race reports, tri

I gave it my all.

Not really sure where to start here.

Eagleman chewed me up and spit me out.

But that’s Okay.

The truth is, I needed a race like this before the big show, my ‘A’ race.

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Looking back over my past six years of racing, I’ve never had a tough weather race. I’ve had tough courses but in perfect conditions. I’ve had easy courses in perfect conditions… Never really had TOUGH conditions. I’m talking 95 degrees with 100% humidity (Heat Index was 106 degrees that day!)

My husband, Todd asked me after Eagleman: ‘if you knew this race is always this hot, why did you even sign up?’

The truth is, I wanted a challenge, something different. I don’t really have a big reason WHY I chose Eagleman. Part of the reason was I thought I could break 5:00 hours given how flat the course is. But silly me didn’t read much about HOW hot it can get and HOW unshaded the course is. However, I was so angry at my finish time that all I could think was ‘I should have signed up for an easier race.’

You have to have a short term memory in this sport.

For days I wondered about what went wrong.  I have been analyzing my nutrition {too much salt?!}, the swim {non-wetsuit  + current}, the heat {the surface of the sun}, etc. I cared SO much about how I did and how I let myself down. This is all I could think about. My coach told me it was ok to be pissed off the day of the race, but after that, I needed to move onward, easier said than done:) Let’s just say I dwelled on this for about a week…

Here’s how it all went down:

Race Morning:

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Woke up at 4:30, ate my usual pre-race breakfast (1 banana, 1 egg white, 1 bottle Osmo, apple sauce)… need to find a new pre-race bfast because this one isn’t working out so hot anymore. Suggestions?

We left our B&B at 5:40 AM, to get to the race site or 6:00 AM. Transition closed at 6:45. Since transition closed way before my swim start, I hung around with Todd and drank my pre-load while waiting. Later to realize I took in too much Osmo Pre-load, but I’ll get to that later…

8:08 Swim start (we started 4 mins earlier than scheduled)

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The Swim

I was soooo anxious about this river swim! Way more anxious than normal when it comes to a swim. I new the water was murky, choppy and I didn’t have my beloved wetsuit.

It was a non-wetsuit swim, given how warm it was (78 degrees F). It actually felt really warm without the wetsuit, almost like a luke warm bath. I had practiced in the river a few days prior , so I knew what to expect for temps and visibility. The Choptank River is brackish water, so it’s a mix of salt and fresh water. You can really taste the salt when you are swimming, which I am so not used to!

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 What I wore: ROKA Viper Pro Swimskin and  X1 Goggles in Dark Vermillion/Blue Mirror (love love love). And Special thanks to Erin for recommending baby shampoo for de-fogging, worked like a charm! 

The swim started out quite civilized and I made my way to the front of the pack. I’m trying to be more aggressive with swim starts and try not to stick in the back. I am a strong swimmer and pretty fast for someone that didn’t grow up swimming. Gotta work on that confidence!

Overall, I enjoyed the swim and didnt get kicked or punched much at all. There was NO visibility when it came to seeing swimmers around you, so I was going into in blindly and sighing A LOT. I feel as though I stayed close to the buoys, but was being pushed by the current going against me. It was also quite choppy like the names says: Choptank is quite appropriate.

Where the swim got interesting is when it got REALLY shallow. All of a sudden, while I was swimming I noticed a lot of people walking all around me… literally like the Walking Dead. It was a march of about 100 yards from the water to the swim exit (or more!). I swam as far as I could, knowing this would save my legs. But it got to the point where I could go no further and I had to walk, ugh.

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Swim time 37 minutes. My slowest swim EVER in a 70.3.

When I got out of the water and saw that time I thought ‘you’ve got to be kidding me.’

T1 QUICK (1:38) 14th Place AG coming out of the water

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 The Bike… fast, flat & pretty

For once, the bike was the best event of my race! Yes I said it.  I guess all of my hard work IS paying off.

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I got on the bike and realized my HR was not showing on either my Garmin 920 XT watch or my Garmin 510 bike computer. ANNOYING. It had done this a few times in training but I thought nothing of it. It must have to do with my HR monitor battery, that’s all I can think of, need to figure it out.

But it gets worse… Coach Jorge had a scheduled plan on the bike, where I would use HR as my gage. Even though I have a power meter now, I haven’t been training with it enough to REALLY know my numbers. Since I could’t see my HR during the race, I went off of RPE and Power, just from what I had learned over the last few weeks.

The bike course was FLAT had no shade. Parts of the course even had brand new pavement. I dialed into a pace, stayed in aero and really felt good for most of the ride. When I hit about mile 35-40 I started to get really nauseous, though. This was also the point where I started to ride against a headwind. I could tell that the temps were really heating up as the heat just radiated off the pavement underneath me.

My nutrition plan was as follows: 1/2 bonk breaker, 1 clif shot gel, 1 bottle of Osmo, 1 cup of water, 1 salt tab every hour. If it got too hot and I didn’t want to eat, I could just drink more Osmo.

All went well that first hour, but the second hour I started to feel queasy, like sea sick feeling. I started to worry about the run too, knowing that this could affect that as well. I have always had a crappy stomach and get nauseous often. I barely could eat during hour two of the bike, muscling down a ¼ of bonk breaker, literally gagging…. Pretty sure I didn’t even eat my gel that second hour. By the end of the bike I had consumed 3 bottles of Osmo Active and took in water at every aide station. I also poured water all over my shirt and my shorts and crotch, to cool things down. By the end of the ride… I felt so sick, I knew I was doomed on the run as far as my goals went f*&%.

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The bike course was BEAUTIFUL.  We rode past farms, cornfields, national wildlife refuges. I tried to soak it all it, it was a very pretty course.  My one gripe was, it was open to traffic and there were quite a few cars that honked and seemed annoyed.

Oh and I must add, loved all the compliments the men gave me on the bike for my bright pink helmet! I actually saw quite a few women with the same helmet, too. Lots of penalties were given out on the bike, thank goodness I wasn’t one of them. They changed the rule to FIVE bike lengths between you and the person in front of you (from three the previous year). That is FAR people! They basically have to be out of sigh!

I nailed by bike goal of 2:40, by going just over with a time of 2:42

Average pace 20.67. This is a 70.3 Bike PR for me! Yay!!

 T2 2:55 14th place AG off the bike.

T2 was slower thanks to a pee break and having to wait for a porta potty. I tried my hardest to actually pee on the bike ( I am usually able to do this). But with the flat roads and cyclists all around me, I got nervous and I couldn’t do it #stagefright.

I grabbed my nutrition at T2 and was on my way. By this time, it was about 95 degrees with close to 100% humidity. As I started to run, I felt nauseous instantly and I was HOT. I just had a feeling this wasn’t going to go well.  I should also note that when I passed runners on the bike course, I could see a lot of people walking and a lot of people looking like they were struggling hardcore.

The Run AKA the Death March AKA Running through Hell

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I couldn’t be my ‘smiley’ normal self during this run, no matter how much I tried. I wasn’t having fun. The views were beautiful, but I couldn’t really enjoy them since I felt like I was dying..

The goal of the run was to stick to my Marathon pace of 7:20-7:30. I think my first mile was around 7:50 and then it all went downhill from there. Honestly, the run was a complete blur and I was delirious.

I did not eat anything for 13.1 miles except for 3 shot blocks. I drank Gatorade, flat coke and ice water. That’s all I could get down. I grabbed ice at every aid station (not sure how many there were) and I held ice in my left hand to cool down the heart. Thanks for that tip Mary Robbins! I also stuffed ice in my sports bra and down my shorts to get to that Femoral artery. The ice helped, for sure, and I got a little surge of energy every time I took it at an aid station. Besides feeling sick to my stomach, I also had an annoying asthma cough going on (the SAME cough that happened to me during IMMT last year, ugh).If anything keeps me from Kona, it’s going to me my ____ing asthma. The good thing is, this week I have started different meds, in hopes they can help me for IMMT.

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For the first half of the run I was frustrated beyond belief. I didn’t feel well and I was coughing a lot.  By the second half, when I made the turn, I decided not to get angry at my watch anymore, and just focus on finishing.  I kept repeating in my head ‘JUST FINISH.’ As tough as it was to accept, I wasn’t going to hit my goal of breaking 5:00 hours or even PR’ing.  My pace per mile kept increasing at ever mile marker.  Everytime I though I could go faster at the next mile, I was feeling too sick and too hot.  I was also getting some acid reflux, or perhaps it was vomit trying to make it’s way up , sorry TMI.  I contemplated pulling over to the side and trying to throw up, but kept trucking along. Whoever that guy with the Australian accent was that I ran with through every aid station, thanks for the energy boost!

Some positives from the run were…

I was running when most people were walking. Literally, the majority of people were not running that course. They were either walking or shuffling. I am proud to say I did not walk at all, I just kept running, even if it was slow for me. I appreciated the kind comments running by people, telling me to keep up the great work. I REALLY appreciated the homeowners on the course with hoses and sprinklers, those were awesome!! During the entire run, not a single female athlete passed me and only a few men actually did.

During the last 4 miles I managed to pass 4 girls in my Age Group, including 3 of them in the last mile!! I knew I was somewhere near the top of my AG and I wanted to get as close as I could to that podium. I remember during those last 3 miles, putting my head down, wanting to die, but not letting myself stop. THIS is where MENTAL STRENGTH comes in, THIS is what will help me get through my Ironman. I wanted to stop, I wanted to just curl up in a ball on the side of the road, but I kept going.  I pumped my arms as fast as I could and cruised towards that finish line.  Once I heard the announcer I knew I was close and I pushed as hard as I could, hoping maybe I could pick off one more girl. My body started to get tingly and I got this weird feeling in my arms and legs.  I also started to close my eyes a lot, yikes. My mind went to dark, dark places, and then I overcame the hardest run of my life.

Running down the finish line chute was incredible (and painful) and I was so happy to be DONE!!!

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Run time = 1:53:22 (8:39/mile pace) 10th Place AG.

Literally my slowest Half Marathon EVER. But that’s OK!

When I got to the finish line, the volunteer handed me my medal and I literally fell into her. They put me in a wheelchair and put me in the Med Tent, I was really dizzy and faint. I thought I would need an IV, but I think I had the opposite problem (too much electrolytes perhaps).  I was just VERY hot and beyond exhausted.  They sat me down, gave me ice packs for my quads and they helped to bring my HR down (my HR got up to 193 on the run!). Once I sat there for about 20 minutes, I started to feel less nauseous.  This whole time, I didn’t know what my official finish was, or where I placed.  Poor Todd was scared sick since he couldn’t see what was wrong with me in the tent.  I was happy to be reunited with him when I was better and to get a little bit of food.

Finish Time: 5:18:02 10th place Age Group

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Once I found out my finish time: 5:18:02 I was SUPER disappointed.  This was 10 minutes slower than my PR and it was even slower than my HIM last year. UGH. After hanging out for a while to make sure I wasn’t going to vomit or pass out, we got my things and went back to our B&B.  Once back in our room, I cried my eyes out. I just lost it… I was so sad about my time.

Eventually I pulled it together and then spent the evening relaxing at our beautiful B&B, the Sandaway Waterfront in Oxford, MD.

Not a bad place to hang out post race…. I only had wished we could have stayed longer:

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Todd and I will definitely be back to this B&B, it was SO peaceful and relaxing.  Our room looked right out at the water and had a beautiful little screened in porch.  I miss it already!

All in all, it was an awesome trip to MD and Eagleman is a race that I will never forget, that is for sure!

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Post Race

During the week after the race, I did some major analyzing:

Where did it go wrong?

ONE of the reasons I think was too much Osmo Pre-Load before the race.  I LOVE my Osmo Nutrition, but the one mistake I made was, not 100% clarifying how MUCH I should be taking for my body weight. Taking too much Pre-Load combined with my in race nutrition sodium = too much sodium during the race. This would explain why my abdomen was literally swollen for three entire days post Eagleman (i.e. my abs disappeared, ha). Special thanks to Hailey and Stacy Simms from Osmo for clarifying what I need to take for my body weight… I just should have asked before the race #fail. 

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So much sodium = extra blood plasma, which means more water retention. This is good within reason but with so much sodium this probably resulted in a too much water retention. This doesn’t mean you are not getting dehydrated, it means that the electrolyte concentration in the bloods is getting more concentrated to the point it slows down the stomach ability to absorb what you eat, therefore causing GI distress. 

For my body weight, I was supposed to drink 1.5 scoops of Pre-Load with 12 Oz water, NOT 3 scoops of Pre-Load with 24 Oz of water.  I basically doubled my dosage, ack!! I did this when training (since I didn’t know, stupid me) and was fine. But I didn’t practice with Pre-Load AND salt tabs AND all that other stuff.

OR was this an issue of not too much salt but rather of too much liquid? There was a chance I became hyponatraemic with all that fluid I was taking in.  It was the opposite of needing an IV post race. 

Of course, I will never know what made me feel sick, it could have been the EXTREME heat that I wasn’t use to, or it could have been the water I potentially drank during the swim, who knows! I’m not blaming my performance on just one thing. I am done over-thinking it though (I swear!), and taking the lessons learned with me to Ironman Mont Tremblant, which is just under 8 weeks away now! Every race makes you better, no matter the outcome!

Special shout outs to:

Coeur Sports for the extremely comfy kit (no Chamois butter needed!), no chafing!

E3 Training for the coaching & support!!

and to my hubby Todd for being the best sherpa and supporter a girl could ask for, I would be lost with out you!

As Jay-Z says… “On to the Next one” 😉

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26 Comments

  • Reply Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?! June 23, 2015 at 7:13 pm

    You literally fought your way through that race to a strong finish, despite having a slower time than you expected. It was strong – you were passing people at the end. You ran. You finished hard. I felt the same when I started that run and when I was biking and looking at people on the run – most people were walking or if they were running, they looked in pain. I’m so glad you liked the bike – I found that at mile 33-35 the road got super rough for a while, that seems to be when your nausea kicked in too. Maybe it started upsetting your body on that bumpy terrain spot.

    I have to finish up my race recap!

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

      Thank you Cynthia!! Wasn’t it crazy seeing people running while on the bike?! Everyone looked absolutely miserable. I knew at this moment, it wasn’t going to be a fun run. You make a good point about the rough road area, this may have contributed to my nausea. Looking forward to reading your recap!

  • Reply Lee@tri*inspired*life June 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

    Great recap! You certainly DID give it your all! You have included so many details and I understand your initial feelings of disappointment, but you pushed yourself in such extreme conditions and this is an event that you will be taking so much from! Good thing you learned about what you really need as far as the Pre-Load! That should definitely help big time! One thing I will mention is that I trained and raced with Bonk Breakers last year for IMLP (since it was on course), but I have learned that I have trouble eating them when it is hot! Luckily, LP was not a hot race and it worked for me then, but that is something I learned about myself and did not train with them for Raleigh 70.3 this year (hot race). Anyway, I hope you took the time you deserved to CELEBRATE your new bike PR and how strong you are mentally. That is definitely the result of all your long hours in training. 10th place in your AG is certainly something to be proud of, despite you not having the day you wanted. Every race does make you better…great attitude and perspective!

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Thank you Lee! Appreciate the kind words 🙂 I really did push myself in EXTREME conditions, I was afraid if I pushed any harder, I would have needed an ambulance. Interesting re: Bonk Breaker with you and heat… I had never trained with Bonk Breakers in the heat (another mistake!). I literally could not get the bars down during the bike, it was bad. Looking forward now to the next race and taking what I learned from Eagleman, hoping it will help at IMMT!

  • Reply Cassie @ Rural Running Redhead June 23, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    Sounds like it was just too hot for anyone to perform as well as possible. I admire you for finishing it, especially that run. You’re a rockstar.

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      It was so hot, it was insane. I just had to put my head down and get through it. Thank you so much!!

  • Reply Safari @ Tri-ing to Run Boston June 23, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    congrats on your awesome finish. It may not have been a PR but what about a Personal BEST?!? You KICKED butt in extreme temps (I was there and totally bombed the run…and let’s not talk about the swim but we’re not talking about me ;-D) and for THAT you should be PROUD!! I know how it feels to fall short of a goal and there’s probably nothing ANYONE can say to make it better but just know…I think you rock and TOTALLY admire you!!

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you so much Safari!!! It was definitely a personal best during a HOT race, so I’ll take it:) Thank you for reminding me of this! There is really nothing that makes me feel less disappointed BUT all of the kind words do make it better!! Good luck with the rest of your season this year!! And congrats to YOU on Eagleman!

  • Reply Hailey June 23, 2015 at 11:06 pm

    Kristin, you’re amazing! I think you’re totally right in your needing a race like this. You fought HARD and truly learned how tough you can be. You know it’s not a matter of fitness. I think anyone who reads your blog knows that! so I’m glad you’re not dwelling about the outcome of it anymore. I’m so excited for the big one! And awesome job on that bike PR!!!:)

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Aww you are so sweet Hailey, thank you!!! I definitely dwelled a lot last week after the race, but I am moving on now! I have bigger fish to fry:) I just cannot believe I am less than 8 weeks from my ironman! Thanks again and hope your training is going well!!

  • Reply Leslie @ Triathlete Treats June 24, 2015 at 4:25 am

    You gave it your all and definitely fought!! Congrats on a great finish!! 8 weeks until the big show!!! 🙂

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Thank you, Leslie! I cannot believe how close IMMT is!!!!

  • Reply Sara @ lifebetweenthemiles June 24, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    Great recap….even though I knew the outcome from talking to you, I got a little choked up reading this, but like I told you….eyes on the bigger picture. You got stronger, learned more about yourself and will be stronger for the big event! Love you my friend, you are amazing…don’t ever forget that!

    • Reply Kristin June 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks so much Sara!!! Yes eyes on the bigger picture now! It’s easy to get upset over one race, but like I said, you need a short term memory with this stuff. Moving on! Love you and thanks for the support, as always!

  • Reply Abby June 25, 2015 at 2:15 pm

    I say congratulations on finishing a tough race, never giving in, and seeing improvement on the bike! You know you’re an amazing runner, so I wouldn’t worry about that at all.
    I hope you have recharged a bit and are ready to hit your last round of training before IMMT!
    It’s been so great to read about your training this year. Keep going strong!

    • Reply Kristin July 2, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      Thank you Abby!!! It was such a TOUGH day out there. I can’t believe I am in my last block of training before IMMT. It’s so hard to believe. Appreciate your kind words and I hope to have a great day in August!!

  • Reply Lauren @ Lauren Runs June 25, 2015 at 3:57 pm

    Great job on persevering in a tough race! I admire you for pushing through the run even when it was tough and painful. That’s something I’m trying to work on!!! #heartandcourage

    • Reply Kristin July 2, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you, Lauren!!! It was so hard, but everything happens for a reason!!

  • Reply Andrew June 26, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I have read one or two of your reports. Great stuff! Tough race. One comment on nutrition: I don’t get why you do egg white as part of your breakfast. Generally you just need to focus on carbs at that point, and egg whites are all about the protein. This is what has worked for me: overnight quick oats with banana and some chia seeds and goji berries. Then you start your day with fast and slow burning carbs and some anti-oxidants. Other things to try: beet juice before the race (boosts oxigen efficiency) and tart cherry juice before and after to recover, since it is crazy anti-inflammatory.

    Good luck!

    • Reply Kristin July 2, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      Hi Andrew, thanks for reading!! I was told by an RD to add a small amount of protein in the morning before the race, but now I’m thinking it might not work for me. I have thought about overnight oats, they sound delicious and could work well for pre-race! I also like tart cherry juice for post race, have never thought about it for pre race. Thanks for the suggestions! Good luck with your training!!

  • Reply Jess July 2, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Damn, girl. I’m sorry you didn’t get the time you were hoping for, but I think it’s pretty incredible you were able to push through those conditions. I think this race was a blessing in disguise in that it happened now and not during your big goal race! Sounds like you learned a lot and will be more prepared for IM. Seriously don’t know how you do it. Since I can’t keep up with you on foot, let’s head to flatbread soon 🙂 xo

    • Reply Kristin July 2, 2015 at 6:29 pm

      Thanks lady!! I did learn a lot from Eagleman and I needed a race like that… everything happens for a reason!! I would love to get flatbread one night. That place has become a staple for me during IM training, I pretty much go there once a week. Talk to you soon and happy 4th! xo

  • Reply Kecia July 22, 2015 at 7:57 pm

    This death march sounds like our 100 mile race we did in Kansas back in June, but yours was about 8F higher heat index. As for early morning breakfast, I eat cream of rice cereal (hot) with fresh/frozen raspberries and 2 scoops of Pure Clean Powder (beet powder), my Osmo preload and a Karma Kombucha (this always helps get everything “moving” properly before the race). It does sound like you had too much salt, but like you said, it could just be a mix of all kinds of things that went “wrong” on race day. This same type of thing happened to me at Superior Man 70.3 in Duluth, MN…It was 107F heat index, I drank a LOT of water during the swim, I threw up more than anyone should on the bike and couldn’t keep anything down. That was my first (and hopefully last) DNF as I was pulled from the run course just before the halfway point. I couldn’t even walk a straight line. The important part is to learn something and carry it forward. You had a great finish (one I’ve dreamed of) despite the conditions your body was enduring. With that water under the bridge, now is the time to focus on IMMT…where you are going to ROCK!! 🙂

    • Reply Kristin July 23, 2015 at 7:14 pm

      The HEAT is the WORST!!! There is seriously nothing you can do to make it better, so frustrating!! Good idea with the Kombucha morning of, never thought of that! I probably should have thrown up during Eagleman (but was fighting it hard core). I probably would have felt better!! Your race sounds like it was brutal when that happened:( Focusing on what I learned from Eagleman and now onto IMMT (hoping for a cooler day!). Thanks so much!!!!!! I can’t believe how SOON your race is!

      • Reply Kecia July 24, 2015 at 11:14 am

        I know…I am now down to single digits for the count down…eek!! 🙂

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