Let me just start with...it's an absolute HONOR to have been given the opportunity to race my 4th Ironman 70.3 World Championship! I know that there are thousands of athletes who race this sport every year who would love this opportunity and I do not take it for granted. However, I entered this race with a serious lack of enthusiasm this year. I was (and still am) disappointed in my performance from Ironman Canada (and this year in general) and I am in serious need of a break from all things swimming, biking and running. I am EXTREMELY grateful for a two things that kept the fire lit up to this point: 1. this is the first time that my parents were going to get to see me race a World Championship, and 2. I was racing with 4 friends and very well respected athletes who would be racing their first ever World Championship and they were EXCITED! Their excitement (both the athletes and my parents) were helpful in getting me to start line without throwing in the towel in early August.
Despite my desire to do anything but swim, bike or run from early August-early September, I ticked all the training boxes I knew I needed to tick to get ready for this race. I also kept true to prioritizing my sleep and recovery. I did, however, more or less give up in regards to nutrition (which, mind you, I am a nutritionist, so me 'giving up' on nutrition looks 1,000 times better than most folks best week). I started a re-introduction of foods that have, in that past, caused known inflammation (with the goal of doing some food sensitivity retesting as soon as I return home from Tennessee). I don't think this had anything to do with my race, other than, I did feel a bit sluggish leading into the race. Hard to say if that is from the food I'm eating, or being mentally ready to take a short break.
Travel from Sacramento to Tennessee was smooth. With 5 of us traveling together, I knew it was likely that at least 1 bag was bound to get lost/delayed (just the nature of travel). After loading the airplane in Atlanta to catch our final flight to Chattanooga, the pilot announced that their was not enough room on-board to load all the bikes and that some would be left behind for a future flight. I sat in the window seat above the wing and watched 1 of our frame bags (we had 4 bike bags in total) get loaded onto a luggage truck to be taken away for a future flight (along with 20+ other bike bags). I LOVE my Ruster bag, but this is the downside to having to break down your bike into 2 separate bags. If one is lost, the other bag is useless...especially when it's your frame bag that is missing. Luckily, 3 of the 4 bags arrived on that flight and Delta Airlines was extremely responsive in getting the final bag to us ASAP. It arrived to the door step of our Air BnB the following morning (Thursday) at 7:30am and we were not set back a bit. We were able to get bikes rebuilt with plenty of time to test them out before turning them in pre-race.
In the days leading into the race, we did ALL the pre-race events that Ironman had to offer, including: the organized swims (both Thursday and Friday), the expo, the parade of nations, the welcome banquet and the athlete briefing. They were all great. Even the food at the welcome banquet was half-way decent! 3 of our 4 support crew arrived on Thursday evening, just in time to join us for the welcome banquet and the remaining weekend festivities.
Race day came quickly. This is the first year that they have split the women's and men's races onto 2 separate days. I was SOOOOOOOOOOO grateful to be racing on Saturday. Race day nerves are bad enough when you DON'T have to watch a race live the day before your own event!!! I felt really bad for the guys who I know want to give us 110% support, but also wanted to stay off their feet. Our guys (both Jim and Mike) prioritized support over racing (within reason) and were there from start to finish all day (THANKS GUYS!). My race morning routine went a little like this:
4:30am- alarm goes off
4:45am- eat breakfast (leftover homemade risotto with chicken in extra bone broth) + coffee
5:15am- leave the house with Sean for T1
5:30am- T1 opens and I head in to pump tires, load nutrition, use the port-a-potty and GET OUT!
5:50am- find a bench outside of transition and sit with my head phones on and my eyes closed
6:54am- VESPA CV25
7:15am- get into my wet-suit (yup, thanks to a deep thermometer, it was a wet-suit legal race)
7:30am- get in the swim coral
7:45am- Beet Elite with 4oz water, VESPA junior and 2 Skratch chews
7:54am- Wave 4 (my wave) goes off!