Door County 70.3 Race report!!
RACE MORNING: As usual before a race I’m up before my alarm. I had it set for 5:30am but woke up at 5am. First thing I did was turn on my phone and check the weather. I knew it looked bad but just wanted to get an idea of what was to come. I also know that there is no service around the race area so I was channeling my inner weatherwoman and really looking at that radar. At 5:30 I finally quietly (my kids were still asleep in the hotel room) got out of bed and started getting dressed. I put on my tattoos at that time too. When I opened the bathroom door I was happy to see that my husband was already up and sitting in a chair. It was about 30min ride to the race venue so I decided I would just eat/drink in the car on the way there to save time. Plus my wave start time wasn’t until 8:45am so I had PLENTY of time. I wanted to get there around 6:30am. As always I drank 2 Starbuck protein caffeinated drinks and ate some homemade energy balls as my husband drove. The only thing I was really nervous about was the weather 🙁 We had absolutely no traffic and had already parked by 6:35am. The race uses a local radio station to dispatch news and updates on the race. On the way to the race venue, they announced over the radio to just hang tight in our vehicle as they were trying to decide what to do about the weather.
We decided to go ahead and just walk down to transition and see what was going on (and to use a port-a-potty of course!). We talked with an official that said to go ahead and set up in transition and they will just keep making announcements on what is going on (which is different then what they said on the radio, but whatever we will do what the official said). We walked back to our SUV, grabbed my bike and my gear. We then walked back to transition. I must say I had a AWESOME spot on the rack. It was by race number and mine was right at the end #285 of a rack in the middle aisle!! PERFECTION!! I set all my stuff up and wrapped my bike gear in a trash bag and my running gear in a separate trash bag to stay dry. We knew it was going to rain just didn’t know how severe it would get. We then walked around some more (more bathroom visits too). We walked to the pier to look at the swim course and the upcoming storm brewing!
Around 8am I was preparing to get on my wetsuit, hop in the water and warm up but it was announced over the intercom that the race was delayed for 90min because of lightening threat with the upcoming storm. We decided to go back to transition and grab just my gear, head back to our SUV and just chill. There were a few people really upset but most understood that it was not anyone’s fault and the RD was making the best decision he could at the time to keep everyone safe. They told us at 9am they would have a further announcement if the race was cancelled or still going to happen. We had also heard that Half Ironman Racine had cancelled their swim, shortened their bike to only 30 miles due to the storm so we were actually feeling a bit lucky if we still got to race! We honestly just sat in the car and waited. My stomach was still very full from breakfast so I only drank some water and sat. My husband was desperately trying to text/call my oldest son’s cell and let them know that the race was delayed and just hang tight in the room until we knew what was going on. I’m thankful that our oldest is a responsible 14 year old or I would have been really worried leaving them in that room by themselves with storms coming. I’m also thankful they all slept in quite late that morning from what I’m told. We waited until 9am for an announcement over the radio but it never came. We started to see people leave their vehicles and we started asking around. We found out that the race was happening but they were shortening the swim to only a sprint distance in case of lightening (we would be closer to shore) As we were walking back to transition we saw tons of volunteers in the parking lots announcing this news to everyone! Most of us were just thankful we still got to race. I did see a lot of people just decide to leave because, “I just don’t want to risk it”.
I have some thoughts on that: 1. Every race is a risk 2. If you plan on being successful at triathlons you need to learn how to deal and race with all different weather conditions. Will it be your best race? NO, but you will learn from it! 3. Embrace the suck and just do it! If you need to go slower, practice your bike handling, etc.. 4. If you plan on being a perfect weather triathlete you are going to lose a lot of money on race entry fees and confidence!
SWIM (10:23): I can’t figure out if I was happy or sad because they shortened the swim course. It normally takes me 200-300 meters before I’m comfortable and feeling good in the water. I was also pre-occupied with what I was going to have to deal with on the bike. Honestly the swim sucked for me! I swallowed a ton of water in the beginning and just couldn’t get a good pattern down. That really isn’t like me. I didn’t panic or freak out but I just felt off. It was also pouring rain so I was having issues seeing the buoys during my sight strokes. I must admit I was kind of glad to be done with the swim. Still curious on what the issue was.
TRANSITION 1 (3:12): DON’T EVER underestimate how hard it is to put on a cycling rain jacket when you are already wet! That was a challenge all by itself! I also had to dig out my bike gear from the trash bag so that took longer too. Sucky transition! Was also cheered…(yelled at) by my husband and some friends to HURRY UP!!!
BIKE (3:13): What a beautiful bike course and what horrible weather we had to deal with. Downpours, strong winds, standing water…. you name it and we rode through it. Lots of twists and turns on the ride but not many hills in my opinion. It really was a struggle the first 40 miles. I tried my best to keep my nutrition in check but when you can hardly see and you feel like the wind is going to knock you over your first priority is typically not to eat, LOL. I did end of eating 2 bars around mile 25. I decided to eat them both because it was just lightly raining and I thought it might be my only opportunity! I also tried to just sip on my fluids every few miles and that seemed to work well. I truly believe in different conditions I could have really flew on this course. My hip flexors were also really bothering me towards the end of the bike. I think that was just me using my legs more to brace from the strong winds I was dealing with. I was glad the bike was over because the sun was starting come out and I had to pee!!! I also had some great fan support as my husband and kids found me on the bike route and some friends saw me too!!
TRANSITION 2 (4:33): This time I had to peel off the wet rain jacket and get my running stuff out of the trash bag. I was so thankful for dry socks and shoes!! I also had to run to the port-a-potty in the transition area hence the longer time.
RUN (2:06): This is the one area I have been working on the most during my training. Really pushing and keeping my pace on tired legs! At first I was a little worried because my hip flexors were sore but the more steps I took the better they felt. I think they liked being stretched out. My plan was to run around 9:30-9:40min miles the first 6 miles and just see how I felt. I know my nutrition plan kind of went out the window on the bike so I wanted to give my body some time to adjust if needed. I also decided to walk all hydration stations to make sure to grab some electrolytes to make up for the nutrition on the bike I missed. I also ran with base salts for cramping. I was really feeling good and around mile 7 my stomach started cramping a little bit. I don’t know why but I took another dose of base salt and decided to just run through it. I was determined to stay on pace at that point. Mile 7-13.1 was just a EMBRACE THE SUCKfest! The sun, heat and humidity were out. I would grab electrolytes, dump the water on my head and then grab some ice to chew on or throw down my tri kit. I did end up also walking 2 HUGE hills around mile 6 and 10, and believe me everyone was walking up those beasts!!! There really was no way to run up them without losing a ton of energy and possible cramping your calves. After the mile 10 hill I just kicked it up a notch and passed a ton of people those last 3.1 miles. I ended up negative splitting that run and was told by many that my pace and form looked strong! That last few miles I kept telling myself you don’t have to run next week if you can keep this pace up LOL.
5:37 FINISH TIME
Nutrition: I used Scratchlabs Hyper Hydration mix (mango flavored) while on the bike. While I’m not a huge sweater I have found through the years that I do lose a lot of salt in my very concentrated little sweat. I often have salt crystals on my skin after a hot run. So upping my salt has helped a ton with cramping issues. I used base salts mainly on the run only. I used whatever they were giving out as electrolyte fluid on the run (I think it was Gatorade). The bars I ate were a Sunbutter/dark chocolate concoction. I think overall I did the best I could with my nutrition especially with the weather obstacles on the bike
Race Venue, Volunteers, etc..: TOP NOTCH!! This is only my 2nd non branded 70.3 (I have also done some branded Half Ironman–Racine 2X) and it totally beat the other non branded race and was just a little below the Ironman branded in quality. I do think you get a lot more swag and show with an Ironman branded race, but that is just my opinion. The course was great!! Roads for the bike were so much better than Racine! Volunteers were great and everything was clearly marked with good communication. I would definitely do this race again!
Enjoy some pictures: