Challenge Williamsburg 70.3: The Heat is On!

As I am already packing and prepping for another race I realized I should probably write this report before I get too behind!

If you live on the East Coast these days you’ve been accustomed to seeing temps in the 90’s and super high humidity. It feels a bit unlike normal June weather, but, to be honest: I’ve been loving it. Also, I made a pact with myself after being so cold all this winter to never complain about heat, so, there’s that.

The weekend for the race was going to see no relief in temperatures. I drove into Williamsburg (quick trip from Cville!) Saturday morning and went through the routine: a little shake out ride, quick swim in the James River, and then heading to check-in. As always, it was really nice to get to see so many friends at a Challenge event (formerly Rev3). I also had the honor of being on the pro panel for this race! This was super fun and it was great that so many came out to hear what we had to say despite the scorching temps that day! Stu really makes these fun and engaging and if you listen closely, there’s always some good tips to be had here.

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After that it was time to relax! I was staying with one of my athletes, Megan, at a BnB in Colonial Williamsburg: it was awesome! There was a cat, meet Hemmingway:

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BUT the best part was that when I walked in I had an awesome surprise from my athletes. They all had been conspiring behind my back, and Megan put together this amazing birthday board where they sent little notes about funny things I say, and good memories of working with me, etc. This was SO MEANINGFUL. I love it.

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We met up with Leslie’s husband Nate and some of his friends for dinner (Chipotle – duh!) and then Megan and I came back to get things together for the race. It was her first 70.3 and I was so impressed with all her planning and thoughtfulness as she approached the race. Spoiler alert: all her efforts into making a plan and being prepared paid of in heaps as she nailed it!!!

Race morning came early. With a point to point race, you need extra time in the AM to get to T2 first, before shuttling to T1. I did run into Kristin in T2 though – always LOVE to meet fellow smashfestqueens at the races!! (and then get to see them when they have huge PR’s like Kristin did there!!)

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All was good though and before I knew it we were wading out in the James to the start line. The race started, and I saw most of the pack pull away, and the others drop back. With only 9 women racing, it makes for a difficult time finding a pack as there just aren’t numbers for it. I have been doing Long Course masters swimming though and I focused on some of the OWS techniques we’ve been using there, and was content enough with a 31/32 out of the water.

  Photo: Challenge Family Americas

Photo: Challenge Family Americas

I exited on my bike and started up the roads and got ready for what I knew was going to be a lonely ride. Again – with only 9 girls, there’s just not much opportunity for anything else to push you: it’s just you and the bike! I was able to catch one woman about 5 miles in, and I caught sight of the spotter car for the media – so, I knew I was close to the top 5 at least. I kept hammering away, and by the end of the bike I was ready to be done. BUT – I caught sight of Nate at the out and back. He was doing the aqua-bike and so I had a 22 minute head start on him, but he was catching up fast! At dinner the night before we had joked that the real race was between us to T2: I was not going to let him win that!! Luckily I ended up with about 30 seconds on him 🙂

Photo: Challenge Family Americas
Photo: Challenge Family Americas

In T2, I was in 7th place — about 15 minutes behind first place, but only 7 minutes behind 3rd. I took my time and did the things I needed to do to make sure I was starting the run COOL — it was already quite warm! Luckily, the run is 4 loops and a little over half the loop is a shaded trail. While it’s not flat, being out of the sun was way more important. I ignored my Garmin – given the trail portion, plus the heat, there was no way pushing myself for certain paces was going to be necessary – I just needed to work as hard as I could in that heat. Water, salt, ice, water salt ice, watersaltice. I tried to think about nothing other than just staying cool and one foot in front of the other, and I began to see it paying off: I caught one woman who was walking, and then reeled in another on the 3rd loop! Happy to run that final stretch, I hit the finish line with a smile because I knew I was in the money and had put down a strong effort on a tough, tough day. Knoxville redemption: check! I checked the weather and sure enough my suspicions were right: It was HOT for that run:

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Then I got to see Megan cross the line — with a smile!! No doubt about it – if she can execute on a tough hot day like that, she’s ready for Placid!!

A little recovery this last week and some final efforts are underway as I get ready to take on IM Coeur D’Alene next weekend – looks like another hot one so needless to say, bring it on! Thank you to my amazing sponsors who help make these races successful, no matter the conditions 🙂 Smashfest Queen, Dimond Bikes, PowerbarThe Right Stuff, Cadence Running Company, and ISM Saddles!

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