Madison 70.3 - first "Race" back.

Well, that was interesting.

I did Madison 70.3 yesterday. It was my first race back from all my surgeries and injuries.

A brief re cap –
I had surgery on both of my Achilles over the last 14 mo. That’s about a 12-month rehab process, and while I thought I could beat that timeline, I wasn’t able to. I think I could have with 1 but the issues around having both sides done, for whatever reason was a lot. In addition to that my hips were compensating for the lack of calf strength that I still battel with and were becoming sore to the point they were considering MRI to see if there was a tear. I told them this wasn’t a conversation I was willing to have right now…

Anyway, no excuses, just that’s where I am. I have been biking a lot and while swimming a ton, have been swimming on my own all the time.

I felt strong for the bike going in, and knew my swim was solid but wasn’t sure how well I was going to go relative to how well I used to swim. So, I was excited to see.

I truly haven’t run in about 18 months. Yes, I have had periods were I could run. My 2 longest runs were 10 miles each. There really were only 2 of those. I did jump in a half marathon that I surprisingly held up the pace (1:28) quite well with no running prep for it, but that’s was f’d my hip up about 8 weeks ago and I haven’t run at all since.

Since then I have been walking at an incline on the treadmill. It's great for rehab, keeps the HR up but it's 65% different muscles to walk than run, something I learned this year. Well, I learned it when I walked at IM FLA before surgery – LOL

I was supposed to do IMTX which I knew wasn’t really an option so I had to withdraw.
I was supposed to do IMFLA 70.3 but still wasn’t ready
I’m signed up for LP, but will not be ready so had to withdraw

I was tempted to punt Madison too considering I haven’t been running… Jim thought it was a good time to get back in the game though and see. Additionally, Tanya was going there to race and I was going to be there all weekend and didn’t feel like watching again.

I agreed, but wanted to keep training all week. The last thing I wanted to do was taper for a race that I wasn’t ready for when all I want to do is regain some fitness.

Couple of the options going in were:
- Just do the swim and Bike.
- Do the swim and bike and od a run/walk pattern.
I really didn’t want to risk anymore injury setbacks (it's been almost 3 years of injuries – I’m over having them)

In my mind, I wanted to start at the back swim and ride great then do one of those options. However, I didn’t want to have to swim over people, and given there was several miles of bike path at the beginning of the bike, I didn’t want a lot of crowds to deal with there. Additionally, Scott Iott asked if I would start towards the front with him to help pace him on the swim, so I went up front.

Swim -
I liked the rolling start, it was nice to not be pounded. I think most people set themselves in the right spot which was nice. My pacing and effort was a bit forgotten so I trusted some of the swimmers around me after hundred yards and just drafted. I figured even if a touch slow (which in the end I went around them) the day wouldn’t be about a min here or there in the swim for me.
26:57 (1st AG)

This is where the day got interesting. I had done literally NO course recon other than listening to some thoughts from others. I really didn’t care because truly it was just going to be a hard effort. In training if I try a new course, I would just use the course management skills I know how to use. If I come to a hill, ride it like I would a hill, etc. So I rolled with that.

It was a tough, hotter very windy day. It ended up being over 2K feet of climbing.

The issue was in the first 3 miles both my nutrition which included my Infinit nutrition (salt and carbs) were tossed. I was left with 1 bottle of coke and a single gel. (I couldn’t stop and get them, they rolled into a ditch under the bridge). I tried to get stuff at the aid stations but the volunteers were doing that thing where they don’t put there arm up with the nutrition so I ended up getting cliff blocks which are hard to navigate on super bumpy roads. The point is I just didn’t get all the nutrition I probably needed.

Whatever, it was just a training day and I have practiced being light on calories in training I told myself. Thank God I had practiced that because I was feeling it for sure.

I wanted to bike a bit better, but had to start finding places to relax and conserve power. I ended up with only 285 NP but the first 90 min was closer to 300 so you can see where I dropped off a bit. Ride ended up at 2:18

Now here is where it gets interesting. I had a 3-motorcycle escort and from what I could assess and was later confirmed, about 6-7 min lead…

So, revisiting my original options. I would feel like a total dick not starting the run. Literally EVERYONE hears my name coming in, cyclists waiting for me to start the run…. SO, I reluctantly started.

Run… Well Walk run, well more walk than run (not really but kind of)
I didn’t want to have to explain the cyclists my walk run strategy so I thought I would just run steady and smooth until (hopefully soon) people would pass me and I could hide in a crowd. I used to try to run sub 6:20 pace so when I started out at basically 8 min pace, I was being conservative.
The cyclist would keep encouraging me to stay strong they are still a way back, and I would sometimes explain, that no, in fact I wanted them to hurry up and catch me. LOL

While I was feeling NO INJURIES for literally the first time in years, my quads were so locked up and cramping it literally was almost impossible to move them. I have no idea it was from the lack of nutrition, or the fact I truly haven’t run, but this was my reality.

Please someone, come catch me.

Mercifully, Ryan caught me about 20 min in and then a few more started to come by and I could start to really do my run walk. I wanted to do 4/1 but it wasn’t lining up well with eh aid stations and I NEEDED some hydration and was even trying to eat pretzels and chips to get the salt.

A few guys would pass and would think, let’s go, lets run with them, I just couldn’t. People would encourage me and tell me I looked strong (probably the same people who say child birth is beautiful). While I appreciated the encouragement, I knew I looked like shit. I saw some 12 min miles in there, those were fun…. Then I just wanted to try to break my bike split which I did – BARELY. OMG. 2:14.

So that’s where I am. My swim and bike seem to be back to par. My run, just hasn’t been worked yet. I need to assess how and what I need to do to get that back. Still deciding that, but I felt good that once I do get my run going again, I can still play at the front for a bit.

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