As soon as Ohio 70.3 was announced I knew I would race it. It's in my hometown and was looking forward to racing there. But then my knee issues never got better. About a month ago I finally saw the best sports doc in my area and he looked at my MRI and X-rays and told me I should just stop running. I have almost no cartilage in my right knee and a torn meniscus. My left knee has more cartilage, but not much more. He said I was fine doing Ohio 70.3 but after that I really needed to stop running. I decided I'd push through Ohio and see what happened. My run training has been very sparse for the last 18 months. Haven't run over 6.5 miles (did that the Monday before Ohio) and most weeks I ran about 15-18 miles. But I was actually feeling pretty good about making it through the run.
I got into the Columbus/Delaware area Friday afternoon. I wanted to get in earlier but life happened. I was planning on a leisurely day Saturday, but my niece and nephew were dong a kids Tri that morning and then we watched the women's Olympic Tri. I finally got to Delaware about 3:30 for packet pickup and the dropped off my bike in the start of a downpour. I drove the course with a couple people to see how bad the roads were. We all agreed they were awful. So we adjusted our tire pressure to allow for this. I got to bed about 10:30 that night with the alarm set for 4 am.
My swim wave started 56 minutes after the first wave. I saw the first guys come out of the water in over 30 minutes so I knew to adjust my expectations and not be disappointed when I saw my swim time when I exited the water. I lined up for my wave with a friend from high school (she was actually friends with my sister and I used to babysit her). The gun went off and I swam hard for the first few buoys. I led my wave out of the water by about 90 seconds and came out of the water about 32-33 minutes. I figured the swim was about 200 long so I was okay with this because I felt like I was in shape to swim a 30 minute swim and my swim was very straight. I was bummed it was long so I didn't break the elusive 30 minute barrier, but also I realized that a longer swim would benefit me by giving me even more of a lead. I upended up being 2 in my AG for the swim(2 waves) and I'm happy with that. With the exception of the extra distance the swim was exactly as I hoped.
I had some issues with a hamstring cramp running from the water. It's a nagging problem but I sort of expected it. Then I ran to the wrong rack. I struggle with my top and dropped my sunglasses and the arm popped off so I had to fix that.
On the bike my draft box (Speed concept) lid kept popping open. I stopped 3 times for that but got going again pretty quickly. The last time I discarded some items so it wasn't as full. Next time I will tape it shut. The bike was fine. The roads weren't as bad as expected. I was racing without power due to power meter failure which was sort of expected. I haven't trained with power that much this year so I was fine going off of perceived exertion. I did worry that I might be biking too hard given my lack of run training, but I figured I'd just keep going with what felt good and see what happened. I had two bottles on my bike, both with 5 gels diluted in water. I was planning on grabbing more water from aid stations as needed. It was cool so I only grabbed a bottle at the last aid station. I went through al lost all of both bottles and felt good. Probably took in 900 calories on the bike. About mile 40 I was caught be a gal in my age group (had no idea of what wave). I stayed with her for the rest of the bike, I definitely increased my effort to do so. The roads weren't as bad as I thought after riding the course, not great, but I was able to stay aero and push the effort like I wanted to. I was expecting a bike time of 2:30-2:35 but I adjusted that for the road conditions and figured I'd be happy with a 2:40. The course was about a mile short and I was off the bike in 2:32. I was happy with the bike split. I was second in my AG off the bike.
T2 was pretty uneventful. I took a little more time than usual just because I wanted to make sure I did everything and wasn't rushed too much.
On the run I could tell my hamstring was almost cramping. I used a home made Hot Shot recipe to help and the cramp seemed to stay at bay. I also ran conservatively because I didn't want the cramp to happen. My goal was a sub 2 hour run. My plan was to walk the aid stations and grab whatever apealed to me (always water, sometimes Gatorade, cola or red bull and ice if needed- did grab ice twice and it heloved as temps got a little warm). My plan was to walk maybe a bit more each mile so I could keep going but try to run so my pace stayed under 9 minute miles. I knew I could sustain this for about 6-7 miles and after that I would try to hang on. At mile 8 I decided to add in another 30 second walk break because I didn't think there was an aid station during mile 8. There was but I still stayed close to the 9 min planned pace. Mile 9 was mostly downhill and there wasn't an aid station so I ran the whole thing. I walked the next aid station and then again at mile 10.5 for 30 seconds. I walked the last 2 aid stations and finished pretty strong. My knee didn't hurt until mile 12. Thank God for Hokas. And the last couple miles the hamstring almost cramp was gone. Mile 11-12 I started to get a little emotional because I had managed to pull off the race as planned and I really don't know how I managed to keep going on the run like I did. Crossed the line in 5:09:21 with a 1:57 run. I ended up 6th in my AG.
I feel really good about how I executed the race, but am a little bummed I wasn't able to run at what is my full potential. The race went almost exactly as I planned. My knee is a little sore today, but no more than if I had a 'big' run week (over 20 miles). I really think Hokas have given me the ability to keep running for a bit more. I'm a little bummed I didn't place better because when I signed up for the race my goal was to win my AG, but with my knee situation, I'm happy to have been able finish with a decent run.
Next up is IMCHOO and then some rest while I look into stem cell treatment for my knee as well as some other injections that are supposed to help with cushioning. I'm not ready to give up running yet but I do need to find a way to run more miles per week.