Well the short answer is “Oooft.” That race didn’t go well at all…it was NOT good. Probably…no, definitely my worst race ever. What made it so bad? Was it the conditions -- inland inter-coastal Texas bayou swim in dark water that even hid your hand on your swim pull; steady 25mph cross/head wind with gusts over 30 on bike with no tailwind on way back (it naturally changed directions on the way back) still air and 100+% humidity (yes…I realize this is impossible, but oh it felt like it!) on the 3-loop run course. NOPE! Every single person out there had the same conditions. Some had a phenomenal race, others didn’t.
So, what was the problem? ME! I’ve been racing for 6 years now and coaching for over a year now. This was my 4th Half-IM but I missed several things. Some I know better, some were experimental for both myself and my athletes, and some were choices I made. Here’s a breakdown:
1. My Spring Break trip fell at the wrong time for this race. With better planning, I could have picked a race on a different week with MUCH less effect. I missed some key training during that week – but I also had an awesome family trip. Lesson learned. Training is important, but family trumps training. Choose your races wisely!!
2. I didn’t hydrate myself properly the day before. (I know better)
3. I didn’t have my usual full pre-race breakfast or banana. (I know better, but I let travelling get in the way)
4. In my training, I didn’t focus on the swim portion. This was experimental to see if upper-body strength exercises could substitute for pool time. It did not!
5. I didn’t use enough salt for my bike nutrition, nor did I take in any extra salt like I normally would in those conditions. (I know better)
6. During training, I didn’t ride my tri bike enough, and when I did I didn’t ride in aero. Well duh…you have to train in aero to race in aero! It wasn’t comfortable, so I let it go and ran out of time to make the proper adjustments before the race. No aero also decreases power, so I was unable to go any higher than 210. I was planning on doing 240. (I know better)
7. My race day nutrition was off. I tried a Payday while running and about choked – never try anything new on race day. (I made a choice)
8. I tried caffeinated sport drink and gels to substitute for more coffee before the race, which elevated my heart rate excessively – again, new on race day (bad choice)
I have another Half-Ironman in 2 weeks. I’ve been swimming regularly, and I will hydrate properly and revise my nutrition plan. I believe the results will reflect a different kind of day. So, we shall see how this next race goes. Every race is a learning process and I am constantly learning. If you’re thinking, why would I want a coach who can make this many mistakes or doesn’t know everything I would say any coach or any person who says they never do or knows everything is not being truthful.
I will leave you with this…Train harder! Train smarter! Finish strong!