Summer Race Report
The summer has flown by! Between coaching, training, and racing I feel like I have fit in as much as possible and anytime I can say that I’m usually pretty happy. Add to that the fact that my two main races have gone better than I had allowed myself to hope for and the result is a great last few months.
My two shorter, pre-season races at Alcatraz and Wildflower encouraged me as each race had elements where I surprised myself. Both swims weren’t great but they kept me competitive and I was able to work my way through the field on the bike and run to finish respectably. Off the back of those results I was looking forward to testing myself at my main warm-up race – the Lake Stevens 70.3 – and then my focus for the summer at the new Ironman Canada course in Whistler. My overall goal was to have a solid race at IMC that would be good enough to qualify me for the Ironman World Champs in Hawaii.
Lake Stevens began similarly to my previous races with an average swim that had me coming out of the water at the back end of the top group. I had set goals for the swim, bike, and run of 30 minutes, 2:30, and 1:30 respectively with the hope that I could be slightly under each of those. I was on pace after the swim and felt strong on the bike, coming in in 2:26; things were going well and I was riding that wave of positive energy. Starting the run I got onto the heart rate that I had targeted and kept laughing at my watch as my mile splits flashed up at the first and second mile. I didn’t actually believe the splits could be that fast and thought something was wrong with my watch, so I just stayed on my heart rate and kept doing what I was doing – trying to run efficiently and ‘light’. I’ve never raced a half-marathon outside of training but I ended up dropping over 6 minutes off of my best time and finishing as the 2nd non-pro and 17th overall. It was the perfect way to spend my birthday!
Following Lake Stevens I had 5 weeks to get ready for IMC and to keep my expectations in check. I couldn’t assume that things would go well on race day simply because they had in the 70.3 – I had to make sure they did. The three positive results in my warm-up races wouldn’t mean anything if I didn’t continue that trend in Whistler. My training went well and I arrived at the course confident but wary that things can easily go wrong with these races.
The race followed a similar pattern with my swim being solid but nothing all that impressive. It didn’t hurt me, but didn’t necessarily help me either. My bike is my strength and I gradually worked my way up through the field on what was a very difficult course with lots of climbing. In the end I was a few minutes slower than I had hoped for but only marginally and, with a good run, I was on pace to be where I wanted to be. The run was definitely a tale of two halves. I felt great for the first 20km and then had to struggle and grind it out for the final 20km. I held it together relatively well but faded more than I had wanted to so my run split wasn’t what I had hoped for but the overall result was great. I finished 13th overall and 3rd non-pro in 9:31 and qualified for the big show in Kona! It was a lot of fun to be up there chasing down some of the top guys in the sport (although the top guys still beat me by a substantial margin). With hindsight, I think I could have been faster had I done a few things better and had a perfect race, but I am very happy with how it went and hopefully I can improve upon those areas in Hawaii.
As I write this, we are starting a new school year at Cal and I’ll be really busy with coaching and all of the other organization and recruiting that goes along with that. I’ll have to fit my training in around all of that but I’m sure I’ll be able to put together a few solid training weeks in the Californian sun to get ready for the heat of Kona. September will be busy.
This photo is from the Lake Stevens 70.3