|where it all began...|
Bike – The bike course is new this year. I had a chance to preview it and it includes some parts of the old course. It’s technical with some sharp turns followed by steep uphills. If you have a chance to drive the course before race day, it would be worth your time. The new course definitely isn’t fast, but it might be just a touch faster than previous years.
Run – The run is very friendly for spectators and gives you a chance to keep an eye on your competition. It’s basically a ~3 mile loop and then a ~3.5 out and back that you do twice before you head to the finish. The loop has some rollers and the out section has a good uphill that you get to go down on the back portion. The run definitely can get hot, but there’s adequate support and usually some garden hoses out to cool you down. You’ll see the finish line from across the lake, which can be annoying or awesome, depending on how you feel.Compared to some other WTC events, Lake Stevens doesn’t provide a lot of frills. But it’s a good course, good competition, and you shouldn’t be signing up for races for the frills anyway. I hope you enjoy my race report from last year. Or if you’re “tuning in” to this blog because you are racing LS70.3 and have race brain and can't concentrate at work and came across my blog through an internet search for “Lake Stevens Race Reports,” well then, have a great race on Sunday!
2011 Race Report:
There's something about Lake Stevens 70.3 that always makes me a little nostalgic. 2006 was the inaugural year for the Ironman branded 70.3 event and also where I got my first taste of long-distance triathlon. Going into the race in 2006, I was completely naïve. I had done several marathons and seen Ironman coverage on TV, but I didn't know what it took to qualify for Kona or anyone who had been there. I had no clue of names like Dave Scott, Chris McCormack, Paula Newby-Fraser, or Chrissie Wellington, who had yet to make her Ironman debut. And I definitely didn't have any first-hand experience with trying to get to a World Championship race or place in my age group. The race was going to be about survival and finishing, rather than any specific time or place. I remember being on a date, drinking beers (some things don't change), and telling the guy, "it's over 70 miles," as the distance was still so daunting. The relationship didn't work out (again, some things don’t change...mild attempt at self-deprecating humor), but my love for training and racing is still going strong.
I did my first couple triathlons in 2005 - 2 sprints. And then got the itch to move up to the longer stuff, mostly inspired by my friends Andy Bechtel and Malia Greening who were also racing. Malia had already done a half Iron and Andy was giving the distance his first shot. I also had some inspiration from my new friend Julie Glade. Julie and I were both working at the same public accounting firm and were connected through friends of her twin sister. We still reminisce about the time we met up at Starbucks across from the KPMG office to talk about training and signing up for this endurance test. She still teases me about the research I had done and "training plan" I had printed out after finding online.
Fast forward to 2011 and my life, mentality, and training plans have all changed. This year I went into Lake Stevens with confidence in my fitness after winning my age group at Ironman Coeur d’Alene and grabbing a Kona slot for the second year in a row. This was meant to be a “B race,” but as most competitors know, it’s hard to hold back when there’s a finish line ahead.
Swim: 2006 - 41:51; 2011 - 35:53 - Despite lots of swimming over the past couple years compared to 2006, this is still an area that needs some attention. This is why I'll be back in the water early tomorrow morning, and the next day, and the next day. My coach wants me swimming 4-5 times a week if I want to get faster for 2012. Today's swim was slower than I had hoped, despite feeling pretty good in the water.
T1: 2006 - 2:15; 2011 - 1:43.
Bike: 2006 - 3:19:20 16.86mph; 2011 - 2:50:53 19.66mph and almost a mile slower than my Ironman pace in Coeur d'Alene. As a side bar, in 2006 I rode in running shorts over padded swimsuit bottoms; it was a stealth look! I clearly did not have a coach back then, as she would have instantly put the kibosh on that one. I don't remember how I felt on the bike in 2006, but I'm guessing it wasn't as sluggish as I felt this morning. For some reason, I just didn't have the "get up and go" that I normally do on the bike. I started feeling like myself at about mile 47...not what you want in a 56 mile race.
T2: 2006 - 1:09; 2011 - 1:21. I guess I could learn something from my 24-year-old self.
Run: 2006 - 1:49:40 8:22/mile; 2011 - 1:36:28. 7:21/mile. I had 24 marathons under my belt the summer of 2006, so the run was the least of my worries back then. Now, it's part of the race I know is going to hurt. I figured I had some ground to make up on the run after my less than stellar bike and swim, so I took off fast hoping to run faster than the 1:33 I ran at Oceanside. It wasn't a great run, but I stayed strong and chased down one girl in my age group around mile 5 and held her back for the rest of the run.
|2006 Run - in the 90s that day|
|Andy, Malia, me, Julie - the only 3 other triathletes I knew back in the day|
It's fun to look back and see how far I've come and how many things have changed in life. It sounds a bit dramatic, but when I think of how important triathlon is right now, Lake Stevens 2006 was pretty much a life changing day. Yes, every race holds a special memory and place in my heart, but I feel like this was definitely a turning point. At the time I didn’t realize how the sport would lead to so many memories and opportunities. Over the past several years, I’ve been challenged both physically and mentally with some really great results. I’ve traveled around the country and competed on the world’s stage. Some of my best friends and biggest role models were found in training. But I haven’t forgotten where I’ve come from and the people who helped me get here. My parents still call to wish me good luck the night before and then want to hear the race report after, my non-triathlon friends are still as supportive as ever (in person and from across the country), and I still look for a hug from the first volunteer I see at the finish line (a race tradition I picked up at XC ski races in high school).
Even without racing, it would have been a fun day. In 2006 I knew 3 other athletes. Now, it’s hard to walk 20 feet in transition without seeing a teammate or friend also competing. And then out on the course, there’s an even bigger support crew. Thank you to everyone who made today a great day to swim, bike, run, smile, laugh, and love! I’m confident the next 5 years will bring even more memories, opportunities, and improvements.
Congratulations to all finishers and best of luck with what the next 5 years will bring for you.