Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Silver Lining - San Juan70.3

Life has been beyond crazy since getting back from San Juan a few weeks ago! However, I am a few hours away from my departure for South Africa and couldn't start this (LONG) journey before touching on the last one. My trip to San Juan was short and is the theme for me when I travel to 70.3 races. Minimize my time away from home/work/training; get there, race, get outta town.  I choose the race for it's potential to closely simulate the looming in South Africa: warm, windy, and beautiful! The race itself did not go as I had hoped, but I am 999% happy in my decision to start of my race season there.
The swim course is simply EPIC! The swim course itself is reason enough to rank this race as one of my absolute favorites: clean, clear and warm water with limited surf or current. I went into the race a bit skeptical about how I'd hold up through the swim. 8 days before the race, while out on a trail run, I rolled my ankle. Through my jamming music I heard a momentary earth stopping snap. I hobbled 3 miles back to my car refusing to admit what just happened. Thankfully it was only a sprain.
I quickly learned that you can not swim fast without any ankle flexibility. Here was how things looked a week out from race day:heloooooo cankle!

It is crazy that of the 3 disciplines I was most worried about how my bum ankle would effect the swim. I felt like I was pulling a tug boat behind me, but each day saw great improvements. When the gun went off my mind went blank and off I went.
Any thought of injury or disability was gone as my 2013 season was officially under way. The swim was a one loop in this protected, ocean fed lagoon. I certainly wasn't able to swim up to par and exited the water about 3 minutes down from the leaders.
Once on the bike I knew the next 2+ hours would be my chance to prove (to myself) that the training I put in this winter on the bike is paying off.  I've certainly put in a lot of DWIT trainer sessions this winter. The bike course is flat with increasing winds throughout the day. My legs felt tired, but my power was finally holding where I wanted it to. I went into this race tired, but needing to work on a few mental exercises to prepare me for the race season ahead. I am LOVING my new Scott Plasma. I changed a few things with my positioning this year and within a few short weeks on this new ride already know it was a necessary part of the equation. Overall I am happy with the bike and confident in where I'm at and how things are progressing!
I hit the run course with a little uncertainty in terms of how my ankle would feel. I did not feel racing on it would do any damage in terms of my upcoming race in South Africa, so went for it. I felt great for 3 miles and was holding pace with the male pro's who were out on their 2nd (of 2) loops.  Michael Lovato had raced here in years past and warned me of the portions of the course with suspect footing. Around 3.5miles in you hit a downhill portion with cobble stones. I took the hill slow, and at the bottom of it started feeling some pretty severe pain. That was pretty much the beginning of the end for my day. By the end of lap one I was one unhappy camper. I questioned throwing in the towel, but knew I wasn't the only women out there battling her inner demons. Linsey Corbin suffered some technical issues on the bike. Both Mirinda Carfrae and Caitlin Snow suffered bike crashes. Lesley Smith came down with a bad cold the morning of the race. Things happen, and together we were out there finishing what we started...despite the good, the bad, and the UGLY! There were a lot of ugly moments for me out on the run/walk course, but I am beyond thankful that I experienced this here so I could adapt before Ironman! This indeed was the HUGE silver lining in my not so glorious day.
I couldn't let any more time go by without getting out a quick race report and plug for this race. The city of San Juan was tremendously welcoming and supportive! I have nothing but applauds for the race director, race officials, and volunteers. BRAVO! I am in love with this race, and am happy to see more warm weather early season race- keep 'em coming. 
I'm a few hours from departure on my flight to South Africa. I'll be tweeting away (@ckgregory) and can't wait to share this experience with each of you who are sharing this journey with me. I have been training HARD for a good 10-12 weeks now (with little breaks) and simply can't wait for a little RNR, taper, and Ironman fun!
I'm pretty sure no one else in this airport holds a candle to my packed food bag I'm hauling along! That's all I have time let the travel begin!


Cool Nerd said...

Good going! Any magical tricks to deal with cankle?! I sprained my ankle a week before Oceanside and I wasn't happy with my run.

Mocha John said...

You're not kidding about the cankle!