Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Steelhead 70.3 v5.0

Of course I can't write a race report about the Steelhead 70.3 without mentioning how much I love this race.  Sunday marked our 5th time in Benton Harbor.  I've had some highs here (my very first 70.3 finish line in 2007!) and some lows (dropping out in 2008, my only triathlon DNF).  I also raced in 2009 but sadly skipped the race the two years I did Kona (2010 and 2011).  Last year I raced as a pro at Steelhead for the very first time and actually led the race briefly (until everyone passed me on the run).

Steelhead v5.0 did not disappoint!  Lots of fun and good learning to be had.

Okay, this part wasn't so fun.  Lake Michigan can be a real jerk and on Sunday she was up to no good.  Plus, instead of swimming with the current (the Steelhead swim is point to point so they advertise that they will always set up the course to swim WITH the current), we swam against it.  For most of the swim I didn't know if I was going up or down or left or right.  I did a lot of praying that I was going in the right direction.  And when I FINALLY got out of the water, I had earned myself a personal worst 70.3 swim time.  Ooops.  I felt a bit better when I saw that all the times were pretty darn bad.  Still though, it would be helpful if I learned how to swim in rough water.

Here goes nothing!  (the water is also very shallow for a while so there is a lot of running/dolphin diving)
I can't explain to you why the water looks all nice and inviting in the background there.  Trust me, it was not.  I can say that this is possibly the happiest I have EVER been to get out of the water.
I was really happy to be on two wheels.  And it was a beautiful day to race!  However the swim had left me with a very, very unsettled and unhappy stomach.  Darn you Lake Michigan!!

For the next 35 miles on the bike, I tried to throw up.  I kept eating and drinking and pedaling.  But my body is stubborn and I couldn't find any relief from my overwhelming nausea.  My legs felt GREAT but when I feel sick like that, it's hard for me to focus on the task at hand (ie: pedaling hard).  My power wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either.  So I prayed for some relief.  At mile 35 that relief came in the form of me throwing up EVERYTHING.  And by everything I mean all that I had taken in thus far, including all the lake water I drank.  (in response to this story, my coach's advice was "next time don't drink the lake"...THANKS!  ;)

Ahhh...sweet relief!  I felt SO, so much better after I got all that wretched lake out of me.  And my HR came back up and my power came back up and I felt AWESOME!  Of course by then I only had 20 miles left on the bike but I reminded myself I still had almost 2.5 hours left of racing.  A lot can happen in 2.5 hours.

Somehow I still biked a 2:22 which was over a minute faster than my time here last year and a PR for that distance.

The beauty of dealing with nausea on the bike is that IF I can take care of things, I will usually feel pretty good for the run.  And that is exactly what happened.  I felt GREAT running.  Tim had given me a goal pace through 6 miles of the run and I stuck to it like glue and then just kept trucking along after that point (I actually negative split the run; something I've never done).  Somewhere along the way I moved into 5th place.  At mile 10, Oscar (running all over the place like a mad man) told me 4th was only 1:15 ahead and so I chased as hard as I possibly could.  I almost got there but just ran out of race.  For the first time EVER, I really wished the run was longer.  Who am I?!?!  :)

In the end my 1:26 was also a new run PR for the distance.  I finished feeling strong and happy and very excited for the progress I've made with Tim and QT2. I am truly excited for Ironman!  Now if only I could learn how to swim...

Sharing the stage with some awesome women!
Race winner, teammate, wife of my coach and all around awesome person, Cait Snow and I after the race.
So now I'm back home and back and in the midst of two BIG weeks of training for Wisconsin.  Big thanks for all the cheers!  I feel so lucky to have such an awesome team of support.  None of this would be even remotely possible without YOU!


  1. Congrats Beth!!! Way to pull a great finish out of a hard start.

  2. Don't drink that much of the lake -- I'll remember that.

  3. Oof, that swim sounds rough, so sorry you had a rough go on the bike as a result of all that lake water. But WOW, to get both a bike AND a run PR on a day like that when you weren't feeling your best, that takes grit and guts - nice work! Good luck with the rest of your IM Wisconsin training!!!

  4. congratulations beth!! so awesome to see you up on that podium!!!

  5. I wasn't even sure if you were still going to race that race, due to adding the 2 Ironmans. Anyway I saw the pics of Lake MI you guys posted on Friday night, and I was actually thinking of you racing on Saturday during my run. The water looked like glass, and running temps were nice, and there was little to no wind. I was thinking you were going to kill that race.

    Then when I woke up on Sunday, I saw the race was on Sunday. :)

    Congrats. :)

  6. Congratulations on a FANTASTIC race and way to overcome that awful feeling you had. Top 5 - woooHOOoooooOO