Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote
I chose to race Lanzarote 70.3 originally because there was a smaller women field start list in the previous years and felt like it wouldn't be as daunting as racing such elite stacked fields like Augusta 70.3 the same weekend. As my luck would have it, more and more athletes started signing up the closer the race got. But unlike previous races, my nerves weren't getting the best of me this time. My training was in high gear and I kept improving weekly. Before Calgary 70.3 my main focus was building a solid bike split and going into it I knew I was lacking a solid run. This time I had the confidence to keep up with the best on the swim and bike and was finally able to focus on improving my run. Week by week my numbers kept going up. I was ready, I was healthy, and I was building up a solid foundation in all three portions. My nerves were calming and my excitement rising.
What added to the excitement of this trip was it coinciding with my birthday weekend, my boyfriend was coming along, (since he is also my coach) and was going to have my coach there cheering me on!
We took the shortest route to Spain and Lanzarote but even then it was over 19 hours of flight time and a total travel time of 24 hours! When we finally made to our final destination, Club La Santa sports resort, I quickly forgot about the exhausting travel and was amazed by what this place had to offer. This triathlon and sports mecca had three 50 meter swimming pools, a full size running track, a small bay for open water swimming, and well maintained roads for cycling. There was even a supermarket and multiple restaurants on the premises so there was no need to travel outside the resort except to explore. I quickly realized why many pro triathletes and cyclists flock to this island for their winter training blocks. The terrain is also similar to Kona, which makes it great training grounds before heading over to the big island for the world championships.
Race officials announced the day before that it would be a non-wetsuit swim. Hearing that, I was super pumped because I feel I have a huge advantage wearing my extremely fast Xterra Wetsuits Speed suit. They started the men and women professionals all together for a semi deep water start. I started off strong dangling on the back of the top males swimmers but kept getting beat up by a few of the male pros. I made the decision to take my own route while one other girl followed. We battled back and forth for several yards but I made the decision to throw down a big effort to try and gap her. Thankfully it worked and I exited the water in 1st.
I felt that I was very prepared for this bike. All my training at home mirrored this unforgiving course... except the wind. I mounted my Argon 18 and started riding hard away from La Santa and up into the mountains. As soon as I settled in on my bike everything felt off. I know exactly what my power numbers should be at every point on that course and I wasn't coming close. Those numbers have been easy for me to hit during my training, but today I was riding the struggle bus! Around the 40k mark I was over-taken by Lisa Huattler from Austria. As she motored by, I pushed to keep pace but my legs would not react. On top of that, I have never been in wind like that before! Relentless and unforgiving gusts doing its best to rip my handlebars from my clenched fingers. When I finally reached the famous 2,000+ft Tabiesco climb, I actually had a little bit of relief. We were finally shielded from most of the wind and I began to feel normal for the first time during the ride. The beautiful scenery was a bonus while puttering up the mountain but it was short lived as I got over the top and was blasted by the relentless 25mph winds once more. Just controlling my bike in this wind was depleting my energy stores at an accelerated rate and I was not prepared for that. I went through all my nutrition and back up water as I crested the mountain. Knowing I was going to come up short with calories for a strong run,I grasped as much coke as I could at the final two aid stations. The extra calories helped enough get me back to transition in fourth place.
It was a three lap, out and back course finishing with a partial lap around the track surrounding transition and the cheering fans. This made for a very spectator friendly course. I started the run off feeling relieved, calm and relaxed. I was currently racing in 4th and knew I could move up if my run goes the way it has been in training. By the end of the first 4.2 miles I had a very low moment. I could not move my legs the way I wanted and I felt so dehydrated. I started to mentally freakout because I didn't think my body was going to let me finish. I stopped at the next aid station and continued my desperate attempt to replenish with coke and water then began running again. I slowly started to comeback to life and knew I could finish the race. Two girls ended up passing me by the end and I finished 6th overall. Not the outcome I wanted, but for struggling as much as I did and not performing even close the level of my training efforts, I was left feeling hopeful. I keep improving and get closer to that podium finish I desire. So Cabo 70.3, I'm coming for you next, more prepared, a little more experienced, and a desire as relentless as the Lanzarote winds!!!
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