The Finale

So it’s been a few weeks since I finished up the season with the Longhorn 70.3 Austin in Texas.

What a day it was.

I was feeling great pre-race. My warm-up run was a good indication of the things to come, I felt loose and well rested. The swim was a little crazy, as it always is in a triathlon. But because it was only light out about 10min before the race, they only let the pros have a swim warm-up, not the age groupers. So a little interesting to start the swim. Lately my swimming has been a little off, and the past few races my swim has been my down fall. But today my stroke felt on! Then, seeing as i was the SEVENTH wave to start, 300m into the swim I started running into the next wave. It was a battle the rest of the swim, weaving through enormous crowds of people, which really slowed things down. I ended up swimming 27minutes, which wasn’t too bad, but I was hoping for a little faster.

Coming up the beach out of the lake, I was feeling great for the bike. Stepping out on the Jamis T2, I started the passing. There were people on the road from 6 waves ahead of me, so there were lots of people to pass. The bike felt so great, even though I haven’t raced that distance. I didn’t really know what pace to hold, so I just rode. I ended up riding just under 2:18, a new PB for me at that distance. The Jamis was just a rocket up the hills, and didn’t even slow down hitting the headwind on the latter part of the course. This was the first time that I had no soreness at all going into the run. Usually my hamstrings and glutes would be feeling slightly tight, but they were feeling fantastic. Unfortunately, my feet wouldn’t be feeling so well.

I seemed to have trouble getting my shoes on in T2. Like, a lot of trouble getting them on. Here’s the background story: New Balance came out with these sweet looking lime green 905 lightweight trainer/race shoe. They replaced the 904. I decided to use these for Austin, but they fit a little roomier than my normal shoes so I went for a half size smaller.

Rookie mistake.

They felt just snug when i tried them on at New Balance, which I figured would be perfect for the race. Not so. I forgot a few major things: A. My feet got swollen on the flight over, and I’m not 100% sure they went fully back down to normal size before the race; B. My feet would swell up during the bike due to the heat.

This caused the shoes to be a little too tight, and the run became a battle of will to push through the pain. Within 5 minutes of starting the run, I was starting to feel the pain in my feet. By the second loop my toes were crushed and searing with pain, and my feet were in agony. I had a lot of trouble just trying to focus on the race, all I could think of was the pain. Usually my New Balance shoes fit perfect, but this was such a noobie mistake. I wasn’t happy with the 4 minute positive split on the run, but it was a huge learning experience. I took a lot away from the race.

My goal for Texas was mainly to go down and have some fun, and maybe enjoy some heat. It was really great to go without any real expectations. Under the conditions, I’m happy with my time. I wanted to break 4:10, but considering I haven’t raced the half in over a year and a half, AND it was a PB for that distance, so all-in-all a positive experience.

My nutrition break-down for the race: breakfast was the same as always, wake up at least 3 hours before the race and have my oatmeal with a bagel and peanut butter. Then I started sipping away at a bottle of E-load, leading up to the race start. On the bike, it was 2 water bottles with a mix of 2 scoops E-load, 1 scoop Fly (E-load’s carbohydrate formula,) along with about 3 E-load Gels. I took an extra gel off the bike, and went into the run on that, also grabbing water/gatorade at aid stations. I never had any lull’s in my energy, I felt 100% the whole race. I’ve had the bogging down feeling at the end of races, somewhat like a bonk, but today I was feeling great all the way to the finish. I find the E-load and Gels work great with my stomach. I’ve had issues in the past with heart burn and bloating from other supplements, so it was great to find something that works well for me.

This was also the first race i used Compressport gear. I decided last second to go with the calf guards, and they seemed to help. I usually have sore calves by the end of the run, but not this time. The calf guards and quad sleeves really made a difference in my recovery during training as well, they seem to make my legs feel much more recovered then when I wasn’t using them. Some people are skeptics, but I’m a firm believer they help. In fact I’m wearing the right now!

Next season will see a real focus on draft-legal short course, so it was good to end the season on a high note. I won my age group, and came 20th overall. Thanks to everyone who’s supported me this season, I wouldn’t be able to race and train like I do without you!

Cheers ’till next season,

One thought on “The Finale”

  1. Congrats on a wicked race Nathan! I made a similar mistake with my shoes last year in a half marathon and lost both my big toe nails lol. I too am wearing my compression socks – anytime, all the time!! 🙂

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