Monday, July 7, 2014

Syracuse 70.3 Race Report: Stepping Stones

As a final tune up and prep for Lake Placid I decided to give Syracuse 70.3 a go this year.  Despite race reports from previous years claiming it was the hardest 70.3 course ever, worst conditions, never do it again, etc I was confident it would be a good day in Syracuse.  Syracuse isn't too far of a drive from DC and logistically it's a whole lot like Placid!

Pre Race: Friday and Saturday

We arrived in time on Friday evening to grab my packet and jump in the lake for a quick shake out swim.  The water felt perfect with a full sleeve wetsuit and the lake looked pretty similar to Mirror Lake in Lake Placid.  There may have been signs saying no swimming on the beach but we just went over to a grassy area between the beach and some private homes and jumped in.  Luckily a few other athletes arrived for a short swim just as I was ready to get in.  After the nice shake out swim we headed north about 15 more minutes to our hotel, grabbed dinner, and hit the sack.  I was exhausted from an early morning workout, 1/2 day of work and long drive!

Saturday was easy going, Mom and I took care of all the necessary bike racking and pre race briefing stuff.  Once out of Jamesville Beach Park we headed to the nearest grocery store to get some race morning food
and then set out to find lunch.  We found a couple cute places near campus, too bad they didn't have weekend hours in the summer!  We ended up playing it safe with Jimmy Johns - which was delicious.  Once back at the hotel I settled into the Normatecs to watch Germany vs Ghana World Cup action and take a nap.

On recommendation from a previous patient we set out to get dinner at Pastabilities around 5:30.  It was a quick 15 minute walk.  It was busy when we arrived but we only ended up waiting 17 minutes for a seat and the service and food was awesome.  It was a hotspot for athletes, by the time we got seated people were being told that it was a 90' wait for a table.  Thank goodness we beat the rush!  After dinner we loaded some stuff into the car and got to bed early.

Pre Race - I set up transition, inflated my tires, loaded up Mr with Osmo and hung out with my mom until it was time to get into my Xterra wetsuit.  It was a bit chilly race morning but as soon as the sun was shining it started warming up.  It was pretty perfect out. The water was still, the air was cool, and the sun was rising.

THE SWIM - 1.2 Miles - 39:32

The lake at Jamesville Beach park was as close as I'll get to Mirror Lake until the end of July.  My wave was fortunate enough to start off the age group wave in the first wave after the pro's.  My swim start was physical but I went out hard and got out with a group for a nice draft.  The simple rectangle swim course made for a fast first half of the swim for me.  I had a rough mid part of the swim, with two 90 degree turns I lost my bearings and my pace slowed drastically as I struggled to keep myself on course.  At which point I made it
to the first turn bouy and noticed the group I had been with was getting away from me.  I was able to regain composure and finish strong.  Initially I was disappointed with this swim, but looking back at the results  and swim data there were some really good take aways from this swim.  I had an awesome start and was able to get out with some fast girls.  I need to work on turns and sighting out of the turn so I can stay with the group.  Last of all, I was able to still finish strong despite a poor mid section of my swim.  My new Xterra wetsuit was awesome in the water.

T1 - 3:34
T1 was 0.32 miles long...good training for Placid.  I slipped my goggles and swim cap into the sleeve of my wetsuit as I ran into transition (never to be seen again).  Shoes on, helmet on, and I was out.

THE BIKE - 56 Miles - 2:48:44

Wow, this bike course it interesting.  Coming out of transition you have a couple miles of flats and rollers to get control of your heart rate and settle in.  Then up, up, and up for about 15 miles.  Some tough hills, some steady almost false flats, but just hill after hill after hill.  With such an early swim start, I wasn't 'chicking' any men.  The only men that started before me were the pros.  Mentally this got to be a little tough as mid 30 y.o. men flew past me after the first 12 miles of the bike course.  Usually I start in the last or 2nd to last swim
wave at M-Dot events, and I am the one doing most of the passing.  With the first 15 miles behind me, things started to pick up a bit with some good descents and fast rollers.  I was nailing my bike plan including nutrition and hydration and knew everyone else was on the same difficult course I was on.  As I was nearing my last bottle of hydration I knew it was time to take a bottle hand off and mix in some Osmo.  This was the biggest snafu of the day.  I had changed the top on my torpedo, having never used the quick fill top...first off I could barely get the bottle out once I had dumped the water in, once out the Osmo dump was a big fail.  On the go solution....dump Osmo in mouth, swish with water..done!  It actually tasted pretty good.  The ride finished out pretty fast.  Mr felt a little sluggish and after taking a look post race it looks as though my cadence sensor was rubbing the rear disc a bit, perhaps after hitting a bump.

T2 - 1:34

A quick run into transition change the shoes, leave the helmet and I was off.

THE RUN - 1:56:43

Everyone talks about the hill at the turn-around point of this run - and yes it's big, it get's steep, you have to do it 2x, yada, yada.  What everyone fails to talk about is the weird grassy slanted parking lot first section of the course.  It's not horrible, just something you may not be expecting.  I was running comfortably for the most part, taking in Osmo as needed and dumping cool water over my head at aid stations.  The first loop of the run went by fairly seamlessly.  I was keeping my HR very controlled and staying a bit too comfortable. While being smack dab in the middle of Ironman training I executed this run a bit more like an Ironman marathon run, which is ok.  Not ideal for 'racing' a 1/2 IM but not horrible.  I got to see a few friends while I was out on my 2nd loop of the run, most of them had later start waves and were only just starting their run.  I was thankful to be on my way in to the finish chute as the day was heating up!

FINISH TIME: 5:29:50

This was a tough course, but I'd do it again.  The setting is beautiful, the event is well run, and the course is challenging.  I think if I were to do it again I'd like to focus on it more so than it just being a prep race for IM.  That being said it was definitely needed to work out some snafus before the big day on July 27th.

Thank you DC Triathlon Club, Snapple Triathlon and our sponsors Osmo nutrition, Xterra wetsuits, Rudy Project Helmets, and Rose Physical Therapy Group for their continued support and keeping me in the race and ready to get after the next one.  Also huge thanks to my mom for making the drive with me and being great race support the entire weekend!

1 comment:

  1. I so loved Syracuse! The race was awesome and so well run! The best part , being with my girl, supporting her and enjoying time together!!! Making Memories!!!