Toughman NY Race Report
I entered the the Toughman Tri after the Nations Tri was canceled knowing it was going to be a very hard race. The course is hilly and rugged and the forecast was for a high of 82. I was physically ready to execute a solid day and mentally ready and willing to let myself hurt. But I wasn’t expecting to actually get hurt.
At mile 6.5 of the run (after having a dream swim and bike combo), I decided to pick up my pace a bit and as I started to run up one of the many hills, my calf completely seized. In a matter of seconds, i went from running along at a steady pace to stopped on the side of the road questioning whether to continue. Stretching did nothing and walking was only prolonging my journey back to the transition area, so I figured out a way to run/shuffle/walk with one leg. This is where my preparation for being ready to hurt came in…as painful as it was, I did this shuffle for the next SEVEN MILES. Of course I was telling myself you could be making this whole thing worse, but I kept going because I was actually still winning the race. I managed to stay in the lead until mile 10.5 and by that point I had long since decided I was going to finish the race no matter what. Amy, Des, Lizzy, SJ, and Maya were waiting at the finish line and I wanted them to witness the strength it took to press on in such a painful situation.
Two days later, I’m starting to recover, but I’m sore everywhere. My training leading up to this race did not include ANY hill running. My body just wasn’t ready for it, so I did all of my runs on flat trails. Needless to say, running on hills like that would have been a shock to my system regardless of the calf problem. The calf itself is very sore, but so is the quad on the other leg that took all of the impact during my 7 mile shuffle. I’ve already spent 5 hours at Fusion PT this week and we are getting to the bottom of the problem while helping to speed up the recovery.
Despite the low of the way the race turned out, there were some pretty high highs at the end of the day.
Here they are:
-Nutrition dialed perfectly. This is a big deal in these long races so to get that right is key. Thank you @xrcel! But I should say, I could have done without the hot water at the run aid stations.
-Fast Swim. I’ve knew from my workouts leading up to this race that my feel for the water has returned and I’m swimming as fast as I ever have. And yes I am celebrating that I was *only* two minutes behind fast swimmers John Kenney and James Capperell and that I chose the right @blueseventy goggles and successfully navigated into the rising sun. Oh, I did attempt to stay with those guys. That lasted all of 3 seconds, but you never know!
-A bike ride that strong shows that I’m ready to ride at the pro level again. And I actually felt good and in control throughout, making sure to hold something back for the run. What I’m most happy about is that I powered through the downhills just as much as I did the uphills. I’ve taken a lot of crap throughout the years for “not being good at downhills” and I’ve realized recently that it’s not just about my size (which is a huge of it) or my (lack of, haha) skill, but my gearing on my bike. I rode 650 wheels for a long time and spun out on most downhills.
-Getting off the bike ready to run a half marathon. This has been one of the hardest things about longer distance racing for me. This race showed me that it is possible to feel ready to run 13.1 miles after riding 56.
-Nicole won: Nicole Falcaro has elevated her game so much this year and it’s been fun being a *small* part of that.
I’ll have to wait to heal up before making my next race plan. The triathlon season never seems to end these days, so I’ll find something!