Williamsburg Tri Year 2 Race Recap

I’m coming down from race day and am overall pretty happy with it. Again, I’m so impressed by how well organized this race is. I don’t have other triathlon experiences to compare it to but I’ve not been to a marathon as well organized before. I was more relaxed this year than last year as I knew the set-up, I had done the course before, I had more self-confidence, but I was really really nervous about the heat.

When I got to the expo early on Saturday, there weren’t too many people so check-in was easy and everyone was friendly. Dropping my bike off went very smoothly – it was almost in the exact spot at last year which was very conveniently locate right at the entrance.

By then I was hot and oh so hungry. It was nearly 2:00 and we hadn’t eaten lunch. And it was about 100 degrees (no, that is not an exaggeration). And we had a dog with us so lunch was outside on a patio of DoG Street Pub. It was crazy hot but the food was delicious and so was the beer selection. Due to crazy heat and a long drive, then came nap time, dinner, and bed time.

The race went pretty well. I was super nervous about the heat but less anxious than last year. The swim went in the opposite direction of last year. Again, all the water in my face was tough. I soon realized that I could pass people doing breast stroke more than freestyle and I could see and breathe better so I did the vast majority that way. On the first turn someone swam over me. Yep right across me diagonally. Relative to my division, my swim was my best sport so I guess my strategy was right!IMG_0055The bike was fun. I was proud of my transition – I made it through almost two minutes faster than last year! The bike course was hillier than I remember but I felt pretty strong. My time was 29 seconds off from last year’s bike – I thought I’d be quite a bit faster due to all my spinning but the heat took a toll. I was really focused on making sure I was drinking on the bike. I didn’t quite get through my two bottles as I was hoping but I drank more than I often do. I really need to figure out the fueling on the bike thing. It’s so hard!

I felt like Superwoman when I finished the bike. I’d passed a few people in the last couple of miles (many of them were doing the half ironman so not a fair comparison but it still made me feel good!). I hopped off the bike and started running and holy schnikees! It sucked. The heat hit me, my right shin was tight for some reason — not common for me. I ran about a mile and then started walking. I ran and walked through the whole 10k. I was so disappointed in myself. A couple weeks ago I did a really good brick workout and felt strong and confident so I was pretty hard on myself. Eventually my shin loosened up (that sounds odd but it’s the best I can describe it) but by then I was so hot running seemed like the worst idea. I probably walked nearly half of the run and ended up 8 minutes slower than last year. :-(IMG_0056I was really disappointed when I finished. I thought I would easily beat last year’s time but instead I was 7 minutes slower. But, as my roommate texted me, I don’t need a time to know I’m in better shape than last year. Given that it was somewhat unbelievably hot, I’m calling it a draw. I’m proud of myself for finishing with that crazy crazy heat. Soon after finishing I looked at the weather, the heat index was 100 degrees!

Relative to my competition, I did better this year — though last year there were 23 people in my division and this year only 10. I wonder if people didn’t go because it was so unbearably hot or if there were much fewer participants who registered?

The finish was amazing again, a water bottle, an ice soaked towel, a medal, an announcement and a photo all within seconds? Impressive!

We were out of there pretty quickly and I quickly showered and washed dirty James River off of myself. A quick brunch in the heat (with a celebratory beer and about two liters of water), some coffee and we were off. It took five hours to drive home! It’s only 166 miles! I don’t know why Virginia highways are always so busy! Needless to say, I hit the pillow pretty hard…as I’ll be doing again momentarily. Yikes!

Here are some interesting tidbits about heat:
Even Beer is a better option than sports drinks
Hydration Myths
How Heat Affects Performance
Heat Acclimation
“The worst conditions an athlete can face are hot, humid, sunny, and windless, in which exercise is occurring at a high rate of intensity.” Ugh…so I guess that’s exactly why my race was slow…