Hell yeah i did it! Patriot – the full race report

so this past weekend was “the race” – finally and oh my goodness it came so quick! *spoiler alert* i finished it. I FINISHED IT. and i felt good doing it (for the most part). 

my 3 goals in completing patriot 70.3 were:

1) do it completely vegan

2) take the time to express my gratitude for the ability and privilege for doing this 

3) be able to enjoy it and not be destroyed afterwards

Using these criteria – IT WAS A COMPLETE SUCCESS!!

but as you know, we are much more critical of the process than that, so coach k told me to be VERY critical of each aspect both good and bad and make a list. i tried hard afterwards NOT to be critical – not to find all the things i could’ve/should’ve/would’ve done better or different. i wanted to enjoy something for once, rather than moving forward to the next thing. so i didn’t think anything but good thoughts and positive affirmations about the experience until tuesday (yeah yeah, not that long to bask in the glory…but hey, i have another race in 8 weeks to think about too!). so here’s the list. then i’ll get into the details of the race. 

Good Stuff

Pre Race

  • calm
  • hydrated

Swim

  • wetsuit didn’t chafe
  • strong swim
  • goggles clear
  • not kicked
  • passed lots of people

T1

  • was able to eat

Bike

  • able to get wheel and tire off –> flat helped legs
  • didn’t frazzle me too much
  • Landry’s helped so much
  • fuel plan stuck to perfectly
  • sweet potato and quinoa pack BEYOND YUMMY
  • felt best on 2nd loop
  • not much effort put forth – not very fatigued

T2

  • changed shoes fast

Run 

  • walked through aid stations
  • mind never quit
  • ran last 1/4 mile
  • no blisters

 

Post Race

  • ice bath
  • smoothie
  • sushi
  • ice pants

so i feel like i shouldn’t just put my list of “bad” or criticisms until i have gone through my entire race (yes this may be my longest post ever, but hey, it should be…it was my longest race ever!)

so, friday was great day leading up to the race. was able to stay off my legs at school pretty well and i ate pretty decently as well. the boy and i drove down to the hotel and i ate my usual pre-race meal of loving hut (delish!). was able to go to bed at a decent hour as well. didn’t really sleep, but that was to be expected. i did rest well. in the morning, the alarm went off at 3:30 and i took a shower, lubed and sun screened up (even though the forecast said rain). i ate my smoothie. the coffee maker didn’t work, so didn’t have coffee. i also had zero desire to eat the waffles i brought. this wasn’t a huge thing, but it could’ve been. i should’ve forced myself to eat them. i definitely didn’t drink enough water either before leaving the hotel. once we got to the race sight, i was a little snippy with the boy. he was pretty nice about things – but he wasn’t totally sure how to deal with my nervous mean energy. i checked in and then got marked and started bringing my things to my transition area. i set it up. and then went to eat again. i ate some of my cereal, again, not enough. my stomach just wasn’t really having it. again, i should’ve forced it. saw pam and judy – tears. saw kate – tears. saw jas – tears. got my wetsuit on – it actually felt great. remembered to vaseline my neck and clean hands really well. went to warm up. the beach getting out was rocky but the water was perfect. i didn’t really do a great warm up – way too much nervous energy out there. i swam about 3 buoys up and then laid on my back and took a few deep breaths. i knew i needed to calm my mind. i couldn’t feed off of everyone’s nervousness towards the swim – i needed to focus on this, this is what I CAN DO. 

got out and went to see kate one last time. cheryl, kerin and lauren had arrived as well. loads of tears. no wonder i was thirsty heading to the swim. my mouth was dry and i was distracted by that. my goggles were clear-ish, just one smudge of vaseline in the corner, nothing that was going to bother me. the swim start was a time trial start – rather than a mass start, we started 3 at a time, every 10 or so seconds. it was calm and great. although for me, it also didn’t feel like a “race start” – i just dove in and swam. it actually felt kind of uneventful. so i swam. i found my rhythm pretty quick and focused on great strong high elbow catch, keeping my wrists straight and swam. i was staying to the right, not too far, but far enough to not get in the way of folks headed straight for each buoy. unfortunately with the foggy start, i wasn’t sure how much buoys there were. i felt like the pond was mine for the taking. i just swam. there were a few people in the way but nothing major. i took a good turn – again keeping clear of the buoy. as i swam towards the shore, i felt strong. really strong. but wasn’t sure if i should push it. my sighting was great. i swam in to the shore until my hands were filled with sand and i got out. 

going into the first transition, i wasn’t rushed. i didn’t want to rush through and forget something or knock something over. felt great coming out of the water, they had a small pool to wash my feet in, which was super. i had no trouble getting my wetsuit off. i talked to the volunteer – a friendly guy standing my area. i was concerned about leaving things in the way or leaving my wetsuit in a weird/dumb spot. i had a bite or two of a lizzie bar – my tummy wasn’t open to food still. i walked the bike up and heard everyone cheering. lauren was screaming – oh yeah you run on plants. it made me laugh. 

the bike had begun. uneventful again (very good things) i managed to get onto the road and then clip in – and didn’t fall! success! i moved into the big ring. i felt decent. and then my legs started cramping. my quads and my hamstrings. my hip flexors. it was the same feeling as when i did the kride. i knew i needed to fuel more in order to relieve the cramping but i was a little bit worried about over-fueling in the beginning and running out near the end.  and then…i got a flat. i was pretty sure i had gotten 2 flats, there was a guy ahead with a flat too and we both remarked how annoying it is. it was in the back only. i took a deep breath, looked at my watch so i could keep track of fueling because i knew from training and getting a flat that this time off the bike could ruin the rest of the day. my thought was “let’s beat my last flat changing time of 26 minutes”. i got the back wheel off and of course forgot to put gloves on. but figured just go with it. i got the wheel off and the tube out. i was struggling with where i should do it though. i normally sit on the ground and change a tire, but where i had stopped was covered in green and i wasn’t sure if it was poison ivy and the road was where all the racers were. i began to get the new tube onto the wheel and then… LANDRY’S! Two nice guys hopped out and asked if i needed help and i said sure! they quickly got the tube on and pumped it up. they got the wheel back on the bike and it was incredible. they were so fast! with their help, we beat my time and fixed the flat in 22 minutes! what could’ve ruined my day completely actually was a HUGE morale boost and my legs felt better! i fueled and hydrated as soon as i got back onto the bike. the scary turn at the 13 mile mark came and then it was easy riding. i focused on circles, form and fueling. i was feeling great. i hit the bottle drop and threw a bottle and got a water bottle. i put the water in the cage underneath. i made a left turn and the bottle fell out. i heard jas telling me to go back and get it. i also knew that there was another drop in a few miles. i decided to just keep going and i’d rearrange my bottles so i would be able to put the new bottle in the back. i arrived at the next drop and didn’t drop one (shhh…haha) and received a new one. i had learned my lesson regarding the bottle drops. i was able to see kate twice on the first loop and she was so positive. i felt great. coming around to the end of the first loop it was great to see and hear everyone cheering me. i had completed half of the bike. the second loop started and i just focused on fueling. i knew i needed to stay in the moment and i was able to. not thinking about the swim or the morning but also not thinking too far ahead. the second loop was rather uneventful other than it was gorgeous and i felt amazing. 

coming into transition 2 i was so happy. i didn’t fall off the bike. i felt amazing. i went into my transition area and it was TIGHT. i didn’t remember it being so tight before. i squeezed in to get my shoes and my fuel belt. i actually was a bit annoyed. i was also worried i’d knock over my neighbor’s bike. i also went to the bathroom. jas ran with me through the beginning and gave me a nice pep talk. i just talked food – about the amazingness of the sweet potato quinoa pack. 

the run had begun. my legs felt heavy but not awful. i kept repeating that the first 5 miles suck. the first 3 miles felt pretty ok i was running at a 10 minute/mile – 11 minute/mile pace, I felt strong. For whatever reason, my fuel plan went out the window. i always fuel the same way and very rarely take from aid stations, but my plan was to take something from each aid station and walk through them. i hadn’t trained using this mindset. i knew that every mile i would get something and supplement with my fuel belt which should’ve been switched. i also was not in love with the dates at this point – it wasn’t gag inducing but they weren’t going down easy. nothing really was. the pretzels took forever to chew and then swallow. around mile 4 i needed protein – i was hungry. well i thought i was hungry. i wasn’t sure if it was my head trying to beat me or if i actually needed protein. around mile 6 i saw both kate and jane. it was so nice to see them. jane had almonds – i ate some there and put a few in my fuel belt. my legs were still moving and i felt pretty decent still. at mile 7 my tummy started to get bloated, it was really distended and i definitely needed a portapotty. i couldn’t focus on my body at this point. i focused on the volunteers – such incredibly nice people. cheering me in and offering all sorts of goodies each time. at mile 8 i passed a guy who was walking. he was drenched in sweat and looked not great. i told him that it wasn’t too much farther and he could do it. he started yelling at me telling me that he was tired of people telling him that and he was sure he wouldn’t make it before the cut off time. i offered him some salt and dates – he yelled at me again saying he didn’t need anything. i ran off, i couldn’t let him get into my headspace. i knew he was in a bad place and wasn’t going to get out of it with me. sometimes we just need to overcome our demons alone. at mile 9 i saw a portapotty. i used it and felt incredible. my legs were beginning to have more difficulty starting after the walk. the next few miles are a bit foggy – not because i wasn’t “with it”, but because things were starting to get more difficult. my legs weren’t so heavy i couldn’t lift them like during my first marathon. i just had difficulty keeping them moving in a running fashion. i saw kate and jane again (i think kate was there). and then between mile 11 and 12, things got tough. i had trouble keeping my legs running. my brain was getting emotional. i saw jane and told her how hard it was. and her response, which was perfect, “yeah, so? get going.” and i did. i got pissed. i wouldn’t let this race, this run defeat me. i was speaking out loud. “eff this. i can do this.” i decided to run the last mile. the whole thing, i mean i can run a mile in my sleep. i ran maybe a quarter mile. i was basically just running telephone pole to telephone pole. i’d run one, then walk one. i knew that there was a hill up ahead – i had already completed that hill twice on the bike. the hill wasn’t any worse than what i had done in training, except in training i was never as fatigued as i was then. i walked with a purpose up that hill. then ran. then walked. then at the camp i ran. and i didn’t stop running until i went over the bridge and through the finish line. i saw kate, i heard everyone. i heard my name. it was incredible. i plopped into the ice bath and everyone came over. it was such an incredible experience.

pictures will be uploaded tomorrow. 🙂 

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