When you are training for an Ironman, it's smart to get some races in to gauge your progress. Events also help prepare your mind, strategy, builds stamina and confidence as well as gain knowledge and humility on what needs extra focus during your training weeks.
The event in Flagstaff was called the Mountain Man and it was a Sprint triathlon. A Sprint Triathlon is a 750m swim, a 12 mile bike ride and then a 3.1 mile run. Here's a recap of how the weekend went.
Desiree, Max and I left Friday morning so we could get acclimated to the altitude. Anthem is about 2000 feet in elevation however the race in Flagstaff was being held at 8000 feet. Once we got settled in our friends cute cabin that we rented, I went to the lake for a brief practice to make sure I wasn't sucking air too bad from the altitude :-) On Saturday, I went back over to the venue for a short bike to ride the race course and then a transition run to keep the body loose for the big day on Sunday. The one obstacle I didn't count on from the weekend was it being unseasonably hot in Flagstaff. The cabin we rented didn't have air-conditioning (got up to 88 inside) so it made sleeping at night challenging. On both nights, I couldn't rest well however that's the beauty of a triathlon - the fact that there's always so many variables between the body and the mind as well as the environment. It teaches people to persevere and push through hard obstacles.
Race day - This is truly my favorite part of racing. Sun is rising and God's power truly shines down upon everyone and everything. There's a buzz in the air and people are excited to test themselves, but most importantly you never know what the race is about to bring in less than an hour. As far as race day preparations, Des, Max and myself got to the race venue about an hour early to set up my gears for my biking transition.
The swim - this was the discipline that I was the most nervous about. I've been swimming mostly in the pool and so I was comfortable in that space, however when you're swimming next to dozens of people, it changes things. The obstacle of altitude made it challenging to breathe as I started out too fast and couldn't catch my breath. I made my way over just outside the main swimming group just to get some clean water and get myself into a groove. It took literally about 10 minutes for me to settle into a groove and this obstacle led me to swimming about 150m more than I needed to just so that I could continue to try to be comfortable. I survived the swim.
The bike - this is always been my strongest discipline. Still dialing in my new triathlon bike, the biking part of the triathlon went as planned. Slow steady incline on the way out, fast steady decline on the way back. I ended up averaging almost 22 mph and my goal for the bike was 35 minutes and I finished in about 33 - goal accomplished. The run - I would call myself a very average runner usually. It's very common to takeoff like a bandit and run too fast out of the gate and I was definitely doing that on this race. My goal was to finish in 27 minutes which would've been a 9:00min/mile average. I unfortunately did not hit my goal on the run, finishing in a little over 30 minutes as the altitude definitely was a racing obstacle. All in all, it was a great weekend to get back to racing and get a feel for where I'm at. I finished 3rd in my age group so I can’t be too disappointed.
The best part of finishing was, that Desiree and Max were there waiting. I can't tell you how much it means to me to have my best friend support me in my endeavors and to go out of her way to make sure that my dreams become a reality. I truly wish everyone could experience that in their life…Des is AMAZING! God blessed my socks off when I met her :)
I highly encourage any Ironman in training to get races and events on the calendar. It gives you a chance to improve your races and trainings. I will double this distance and be back in Flagstaff for another training race in late August. The next couple weeks are going to bring some consistent training opportunities. I am often reminded of my WHY while training for the Ironman, its hard and full of obstacles, but I'm passionate about helping others live their best health and wellness and also bringing community awareness to Youth for Troops. So grateful for the freedoms to train and do the things I love because of our heroes. Please consider sponsoring a hero here: https://bit.ly/2V09T6T as we have five months til the big Ironman event! You supporting both - me as an ironman in training and Youth for Troops means the world to me.