Legend 100 Race Report

Going into my first triathlon of the season, I was pretty nervous.  A new, longer distance, a few training road bumps, and an intimidating weather forecast had me a bit worried last week.  Today’s post is basically a recap of the race.   I also need to do a post thanking and recognizing all who got me here!  It truly takes a village!

The race was located in Lawrence, Kansas, which is about 40 minutes away from where my in-laws live.  On Saturday morning my husband and I drove over to pick up the packet and check out the course.   At check-in, I notice that they have me down for the wrong race, the 70.3 instead of the 100 mile race (a very mean temptation when I was already nervous about the 100!).  I wait in a line to get that switched and feel a bit uneasy about it because they switched my number and scribbled the change down on a piece of notebook paper.  When I make my way back over to the packet pickup, they call me Julie.  I have to explain again that they just assigned me this new number, they assure me it will get changed.  After that, we talk to someone from a local bike store about the course.  He had no affiliation with the race but was giving people more information about the course than anyone else there.  After that we head out to drive the bike course and I realize that I underestimated the hills in Kansas.  I was worried about having to walk my bike up a couple of the hills I saw.  Yikes. After getting back to my in-laws house, I begin to go through the information in the packet and notice that I don’t have a timing chip.  I look for a phone number on the website, my e-mails, etc but there was no phone number given.  Then on the race’s Facebook page there is a phone number given, I call it and someone answers “Pizza Shuttle”.  Wrong number….  So then I send an e-mail, hoping that I will hear back about the timing chip quickly to avoid having to drive another hour and a half round trip.  As the afternoon wore on and I didn’t hear, we decided to drive back and get the timing chip.  The timing chips were in a separate tent, hidden behind a shack where they were selling t-shirts.  And no one mentioned this to us in the morning when we were there.  Frustration was growing.

We planned to arrive pretty early Sunday morning.  Transition was open from 5:00-6:15 and races started at 6:30 AM.  We entered the park at about 5:10AM, immediately in a long line of cars waiting to park.  As there was only one road going in and Kansas had lots of rain the week prior, parking was a mess.  And took FOREVER….Add to that a long walk to transition (close to a mile).  It was 6:15 and we were still walking down the hill to transition (as were lots of others).  I quickly set up transition and got to the start about 3 minutes before my wave began.

SWIM- 2 Miles.  Time 1:12:08 Choppy. Crowded.  That’s probably all I really need to say about it.  It was the roughest waters I’ve ever attempted to swim in.  The course was a mile rectangle that you swam twice, but had to get out of the water and go around a dock to start the second lap.  Going out the first lap was really choppy, but eventually I got used to it.  Then the second lap was extremely crowded as some of the other shorter races were starting at the same time.  I got hit and kicked a lot.  And it was still choppy.  Eventually the swim ended.  It was slower than I’d have liked, but I’m pretty happy with how I handled more challenging conditions than I’ve ever been in. DSC_4716DSC_4718

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Body language here pretty much reads “I seriously have to do another lap of that?!?!!”

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Not my best breathing technique……Let’s say I was sighting here.

DSC_4727 T1- 3:44 I took my time a lot more in transitions for this race than in my previous ones.  I wanted to make sure I got everything right, not forgetting nutrition or anything like that.  In hindsight, I could have sped up more….My bike was also racked at one of the farthest points away from the Bike Out/In part of transition so it was a lot of navigating around other people. DSC_4732DSC_4733DSC_4735 BIKE- 80 miles.  Time 5:04:40.  Average speed 15.8 mph In the first minute of the bike I looked down to see that my bike computer wasn’t working.  It was measuring cadence, but not speed or distance.  I knew I could stop and adjust the sensor and get it working quickly, but decided just to go with it.  I had my Garmin 920 watch on.  It showed me my average speed for each lap (5 miles), so I had a decent idea but not constant feedback like I do with my bike computer.  I decided it may be a good thing to ride more by feel and not worry about the numbers so much.

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This is just after getting on the bike. Nutrition perked me up shortly after!

The bike course was really beautiful country roads, but definitely hillier than what I’m used to.  I can say with certainty that I rode the steepest and longest hills of my life in this race.  But I made it up each of them.  I focused on trying to keep a pretty even effort and just getting in whatever gear I needed to do that.  The highlight of the bike course came on a hill.  There was another woman who had passed me twice, only to have me pass again.  When I passed her the last time (on an uphill), she said “You are a billy goat!”.  As a rider who doesn’t really feel confident on hills, this was really the best thing anyone could have said to me! Aside from the hills, there were also winds.  I’ve seen people saying 20 mph.  In the month of May I had two long bike rides: 100 miles and 82 miles.  Both were extremely windy and helped Sunday seem more bearable. The final miles of the bike featured some of the most challenging hills of the course for me.  I was happy to have made it up them and ready to be off the bike. These pictures are all in the last mile of the bike course, happy to have the hills and wind behind me! DSC_4748DSC_4755 DSC_4757

T2- 6:58 Not sure what the chances of this are, but the two people who I finished the bike course with were on either side of me in transition.  We briefly chatted about the tough bike course, how the run was going to involve more walking than we wanted and sunscreen.  I counted on sunscreen being applied in transition like the pre-race information said but hadn’t seen it.  The girl next to me was kind enough to share some sunscreen because I knew I needed to re-apply and had sent my sunscreen with my husband before the start of the race.  Getting compression socks on at this point was a slow process, but I’m glad I did.  I should probably work on faster transitions for my next race.

RUN- 18 miles.  Time 3:23:40.  Average pace 11:19/mile. Hot. Humid. Sunny.  Walk/Run Combination.  Again, I could probably just say that. The run course was a 3 loop course through the park with little shade.  As temps reached 94 in the afternoon it was hot.  The wind we had battled on the bike was basically all blocked on the run so there was little breeze.  I knew immediately that any time goals were out the window and just focused on forward movement.  My first miles were brutal and I really thought I would be walking the majority of the 18 miles.  As the course wound through the park, I was pleasantly surprised to find numerous campsites where people had hoses hooked up and were patiently standing there all afternoon spraying runners.  Walkers.  Whatever we were at that point.  This may really be the game changer that got me through the race.  I took full advantage every time I passed one of these good samaritans with a hose.  Because of the looped nature of the course, I was able to see my cheer squad, as well as a few friends also on the course competing multiple times through the afternoon.  That was nice.  In different conditions, this race could have been so fun!

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View of part of the run course.
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This is at about mile 5 of the run.
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One of many amazing aid stations. SO many great volunteers got me through this race.
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One of many walks of shame that day!
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Mile 15. At this point I’ve added a wet towel around my neck. LIFESAVER!!!!
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Last half mile. So ready to be done!
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And finally the finish! 100 miles- DONE!

TOTAL TIME: 9:51:06.

  • 2ND PLACE AGE GROUP
  • 11TH FEMALE
  • 38TH OVERALL

TEACHER GRADING SCALE: Swim– B+  I could have had better form to have had more speed, but given the conditions this was a good swim for me. Transitions– C-  Ok.  I really just got lazy in the transitions on this race and wasn’t really rushing. Bike– B+  I’d like to have more experience on hills, in wind and long distances.  This will come with time. Run– A-/B+  While I didn’t come anywhere close to the time I typically do on long runs, just being able to do some combination of running and walking on this day was an accomplishment.  In hindsight I think I could have run a bit more than I did, but overall I’m pleased with it. Nutrition– A+  I feel like I really nailed nutrition this race.  Leading up to the race I did a healthy fat load, followed by a carb load, as recommended by this book.  I kept very careful intervals on the bike where I was taking in nutrition.  This kept me from being in deficit on the run.  On the run I was still pretty methodical about my nutrition, taking it in at very specific intervals, but I also added in stuff from the aid stations as needed.  I really don’t feel like my energy stores were ever in the tank, and aside from the heat, feel like I was pretty consistent the whole race. A huge thanks to Hammer Nutrition for providing me with such great products.  I used Perpetuem and Montana Huckleberry gels on the bike, Fizz and Chocolate and Peanut Butter Chocolate on the run.  I also took these supplements each hour to keep me going:  Endurolytes Extreme, Anti-Fatigue, Endurance Amino and Race Caps Supreme.

Getting my nutrition ready before the race.
Getting my nutrition ready before the race.

OVERALL– A- Given how worried about this race I was and how brutal the conditions were, I’m very pleased with how it turned out.  I was slower in all three disciplines than I planned, but everyone was that day.  I ended up placing pretty well, as everyone had to suffer through the same conditions. I wanted to go beyond the 70.3 distance and have the confidence going into Boulder that I will be able to complete it and I accomplished those goals.  I have a better idea of what my body thinks of the longer event and the extreme conditions and have about 8 weeks to continue to train and improve.  What was a tough day is now a happy memory of a huge accomplishment! DSC_4828

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Do you ever really feel ready?

More often than not I tend to be counting down towards something, anticipating a big event in life.  Graduations, wedding day, arrival of babies, new jobs.  Major life events.  And races.  Ha.  This anticipation leads to nerves, which often leads to not feeling ready.  I love being challenged, I’m sure that is why I get nervous with all of these events.

This weekend I have my first triathlon of the year, and my third triathlon ever.  It’s safe to say I’m in worry mode, and have been there for a few weeks.  This Sunday, I will tackle Legend 100, a race in Lawrence, Kansas consisting of a 2 mile swim, 80 mile bike, 18 mile run.

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When I signed up for this distance as part of the training for my ironman in August, I chose it because I wanted to go beyond the 70.3 distance to feel more comfortable when IM Boulder arrives.  Now that Legend 100 is upon me, I’m not feeling very ready or confident.  My long runs haven’t gone above 13 miles since December when I did the Rocket City marathon.

My hand and elbow are still healing from my bike crash last week so I’m nervous about the swim (specifically peeling off the wetsuit and whether I take half of my elbow skin with it) and the bike (I’m still not able to grasp much of anything with my left hand).

Now add to that the race day forecast: Hot and Humid.  Specifically it will feel like 92 degrees in the afternoon when I’m to the run.  I’ve not gotten in much heat training because it’s the beginning of summer and most of my workouts are in the morning.

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I keep reminding myself that I’ve been training a lot more and a lot more consistently than last year when I tackled the 70.3 distance.  I have a good foundation in all three sports and while my long runs haven’t been above 13 miles in 6 months, I’ve been getting in double digit long runs mostly every week for the last 8 months.  That should help.  Right?

All this to say, I know part of tapering is worrying about nothing.  Raceday will be exciting, fun at times, challenging at times and I’m sure I will learn a lot from it that I will apply to IM Boulder.  There are lots of things about the weekend I’m looking forward to.  The race organizers seem to have done a really great job with race setup and logistics and my husband is from KS so we’ll get to hang out with the in-laws prior to the race.  I also keep reminding myself that I love doing this and the journey is half the fun.

Ready or not, Legend 100, I’m coming for you!

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May training

My month of May flew by.  Somehow the closer I get to my big race, the faster time is going.  I wish it would slow down!

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A fun 63 mile ride- Tour de Stooges

Swim Totals- 13 miles.  I had a swim focus week early in the month that was really enjoyable and an open water swim that helped me get more comfortable in open water as well as reassure me about going beyond the 1.2 mile distance in a swim.

Bike Totals- 479.18 miles.  A few long weekend rides really helped this number.  My bike focus week was a big letdown because of my crash.

Run Totals- 55.31 miles.  This is the reason I’m really nervous for the run portion of my upcoming triathlon, I really should have gotten a lot more running miles in.

My month was kind of a mixed bag.  I had some workouts, particularly long bike rides during the month that were new challenges that I mostly held up to.  The latter part of the month had some challenges I’d like to have skipped: a nasty cold, my first rib out of alignment causing some shoulder pain and my first crash on my bike (Dogs and bikes don’t mix…).  These all caused some missed and shortened workouts that have left me feeling less prepared than I’d like to.

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When a dog runs into your front wheel.

Favorite Nutrition- I’m really loving Hammer Perpetuem on my long bike rides.  The orange vanilla flavor is really yummy without being too sweet and it really helps to keep my energy up.

Favorite Gear- I got some Oiselle strider shorts back in January and have been absolutely loving these for long runs the last couple months.  SO comfortable!

Not me, if only I looked this good (or did hills)
Not me, if only I looked this good (or did hills)

Favorite Snack- I’m hooked on avocados lately.  Of course guacamole is always good, but even if I don’t have that, just slicing up an avocado for an afternoon snack is quick, easy and keeps me from eating the entire kitchen.

Favorite Workout- I have to go with a long brick workout from this month.  I got to do my first Open Water swim in a non race setting, got almost 2 miles in there, followed by an 82 mile bike.  All this was done with some friends from my local tri club so I was never suffering alone.  Although the return portion of the bike was really windy and I’m rather horrible in windy conditions, it was still a good workout that wins as my favorite for the month.

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Open water swimming! So fun.
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A photo op I couldn’t pass up.

Favorite family time- Ironman training requires a huge commitment of time and energy.  Although I try to keep it from interfering with family life as much as possible, the reality is that it does sometimes.  My favorite moments this month were when my kids expressed interest in joining in on some of the same activities.  My 11 year old daughter completed an 18 mile road ride with me, my 8 year old son and I biked to school one morning and my son has run with me for a mile at a time multiple days as part of the Runner’s World Run Streak #rwrunstreak challenge.

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After 18 road miles with my daughter
#rwrunstreak day 1
#rwrunstreak Day 1
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Bike to school day

Favorite side effect- Obnoxious tanlines.  I’m really torn on whether I love or hate this part of triathlon training, but I’ve got all sorts of weird tanlines going on and it’s only the beginning of June!  It did present a problem on a rare occasion where I was trying to dress up this month.

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The months are flying by.  Now that I’m out of school, I’m hoping to really up the training and not have any more of the setbacks that plagued the second half of my month.