Saturday, February 19, 2022

Florida 70.3 - Haines City 12/13/20 err 4/18/21

Florida 70.3 in Haines City had originally been scheduled for April of 2020...and well we all know how 2020 went by now, so it got rescheduled for December of 2020.  Perfect, almost in my (new) backyard and another way to have an opportunity to compete in the pro field (and practice believing I belong).  I wasn't working yet since we had recently arrived in Florida.  I was all in on my training and recovery, managing hip and groin issues with an hour + of work every day and nailing workouts, recovery and sleep. 

Spoiler alert...on 11/23/20 the email arrived, Ironman Florida 70.3 Cancelled.  My mom and I had just driven the bike course a couple days before and I was putting in some big workouts to be ready for this when the email came in.  I had known there was a likely chance of this race getting cancelled so I let myself be bummed for a day and then made a plan.  I did my own little TT effort that same weekend - 2125yd swim on Saturday and Zwift 56mile TT and outdoor 13.1 mile run on Sunday.  It was fun to push myself and see some strong numbers on those efforts.  It was a great way to go into the holidays with a little bit of decease in training volume for a couple weeks and then transition into a New Year (hello 2021!) and our new puppy!  And it gave me hope that maybe my hip and groin issues were behind us or well on their way to being behind us!

Florida 70.3 was back on the schedule for 4/18/21 and was open to both male and female pros.  This was a great 'local' tune up for IM Texas and yet another chance to line up and have another experience in the pro field.  I put in some great training going into this race, I had some of my best bike/run training combos in the heat and humidity of central Florida just weeks before.

Friday - Pre Race

I headed out Friday afternoon to packet pickup and to scope out the lay of transition and the finish line.  I had bike the course a few times and done a brick on the run course as I was familiar with what was coming my way.  It was nice to feel the energy of an Ironman event again (it had been since Kona 2019!) and there were pros and amateurs alike getting in final shakeout and tune up runs and bikes.  I completed the check in process and got back on the road to head home as we had some friends in town for the weekend.


Andrew spent a good amount of time the week leading up to the race making sure my Felt was ready to go for race day.  After some final workouts we loaded up the bike and headed over to the race site for bike check in.  Nothing super exciting here.  I did get to see my friend and fellow pro - Sarah Karpinski which was super nice.  Her and I did our very first Ironman together (Louisville 2012 - what a doozy!) and after 2 moves on my part and 10 triathlon seasons here we were racing in the pro field together.  After saying hi and visiting for a few minutes Andrew and I got out of the heat and headed back home. 

Sunday - Race Day

How wonderful it was to sleep in my own bed.  We were up early to get breakfast in before driving over to the race site.  Andrew dropped me so I had a short walk into transition before finding a parking spot for the car.  I got transition set up and looked over my stuff no less than 1000x.  There was a hustle and bustle in the air with decent sized male and female pro fields and a large age group race.  Andrew found a great spot to hang out right outside of transition and near the swim exit.  With about 20 minutes to go before race start the race officials escorted the pros down to the swim start.

The Swim

This got more confusing as we were standing on the beach.  I believe this swim course has the most turns
of any North American 70.3.  It was still pretty dark and we could barely see the buoys as we were trying to discuss where we needed to go.   Heather Jackson was there and seemed to understand and seemed calm about so I figured, well no way I'll be near the front so as long as they know where to go we'll be good.  Also, it's a central Florida...Alligators live there.  I did not want to end up alone during this swim.

I felt great when the start cannon went off.  I swam out hard and hung on for the first couple of buoys.  As we made it to the first turn buoy I turned hard and got on my way to what I thought was the next turn buoy.  I lifted my head to site...crap I didn't see anyone in front of me...and then a kayak coming straight toward me...and the dreaded words "you missed a buoy - you have to go that way".  Oi, thankfully I hadn't made it too far off course, but when you're not a strong swimming losing the group and going off course at all seems to exponentially slow you down.  I got back on course and got back to work, just telling myself to stay in it and keep doing what I could do.   

The final leg back into the beach seemed like it took forever and I was so ready to get out of the water.  This was a bad swim for me and not a great way to start my day, but on with it!

The Bike

I was as quick as I could be in T1 and looking forward to heading out onto a bike course I knew pretty well.  I was feeling good and strong the first 20 miles or so and looked forward to feeling stronger as I continued on.  Around mile 28 my legs just felt like they were stuck in mud, my cranks didn't want to turn and I was destroying my legs to hold any type of consistent power.  I was somehow still managing to catch
some of the women's pro field and thought well maybe I'll be able to have the run of my life off this bike since my power isn't where it should be.  It had started getting hot during the bike and central Florida was serving up a classic day for us.

As I made may through the final 10 miles or so of the bike course I was battling headwinds, a negative voice in my head that wanted to analyze how poorly things were going and legs that felt like they were completely thrashed.  There was no power coming from my glutes and my hips were aching.


As I rolled into T2 Andrew was right at the dismount line...I jumped off my bike and tried to stand up.  I took one look at Andrew and uttered the words "my hips hurt".  I couldn't stand up straight.  I wanted to cry, I had strung together much longer and harder rides with fantastic runs just a few weeks before.  Why now hips?  Why?  As I made my way out of T2 toward the run course Andrew was right there encouraging me to take it one mile at a time.

The Run

As I made my way through mile 1 things seemed like they were loosening up and feeling better.  I wasn't quite hitting goal pace but it wasn't a complete disaster.  The run course was fun, a good amount of
elevation change, some through residential areas with lots of spectator support and 2 loops so back through the park where transition was and the bulk of spectator support.   By mile 5 my glutes had locked up, I was running with all quad and I knew it.  It didn't feel good, but at this point I wasn't stopping.  I managed the heat and ran an ok 13.1.  Not close to my best and not near what I was capable of fitness wise, but my body that day said otherwise.

When I crossed the finish line my hips ached.  Deep down I knew this was likely more than I could PT myself out of, heck I had been doing great just a couple weeks before and then straight back to painful and dysfunctional on race day despite my best efforts.  Back to the drawing board and trying to overcome the hips as I had my hopes set on IMCDA with some great friends. 

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