Are you on the square, are you on the level? Are you ready to swear right here, right now, before the devil?
Outlaw 140.6. My 4th iron distance and first non-branded event. I love this distance. Its not my strength – I do much better in 70.3s and shorter tris. The challenge of the distance keeps bringing me back, despite that most of the time during training I say to myself “this is my last one.” Funny side note – I have already registered for IMCA 2018.
Leading into Outlaw, I had done IMCdA 70.3. I love the Coeur d’Alene course. It wasn’t my fastest 70.3 by any means. Even though it was a lead-in and I know better, I was a bummed to come in 8 minutes slower than when I did it last year. Last year it was my “A” race and the weather was not nearly as hot (it was 85 on the run this year, but I actually do ok in the heat so I can’t use that as any kind of excuse). I had a ton of fun out there and that’s what really matters most to me anyway. I came in at a respectable 5:32.
I took a much more laid back approach to training this cycle. My goal was to get through it uninjured, mentally and physically. Physically, I did a great job. Mentally, well, hence the song lyrics at the beginning of this report. Let’s just say that song lyrics are like a mantra and I end up doing a lot of deep thinking during training, especially on the bike. The bike is where the little demons of self doubt also like to get me, so I sing a lot of songs in my head to push them out.
Getting to the race. The Saturday before, I did my all time favorite race, the Fat Salmon open water 3.2 miler. It was my slowest Fat Salmon (1:38, my 5th) but I felt really strong and I had a blast. I am lucky to be able to car pool with some local Master’s swimmers who are incredible athletes and I feel cool just being around them.
We left Tuesday night for Heathrow. My sister drove us to the Vancouver airport 3 hours away, then we had a 9 hour flight, and a 4 hour drive to Nottingham once we reached Heathrow. It was a lot of travel but everyone did fine and shout out to my better half for doing the driving.
Fast forward to Friday, I took my bike into the expo early to see the bike techs. I couldn’t get it to shift properly after putting it back together after being packed. Many thanks to Mark from TFN for taking care of my bike and making sure it was race ready.
Edytte, my athlete and friend, arrived Friday. We’ve done a number of races together and we have a fun time. My kids adore her and it was great to have her racing as well. Saturday we went to the expo, met up with David (teammate doing the race as well, his 2nd Outlaw) and we hit the afternoon practice swim. The water was cool and smooth.
Race morning. Up at 3:30am. Luckily our Air BnB was only a mile or so from the start. My husband drove us and dropped us off. The swim is a mass start. It takes place at a rowing facility, which is a giant rectangle. There are 4 bays and athletes can self-seed. Once the starting horn blows however, its everyone for themselves. I made some friends in my bay, we all figured we’d be around 1:10. We treaded water for a few minutes and the organizers had everybody wave to the spectators. It was a great start to the day. When the horn blew, it was pandemonium. Everyone had to swim to the left to start the course, and it didn’t spread out until about 15 minutes into it. Usually I try to go to the side to avoid being whacked and I did that for the most part. Although I did stand my ground when someone tried to swim over me or got too close. Before I knew it I was making the turnaround, the swim went by really quickly. I had no idea of my time when I came out of the water. The volunteers pretty much grab you, help you up, and make sure you’re getting out of the way and into transition. Later on the run course I asked my husband my swim time. 1:06, which is a PR by two minutes. I was happy about that.
A word on transition. The tent is for all the athletes. Your bags go on hooks which are set up along the sides and on frames down the middle of the tent. I was doing a full change, like I do at all Iron distance events. I grabbed my bike bag, ran to the screened off area, but the screens were pushed into the walls and I could not get back there. Crap! They said “no unnecessary nudity” and considering this race was 70% men and I was the only women I could see in the tent, I had to improvise. I climbed inside the frame where the hooks were, and really awkwardly covered myself with my small swim towel and changed as I kept myself covered. Downed some Genucan and grabbed my bike shoes. I put the towel in with my run stuff, knowing I would need it again to change. I ran in my socks to my bike, and put on my shoes. Socks were soaking wet, but I don’t get blisters usually so I didn’t sweat it. Transition, 10 minutes, which surprised me because it felt like it took forever to change while holding a towel around myself. Thank goodness I had applied anti-chafe everywhere before the swim!
The bike was awesome. Its 3 loops through the countryside although you pass by a few small towns. The miles were flying by. It was cool out, I had my arm warmers on but stuck them in my back jersey pocket about 40 miles in. The course is rolling, with one big hill in the middle. When I hit that I was like, “why can’t I move?” Then I realized everyone around me was going super slow and one guy was even walking his bike. The hill really snuck up on me. Nutrition went fine, I had to stop at the aid station at mile 60 to refill my Genucan and Perpeteum. Special needs was at mile 80 and I didn’t want to wait that long. I was riding mostly with men, I think I saw 2 or 3 women and the leaders were ahead of me. I did take a couple wrong turns and had to back track but generally the course was well marked and had plenty of volunteers at the many traffic circles to point us in the right direction. There were a lot of spectators every time we passed the area close to the start and transition. That was great, people were super friendly and cheering for everyone. This course isn’t closed, and the last few miles are down what feels like a very long driveway. Near the end a car stopped in front of me and this other guy. I was hauling in the BCR and had to abruptly stop and unclip. My calf seized up and I was like oh man, is this going to haunt me on the run? Once we got going again it was difficult as I was in the wrong gear. I spun out my legs a little and the calf got better. The final mile is very narrow driveway with lots of speed bumps (or ramps) so it was slow going. Finally the bike was over and I handed him off to the volunteer. 5:52 total which is a PR by 31 minutes. Although to be fair my previous IMs were Tahoe, Coeur d’Alene and Canada…all very hilly bike courses compared to this one. When I got in they called out “12th woman.” Shit, shit, shit!!! I did not want to know that. Let me just do my own race. I don’t enjoy competing against anyone but myself, and I knew that my run was going to be on the slow side. I may in the future be competitive at this distance, who knows. I’m better at 70.3s and shorter distances. The super competitiveness is what got me OUT of marathoning and into triathlon in the first place. I was tired of working so hard and becoming mentally wrecked, only to shave off mere minutes from my times. I’m not letting that happen with triathlon.
T2 was thankfully quicker than T1, even with my awkward holding the towel change. I felt okay starting the run. My stomach was starting to hurt but I know from previous experience that this is because I need salt. I thought I took in enough TRS on the bike but I guess not. I was prepared with my small container of Base Salts and starting taking that in small increments. After about half an hour I felt a lot better. The course loops around the rowing lake, goes out and back along the river, loops around the lake again, does another out and back, then loops 2 more times around the lake to finish. All this is kept in check by getting wristbands, 3 in total, each time you pass transition. So thankfully I didn’t have to do much thinking about it. I didn’t pay attention my miles, I just ran the course. I saw Kathryn and David’s family a few times, which cheered me immensely.
Kathryn took the above picture. I put my race number on wrong, haha. I took it easy on the run and kept my HR in zone 2. On the second loop a reporter, covering the event for the local news, ran along side me and did a little interview. That was fun, and a nice break from being in my own head. At the end of the interview a man ran by and yelled “down with Brexit” to the camera. Ha! I also passed by David and Edytte a couple times on the run so I knew they were doing ok, and that was very encouraging.
I was able to talk to Matt and the girls a few times on the run. At one point I told them I was feeling terrible (which I always say during an IM run) and Matt said “you’re the toughest person I know.” I thought a lot about that on the run, just saying it over and over again. My husband is awesome and super supportive and knows just what to say. Not to baby me, but to remind me that there is an inner badass and don’t let her down.
Outlaw is great in that your family is allowed to run down the finish chute with you. Camille took pictures while Matt and Lillie ran with me. I look unhappy in this shot but the opposite was true – I was elated to see them and finish with them! I was disappointed in my run, coming in at 4:55. I’ve done better in previous IMs. Something to work on for next season.
Total time: 12:12:11. If only I had waited one second more! 6th in AG. This race was well organized and a super fun event. I would do it again. Thanks to everyone on my team at KR Endurance and to my coach. Special thanks to my incredible family who supports me in all my races, and to my husband who runs with me and listens to all my triathlon talk! I couldn’t do it without you!