Wow!! Where to begin?!?! I guess I’ll start with the short version…
Now for the full race report…Ironman Ohio 70.3 was more than I could have hoped for!! If you’ve been following my journey, you’ll know that #sub6orbust was my goal for Ohio. I knew I could break 6 hours, but everything had to fall together. Ironman Ohio 70.3 was about exploring! After 5+ years of dreaming about breaking 6 hours at the 70.3 distance, it was time to turn that dream into a reality! I felt strong, ready, and willing to give it my all!
“Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you EXPLORE as far and as wide as you possibly can? I would rather fail in an attempt at something new and uncharted than safely succeed in a repeat of something I have done.”
Swim: 43:19 (2:03/100 yards)
The water was 79.25*F, which made it wetsuit optional. It was DEFINITELY too warm for a wetsuit…swimming in murky bath water isn’t ideal, but it is what we were all given. I LOVE the self seeding swim starts!! This was my second race of this format and it is so much cleaner in the water. My Coeur Sports teammate, Steena, her friend Jodi, and I all lined up in the corrals together, but I somehow ended up in the water about 7 seconds before them. As I entered the water, I was calm, relaxed, and focused. I found my line and swam! No anxiety! No stress! Just pure swim flow! I swam a relatively straight line (for me) siting every 6 strokes. I had very little contact with others in the water for the majority of the swim. I focused on my swim mantra, “long, strong, pull” for the duration of the swim…especially when I encountered traffic after the last turn buoy before returning to the shore. As I exited the water, I was a bit disappointed with my swim time, but immediately changed the channel and reset my brain to a positive state for the bike ahead. In hindsight, I think this swim was long. Other athletes had similar swim distances (2300 yards instead of 2187), but no excuses…we all swam the same distance!
Bike: 2:56:13 (19.04 miles/hour)
As I left transition, my fave was right at the mount line and told me to ease into my pace and be careful as there was a TON of congestion out there and other athletes weren’t being very respectful of one another.
He was right. I hadn’t even got a 1/4 mile down the road and was getting yelled at by another athlete to get out of his way as I was trying to safely pass two other athletes. One of the athletes I was passing yelled, “Don’t be a douche bag,” while I reminded this douche bag that “we are all out here to have a good and SAFE day.” He wanted to hear nothing of it. He yelled some profanity at us and off he went. I reset my positivity! I knew I would be on the pedals for the whole ride as there isn’t much climbing over the 56 miles on this course. I’ve never raced a 70.3 distance (or full Ironman for that matter) on such a flat course, so this would be a new experience. I was ready to explore and give it my all!! Mojo and I quickly settled into Z3 watts (152-182 watts for me) where we planned to remain for the duration of the ride. Once settled into my pace, I ate a Honey Stinger Waffle, drank some hydration and cruised! About mile 10, I passed Steena. She had beat me out of the water. She said, “Go get it” to me as I passed her. I REALLY wanted to slap her on the a$$ as I passed her, but didn’t want to cause an accident, so I cheered for her and kept going strong. It was shortly after this that I eased up on my watts (oops!) into Z2 and they stayed on the upper end of Z2 for the remainder of the ride. This wasn’t the goal, but it was what happened.
At about mile 54, Steena passed me and said, “What are you doing? Let’s go!” I was having a bit of heart burn, so I took 4 Tums and off I went. I passed Steena (after all she told me at the swim start that I should be in front of her all day long) and as I passed her, she told me she wanted to photo bomb me if the opportunity presented itself…sadly it didn’t. I wheeled into transition with her right behind me.
Run: 2:10:29 (9:50 min/mile)
Steena and I left T2 at the same time, so we decided to start the run together and see how things unfolded. Now was the time to truly explore how my legs would hold up. They felt trashed right from the first run step, but I ignored them. I ignored the fact that I really had to pee (I didn’t have time to stop…#sub6orbust was on the line). I ignored my run pace. I monitored my HR. Coach Kelly told me to monitor my HR through mile 10 and if I was feeling up to it to let ‘er rip at that point. I told Steena of my plan and she decided to stick with me for a while and see how this unfolded. I couldn’t have asked for a better running partner! We were so evenly matched in pace and footfall! She says I pulled her through the first 11 miles, but in reality, she gave me a “job” of successfully pacing both of us to a sub 6 hour finish! I turned my Garmin screen to monitor only my HR and tried not to focus on the pace. We were moving along at a decent clip, chatting occasionally (in broken sentences), and enjoying the footfalls of each other as we moved forward. At one point Steena said, “You are such a consistent pacer. You need to come pace me at Ironman Wisconsin.” I started singing “Pacing Queen” instead of “Dancing Queen” in my head and shared this with Steena as we pushed on.
Having my fave yo-yo around us on his bike was AMAZING!! We saw him every 1-2 miles. He was cheering, taking photos, and texting with Coach Kelly throughout the run. As we started the 2nd loop, Steena said, “Let’s F*ck Sh!t UP!” and told me the back story that goes with it. I said, “I’m ready, but am going to stick to the plan until mile 10.” So we continued on with the plan. At mile 10, I picked up the pace, but by mile 11, I was in the hurt box. This is where Steena took over and got us to the finish line. She gave me her flower and told me it means “resilience” and that I was going to break 6 hours today! At mile 12, my fave chased me up the hill cracking the whip…
After we turned back on Henry to head back to the stadium, I saw Linda (a fellow Coeur teammate) heading out on the run. I gave her a quick hug and started to tear up. Steena said, “Don’t cry! It makes running harder. Focus on your dog and all of the funny things she does to make you smile. Let’s go!” As we continued down Henry, I could hear our Air BNB hosts cheering me on. Then we rounded the corner into the stadium and Ruth (another Coeur teammate) was on the corner cheering!
I knew we would break 6 hours, but by how much?! Steena asked me if I wanted to run ahead and have my own moment at the finish line. I said, “Hell no! You have been with me this whole run. We are crossing together!”
And that is EXACTLY what we did! PRs are definitely better with friends!!
Overall: 5:56:20 (30 out of 110 in F40-44; 192 out of 666 women; 764 out of 1957 total finishers)
I can’t even begin to explain how elated I am with this race, my performance, and the amazing people that entered my life throughout this weekend! This was so much better than I ever dreamed!! I pushed myself way out of my comfort zone and achieved big goals and dreams!! This gives me huge amounts of confidence for big rewards at #IMLou in October!! I am forever grateful to Steena for making sure I achieved my #sub6 dream by pushing me those last 2 miles and to my fave for being the best husband, friend, supporter, Sherpa, spectator, cheerleader, photographer, and whip cracker anyone could ask for!! I am truly blessed and riding on cloud nine!!