This past weekend Michael and I traveled to New Orleans for the 70.3 Half Ironman. This race was not originally on our race calendar, but after missing California a few weeks back, we thought this would be a good race for us. We have friends in New Orleans and we have always wanted to do this race. We thought this year would be the perfect opportunity.

Race day weather conditions brought high winds gusting up to 40mph which changed the triathlon into a duathlon. The new format was a 2 mile run, 51 mile bike, 13.1 mile run. We kept getting race updates from the race director prior to race day, so this was no surprise to us. Michael and I talked about a new race plan the night before which we both agreed on. Since we usually get out of the water 90 sec to 3′ down from the lead swimmers, we now had the opportunity to start the bike with more than one or two people. We were both so excited about this.

New Orleans

The 2 mile run went off without a hitch. It felt effortless. I think everyone had the same thoughts as to not go crazy. In fact, most of the girls ran together in a nice little group. We all came into transition together and I was actually first out of T! Now that is a FIRST!!! I jumped on my bike and was off! Instead of watching my heart rate, instead of watching my watts, I decided to go hard from the get-go. I wanted to be able to use the energy from everyone around me, I wanted to get aggressive, I wanted to get competitive. I wanted to bike really hard…and I did for about 90-100 minutes before the bottom fell out. While I have done some good workouts and and some solid long rides, I wasn’t ready for that sort of effort for that long at this point of the year. Looking back now, I definitely shouldn’t have gone balls to the wall. The last ten miles were a mild sufferfest that I couldn’t seem to turn around. During that ten miles, I was pretty hard on myself, trying to manage the  negativite thoughts.

I entered T2 needing to go to the bathroom and wanting to evaluate if I could even run. As soon as I thought about it, I felt ready …and I felt awesome. I was running really, really  well. Eventually I caught and started running with Annie Gervais. We were passing several girls and we seemed to have a little unspoken agreement to keep pushing each other. Actually we kept encouraging each other knowing that we were helping ourselves at the same time.  I felt confident that I would be able to pull my blown race together…until mile 7…when I had another blow up. I finished up the race in 16th.

New Orleans

On paper, it probably doesn’t look like I had the best race. And I was definitely hard on myself during and right after the race. But, I am optimistic and accepting of my effort. After looking back at my training, after looking back at my previous two races, I know that I got what I deserved. I really went for it without having the back end fitness that it takes to back up hard efforts. I love taking risks. But I probably didn’t weigh the downsides that go with the upsides of taking risks beforehand. I got excited and I got a little too emotional about what sort of tactics that I should try instead of being practical and smart. And it probably didn’t help that my husband was encouraging me to do it. LOL.

After I finished licking my war wounds, I found my friend Leigh Ayn who I have been coaching since 2009. Since staring our coach/athlete relationship I have watched her develop into a faster and stronger triathlete. I could not have been any prouder or happier when I saw her finish with a huge PR and a huge smile on her face.  As her coach, I have taken her struggles and her successes personally. I love this picture…

Check out how awesome she is!!!

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GO LEIGH AYN!!!!!!

Before the race I gave Leigh Ayn a specific race plan which included monitoring her heart rate, watts, and pace. Michael and I joked that we both should have listened to MY inner coach a little more. :)

While I focused on the blow ups of the race, I would also like to share the good points.

**I am more sore today than I have been at any race this year. This tells me that I actually did go hard.

**I now know how hard and how far I can go before I blow up. Hopefully it will take a little longer next time and I will have the back end fitness to pick up more of the pieces.

**I am in a far better spot this year than I was this time last year.

**It’s only April and there are a lot of races ahead of me.

I would like to thank my awesome sponsors including First Endurance, Kestrel, Brooks, Boulder Running Company, TYR, Splish, REV3, FSA, ZIPP, Louis Garneau, Jack and Adams, Recovery Pump, ISM, and CycleOps Power.

My next race is REV3 Knoxville. I will be racing the Olympic Distance race and visiting with the inspiring Long Brothers!

Stay tuned!