Door County Triathlon 70.3

I semi quietly bought a half iron bib for Door County a couple of weeks ago, it was right around the time when the “$100 bib for sale” postings became abundant. My desire to break six hours made me do it. With some of my recent bike and run improvements I thought I had a shot. Instead, the conditions laughed, snorted, and said “Not today, sucker!”

On race morning when I arrived at the park, my first thought seeing Lake Michigan was “There’s no way they’re going to let us swim in that”. Not only were there 2-4 foot swells, but the current was moving quick. I’m a confident swimmer, but I wasn’t sure I could propel myself forward in what I saw. While I was setting up my transition, shivering the cool July temperature and having that internal argument with myself over what layers I would wear on the bike the race director made the announcement that our swim would be shortened to a quarter mile.

So, yay, I’d be breaking six hours! Ha. haha. Sigh.

Swim:  I’m a rare freak in triathlon and enjoy a wavy swim over a flat swim, so I was actually really excited about our shortened swim, that went with the current towards the swim exit. It was nice being in wave 9, so I could observe the waves ahead of me and get an idea of how to handle the swim. When it was my turn I confidently got in, passed some women, swam strong, passed the wave break and WHAM!! I got slapped in the face with a swell and some water went down the wrong pipe. I wasted a minute flailing around, gasping for air, trying to pull my shit together. I wasn’t panicked, just trying to breath right after choking down some Lake Michigan. Once that was over, I was cruising! It was fun, up, down, up, down, zoom zoom!

Swim time:  9:17
Fuel: granola & almond milk for breakfast, gummi chews an hour before swim start.

Bike:  Like I mentioned, it was chilly in the morning and I wasn’t sure what to do about layers. I noticed others in T1 leaving in just their tri kit, so I followed suit. I did however tuck my arm-warmers in my back pocket. The beginning of the bike ride was fun, I was effortlessly flying, averaging around 20+ mph, wheeeee!! I encouraged “nice job!” to as many people as possible. Around halfway through our direction changed, into and with a hefty crosswind. There were stretches when the best I could do was 14mph. The course had enough turns that the headwind wasn’t constant and I could get some relief. When my Garmin hit two hours I had only 18 miles to go, I tried to pedal hard to break three hours. The wind and gradual climb back into T2 turned into a suck-fest for me. I fell into a dark place. The conditions got me.

Bike time:  3:08:20
Fuel: BonkBreaker, 6 fingerling potatoes, gummi chews, one Gu, on course Gatorade.

Run:  As mentioned in all of my long distance triathlon recaps, I force myself to run the full first mile, this one I did in 9:43. It wasn’t bad, wasn’t great, just an “okay, I can work with this” pace. After mile marker 1 I took a short walk break and continued on, when a friend caught up to me. She ran with me for a mile, chatting about the day, and lifted me from the funk I was in from the last 20 miles of the bike ride. Mile two split was 9:34! She continued on, and I tried my best to keep her in sight since she got me moving so quickly for that second mile. I eventually lost her, but looking back I really credit and thank her for my strong run. It truly was my strongest feeling half iron run, thanks to the cooler temps and wind which I appreciated for the first time in the day.

Around mile 11 or 12 I was pacing off of a girl who began to struggle and walk. As I passed her I said “You’re doing great, come on, to the white fence ahead!” and she started running again. That’s all it takes, a simple landmark to motivate someone with! It was fun to encourage as many others as possible.

Run time:  2:16:16
Fuel:  One Gu, on course Gatorade, on course Icee Freeze-pop.

Though I slipped into a dark place on the bike, I ended up having a great day. My bike time is a 3 minute course PR, and my run time is 3 minute half iron run PR. My TrainingPeaks plan may show more yellow and red than green, but seeing these small victories I know I’m doing the best that I can with what I have.


Major props and thanks to Coeur Sports for this most comfortable and stylish kit out there, Roka for the most comfortable goggles I’ve ever worn, and BT Nutrition for hydrating fluids to take leading up to race day!

One comment

  1. Only you could casually sign up for a HIM and do so well! You look great and I love how you take time to encourage others even when you aren’t feeling it.


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