San Juan 70.3 Race Report

I kicked of the 2015 season with the San Juan 70.3 last weekend.  It was a tough race and I finished a bit disappointed with my performance. But with my 6th place finsih, I earned back some money and finished with a smile. I can't complain too much about that!
Pre-Race: Do I Race or Not??
The trip to Puerto Rico was a wonderful experience and one that I would have majorly regretted if I opted not to go.  And opting not to go did figure heavily into my pre-race prep!  With only 5 weeks of training under my belt (including a high volume training camp with QT2 Systems ending just 16 days before the race), I questioned if I'd be ready, but then decided, why not, who knows maybe I'll surprise myself?  That sort of strategy only works when everything aligns perfectly.  Before I even left Brooklyn, things began to unravel. An accident on the Belt Parkway left me with a missed flight and a Delta agent telling me, "well, we can get you on a flight next Tuesday." With the help of my sisters, I found one other option for getting to PR before the rae. Even though it meant I had to taxi myself from JFK to Newark Airport (can anyone argue against this being one of the worst drives in existence?  Didn't think so.) I went for it.  I contemplated just getting out of the cab and staying in Tribeca and calling it a day, but Leezie (my older, wiser sister) counseled me out of that one with a show tune - Let it Go, of course.  I did just that and arrived in San Juan at 1am, 15 hours after I set out from NYC.  Oh yeah, it was Friday the 13th.
I'm Glad I Went
When I stepped out of the airport, now the 14th, things completely turned around and I was greeted by Glorimar Vega my host for the weekend. Triathlon is a very welcoming community and I was fortunate to be set up with Glori through our mutual friend Ramon. I'm so grateful for the Vega family for opening their home to me and taking care of me for the weekend.  
Glori even made my big carbo loading breakfast - yes 6 pancakes!  I put together my bike in their secluded backyard with their dogs curiously sniffing my bags.  Marcos, Glori's husband took me to a park to test out my bike and then drove the bike course with me pointing out every point of wind change.  He also raced, so when the 3:30am alarm came the next morning I had someone to drink coffee with!  
The Race
On to the race, it started out perfectly to plan: stay with Sarah Haskins as long as possible on the swim.  I settled behind Sarah and stayed there for the majority of the swim.  She pulled away from me about 1500 meters in and I couldn't hang - she is just SUCH a good swimmer.  I was still very happy about being 2nd out of the water. It was my first time wearing the ROKA Viper speed suit and I felt great in the water.  
I got on to my bike and started to push myself right away.  There were a few bumps in the road and after about 10 minutes my Garmin computer flew off after I hit one of them.  I flagged down an official and told him I didn't mean to litter and he said it was ok. Then a photographer passed by and I begged him to go back and try to find it for me.  Thank you Jay!!  He got it and gave it to me at the end of the race.  Really grateful for that.  I was so happy that I didn't lose my Garmin that I didn't even dwell on the fact that I had no power or time or heart rate.  I just went as hard as I could.  Unfortunately, at mile 40 I ran out of gas.  I went from a podium spot to 7th...yuck.  
The run in San Juan is notoriously difficult.  It is hot, humid, has no shade and includes some steep hills and cobblestones.  I love this kind of run.  I didn't feel so well for the first few miles but started to get into a groove when I ran smack into a spectator who walked not the course in front of me.  OUCH!  We were both ok, I think.  I felt like I could have started crying and pouting and just call it a day at that point, OR use the energy from the collision to pick up my pace and try to do some damage and earn a paycheck on the second lap.  That's what I did.  I ended up with a negative split run and in 6th place, just a minute or so from the spots in front of me.  
After all of that, I couldn't help but smile and feel grateful for the opportunity to race and travel to Puerto Rico.  I met some wonderful people, I got to see old friends and I also got to witness first hand Sarah Haskins winning her first 70.3 - that was awesome!!
The day after the race Glori took me to her favorite coffee shops and to a Puerto Rican lunch.  All excellent and the perfect way to recover from a half ironman.
I'll be racing next in Oceanside, CA on March 28.

 

--Laurel