St. George 70.3

I had a really awesome trip to St. George.  St. George 70.3 is one to put on your race bucket list  – a really tough but stunningly beautiful course.  The swim is in a (usually) calm and clean lake, and the bike and run have incredible mountain and desert views.  But, it is hilly, hot, and can be windy.  This course is no joke!   Pat, Doug, and I also got to stay with the nicest, most generous home stay ever – Sandy & Tom were wonderful hosts in their beautiful home!  They helped us experience the most we could in our short trip to St. George.

This year, St. George 70.3 was arguably one of the most stacked fields outside of IM world championships.  Many IM champions and Olympians made up the long PRO start list.   They labeled the race “The Return of the Champions”.  So, why did a little newbie Pro like me decided to tackle this particular race?  Timing-wise, this race fit well into my schedule, I had never been to Utah, and what better way to get better than to race the best?

Well, turns out to race in a field like this, you need to be totally on your game.  You can’t have a bad day, you need to be firing on all cylinders and put it all out there.   There are too many talented, consistent, gritty athletes out there.  In the few days / weeks before the race, life got busy and began to catch up with me.  I was not as mentally and emotionally rested as I should have been, and it showed up  on race day with lack-luster performance.   I was just flat, and lacked the spark I needed to compete in this type of field.  I’m not delusional – I knew I wasn’t going to place in this race (not yet!), but I also know I could have raced better – I couldn’t find that next gear I needed to stay in the game.

Still, it was amazing to be on the starting line and compete against some of the sport’s best.  There were some amazing performances out there, and I am truly impressed with the level of talent that is emerging in the women’s race.  I may not have placed well, but watching the other ladies inspired me and I learned a lot about my own racing!

I’m not going to get into all the details, but I’ll leave you with a few words and photos from the swim, bike, and run…

Swim

Not the great positioning I had in Texas…led a group for the first half, caught 2 more in the middle, and then we all seemed to break apart for the final stretch.  With calm waters and lack of drafting, I swam my typical 27 split.

Bike

“All by myself…” – pretty much sums up 75% of the bike ride.  Had a few amateur men pass me, and some PRO women.  When the women came by, I told myself to stay with them, or at least keep them in sight as long as I could.  But my legs just didn’t want to respond.  So, it was quite lonely.  Snow Canyon, a steady 5 mile climb, was probably the most memorable – just slowly climbing the canyon, dead quiet with no one in sight.  But, the views were stunning!  At least I could somewhat appreciate that…

Run

Up, down, up, down.  Literally not one section of flat on this course!  My run was steady, but not fast.  The out and back allowed me to see where I stood in the field, and watch the final few miles unfold in the race for the leaders. I never felt terrible, but just couldn’t quite kick it into that next gear.  I passed one woman in the final few miles, but other than that, there was really no one else around.  I think if I felt a little better, I would have loved this run course.  The hillier, the better!  (Remember that time I ran Mt. Washington?  Yup, love that stuff.)

I definitely plan to come back to do this race again!

Next up, I’m headed to North Carolina for Raleigh 70.3 on June 1.  I’m excited for another crack at the 70.3 distance, before my focus turns to Ironman training for the rest of the season!

Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. – Winston Churchill

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