Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eagleman 70.3 Race Report + A Tropical Muffin Recipe Made with Ultragrain!

I promise to keep this one pretty short and sweet!  Every race experience is a good one, even when it doesn't shake out the way we have in mind.  You can't get better at this sport without experience.  Experience is an edge for well-seasoned vet who remains calm when things start to go off course.  There's only one way to get experience and that is to get out there and have a races that go well and those that don't go so perfectly!  I would encourage you to always keep learning and never look at any race as a "bad one"!  I was really looking forward to Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge, MD. This race was a 750 pointer on the KPR (World Championship qualifying) scale so I knew there would be lots of fast chicks showing up that were ready and willing to throw down!  Surprisingly, I felt pretty calm going in and I was eager to test if the numbers we'd be seeing for my bike workouts were some fluke or the real deal!  There had been some speculation that my power meter wasn't calibrated correctly, so I knew I would be out there with a tough game plan and some high watts to achieve! 

Kyle and I drove down Saturday morning just in time for a quick pro meeting and dinner with three of my athletes (and their awesome families) who were racing!  I always feel calmer when he's around, plus he checks my brakes race morning to be sure they aren't rubbing (which they were and he fixed!) so thank heaven for awesome husbands!
 The swim turned out to be non-wetsuit which was well, what it was!  I was really hoping to get a great start and push myself into the mix with some faster girls!  Instead, once I settled into a group, it didn't feel like I was pushing much to stay with them.  At times the pace felt similar to a 2.4 mile vs. a 1.2 mile race, but I thought it might have just been due to the draft.  Later, I found out we weren't swimming at nearly the pace I was hoping and I probably would have been better pulling around and just gutting it out on my own.  I still find the pacing of the swim very hard!  I'm hoping one day I'll turn this part around and be able to show the hard work I've been putting in at the pool.

A very long 34 minutes later I emerged and I am VERY thankful I didn't know my time because I would have had a hard time shaking the feeling I was wayyyy behind!  There were only a few bikes left on the rack when I arrived!  Yikes!  Time to get moving!

On the bike, I had my work cut out for me!  I was hoping this part of the day would go well and confirm that I was making progress on the bike.  I really focused on nutrition, consuming my first 24oz bottle of Powerbar Perform in 25 minutes.  I was able to get through another 24 oz in just under an hour so I knew I was on schedule with my fluid consumption on a hot day.  My sweat rate is off the charts high, so there can be no messing around when it comes to fluid. 
My new Rudy Wingspan 57 helmet felt great!  It wasn't too hot, fit like a glove and I knew if I kept my head in the right position I was as aerodynamic as you can get!  My cute blue checkmate Coeur Sports kit also felt spectacular as usual and I was actually hitting the numbers on the bike so far!  Life was good!

I'm not going to lie and say it was easy.  It was anything BUT easy!  A couple of times I think I was frothing at the mouth like a rabid dog and talking to myself!  I'd see another pro girl, assess the situation on how fast I was coming up on her and then move left well ahead and move on.  I honestly didn't even really care where I was in the race.  What I cared about was that every time I hit a turn and slowed down, I would lose a few watts and I knew it was going to take a solid effort to get them back! ARRGH! 

Kyle was EVERYWHERE on that bike course so it was fun to look forward to seeing him. He eventually started giving me splits that I was about 5 minutes back from a group of 4-5 women.  This was about the 43 mile mark so I was hoping I might even see some more riders eventually. The last aid station is where I would need my final bottle (45 mile mark).  I still had 3-4oz in my bottle on the downtube so when I picked up that last bottle I threw it in the back cage and kept rolling.  

What I learned this race was to transfer that bottle to the downtube (the most stable position) right away.  In just two miles, after a lovely course of very little bad pavement, I would hit a series of three to four big potholes all in one spot launching that bottle into the air with the greatest of ease! I honestly hit the potholes so hard that I thought I blew a tire and I ALMOST came off my bike.  If there were markings warning me of this issue, I didn't see them. After a few minutes of assessing that I was in fact ok, I realized that bottle was long gone as was most of my fluid and calories for the last ten miles of the bike.  I was still optimistic about my earlier hydration carrying me through, but I really wished I had transferred that bottle.  I didn't even remotely have to pee, which is a bad sign for my hydration status at that stage of the bike!  The good news was when I clicked off that bike computer, the time was 2:20:21 (actual time 2:21) so I knew I'd set a new bike PR!  My coach took a look at my bike file after and confirmed I didn't bike too hard because my average watts went up in the second half which shows my effort was consistent and appropriate for me on this day. Good news!

Out on the run it was hot, but not as hot as it usually is for this blistering race!  I again didn't worry about where I was in the race, but I did try to get as cool as possible and drink as much as possible FAST!  I told my legs to move faster -"Come on legs!!  Do your thing!!"  Unfortunately, they just weren't interested in what I had in mind and it felt a little like I was trying to run through quicksand which isn't normal for me! 
As we ran the out and back course, I started counting girls coming back in and found out I was definitely in the mix right around 6th place which is an awesome place to be if you are feeling good.  If you are feeling like you are running on fumes, dizzy and sort of out of it, then not so much!  I saw Amber coming looking really good, and when she passed me, I wanted to go with her in the worst kind of way, but alas, my body just didn't want to do anything I had in mind.  I questioned my ability to go harder and still make it to the finish upright (I've had a few races like that before, and I didn't want there to be any crawling in this one). Amber headed on her way and there I was in no man's land.  I decided to just keep running as hard as I possibly could.  That's always the goal! Even though there would be no prize money for me today, I knew this was good mental preparation for tough times I would face down the road.  It's important not to let ourselves give in when things aren't "going our way".  It teaches us that we are stronger than we think and there really is more in the tank than we know at that moment!

In the end, I placed 7th female pro with a time of 4:27!

While Eagleman certainly wasn't some amazing race, it reminded me yet again of how so many details can impact a race and that we have to be smart, as well as experienced and tough in order to have things come together!  I don't regret being out there among these amazing female athletes, and seeing the front runners giving it their all always inspires me.  Actually, the most inspiring part of the day was staying to cheer through the afternoon for my athletes and all the athletes on the course!  I loved saying the names on each person's bib about a half mile from the finish and I got so many smiles and thank yous! We really are a great bunch!!  Thanks for all the cheers virtually and in person!! 

Kyle and I pre-race on the top and great friend Matt Mo enjoying some shaved ice with me post-race!! I love hanging with friends and seeing people that you don't get to see every day at the races.  It makes it so much more fun.

Thanks to my husband, Kyle, for all his support (and taking the time to crop all these pictures from video on a VERY busy week for him) and my coach, Jesse, with QT2 Systems, for his continued help!  Thanks to Jenn & her husband who hooked us up with a place to stay.  We had a great time with you guys!! Thanks to my family, friends and everyone who reads this blog and keeps praying, cheering and loving me regardless!  

Thanks to MY SPONSORS who help me compete at this level by supporting me with their time, energy and services!

Now, you've got to give this Tropical Whole Wheat Muffin recipe a try!  It is from Sally's Baking Addiction and it's definitely a moist, delicious sweet muffin that has a serving of fruit and whole grains. 
From Sally's Website:  "Bikini-Friendly Tropical Muffins. Made with bananas, pineapple, orange zest, yogurt, whole wheat flour, and coconut. Easy, moist, low-fat, healthy muffins!"
People think if a baked good doesn't have tons of added fat that it can't be moist and flavorful!  These muffins are just the opposite!  They have added cinnamon and orange zest for flavor and you get a mouthful of fruit in each bite.  I used Ultragrain's White Whole Wheat Flour to add whole grain nutrition to this already healthy recipe!  It was a win-win!

Make sure you check it out and let me know if you make the muffins!   It took me about 30 minutes to put the batch together and when they are baking in the oven, wow!  Get ready to smell some mouth-watering smells in your kitchen!  I had to dig in right away!!


No comments: