Ironman can be a bitch, there’s no denying it, and the moment you get cocky is generally the moment it reminds you who’s in charge. Following Oceanside I had this surreal confidence that I was in control of the 70.3 distance and ready for a breakthrough performance, but my undoing came from a lack of following the simple basics which became painfully obvious (literally) in the opening moments of the bike with familiar debilitating piriformis pain in my left glute. I’ve overcome this issue in the past through 1) pre-race warmup/stretch, 2) PT strengthening exercises 3) Yoga 2x/week. Leading up to the race, using taper as an excuse I heavily reduced strength, only got in 1 yoga session a week, then following a long 6+ drive from LA to St George, based off of some troubling logistics with T1/T2 (however still completely in control), I skipped warm-up. I wasn’t surprised when sharp, stabbing pain hit me in the usual spot, just upset. In addition I was trying some new fueling I’d been practicing the last few weeks and for whatever reason it just wouldn’t absorb, leaving me racing around with a pregnant feeling, showing off my growing Buddha belly the whole run.
To round out the trifecta my left calf was bothering me, either from dehydration or the consistent up/down hill of the run, almost making me glad I was too exhausted to truly test it on the downhill 3+ miles back into town.
I take blame for all of these aspects which led to an underwhelming outcome, however I refuse not to learn from them moving ahead. Here’s what I hope to establish looking forward to Worlds and beyond.
- Create a concrete warmup plan to follow (swim and non-swim version) and treat it as if it were part of the race, equally important. This will likely include a 10-minute pre-stretch run to get the blood flowing prior to stretching exercises and entering the water.
- Determine a proven 70.3, Full and warm weather fueling protocol. Find what works and stick to it! This will likely require some Sports Nutritionist input (it’s been a while since my last consult).
- BE CONSISTENT with my Strength, Yoga, PT exercises, especially in the weeks leading up to the race, only backing off in the last few days.
- Contemplate avoiding hilly, hot courses. This seems like a no-brainer considering I’ve had my worst performances under these conditions. It’s not shameful avoiding tough conditions, it’s smart choosing courses that instead cater to your strengths. Plus downhill running simply doesn’t help my calf one bit.
I look forward to getting back to it, but for now triathlon and I are on break. It’s 4 months until my next scheduled race and with a late season full on the calendar a break isn’t just deserved, it’s necessary.
My swim wave was 16th into the water which created a long wait and a messy swim through a sea of AG’ers. Searching for my swim caps for draft opportunity was like trying to find a cherry Skittle in a left out bowl with only the reject flavors remaining. I did draft for much of it behind the only swimmer I could find but my time was underwhelming.
My piriformus pain was fast acting and very painful, so much so that I had to stop over on the side of the road and stretch it out for a minute (not a good start). Power after that was dismal, only hitting 247 watts average, way below target and past performances.
The run was hilly (exclusively uphill and down) hot and windy. Passing my Motel 6 twice I have never been so tempted to stop. The wind was so dry that after dousing myself each water stop I became instantly dry. Kudos to the guys and girls that conquered this course, not my day.