Welcome back to another Ironwoman Wednesday!
If this is your first time joining us, Ironwoman Wednesday is a weekly linkup by Jamie at From Couch to Ironwoman, Michelle at IronwomanStrong and myself. We’re all training for Ironman Louisville and are talking triathlon every Wednesday. (Also check-out Tri Talk Tuesday for more triathlon-related talk).
It has been amazing to share my Ironman journey with Jamie, Michelle and all the other amazing athletes who join us every week!
Today we’re talking run (how fitting on National Running Day!) and I’m going to focus on some of the lessons I learned during my Raleigh 70.3 run. It was my first half ironman and it was amazing. The race itself was a milestone (full race recap tomorrow), but it was also a training race for Louisville and I learned some great lessons!
Open water swimming can be scary, biking 112 miles is a long way, but the run, I think, is by far the hardest part of an Ironman…unless you’re someone like Miranda Carfae, or my very own husband extraordinary, who pulled a 6:45 min/mile for the last 3 miles of the race!!
My first lesson from Raleigh was this: when you get to T2 you will be tired. Don’t even think about how long you still have to run. Instead stick to your plan and MAKE IT HAPPEN!
I obviously had no intentions of giving up, but I do think I lingered in T2 a little longer than necessary, because the thought of running 13.1 miles overwhelmed me.
As soon as I reminded myself all I had to do was make it through 4 minutes of running before I could walk, I felt much better and kicked my butt into gear.
That was lesson number two: have a plan that works for you. Our coach stresses a run/walk plan and I totally get it now. It’s much better for your morale, if you go into the race knowing you will be walking.
I had originally started with a 9:1 plan, but over the last few training weeks I dropped to a 4:1 (during the race I also walked many of the hills on the outbound part of our double loop). At first I felt “weak” dropping down to only a 4 minute run, but I recognized that was just one of my negative thoughts (and thanks to Happify, I now know how to kick those thoughts to the curb!) It also turns out I stayed just as strong, if not stronger, on a 4:1!
Nutrition became my next lesson, as I started the run kind of nauseous. I’m still not sure what went wrong, but I think it was a combination of things and I will definitely be experimenting with nutrition during my next few bricks.
- I might have over-fueled at the end of the bike. I remember reaching mile 25 and realizing that I had not been drinking enough, so I stepped up my hydration and might have inadvertently also stepped up my nutrition too much.
- I also might have been low on sodium, which tends to cause nausea and headache, although I’m not sure how that is possible since I didn’t use any water on the bike. Maybe too much sodium? This also appears to cause nausea….
- I also might have just been nauseous because of all the sweet stuff I ingested. Powerbar Perform, BonkBreakers, Honey Stinger waffles and GU are all great, but definitely very sweet.
Whatever it was my rotation of a little sports drink, some water with a salt tab and water with GU, plus a slice of orange around mile 6, seemed to do the trick. I don’t remember when, but the nausea subsided and I just focused on chipping away at each mile.
My last lesson learned is try to figure out where the port-a-potties are. I waited at one for almost 3 minutes before continuing on the run, and seriously contemplated peeing my pants (yes, I’m dead serious), just to find another bathroom just 1 mile away!
Even with the nausea and “all that walking,” I still managed to finish this half marathon in 2:29:25, faster than all but one of my previous half marathons!
What lessons have your triathlon runs taught you?
Add your stories below and join us next week when we tackle triathlon nutrition!