Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Battle Scars and Lessons Learned from my first 70.3 distance triathlon

My only goals for the first 70.3 were to finish with a smile and "learn" about how to race the distance.

The good news is that the day went basically by the plan. Admittedly the plan was basically take it slow and see what happens all the while paying close attention to nutrition. But I did learn some things.

Lesson - SWIM MORE
I learned that if I swim with arm coolers I get this beautiful chaffing mark. Ouch. I actually felt this on the swim and rolled over on my back and rolled the arm cooler down. I was out there a long time - there was time to do this. Perhaps this was when I drifted completely off course :-)
Ouch. This one hurt a bit during the race and after in the shower.

I also learned that I need to swim more. It's like a mantra I have after every race -- geez Amy, just swim more.

One interesting thing about the swim is that I have been having a huge problem with nausea during swim workouts in the pool. After 30-40 minutes I get really queasy. Sometimes but not always I actually toss my cookies. As a side effect this has led to a lot of pretty short workouts lately and that made me nervous going into this swim. But here's the odd part. I swam non stop for just over an hour in this race and I didn't get queasy at all. So I would really like to try to figure out what the issue is in the pool so that I can make it stop :-)

Lesson - More varied tastes on the bike
My next lesson learned is about nutrition. I had three bottles of liquid nutrition all the same flavor. By the end I was really tired of that flavor. So the lesson is to have different flavors. Also, it's good to eat solids but a little complicated so I need some practice with that.

Also very important - pull the bottom of the bike shorts down out of ones crotch in transition before mounting the bike. *** note do not actually pull the shorts off - that would be even more awkward than the previous sentence already is*** During the swim my shorts had worked their way up at the top of my legs. Not a wedgie but just accumulated where you bend your leg and then that got uncomfortable quick while cycling. I was able to adjust this on the go but lesson learned. 

Lesson - reapply sunscreen and bodyglide
Next lesson - Sunscreen. Oh man I totally failed at this in this event. I actually applied a very thick coat of bullfrog sunscreen to my arms, neck and shoulders and face before I left the hotel room. However, it was not sufficient. I should have repeated with spray at each transition point. Everything except my face is crazy sun burnt.
do you see the top of the 8 in my tan. This is from the marker on my arm. The bottom was covered by the arm cooler.
can you see the short tan line. That's gonna look sexy in my regular swim suit. Would it be super dorky if I showed up in tri shorts to the pool ... yes I know it would.
this beauty is from my try top. Interestingly It didn't and doesn't hurt at all. But it looks terrible. It totally freaked my husband out because it's red like it's bleeding. It's not good for race wounds to worry ones spouse if said racer wishes to compete in more races.

Lesson - pack extra GUs.
I planned my nutrition but I should have brought extra. Always bring extra. I borrowed a stinger from Meli for before the swim because I left my gu-luna bar in the hotel room. And I didn't bring extras. I actually took a gu on the course which worked out fine but might not always so I should bring more.
 Lesson - cola
I never drink cola anymore. But it's offered on the long distance courses. I decided to try it. Apparently, it can help stomach distress and it has caffeine. What it did for me is make me burp. And that might be a good thing. I ended up with stomach "pressure" towards the end of the race and after. Turned out that I had crazy gas bubbles in my belly. They worked their way out naturally through the afternoon / evening much to the delight of my 5 year old son who loves all things relating to farts. But perhaps if I had had a little more cola in the run I would have burped a little more and been more comfortable toward the very end.

Final Lesson - push
The really interesting this about this race is that I didn't find any part where I was in a dark place mentally or physically. What that means is two things. One my nutrition was adequate. Carb replenishment is when my mental status begins to dip. But it also means that I could have pushed more probably the whole way. I did sort of expect that to be the case because that was the case with my first and third marathons. So next time I'll push a little more. It's a long day so a little consistent push all the way through might make a big difference in the net time gain.


  1. I like the second write-up, good idea for a different perspective.

  2. I need to learn a few things:

    Don't wear a visor. Scalp burn plus you can store ice on your head.

    Extra socks came in handy at T2.

    When having water being poured over you to cool down, make sure it doesn't go into your shoes/socks.

    I need to add leave in conditioner to my hair before race starts b/c I had about 35 knots in my hair and had to use 5 little conditioner bottles to get it all out.