“If we only take risks that make us most comfortable, we’re likely missing out on some great opportunities.”~Amy Morin
Cliff Notes Version: I GOT to race at IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie on Saturday, October 1, 2022! 💙💛
- I was SO READY to create an experience I had never had before
- I decided ahead of time that my race plan for Ironman 70.3 Muncie was to “swim my face off, bike my legs off, and hold on for as long as I can on the run”
- bike drop off was Friday
- there was no body marking
- the water temp was 64.6F on race morning (wetsuit legal race…I wore my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit)
- this was an age group only race that started at 7:30 am
- the swim start was self seeded based on expected swim time finish with 3 athletes sent off every 5 seconds
- the swim was one loop
- the air temp was 43F on race morning with a high temp of about 65F by the time I was done running
- It was sunny and windy (about 15 mph)
- the bike course was an out and back with one section going out and back twice before heading back to transition
- there was an aid station about every 15 miles on the bike course
- I created a bike PR by 6 minutes
- the run course was one out and back with rolling hills
- there were aid stations on the run nearly every mile with water, gatorade, gels, ice, bananas, grapes, Coke, Red Bull, chips, etc.
- I created an overall PR by 12 minutes
- I created a 4th place age group finish, which landed me on the podium for the first time ever at an IRONMAN event ⚡️
Longer Version: I GOT to race at IRONMAN 70.3 Muncie on Saturday, October 1, 2022! 💙💛
The alarm went off at 4:00 am. After doing my morning routine, we got some devastating news that made me immediately decide to race for my friend Anne. I texted her and told her I was thinking of her and the family and would be racing for her. She had done the full IM Indiana in 2021 and was grateful I had reached out. We loaded the gear in the car and headed toward the race venue. I ate my smoothie in the car on the way to the venue. We were about a mile away from the race site when we heard a “thud thud, thud thud”…yep the car had a flat tire. It was about 5:15 am and PITCH BLACK outside, so we drove the one mile to the race site and got parked before trying to change the tire. This turned out to work in our favor. After parking, we tried to get the jack out to change the tire, but it wouldn’t budge…at all. It had never been removed from the car, so we didn’t realize that it had somehow expanded in the compartment where it is stored. Thankfully there were some really nice guys parked a few cars away from us who were there as spectators and had absolutely everything imaginable to help us out. We had the tire changed, everything cleaned up, and were walking to the transition area by 6 am. Through all of this, I remained calm, collected, and focused…I did not allow these circumstances to hijack my brain. This was not going to negatively impact my race. Bonus…we have a full size tire as a spare, so we could drive back to Iowa without having to get it checked out in Indiana.
When I got into transition, I set up my area with all of my bike and run gear. Since it was a very chilly morning (43F with the high expected to be around 70F after I’d finish the race), I knew I would need gloves on the bike and possibly arm warmers, so I got them ready and added them to my bike gear. (PRO TIP: If you are going to wear arm warmers, put them on ahead of time and roll them down so you can roll them up your wet arms. It is much easier than trying to tug them on wet arms.) I was racked right next to the kybos and the bike/run exit, so it was super convenient for me to empty my bladder before checking that Mojo’s tires were still full, loading Mojo with my bike bottles, and lubing up her chain. I donned my Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit at about 6:45 am (mostly to keep warm), ate my Skratch bar at about 7 am, and exited the transition area to head to the reservoir. I took in a gel at about 7:15 am while I lined up behind the sign for 35-37 minute swim time waiting for the start of the day.
Swim: (42:21 for 1.2 miles at 2:12/100 m average pace…7/29 F45-49, 79/228 F, 384/870 overall)
Plunging into that water was a shock to the face/system…brrrrr!! I eased into the swim by remaining calm, certain, confident, and curious. I focused on my strokes + breathing… “1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe…1, 2, breathe” until I reached the first buoy where I kicked up the effort. The water was super choppy and there was low fog only on the water’s surface, which made sighting the buoys a bit of a challenge at times. Despite seeing many people pull themselves out of the swim, I kept forging ahead reminding myself that I am here for it and not letting the circumstances of the swim hijack my brain. I kept my effort high while staying focused and present on doing everything I could to make sure I would be so damn proud of myself later in the day. ⚡️
It was a little bit of a jog (ahem…about 0.25 miles) from the swim exit to T1, but when I got to Mojo, I quickly removed my wetsuit (which was already down around my waist) while starting to get some peanut butter Oreos down the hatch, I slid my feet into my socks + bike shoes, struggled to get my wet hands into rolled down arm warmers and gloves, donned my helmet + sunnies, grabbed Mojo and exited T1.
Bike: (2:50:59 for 56 miles at 19.71 mph average speed…4/29 F45-49, 26/228 F, 265/870 overall)
I raced in a way I have never raced before. I intentionally planned to focus on my power output instead of going by perceived effort on the bike. In order to “bike my legs off,” I really needed to stay connected to the pedals, stay aero, and monitor my power output, so that is what I set out to do.
I was a bit chilly during those first few miles exiting the park because I was moving into the headwind, while wet with air temps close to 50F, but I immediately settled into my target watts and started warming up. I didn’t look at any other data except my power output all day long. This would prove to be a wise move…focusing only on my effort meant the data wasn’t dictating my day. Oh and those arm warmers I struggled to get on during T1…yeah, that was a waste of time because I never rolled them up my arms. With the sun shining on me, I warmed up quickly and was warm enough without them.
When I got to US35, I had the wind mostly at my back. I just kept reminding myself to stay aero, stay connected to the pedals, and that I was racing for Anne. This bike course was super flat, which meant I had to be super conscious of staying on the pedals for the duration of the bike. I made it to the first u-turn on US35 which gave me a slight headwind, but honestly the wind (while sustained at 15 mph) didn’t even bother me. I just kept focusing on my power output knowing that I only had to go about 12 miles before turning around again on US35. I had “Unstoppable” by Sia on repeat in my head with the key words of “unstoppable, powerful, and confident” keeping me going strong. After the second u-turn on US35, I noticed a crash up ahead in my lane. There was one athlete on the ground with his bike way off to the side and he was not moving. Thankfully multiple volunteers + a police officer were assisting him and more emergency personnel were on the way. They directed us over into the other lane, which caused us to have to slow down a bit as we had to ride single file around the crash. I was so grateful for the volunteers, emergency personnel, and the safety of the majority of athletes out on the course. Before the third u-turn, I caught myself starting to ease off the gas a bit, so I had to remind myself that I was out there to hold this effort (power) and that is exactly what I was going to do! I was willing to push so hard on the bike that I might blow up on the run. I remained curious…I wanted to discover where my edge was.
As I made my way back into the park, I was super proud of how I had executed the bike. I stayed on the pedals, stayed aero, monitored my power output for the majority of the bike, and kept my normalized power right in the middle of my target range. I stayed present and focused while making sure my fueling and hydration were on point to set myself up for a successful run. I was so grateful for the cooler temps, my solid mental endurance, and staying safe on the bike. And, I had SO MUCH fun pushing to my edge! All of this allowed me to create a super solid bike split that I’m oh so proud of! Bonus…my normalized power and average power were only separated by 4 watts, indicative of very little coasting which only occurred at turns. Double bonus…I rolled into transition with a shiny new bike split PR by 6 minutes. ⚡️
At dismount I saw the Iron Hippie volunteering. He yelled stats at me, but all I heard was “no walking!” I REALLY had to pee, so after putting Mojo back in her spot, changing into my run shoes, and grabbing my race belt, visor, and hand held water bottle, I made a quick stop at the kybo right next to my bike to empty my bladder (boy did I have to pee 🤪). It was time to leave it out there and see where my edge was.
Run: (2:01:45 for 13.1 miles at 9:18/mile average pace…6/29 F45-49, 51/228 F, 343/870 overall)
The run course was one out and back that was super quiet. The only people we saw for all the miles were other athletes racing and volunteers at the aid stations. It was a pretty isolated course with lots of rolling hills.
I typically monitor my heart rate while running, but had decided ahead of time that I would not look at any data for the run. I had no idea what my time, heart rate, or pace were…I was there to keep my effort high, hold on for as long as possible, and find my edge. I was at mile 3.5ish when the first female athlete was heading back toward the finish line. I kept reminding myself to stay connected, race for Anne, and lay this brick.
I ran my heart out while hydrating and fueling solidly. I stayed connected to my effort, laying one brick at a time while racing for Anne. I was determined to not walk one step, I stayed focused on the mile I was in, and I reminded myself that I have everything I need to succeed. All of this allowed me to create something I’ve never had before! ⚡️
Overall: (5:44:22…4/29 F45-49, 32/228 F, 266/870 overall)
As I ran down the red carpet with random strangers cheering for me, I was full of emotions. I had just laid one MASSIVE brick! I had left it all out on the course…my legs were trashed more than they have ever been, my heart was so full that it was overflowing, and my soul was lit up! I had truly raced from start to finish and I was SO F’ING PROUD! I created something I’ve never had before. Icing on the cake…creating a 12 minute PR and a 4th place age group finish landing me on the podium for the FIRST TIME EVER at an IRONMAN race! ⚡️
Gear: Coeur Sports triathlon shorts, Coeur Sports sports bra, Coeur Sports aero top, Roka X-1 Goggles, Roka Maverick Pro II Wetsuit, Specialized Transition tri bike, Specialized S-works Evade helmet, Specialized Torch 2.0 Road Shoes, Coeur Sports visor, Newton Motion running shoes, Roka SL-1X sunnies, Orange Mud hand held water bottle