Everyone Can Have a Bad Race

| June 26, 2014

by: Joella Baker

This past Saturday I headed to Virginia for the Kinetic Half Ironman. I went into the race knowing it was a training day, but it was still a race none the less. The purpose, two fold. To support Jeff Platt as he raced his first half Ironman and to see how out of shape I am as race season approaches. From a coaching stand point, I couldn’t have asked for a better day. Jeff hit his numbers and had a phenomenal day. Qualifying for Long Course Nationals and running incredibly off the bike. I was so happy for him.

As for me, my bad luck started with a flat rear tire as I sat in my hotel room on Friday afternoon. A quick change, and flat again. Cleaned the rim again and changed it again and this time it held, no problem. Jeff and I rode a bit and it continued to hold pressure. There weren’t any issues throughout the night or the morning until I got to the race. I opened the valve stem to check the pressure and all the air leaked out. I tried to add air and it wouldn’t hold. That led me to the bike support crew. I purchased a new tire and tube. They changed the tire for me that morning and everything seemed to be fine. Luckily there was a fog delay that morning so I was able to get into transition and get set up. The swim went fine that morning and as I exited, I noticed I was one of the first out of my wave into transition. I decided I should check my tire just to be sure. It was flat again. Not just flat, it blew out completely. So hard that the tire came over the rim. I quickly got my gear on and carried my bike out of transition and to tech support, exiting the course. Tech support was already out on the course, so a woman at their booth helped me check back over my bike and eventually change another tire. I headed out on the course and the tire held. The first loop I rode very conservatively afraid of every bump I hit. It was holding fine, so I cranked out the second loop as hard as I could. In fact a little too hard. I completely over rode the bike, averaging over 20 MPH for the second loop and it left very little for the hilly run ahead.

I have to say it was one of the first races I honestly thought about just stopping. Nothing was going right, but since it was a training day, I decided to just continue as if it were a training. I knew even with everything that happened, including a very poor nutrition and hydration plan I could still beat 6 hours, so I focused on only running fast enough to break 6 hours and not allow myself to get to exhausted on a day that was shot any how. I ran easier, by choice at first, but by the last loop of a three loop hilly course, running fast simply wouldn’t be an option. I was thirsty, hungry and tired and out there longer than I should have been. I maintained my pace and crossed the finish line in 5:57:30. I thought at that point I had broken 6 hours, but later I found out I received a penalty for exiting the course at the beginning of the bike and seeking assistance with my bike. I guess I knew it was a possibility that I would get a penalty for that, but while I was racing I just didn’t know I actually did. My time of 5:57 became a 6:01 after my penalty, so in the end I didn’t break 6 hours. I guess I should have run harder. The race was a mess, but I got experience dealing with a stressful situation during a race. It gave me the confidence to know that I really can change a tire well and it will hold throughout a race and I’m just happy that I had the chance to finish an other half Ironman, this early in the season, under some tough circumstances. The weekend certainly wasn’t a waste. I know I need to swim a lot more, focus on more speed on the bike. Endurance was fine, but my speed wasn’t where it should be and I certainly need to practice running off the bike more.

We can all have a bad race day. It doesn’t matter who you are. The most important thing is to keep on moving and look at what you can learn from the experience. There is always something you can learn in every race you compete in, good or bad.

Category: Archive

Comments are closed.