Yesterday I did the Providence 70.3 ironman event for the second time. The first time I did this event was 4 yrs ago right after my bike flew off our car and smashed into a million pieces. The course is a logistical nightmare and still is but it has significantly changed since I did it 4 yrs ago.
As you guys know my life has been crazy for the past 6-8 months and training has gotten in and not gotten in and I've changed my training focus a bit. I've been a decent swimmer and over the past 2 years and gotten stronger on the bike but the one thing I have never been able to do is run or even have a run off the bike that felt good and not a shuffle that makes me suffer. So I've decided to really concentrate on those reasons why that happens and work on them.
1. Too much power on the bike, push too high of watts and burn out my legs before the run.
2. My HR is too high from the swim and bike that I've already tapped my body by the time I'm on the run
3. Nutrition has always sucked in the past and I've suffered for that. I need to follow a more rigid nutrition plan on the bike and run to be successful.
So with the above I decided to swim my normal swim, try to grab some feet if I can to get some drafting, taper back my bike power and try to keep my Hr at 136, no higher and keep my watts between 160-165 and then run off the bike keeping my HR around 150 ( which took into account the heat stressors on my body) and not take out the first mile too fast. And if possible, negative split my run ( which I have never, ever, done.)
The course is still a point to point and a 2 transition area race ( SUCKS). This year the swim was at Lincoln Woods Park in a beautiful lake, which was 84 degrees and a non-wetsuit swim. I don't mind that so much but I just tend to use my legs a bit more when I don;t have a suit in open water. Anyway, the transition area was fine and it wasn't a too long run from the beach to get to TI.
the swim was uneventful, it was really sunny, the water was soooo warm, I worked with 2 girls during the swim both of whom didn't know how to sight well so they kept running into me which was pissing me off, I didn't want to exert myself to go around them so I just tried to keep to their right and use the draft that way. I knew that 2 girls were far ahead ( 2 college swimmers) so we were in the second pack. We all came out 4-7th, I was in 6th coming out of the water-36 minutes, youch, I normally would do around 30-31 min, but I was fine with the swim
The Bike: Well lets just say, I could of knitted a blanket, picked my nose and made a whole thanksgiving day turkery meal while riding, it was that easy, that being said, riding 17.4mph should feel that way. However, the goal for me today was to not go over 210 on any hills, to keep a good cadence and to ride and average 160-165 watts and my HR needed to be 136 and no higher. I will say it was very hard to see lots of my ladies pass me when I knew I could ride with them, I knew I could go sub 3 on this course, however, it was a significantly more difficult course than before, all rolling hills and some good climbs thrown in with some short fast descents. There was never a period of time that you could really go aero and rebuild back some speed that you lost on the climbs, plus the road conditions were so bad I didn't want to go aero most of the time because you were afraid you would kill yourself. Oh yeah, and the dead animals on the road, are you kidding me, crazy how many.
Anyhoo, the bike was uneventful, thanks to Nancy thompson she was able to set my watch to go off every 40 minutes to remind me to eat, I ate 1/2 power bar, 2 gels, 6 cliff blocks and 3 1/2 bottles of endurance, plus one succeed. I peed at least 4 times, so I knew I was well hydrated. My legs felt great because I didn't kill the power on the bike so I was really hoping for a descent run, but it was hot.
Well, a 3:13 bike really sucked, I hated seeing that but I knew my goal today was to just try to run. The course again changed this year and we didn't have to run up steeple street, we had to run a much harder one in my humble opinion. Olen street is a much long and the climb starts around 3-4% grade and goes up to maybe 7-8% but it keeps going for at least 3/4 of a mile maybe longer, tons of switch backs and crazy quad descents and then more climbs, it was just bizarre, this whole course just doesn't make sense, so stupid.
Well, I felt great, I ran, ran, ran, I kept my HR at 150 for the first few miles, my legs were turning over I was passing people, it was awesome, going into the second loop I felt even better, this was when most people were walking, especially up the hill, I was cruising, keeping my HR in check up the hills but just pounding the flats and descents. I hit my mark, 8:59 avg first loop and then 8:49 average second loop for an 8:55 overall. Now if the course profile was just a little flatter, still with some hills, I so would of averaged 8:30s or better, that one hill really crushes your time, I was definitely running in the high 7's for alot of the good parts of the course.
It was just awesome to run and feel like a runner. I past 6 women in my age group, I was smiling I was so happy, I never felt out of control, my HR was in check, it just felt good.
So yes, my mission was completed, I came in 16th, so what, my time was 5:51 so what, I need to sacrifice a little up front so that I can rework my body to beable to bike to my ability and run to my ability and I will get there. Yesterday was a good day in the office for me, I told myself I was a runner yesterday and I believed it, it was fun.