In the weeks leading up to this race, I had a couple of epic meltdowns and then the calm realization that I had this! I got into town and had a good feeling about this race. I started off with a PR for race prep!
Race morning came early. Driving up there was a ton of fog, but once I got my transition area set up, the fog cleared.
And shortly after I took those pictures, the fog came back! It was crazy thick! We ended up being delayed almost an hour.
Thankfully, I had Stacey (Foundation teammate) and her family to chat with so we could keep the nerves at bay. Apparently when the fog rolled in, I went back to sleep! The waiting was the hardest part. I had timed my nutrition to 30 min pre-race, but that had long past! Oh well. We’ll just go with the flow.
Once they started the long course waves, everything went pretty quickly. Before I knew it, it was time to get into the water and it was finally GO Time!! I kept slow and steady for most of my swim. For the mass starts, even if I try to stay clear of the masses, I always get kicked. This race was no exception. I was clocked pretty good in the first 200 yds, I recovered, took a breath, and just tried to maintain my sighting and chillax into my rhythm.
I decided for this race, I was going to start slow, then push myself and be an encourager. I tried to yell “You got this!” to swimmers who looked like they were questioning their decisions and “Thanks!” to all the volunteers. I saw a swimmer taking a breath and I offered some encouragement, she took it to heart and swam right on top of me! She did have this leg! 🙂 Once I hit the first buoy, I was pretty stoked. I felt great and felt like my sighting was going well. I had a good rhythm and I tried to push it a little more. I would do little stretches of sprints and settle back down. At one point, I saw a guy doing the back stroke. I kept on my eye on him, and then next thing I knew we were on a collision course! After we ran into each other, I may have said, “Dude, let’s go that way!” and gestured at the buoy. After the second turn, I was ready to be done. I knew that I wanted to beat 51 minutes for the swim (and I had forgotten about the walking to transition counts towards that time!), I glanced at my watch and noticed that I was at 37 min. I was pretty chuffed! I still had a few hundred yds to go, but I was excited. I got a little too excited and managed to choke on some water. While clearing my throat, I ended up getting a cramp in my calf! I never get cramps in the water, so that was the weirdest experience. I got a little frustrated since I was so close to being done. I eeked out the last bit and I was so happy to finally be out of the water and to have the wetsuit strippers!
I spotted a couple of my training buddies, so that gave me a boost! Once I got to my area, I realized how far back I was from the mount line. No worries. I put my glasses and helmet on first, threw on my pack and I tried to get all the gravel off my feet, but I wasn’t successful. I was trying to keep up with the others that were also getting one the bike.
I was most excited about the bike. I picked up Cali recently and she was made for climbing, I was excited to see how she was going to handle the Mountains in Mountain Man! The first few miles, I was chugging along on the ride and trying not to take too much water in. Mainly swishing and spitting to rinse out my mouth. By mile 7, I got mental and I felt my heart racing. I stopped and got off the bike for 20 sec to help catch my breath, reset my brain, and take a swig of Tailwind. Once I got back on my Cali, I was good and I was able to tackle the next big hill.
I kept pushing up the pace and even managed to get 30+ mph on the downhill sections. Yeah baby! I still need to work on anticipating the gear shifts so that I’m not pushing to hard then spinning endlessly. I played leap frog with a couple of cyclists, and then I settled into a nice groove. I ate a Huma Gel around mile 15, going down hill nonetheless.
I underestimated the turnaround and was cursing (just a little) when I realized there was 2 miles until the turnaround. By this time, my lower back (left side) was starting to hurt and get uncomfortable. I hit the turnaround at an hour and just tried to keep going to get a negative split for the second half. There’s a decent climb right after the turnaround, so once I got to the top I stopped and took a swig of Tailwind. I was back pretty quickly and thankfully there’s a lot of downhill on the way back, so it was nice to just keep that momentum going. I was both thankful and frustrated when I saw the 9 more miles marker! My lower back was killing me off an on for the second half of the ride, around mile 20 I was so close and yet so far away to the finish. I stopped for a second to stretch my back out and then tried to catch some of the riders just ahead of me.
Last year I fell at the dismount line, so this year I made sure that I was prepared. I removed my foot from my shoe at the half mile to finish and my friend Karen was able to get this picture! Look ma! My foot isn’t in my shoe. I was able to dismount without incident and I was so happy to be done with the bike. Cali is so pretty. 🙂
Transition 2 was pretty quick and uneventful! I was thrilled to see more friends and hear my name get called out.
And it was time to start the run! I walked through most of transition and ran walked the first mile and a half. I played leap frog with a couple of runners until we settled into our own paces. I was thrilled to see my hubby driving back into the race area. Of course, he caught me during a walk break.
The volunteers at the aid station were awesome! They kept us going with fluids and water sprays as much as we would allow. My favorite was the Unicorn spraying us with Unicorn Tears! That was the best power up!!
I tried to cheer for everyone passing me and those coming back along the course. I spotted several Foundation teammates, so I used those as my power ups. I decided that I would briskly walk up the hill. I didn’t stop for a bathroom break like I did last year. I was calm and collected and chugging up the hill. Once the leaders of the 70.4 started passing me, I cheered for them and tried to feed off their energy.
I ate a little bit during the run. I took some Honey Stinger chews before the 2nd mile and again at the turnaround. I didn’t like the electrolytes at the bottom of the hill but the Gatorade at the top of the hill was absolutely amazing! It’s what I needed to get down the hill. I managed to run down the hill and make up some time. I was aiming for a sub 4, as my A goal, but I got in my head and didn’t push myself a ton on the last mile. I was able to push myself to the finish line and I felt pretty strong approaching the line. It was great to run in with the kiddos.
I made my B goal, which as get a course PR. I beat my previous time by 17 minutes! I’m proud of all the hard work that I was able to put in this summer. While I didn’t hit 100% of my swim, rides, and runs, I started to incorporate more Burn Boot Camp workouts and I can definitely notice my strength gains!
I love that my family was able to come and cheer me on. Next year are we aiming for a sub 4???? Mountain Man is definitely one of the toughest little races you’ll ever love!