I will sum this race up as a so-so effort. I hadn’t eyed this race on my calendar, and often overlooked it when discussing my upcoming event calendar. I certainly don’t give 70.3 the amount of respect that I once did: this can be attributed to my lack of desire to become a swimmer, and my damned-the-man mentality towards ‘investing’ in the lightest cycling technologies. That said, I enjoy the variety and change-of-focus that triathlon training provides in contrast to running, and the benefit to my overall fitness.
There was something very calming about the Harvest Moon 70.3 Triathlon at Aurora Reservoir. It was the first half-Ironman where I was able to sleep in my own bed the night before, make breakfast in my own kitchen, and even park right next to the transition area. These are some of the perks of choosing small, local (affordable) races, rather than the behemoth productions put on by other race outfits, whose festivities usually exhaust the participants before the race even begins.
The race day started with a confident swim in Aurora Reservoir. My only swim training had been in open-water, which suits triathletes the best. The open water removes the comforting queues of speed & heading found in lap-pool swimming. I had a great T1 transition, as I methodically lowered my wetsuit below my waist, sat on the ground, and yanked the suit off each leg. From the ground, I grabbed the socks from my cycling shoes and cleated-up, ready for the long ride.
I was excited for the bike course. The long, straight open roads of eastern Colorado have been beckoning me since I moved here a year ago. The course followed fresh-paved, rural roads with minimal traffic. I was surprised by the gradual elevation gains and the effect of headwind throughout the ride. I was a bit slower than I had hoped, but felt nourished and strong enough for the run ahead.
As I came in from the bike, I got cocky and tried to rack my bike front-wheel first. Instant fail. My bike wouldn’t stand up, so I hastily rodeo’d my bike around, graciously felling the pricey bike opposite my rack. Cruck’d! I still managed to tie a number of folks for the fastest T2 transition time of 47-seconds. This is something I take a lot of pride in.
It felt good to be on my feet again, running a 45-minute quarter marathon. At the turn-around my cheering section of Julia, Birdie, and some random stranger 🙂 fired me up to ‘kill’ the second half of the run course, or was it to kill those ahead of me?? My stamina quickly dwindled as I ticked off the remaining miles. My hope for a sub-1:30 half marathon faded away, as I hoofed it towards the finish line and the Slip-N-Slide.
Oh yes the Slip-N-Slide! I never thought I’d be so happy to slosh through a Slip-N-Slide until the final three steps of the half-marathon run. During the second half of the out-and-back run course, I found myself contemplating whether or not I should ‘use’ the Slip-N-Slide at the end of the course. For some reason, I pictured a custodian with a light-duty garden hose pacing back & forth alongside a yellow tarp laid out on the hard ground. Much to my delight, as I crossed the finish line there was the most appealing two-lane, water-drenched bouncy house that this kid had ever seen! I made no conscious decision to ‘use’ the slide, but instead abused the cool comfort that it provided.
The Slip-N-Slide was the exclamation point to a great race, and the most rewarding and satisfying finish line that I’ve met. Kudos to Without Limits for organizing the Harvest Moon triathlon in what seemed to be a seamless and enjoyable experience for all.
Half Ironman 70.3 Nutrition Plan:
- Avocado on French bread, PB&J on French bread, Banana.
During the Bike:
- Carried one disposable 32-oz Gatorade bottle w/nozzle. Filled this bottle with Gatorade and two gels.
- At each aid station grab another 32-oz Gatorade bottle. Rotate active bottle on the handlebars throughout the race, with no more than 2 bottles on-board at any time.
- Drink on the uphill – this is when there is no need to be in aero-position.
- Total liquid consumption 4-1/2 x 32-oz Bottles. (144-oz)
- Eat: 4-Gels, 3-Safeway Sweet & Salty Granola Bars, 1-Acai Chia Bar.
- Try to eat one unit every 20-25 minutes on the bike, alternating between Gels and Solids.
During the Run:
- Drink: I chose water from each aid station. It was a hot day under direct sunlight, so I grabbed two water cups each mile to throw at my mouth and on my head.
- Eat: 4-Gels eaten, one Gel every 20-25 minutes during the run. It’s sometimes helpful to grab a Gel at an aid station and not eat it until approaching the next aid station. This allows you to get water to wash the gel down, and prevents you from dry-mouth Gel-heaving!
All in all, this was a great race and nice end to the summer season. Looking ahead to the fall season, I’ll focus my training more on running, but I’ll certainly ride my bike routinely to keep my joints supple.