A week before the race I started tracking the weather, as usual. A week before the race I got confirmation that I would have Speedy back for the race. A week before the race I had a rest week and was feeling awesome. All things were falling in place and I was getting excited to race Quassy 70.3. Well, not "race" it per instructions from my coach Will, at TriHard. I was to complete as a training day staying in my zones and not pushing to hard. The Thursday before the race the forecast was calling for high of 82 but I would not have my bike back. SIGH. I have done plenty of racing and training on Gladys Svetlana Ole Reliable before, but I was spoiled with Speedy for 2 years. AND this was going to be a tough course. I finally convinced myself to stop whining and just enjoy myself. I am damn lucky to be able to race. So I gave her a good cleaning and got her ready to race.
Amy and I drove down to Middlebury, CT after her first 5k in Concord, MA (which she rocked btw). That day was hot and I tried to avoid the sun both at the race and at the expo. The energy was good at the expo and I checked in without any issue. A good meal was had a Olive Garden and then a nice relaxing night in the hotel watching the Bruins and doing my nails. wait. Doing my nails? New race tradition of orange nails. It added a little fun to my routine and got some comments. I also had to put on my race number tattoos. A much easier ordeal than standing in line on race morning!!
The day started at 5 am with my usual coffee and pb n J. Bike check in was Sat so I had only my pack to lug to the race site. AND we were lucky enough to get parking right near transition. So far the race day was going well. My race wave went off at 7:35 but race started at 6 something so I only had a few minutes in transition. Enough time to pump my tires and organize. The water in Lake Quassapaug was 72 degrees and the air temp close to 70 at the start of the race. There was not a cloud in the sky for most of the morning. It was an on beach start and I positioned myself at the back. I'd only been in open water twice this season so was feeling a bit anxious about it. It took me a long time to warm up, but once I did I felt great in the water. It was a triangular clockwise course. Coming across the lake we swam into the sun with zero visibility! That was fun. I basically sighted the swimmers in front of me. I finished strong and ran up to my bike. Quick transition and off I went.
I was careful to pace myself as I knew there was 4,000 feet of climbing and it was getting hot. I felt great on the hills and even pushed myself a little, careful not to over due it. Most of the ride the sun was beating down on my back. I handled the bottle exchanges like a pro, but still cannot pee on the bike. DARN. There were some very tough climbs, great flats, and killer downhills. It was a gorgeous course riding by farm after farm with amazing views of the mountains (maybe NY??). I was psyched at how well I descended and the energy I felt during the bike. Some of the descends where so fast I was grinning ear to ear and may have let of our "yippee". I passed many a race on fancy TT bikes with fancy aero wheels and aero helmets. It reminded me that it is very much the person behind the bike that counts the most. Sure all that fancy equipment helps but you also have to be strong! I got off the bike feeling great. Legs were ready to go!!
At this point it was about noon and the hottest part of the day. I felt fantastic in the first three miles and then dizziness and nausea hit me like a brick. I tried to run it off but was eventually forced to walk. It was so bad at one point I actually considered dropping out. I thought about all the people who lost limbs in the Marathon Bombings and who might never get to run. I thought about the lives lost that day. I thought about my Grammy Davis who we lost this year. I kept walking, running when I could. Taking small sips of gatorade, Coke, or water and eating pretzels. I started feeling a little better and was able to run most of the second half of the run. In the last mile of the course the was a half mile ascent. I started running but lost gas. My fueling had been nill on the run because of the nausea. I started bargining with myself: run to that tree and walk 10 steps. I got myself over the hill and the finishing shoot was close by. As I turned the corner I saw the park and heard the announcer. I ramped up my pace. As I made the left turn into the park I sprinted in.
I haven't walked a portion of a race in over two years. This was my worst 70.3 time ever. Looking at the data alone I am disappointed. But I still averaged 16 mph on the bike and 11 min miles on the run, with walking. My swim time was OK but not faster than seasons past. I am not sure I have ever felt this terrible during a triathlon. I have never been naseous or dizzy during a race. But I am most proud of this race in so many ways. I kept going and persevered through the heat. O and did I mention that my allergies were out of control and I started my period three days prior? I learned a lot about myself yesterday. I can finish a race in extreme heat. I need to work on how to deal with extreme heat. I love hilly courses (I may have known that already). I can do anything was confirmed. I will take that with me to IMLP. Speedy is in Boston and I'll finish my season with her.
Rev3 puts on a great race. Quassy was an amazing and challenging course. I will absolutely do the race again. It was wonderful having Amy there to cheer me on and be at the finish line. I cannot articulate how wonderful it is to not be at these races alone. Today I am mostly recovered from the heat exhaustion but battling allergies. I am feeling better as the day progresses. I look forward to the remainder of my training and next race: Ashland Olympic. ROAR.