Race Report from Muncie 70.3 July 13, 2019

So, I have been slacking in the race reports. After Ironman Texas back in April I made a last minute decision to run Ironman Gulf Shore 70.3 two weeks later. I surprised even myself with a third place age group finish and a trip to the 70.3 World Championships in Nice in September!

After racing in Panama City Beach in May I didn’t really have any concrete goals other than the race in Nice. But after some changes in my personal life I decided to make July a month of racing and travel. And the first stop was the half Ironman in Muncie.

Road Trip!

I made the ten hour drive up from South Carolina with my new Felt IA2 and my dog Frankie on the Friday before the race. This was my third time racing Muncie, so I was already familiar with the course. Although the swim did race in a different direction, everything else was the same. 

Packet Pick Up and Pre-Race Nutrition

After dropping off Frankie at the hotel, I picked up my race packet and headed to the store for some pre-race snacks. It has taken me awhile to figure out what works best for me before a race, but recently I have figured out that a glazed donut is pretty awesome the morning of the race. It has quick carbs and is easily digested, at least for me. 

Anyways, I’m in the store, unashamedly about to grab my single glazed donut from the pastry rack. I look down at my phone for a second and look up and some random dude is right next to me and is laughing, saying how funny it is that the day before a race I’m standing in the dessert aisle. 

I honestly didn’t know what to say. Was he food shaming me? Yeah, I run Ironmans and occasionally eat a donut. Get over it. I didn’t say anything and just stared him down until he walked away. So yeah, that guy still pisses me off.

Race Prep

Anyways, I eventually got back to the hotel and arranged everything for the morning. Hydration, nutrition, bike, helmet, swimskin, goggles, running shoes, belt, etc. Checked and double checked. Then did the usual lay in bed nervous for a few hours before falling asleep, only to wake up every hour thinking I had overslept.

Finally, my actual alarm went off. I headed out to the Prairie View Resevoir to begin the day. After racking my bike and scoping out the path from transition, I headed over to test out the water. It was warm. I can’t remember the exact temperature, but definitely not wetsuit legal, which is always a bummer for a slow swimmer like me. But I would make due.

The Swim

The race started at 7, but due to the rolling start I didn’t get into the water until about 7:20. As usual there was the obligatory kicking and elbowing the first few hundred meters until everyone spread out.

The water was calm, but for some reason I could just never get into a rhythm. My time coming out of the swim was a few minutes slower than I had hoped and I knew I would need to make up some ground on the bike.

The Bike

The bike course at Muncie takes you out for the first 8-10  miles before you get to the double loop. I started passing people pretty quickly and was feeling good about myself until I hit a huge bump. My hydration bottle on the front nearly popped off. The ring around the straw acutally did, which meant my straw was flopping all over the place for the rest of the race. Plus, all my Medjool dates that I like using for nutrition popped out onto the ground. Luckily I still had some gels, but I was a sad little biker for a minute.

The rest of the first loop went pretty well, but things got really congested on the second loop as I tried to make my way around some cyclers coming on for their first loop. After a little over two and a half hours I made my way back to transition and it was on to the run.

The Run

I had a little hold up in transistion after I forgot a gel and had to run back. I probably only lost a few seconds but it always feels longer in the moment. I got onto the run course and honestly felt like my heart was going to explode. It was pretty hot and it was hard to get my heart rate down.

My Garmin 935 watch beeped showing my Performance Condition. For anyone that has used this watch, this basically shows what performance level you are at compared to baseline and ranges from -20 to +20. I was at a -7. Let me tell you, if that was -7, -20 must be death.

The first half mile was relatively downhill and luckily this helped me slow my breathing. The rest of the run was rolling hills, with a big part in the blazing sun. I managed to keep a decent pace once my heart rate settled down and overall felt pretty good given the conditions.

So Close to Breaking 5 hours…

I crossed the finish line in 5:00:57. It was a pretty strong race, but I was still bummed about not getting under five. All the “if onlys” start popping into my head. A little faster swim, quicker in the transition, a few less water stops…but in the end it was still a great race.

After getting back to my car to grab my phone, I checked the results to see that I had finished third in my age group! Depending on what the girls in front of me decided, that meant I could possibly get a spot for the 2020 World Championships in New Zealand.

New Zealand 2020!

I grabbed some food from the athlete tent and took a quick nap under a tree while I waited for the awards. I got my third place plaque, took some pictures, then waited around for the roll down. When it got to females 35-39, it was revealed that we would get 2 slots. The first name was called and no one responded. Then the second-no one. Finally “Holly Smith” was called. 

New Zealand is far, but how do you turn down that opportunity? So I’m pretty pumped about heading there in November of 2020. But first I am going to try to conquer my second full Ironman of the year in Lake Placid on July 28th. Then there’s the 70.3 World Championships in Nice in September. So never a dull moment! And yes, I will be eating a donut before each of those races!

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