After a stomach flu related DNS at Cedar Point last year, and a terrible DNF at the half distance this year, I really wanted Cedar Point to go right.
Please be sure to read this post on how I revamped my nutrition for a cramp free (but still very colorful) experience.
Lana had to work until Friday evening, so we drove half way from Illinois to Ohio Friday night and we stopped at South Bend Indiana, in this awful hotel. It was right on Notre Dames campus, and there were groups of drunk hockey players out playing bags in the parking lot until 3 in the morning. The next morning they had ‘breakfast’ that both of us were pretty afraid of, but since there was no microwave in the room we made do.
We made it to Ohio and got a quick swim in, then registered. After registration I was shaking down my bike when I discovered my front wheel was flat. I fixed it and noticed the wheel was once again leaking from the valve. I changed the valve extender, and my problem was fixed so I checked my bike in. To say I was on edge would be a massive understatement.
That night we made dinner in our room, as extra food poisoning prevention. Unfortunately Lana said her stomach was already upset. I walked down the beach to check my bike one last time that night. The tire was holding… I set the alarm for 4am and went to bed.
That night, at about 2 am, Lana was sick. It seemed very similar to what I had the year before. After the tire stress, and then this, I had really had my fill of this race. Two years in a row…
I thought about it, but I knew Lana would want me to race. She went back to bed. I felt terrible for her. When I got dressed that morning I had a problem with the zipper on my new jersey. I’d only worn it once before, so Lana suggested I take her bike jersey with, just in case…
AG Place 13 / 75
The lake swim was moved to the bay this year, because a 25ish mph wind was creating some rip currents in the lake that made swimming too dangerous, according to the coast guard.
It was a TT start, and I had to wait forever (it felt) to swim. The swim was at least half a mile from T1.
My swim went really well. I had a new wetsuit I was looking forward to wearing (Tyr Hurricane Cat 5). My only complaint, and it happens a lot in triathlon swims, is that the distance just doesn't add up. My GPS reported 1.33 miles instead of 1.2. That’s the difference between a 1:33/100 swim and a 2:00/100 swim. Admittedly, I could have sighted poorly or my watch could have been off, but I rarely swim as slow as 2:00/100, even on a cool down lap, and I doubt very much that a 2:00/100 pace would have gotten me 13 in my AG. So, I choose to believe I swam the 1.3 miles. :)
Note previous comment about long long run to T1.
Distance 56 Miles
AG Place 16 / 75
Well, the good news is I had air pressure in my tire!
Conditions were pretty bad. It was very windy and misting rain, enough to make the cornering slow.
After the first 10 minutes I started working at my goal watts. My RPE was way too high though, like time trial high. But I was still missing my numbers by about 5W. I looked down and noted I was averaging about 23 Mph. Nope, too hard. Something’s wrong with the quarq maybe. I was questioning everything, trying to figure out if I should push it, back down, or something else. What’s the plan? I spun the pedals backwards a few times to try to zero the quarq out. Still, things aren’t feeling right, and I seriously doubt my electronics. Then I remember that I calibrated the quarq when it was in the rev3 rack. Maybe that?
Then comes a wave of doubt. Have I already blown it? Did I go too hard chasing that number to run later? In the end, I made the call to flip to my plan B screen, which has heart rate but not power on it, and rode by RPE and heart rate.
By mile 56, I was ready to get off the bike, and my average pace was right in line with what I did at route 66, on a worse day. So, even if I wasn't hitting my numbers, I was going hard enough for today.
The last ten miles of the bike were with a wicked cross wind coming from over the beach. It was like being sand blasted. I was holding on for dear life, and sand was everywhere. Up my nose, in my mouth, everywhere. I was happy to be done, but unsure about the run.
Right off the bike into T2 I noticed the zipper had broken on my new jersey. Seriously? Luckily I had Lana’s bike jersey at her request earlier.
I took my time in T2, changing into dry socks, plan B for wet weather on the bike. I glanced down at my HRM and saw that the sock change brought me down into zone 1, so I figured I’d go out and run a few miles at low zone 2 and see what stuck, I was wanting to be careful at this point. Thinking about Lana sick in bed, I didn't want to drive all the way out here for another DNF, so a conservative approach was warranted.
Distance 13.1 Miles
AG Place 25 / 75
After the first few miles ticked by, I was pretty pleased to see I was sitting right around 9 minute pace, at the lowish end of zone 2 heart rate. Combined with quick aid station walks, I was averaging about 9:20. Not speedy, but I knew at even that pace I was lined up for a huge PR. I was running really well, and decided to stay at that conservative pace. (Yes Laura, your run training is working!!!)
At about mile 5 I picked it up into upper zone 2, but I was really staying at about the same pace.
Around mile 10, I finally let myself hit zone 3. Running back into the park the last two miles, I was running directly into the wind and I was very glad I was as fresh as I was. I was right at threshold, running a 10 minute mile. Once we finally turned, I was all out, trying not to barf, and running to the finish.
And finally, having executed every plan B in my race plan, thinking about my poor wife with the same stomach bug I had last year, my jacked up quarq, and the flats the day before, I turned down the finish chute to smile for my finish line picture, in my purple woman’s bike jersey, relieved to cross the finish and happy that an anvil didn't fall from the sky to bonk me on the head. Good grief, what a race.