Toughman South Carolina 70.3 lived up to it's name - tough!
The race started out well. 81 degree water temp, thankful for my last minute purchase, I hoped into my Roka swim skin and took off. The course had us swimming out into some windy water, so I was well hydrated coming out of the water after my two loops. It was really encouraging to see my mom and niece cheering as I headed towards transition!
Time for the bike. I was exciting for this part, I had practiced well, and felt better trained than my last 70.3. And, good thing too! Because the bike leg of the race didn't turn out at all like I expected. There was a headwind for nearly the entire ride, a few miles of really rough pavement, and too many false flats and long slow inclines to count. My nutrition derailed quite a bit, and my mindset settled deeper and deeper into the abyss as the ride continued. Somehow, I (barely) held it together into transition.
My coach had me doing lots of run training and, prior to the race, I was excited for the run - dial it in, relax into my paces and carry it home. However, coming off of a rough bike (mentally and physically), it took sheer willpower and determination to keep putting my feet one in front of the other.
At about 3 miles to go, I took an orange slice at a water station and slowed to a walk to eat it. Another racer looked at me and said something to the effect of - dude! you're almost done! don't quit now - and that was EXACTLY what I needed. The mental fog lifted, and I was actually able to enjoy the finish.
I'm very pleased to have finished with a 10 minute PR, especially with all the challenges I faced on the bike and run. And, my time was good enough for 6th female overall (2nd in my age group!)!
I'm very thankful to have shared this journey with so many amazing people. I was able to train with my husband and friends. My coach, Lana Burl, worked me hard and shared my ups and downs. Kevin and Patrick at Podium helped with my bike fit and putting me back together after a long run went off the rails. Kenneth also helped put me back together a few times throughout the season when my body fought back against all the training. And, I had family to cheer me from near and far!
I'm not finished with the 70.3 distance, so much still to learn and apply. But it'll have to wait until next time!