liked Raleigh so much! This was my first half... I ride these roads often so I guess I took for granted how nice the bike course is, but what surprised me was how incredible the fan support was! There were people all along the route cheering us on, whole groups of people outside of neighborhoods with their kids and people who made signs. Pretty incredible! Proud of my community and already looking forward to next year and more 70.3s and hopefully soon a full IRONMAN!

  7. That sounds awful about the swim :( But CONGRATULATIONS on your podium!!! I totally count that as a legit podium!! Holler!!!! You must have been dying when you realized you ran the wrong way. I would have been. It's so true-anything can happen on race day.

    Congratulations again on your race!

  8. I think if they call you up to stand in front of the crowd, then you've podiumed. And looking at that pic, if podium means standing on an actual podium doesn't look like anybody did. :)

  9. congrats Beth!!!! I think I might sign up for this next year... :)
    I can't believe 2 x 70.3 races in 2 weeks!!! Impressive! And.. you did them both SO WELL!!! it's so fun to watch!!! ( sorry @ the run detour...grr... :( )
    Happy Training and Race season!!!!
    oh..I agree @ water temp!!!!