2013 Soma 70.3 Race Report

SomaSoma marked my last race of the year and also last as a 30-34 AG'er. Next year I'm moving up to the hardest age group (in my opinion). Every year it seems the fastest guys are 35-39 which tells you how different our sport is to other ones. It takes years to get that swim technique down, years to get the power on the bike and finesse on the run. I'm looking forward to being the "young" guy now in my age group.

[caption id="attachment_2399" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_2708 Love AZ sunrise & sunsets[/caption]

This is the 3rd year in a row that I've done Soma. It's in Tempe, AZ - Amy and I have friends there that are so gracious to put us up in a 2nd home to stay and it really does feel like a vacation and Arizona is so pretty this time of year. We rolled out on Friday with the kids in tow and I ran an easy 30 mins with Eric in the foothill trails to shake the long drive out and after some stretching/strides and my legs felt good.
I probably didn't have any business doing this race. With all of my energy and focus devoted to the 70.3 World Championships, my LACK of focus for this race really showed its colors. I ran into a soleus injury a few weeks ago, then hurt my wrist/arm which really set me back in preparing for this race. However, I signed up for it and the chance to hang out with friends became more appetizing than ripping a PR on a deceivingly hard course. However, when race day came I was ready to bury myself and see what happened. The biggest reason why I did this race was to get another 70.3 under my belt and once again, I learned a lot and am glad I did it. Here's how it went down...

IMG_2707First of all, The Bike Shop hooked me up with some race wheels and I am so grateful for how much they supported me the past few years. Without any race wheels I've been bumming off of friends (again, thanks so much everyone) and when The Bike Shop had some, they loaned them to me with no questions asked. Needless to say, race wheels can have a huge impact on your bike split and your overall time and I can't thanks them enough for loaning me these sweet Normatec wheels which rolled me to a 2 minute PR bike split.

Swim: 1.2M 36:46 (AVG 1:44/100) -25th in AG

So before you think how slow of a swimmer I am, there were only 2 AG'ers that broke 30 in the swim so it was obviously long. Then when you get out of the water and go up the stairs you have wetsuit strippers then a 100 meter run to T1 where your timing chip finally goes off - so needless to say there were a lot of slow times. As I've mentioned before in triathlon - times are not the important factor, placing is. To much emphasis is put on time and often times it can let you down. In this case, I was 25th out of the water where normally I am in the 30's-50's so I was pleased enough with my swim.

Soma3The start was pretty calm when comparing it to worlds. Thank goodness it was a wetsuit legal swim so I was rocking my custom Blueseventy Helix along with my Blueseventy Element tinted goggles. I got on some feet all the way to the turn around, I peaked at my watch at 1000 yds and I was 15:xx so right on pace for a 31-32ish swim which is where I thought I'd be with the lack of swimming I've been doing lately. Well I lost the feet and swam most of the 2nd half solo and I was really fatigued by the time I got to the finish. I had issues getting up the stairs and just felt like I was in slow motion in T1, totally out of it and expended waay too much energy to start a 70.3.

T1: 1:27

Bike: 56 miles 2:28:45 *bike split PR (AVG 22.6mph) 4th fastest AG

This bike course is slower then you think it is. There's only 1500ft of climbing but the difficult part is there are 30 U-Turns and a ton of dangerous/slow turns. So you are constantly breaking rhythm and burning matches each time you get back up to speed. It's a 3 loop course and my plan was simple - 3 even splits. I didn't quite know what those splits would be so I just rode hard on my ism TT saddle out of the gate to see what that first lap split would be and it ended up being 49 mins. So for the next 2 laps my goals was to just match or beat that. I ended up going 49, 49, 50.

[caption id="attachment_2402" align="alignright" width="199"]232323232fp543_5_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;773232_nu0mrj Rolling in with my sweet Kask helmet[/caption]

My biggest problem of the whole race came on the first lap of the bike course. There are some huge bumps on the course and one of them ended up knocking my Speedfil R4 (which I love) rear mount bike cage right off. I heard it fly off with my water and realized getting water for the rest of the ride was going to be difficult as all my calories were in my concentrated bottle below me. I ended up having to grab water at the aid stations and holding it/drinking it for a bit and having to ditch it which really set me back on water and eventually sent me into dreaded cramps when the run came.

The biggest take away from this race was from the ride. Flanny decided to put me on 800 liquid calories on the bike which I'd never done before, I've always done food. It was a mix of Powerbar Perform, CarboPro and more electrolytes from my Recovery e21 tabs. Even with the lack of water to wash down that concentrated bottle, my gut handled it fine and my energy levels where a lot higher then they've ever been in a long course race. BINGO! By the time I was finishing up the 3rd lap my legs started seizing up a bit but not too bad. I kind of took 5 mins to gather myself and get ready for the run (hence the 50 min lap) and was trying to get as much water into me as possible as I knew I was dehydrated which was causing the cramps.

T2: 1:12

Run: 13.1 miles - 1:32 (AVG: 7:03 pace) #1 Run split in AG

IMG_2710Usually you can tell what kind of run you're going to have within the first mile. Leaving transition in my FuelBelt and KSWISS Kwicky Blade Lights, my energy levels were up and my legs felt pretty good. My first mile was 6:34 and it felt very easy. In my head I was thinking "Dang, this might be my day where I finally break 1:20 - I'm feeling good and..." Ahhhh CRAMP. Literally as I was thinking those thoughts in my head I cramped up real bad. Quads and Hamstrings locked up. I stopped and stretched them out as best as I could. I was carrying some Perform in my FuelBelt bottle and I had a salt tab in there which I started sucking down quickly. The cramps finally released but as I tried to get back up to speed it felt a lot more labored and every time I'd get my pace below 7 minutes the cramps would come on again.

So I basically went into survival mode and drank as much Gatorade and water as I could at the aid stations. Run hard, cramp, stretch - repeat. This went on and on. It's a flat 2 loop course and as I fought my way through the first lap and I didn't see too many runners. My AG started 4 mins after the pros so it was pretty lonely out there. Just me and my cramps :) I finished the first lap in 44:30 and and still had the goal of breaking 1:30 at this point. After all, the first step in breaking a 4:30 HIM is a sub 2:30/sub 1:30 which I had never done before. I also think its a good gauge as to whether you over-biked.

[caption id="attachment_2404" align="alignright" width="204"]IMG956286 Running scared![/caption]

Well the cramps got worse and my sub 7 min miles turned in 7:15's, 7:45's - total survival mode. Then (of course) with about 1.5 miles to go I pass a guy in my AG. I hadn't passed too many throughout the race and I had no idea where I stood. I did the math in my head and thought I'd be right around 4:37-4:40 so I thought this might be a battle for the podium. I'm not going to lie, I hate it when I pass someone from my AG late in a race when you are freaking HURTING. It really does make your willingness/ability to handle pain come into play. How bad do you want it? It was pretty hard to dig deep - especially for how much of a dark place I went into for worlds. I did my best to pass him with authority and after a few turns I could tell I wasn't really shaking him. Each time I'd try and pick up the pace I'd start to seize up so I did my best to not stop and stretch them out. That last mile seemed sooo long and I was very happy to say the least when I made the final turn towards the finish.

232323232fp54349_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;776932_nu0mrjAs I rolled in I kept looking back to see if I shook him and he was no where in sight. That last final push got me on my first 70.3 podium and although I didn't PR and am not happy with the time, this goes full circle about what I talked about earlier. Time doesn't matter, the podium does! With a 1:32 being the #1 split in my AG, I realized how hard that run really was, doesn't look good on paper but I'll take it.

Total: 4:40:39, 3rd in AG, 23rd Overall, 19th Amateur

[caption id="attachment_2406" align="aligncenter" width="199"]232323232fp54375_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;778432_nu0mrj Out of it[/caption]

So that's a wrap on the 2013 season. I can't thank Wattie Ink enough, my team mates, sponsors, friends and most importantly Amy and the kids for supporting me throughout the year. It was definitely a success and a break through from last year. Time for some R&R to recover the beaten up body and mind.

Cheers to another break out season next year! Here's a few more pics from the weekend:

[caption id="attachment_2407" align="aligncenter" width="300"]232323232fp543_9_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;774632_nu0mrj Kids having fun with Trenton![/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_2719 My biggest fan :)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2409" align="aligncenter" width="300"]232323232fp54357_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;497832_nu0mrj He took a photo of the podium[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2411" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_2712 2 Green Flash West Coast IPA's will get rid of any post race discomfort![/caption]

232323232fp734_4_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;778732_nu0mrj 232323232fp54384_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;773_32_nu0mrj   IMG_2724




Jaime said...

Great recap James, it was great to see you and the family again and be there to see you on the podium after all the hardwork. Rest easy, train hard for the next race.

jwadams5k@hotmail.com said...

Awesome seeing you guys too, had so much fun as always!!

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