Oceanside Run, by Eric Wynn

Sometimes when you gamble, you win.  Sometimes when you gamble, you lose.

This race started like most other 70.3 races.  The pro women started 3 minutes after the pro men.  We all sat on the start line, jockeying for position.  Pow, the gun goes off …arms start flying.   

Arms are flying, goggles get knocked off, legs get pulled, & arms get tangled.  Luckily but unluckily, none of this happened to me on Saturday.  After about 300 meters, I realized I was leading the rest of the other ”not as fast” swimmers out of the water.  Awesome….

Anyway, I wasn’t about to pull these girls around the swim course, especially if there was someone else that was capable of  leading.  Another pro woman seemed to want to be in front to lead us scrubs around, and I gladly let her do it.  I jumped on her feet, a bit annoyed with myself, but getting myself amped for the bike…

Onward and upward….right?!?  After all, I am very used to getting out of the water 4 minutes back from the fastest swimmers…2 and a half minutes behind the contenders.  This “bad” swim  is not new territory for me.  In fact, this time of year, it is sort of normal for me.  But I couldn’t help but get angry.  And to be more honest, getting angry is actually good for my racing…

I had a pretty good t1, hopped on my gorgeous, sleek Kestrel Airfoil, Pieridae, and I rode fairly hard.  Since it t was chilly, I wasn’t craving my drink.  I knew that at 30′ I needed to start ingesting fuel, so I began taking  in little sips of my EFS Liquid Shot.  I kept seeing the main group of girls just ahead of me.  Every time I would come down a nice descent, I would see them…I kept thinking of how I wanted to be in that group.  It seemed like they were only a couple minutes ahead of me.  I kept pushing, working the uphills, working the descents.  I was all alone.  Occasionally I would pass someone and occasionally an age group man would zoom past me.  However, those folks were few and far between.  With my sights set on the main pack of women, I was motivated…

 I was riding fairly well until my clock read 2hrs…between 42 and 44 miles.  At about that time, I started to feel a bit weird.  I thought that I probably needed a bit more food.  I soft pedaled for a while, assessing myself, going through my checklist, eating a bit of food.   After about 20 minutes of chilling out and eating, I felt good again and was able to push hard for the final portion of the bike.

I hoped off Pieridae, landed in t-2, slid my sock-less feet into my fast Saucony Fastwitch Shoes (No blisters…YEAH!) and started my run.  I felt really good, running anywhere from 6:09-6:27 pace for 9 miles.  At about mile 9, I had a bit of an explosion and started to feel a lot less fluid, landing back on my heels, in an upright position, with shoulders hunched, and running 7:43 pace exactly for the next 4 miles…lol!   I can laugh now, but at the time, I was not laughing.  Again, I was assessing what I could do to get myself back to running fast again…I went through my checklist of fluid, food, etc.   Lucky for me, I only had 4 miles left.  I could not wait to get to that finish line.  Sadly I wasn’t able to pull myself together to get back into that 6:15 (or 6:30 pace, for that matter) range again.  I had to settle for 7:43 pace.  And I lost 2 spots, while finishing in 11th place.

After thinking it over and assessing the race, I have come up with a few reasons why I blew up a couple times during the race. Normally there isn’t just one reason. However, one reason that I am certain of is that I knew that I had to ride hard to keep the group in sight.  I was fairly confident with my biking…possibly over-confident.  And I probably rode harder than my fitness allowed for that first 40 miles.  Thinking back, however, it was worth it to me.  That first part of the ride, with minimal nutrition, probably cost me the latter portion of the run.  I gambled.  I went for it.  And I paid for it.  I rode the entire bike course by myself…working hard to keep that group in sight.  I gained a bit of fitness from the race, a bit of knowledge for what I need to do for my next training block, and a deep desire to get my buns in the pool so that I don’t have to make up such a big deficit in the future.  

Thank you for reading and thanks for your support!