Milkman 70.3 Recap
Everyone knew going into race day that is was going to be hot. So I like many took the needed steps to hydrate a little more for this race. I started a few days early drinking lots of water and pediatric oral electrolyte solutions aka Pedialyte. I also preloaded with salt which is pretty typical for long or hot races.
Race morning started out like any other. I woke up super early and had my cup of coffee and toast. At 5am we headed to the race and arrived around 530am. I got to transition and placed my water bottles. I pumped up my tires as the day before I let some air out. I’ve heard lots of tires pop in the heat and didn’t want to arrive on race morning having to change a tire.
Transition closed at 630am and I headed to the water front. My wave wouldn’t start for over an hour, 737am. The national anthem was sung and the elite group got started. Before I knew it, it was time to go.
I started off towards the front of my age group pack and found a line near the buoys. I knew that I could keep in front of most of them so I got into my groove and pushed it a little to the first buoy. Seeing that I was in front I pulled back to my race pace and before I knew it the first turn came up. On the second stretch I really started to catch the groups in front of me. I took the a further outside line so I didn’t have to deal with weaving in and out of people. After the second turn it was the home stretch. It was really crowded as I was catching waves at least five or six in front of me. When the swim exit came up I pulled into the middle and found a wetsuit stripper to help me remove the full wetsuit I was wearing.
Transition was a long run up a hill and for what might be the first time I remembered the exact location of my bike and transition spot. I slipped on my socks, shoes, helmet and glasses and was off. Transition exit was on the opposite side of the entrance which I ran towards to find the bike mount line.
I knew the first few miles of the bike would be a struggle for me, not because of biking itself but because it was on a bike path which meant passing would be limited. To my surprise it wasn’t too crowded and before I knew it I was hitting the road in which I could really put the hammer down and start passing people.
My goal speed was around 20MPH with a goal time of around 2:40-2:50. The Milkman course was hilly so I knew that this might be tough. I choose to focus on getting to the first aid station in which I wanted to have to grab at least one bottle of water, eat one of my solid waffles for food and take some Base Salt. I managed all of that and hardly slowed down. I made it out to the first aid station so quickly that my family almost missed me, they were walking to the spot they wanted to spectate from and I yelled and waved at them.
I knew between the first and second aid station there were hills, basically all the big hills on the entire course. I wanted to get at least one more bottle of water down and the same solid food and Base Salt. I attacked the hills with my legs feeling great. I played yo-yo with two other guys. I’d pass them on the up hills and they would pass me on the down hills.
The plan was to stick with them as they were in my range and goal speed. At around the second aid station I was no longer seeing them after I had passed them. I grabbed my water and put the hammer down again. My legs were feeling perfect and I thought why not push it a little bit.
The third aid station I wanted to have to grab two bottles of water knowing that it was going to be a hot run. The plan went off perfect. I had two bottles gone and grabbed two new ones at the third and final station.
The remaining section of the course was relatively flat compared to the hill section. I kept having to tell myself to slow down to save for the run but my legs just wanted to go all out. The last few miles I forced myself to slow down to let the legs get ready for a run.
As soon as I entered transition I knew the bike was a record for me and darn right it was, by a long shot. It was an incredible bike averaging around 21.5MPH! Unfortunately one other thing came to mind. How sloshy my stomach was. The amount of water I took in was enough but the solid food wasn’t going to absorb the liquid.
Running out of transition I knew it was going to be a bad run. My coach asked how I was and I simply said, bad. I continued on and things were going fairly well on the first two miles. Between mile two and three my stomach revolted. It wanted nothing to do with running and felt like it was going to make everything come back up.
My girlfriend was biking next to me and would bike up a mile and wait for me for the rest of the run giving my courage and strength to keep going. Back to mile three, my stomach had enough. I had to pull it way back, to a walk. I knew that I needed to take in more water since it was close to 90 and I still had 10 miles left. I drank water and my stomach got worse. At that aid station I basically knew deep down inside that today wasn’t the day for a solid run. I told myself it was all about finishing in very harsh conditions, that was all that mattered now.
I kept going, slogging from aid station to aid station taking in water, trying to run as long as I could and finally giving in. The thing is I made it! I didn’t give up and before I knew it the final stretch was coming up. I found a few friends and teammates, all having bad days and we finished it off. We continued to push toward the finish together.
I finally crossed the finish line feeling defeated but with the relief that I made it all at once. I didn’t give up, I didn’t let the hot sun take me down and I pushed through.
After a great swim and a killer bike I had to take the positives from the race because there were more positives compared to negatives. Not every day can be a good day and sometimes overcoming the harsh conditions during an event makes you so much stronger. This race would give me a lot of knowledge to go over and feed off of. As my coach said, better today and not during Ironman Wisconsin. We can do something with this much time left in the season but once the “A” race hits it’s a little late.
Milkman 70.3 will be my learning experience of the year. It made me tweak my nutrition adding in some products and figuring out how to test them. This week, one week later, I put them to test for the first time. I used them on my long run Saturday and my long bike/run brick Sunday. No issues! It’s a little too early to know for sure so next weekend we’ll really put them to the test.