Swim: 1.2 miles | Bike: 56 miles | Run: 13.1 miles
This was my second race at this distance, 70.3 miles. I was better conditioned and prepared for this race but actually came in 2 minuets slower than my first, but I am ok with that! My first race was in MUCH cooler conditions so considering all the variables that came into play race day I am happy with my time.
For those of you that have been following my journey you know that I have been training fat adapted, and I love it. However, what I was not prepared for was traveling to a foreign country and staying compliant with my diet given the choices that I had. I felt so restricted with my choices (and overwhelmed) that I ended up eating rice and some other carbohydrates that I usually restrict just to ensure that I had enough calories to race. I still kept it as "clean" as I could so I don't really think that my performance was adversely affected by it. I honestly think it affected my recovery more than anything. I am in touch with a nutrition coach that specializes with endurance athletes and fat adapted nutrition, so I am hoping that will help me as I continue to train.
For this race I used a bike service offered by Specalized - BEST DECISION EVER. Travelling with your bike can be expensive and stressful. You break it down, pack it in a bag and then trust the airline employees are going to treat it like the fragile, expensive piece of equipment that it is. The Specalized bike team met me at the airport and picked up my bike when I landed! They put it together, tuned it up and stored it for the days leading up to the race. Post race they cleaned my bike, packed it up and took it to the airport A WEEK LATER when we flew out! I really feel that they went above and beyond with their service and I can not thank them enough for the amount of stress they took off my plate.
The night before any race I am very anxious. I like to lay all of my stuff out and make sure I am prepared for a smooth morning and then get to bed early. Well apparently the whole city of Lapu-Lapu decided they were going to have a raging party. The music was so loud that it was IMPOSSIBLE for me to sleep... at 11 P.M. I started to tear up with anxiety of not getting any sleep before my race. I finally put on my husbands noise cancelling headphones and got about 2-3 hours of decent sleep. When race morning rolled around the hype of getting to the start line made me shake off my lack of sleep and I was ready to race!
The swim has typically been my least favorite event in the triathlon world, but lately I have found myself not hating it so much! There were talks about the swim being cancelled because of the water conditions and I actually found myself hopeful that it wasn't! Luckily race morning they made the call that the swim would happen. This was my roughest race swim to date, but also a solid performance (for me). I have never been confident with my swim so when I registered I put a time that would put me in the last wave of swimmers to go. I won't be doing that again... The entire time I was swimming through groups of people, getting hit, getting kicked and getting pulled... when I came out of the water I had caught up to the wave of people in front of me. Next time I will start a little earlier in the pack so I don't have to swim through so many people. So while the swim was tough, it really built my confidence with how much improvement I have made since starting.
The bike has always been my jam. I enjoy it and I was pretty strong going into my training with it, so my confidence has always been strong on the bike. My first lap of the course I held back a little bit just to feel out the hills and the headwind. The second lap I picked up the pace and it felt good! The headwind was tough in one direction but the tailwind more than made up for that when you turned around. I was very grateful for the hilly terrain and headwind in Guam because I was definitely prepared for that course. No warnings or penalties for drafting so I would call it a successful ride!
The run was HOT! I am used to the hot weather so I feel like my training prepared me for that. I would have liked to had a bit faster pace but at the end of the day, given the variables I am satisfied with my time. Just like the bike I wanted to be conservative on the first lap of the run, just to feel out the terrain and heat/shade situation. My plan was to pick the pace up on the second lap of the run but I ended up keeping a pretty even split the entire time. Had I slowed down I would have been upset with my run but I easily kept my pace the entire time so I am happy with that! The course was shaded for the most part and lined with TONS of people so that helped keep my motivation high! There were a few miles that were out in the blazing sun and those were tough miles that would slow me down a bit, but it never stopped me! I stopped/slowed at every aid station on the course and had ice put down my top and grabbed hydration. The temperature was in the high 90's with extreme tropic humidity so hydration can make or break you on the run. The ice in my top helped keep me from ever really feeling like I was running a half marathon, in the late morning, on a tropical island. Around mile 5 of my run I could feel the right insert of my shoe moving. By mile 6 it was out the back of my shoe and rubbing my achilles raw. I did not realize how bad it was till I stopped at an aid station around mile 9. I just pulled the insert out and ran the rest of the race with out it... In hind site I should have stopped, taken my shoe off and put it back in...but "race Tabitha" can be a little crazy and did not want to take that time. Well lesson learned from the blisters that came from the last few miles without an insert in my shoe! My favorite part of the run was when a group of young girls saw me and screamed "GIRL POWER!" I yelled it back and high fived them all as I ran by - something about that just gives you a little more "GO"!
I am now 3.5 months out from doing a full IronMan 140.6 mile race. My performance in this race has really made me feel confident with where I am at in my training for that race! I went into this race wanting a faster time than I had in my last race but given the heat conditions, nutrition issues leading up to race day and lack of sleep the night before I am extremely happy with my performance. At no point during this race did I question my ability or have doubts about finishing, I felt strong the entire race. While this race is an individual competition the day of, it took a kick ass team to get me to the start line. My coach, Cameron ONeal, who is quite the accomplished athlete himself, has really helped me improve in all three disciplines of this sport. I am grateful for all of his awesome knowledge and support to help get me ready. Coach Cam has really helped me grow as a triathlete and I am excited to be the next athlete on his team to complete a full IronMan. I am also lucky to be surrounded by tons of awesome triathletes on Guam. They all motivate me and join me for long rides, open water swims and sometimes I can even get a running partner! The community out here is amazing and I am thankful to be part of it! There is no way I could do any of this with out my biggest supporter, my husband. On days I did not want to get up and train (it happens) he would remind me of my end goal. When I am doubting my ability he is quick to remind me of how far I have come... Sometimes I think he believes in me more than I believe in myself - and for that I am thankful! He travels around the world to support me and watch me race, which means he is up at 3 A.M. with me and heading to the start line with me. He waits 6 hours in the sun to hopefully see me at transition, or maneuver to a spot on the course and see me for a few seconds and cheer me on. He is at the finish line with a big smile ready to listen to me recap the WHOLE race about 10 times...that my friends is love.