Thursday, September 18, 2014

Challenge Weymouth Race Report

Weymouth is located in Dorcester County on the coast in the southwest of England. The course is both beautiful and challenging. I trained hard for this Ironman and was excited to race with some fast girls. A few days before the race I got sick with a fever, sore throat, congestion, blah blah - nothing good a few days before my big "A-race" of the year. I figured who knows, stay positive and anything is possible, maybe a bit of "race-day-magic" would come through and I could still do well.

The sea had been calm leading into race day. On race morning the winds were whipping, there was a strong current, and waves were breaking. Race organizers quickly changed the course (so waves wouldn't be breaking on top of athletes during the entire swim) and shortened the course for the full.

Photo: 220 Triathlon / David Pearce
The swim was a bit crazy, but so is Ironman and I rather enjoyed it. Swim out through multiple breakers, swim across to another yellow buoy (once you could actually locate it between waves), swim into shore, run across the beach back to the start and repeat. I came out of the water 4th female after 36 minutes.

Photo: 220 Triathlon / David Pearce
Onto the bike I was happy to be right in the mix of the girls, only to find very quickly I could not go with any of them. I hoped perhaps my legs just needed a few minutes to warm up.

Photo: 220 Triathlon / David Pearce
This photo isn't me - but it shows the climb about 10 miles into the ride where I discovered I was in for a very, very, VERY long day of racing. It was about this point in the race where I knew my sickness was not gone, and it was in fact making me feel absolutely horrible.

My Godson Alex - cheering for me. Or playing with a leaf.
I passed my small crew of supporters (thank you ADC, Alex, Rosa & Marena!!) around mile 30 while contemplating if I should just pull out after the first lap of the bike. Except I'm stubborn and I didn't think I was making myself more sick because I was riding so slowly, so I did another loop. 

On the bike the single thing that kept me going several times were my host's neighbors - they knew nothing about triathlon until a random girl from America showed up next door. During my very long 5 hours and 38 minutes out on the bike course, I must have seen these neighbors 15 times. They were in their car cheering for me, I would come around a corner and there they were, smiling, cheering, asking how I felt. It was quite possibly one of the nicest and most fun parts of the ride for me.

I tried to wrap my head around running a marathon and couldn't, so I convinced myself to run a single loop - just to "experience" the course. I'll be honest - I had multiple thoughts of pulling out completely so I could save my legs for another race. But Weymouth was the race I was most excited about this season, and I wanted to finish what I started - even if at this point I was more of a "participant" than a competitor who was in the mix of the pro race.

Photo: Gordon Spencer
I ran one loop. I drank a lot of Coke. I high-fived the little kids. And then I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I cried part way through the third loop because I really didn't want to be "yogging" and I was mad about my untimeliness of getting sick. But then I told myself to get over it because as Jesse V told me during IM Wisconsin on a day when I had a fantastic race and he didn't, "It is a lovely day for a run." And it was.

Photo: Rosa Goddard
I did in fact finish the day after running for 3:25 (the course was a bit short) and 9:46 after it all began, 6th place pro female. I was happy I could finish, and even happier to be greeted by friends when done.

Next up I'm finishing the season with back-to-back halves, Superfrog Sept 28 and Challenge Rancho Cordova Oct 5.

Rosa & David – You were AMAZING hosts - thank you for great company, meals and friendship. 
Zoot - fast shoes, flexible wetsuits, awesome training and racing apparel.  
Microscope World - my other great job.
Profile Design - fast TwentyFour wheels, aero bars and hydration. I love the Aero HC system.
Powerbar - gels, hydration and recovery for ultimate performance.
Nytro - my local (but they sell all over the world!) bike shop with all things racing/training.
Extreme Endurance - thanks for helping me race, recover and repeat!
Rudy Project - great helmets and sunglasses, awesome colors!
Bont - best cycling shoes around.
Kenda Tires - great tires for fast racing and less punctures.