Mackinac Bridge Swim EventJuly 31, 2023
Race Week Countdown: Put the Finishing Touches on your Training JourneySeptember 14, 2023
In the Weeks leading to the Michigan Titanium 70.3 I struggled through a lot of back pain. I went to the chiropractor every few days and saw our OT at work to try and loosen things up. So race morning I woke up feeling pretty good and I wished Michelle a happy 12th anniversary. My kids that I woke up at 4AM were not super happy however. After getting packed up Michelle dropped me off so I could head to transition at 5:15AM – later than I prefer.
Got my area all situated about 20 times and talked to many fellow Stuart coaching and Team Apex teammates to help calm the nervous. Only had to go potty like 20 times… Michelle and the girls came a little after 7 so it was great to see them more than half awake before I got in my wetsuit and got ready for the swim start.
The water temp was way warmer than my preferred 68 degrees, so I went sleeveless for my wetsuit. I thought I was with fellow racers that would swim at the same pace. Turns out as I entered the water I was too far back in the pack. I was passing a lot of racers in the first 100 yards which caused me to not get in my groove at first. Then I had someone grab my leg which pulled me under as I was trying to breathe. Got a good case of the coughs for a minute. Once I regained my bearings, I saw the yellow turn buoy, got back in my groove, and swam away… right into an orange buoy. Had a quick laugh at myself and kept swimming towards the turn. Made the turn and then couldn’t for the life of me see the next turn buoy. I sighted off the shore the best I could and had no real issues other than not seeing the turn. Finally saw it and I actually had swam pretty straight. Made the turn and headed for the dancing pink man.
No issues the last leg of the swim. Got to the beach looked at my time and it was not a good time for me( 43:08)… turns out the swim was longer for everyone by a few hundred yards. Headed towards the strippers (Bill Ott is my favorite stripper) and laid down to have Bill yank one side and someone else on the other. One of my legs didn’t come free so they had to give a few more yanks on my leg which did not make my hip feel good.
T1- since I had prepared and reorganized everything a million times before the race it should have been a quick time. But I had to go pee so bad… someday I learn how to pee in the water.
No issues on the bike, it was a beautiful day and enjoyed the rolling hills. The nutrition was great the first 15 or so miles and my back felt ok. The big hill on Fallesburg took a lot out of me and the fresh chipseal on Mcphearson made me super grumpy. Everything went fairly smooth until the turn around when a few riders took it a little quick and crashed their bikes. They did give us a good warming though, so I slowed way down to make the turn. After the turn my back started to get tight.
Took my scheduled Gu at my 30, drank some water, then 2 minutes later it all came up. After that a bee flew into my helmet and stung me. So, I was super happy and then came the chip seal again, so I rode my brakes down the hill. Tried to keep my nutrition on point, but a skipped a Gu or 2. The rest of the bike I was being super grump, but seeing the Paynes and Kevin on their second loop snapped me out of it. I finished strong and saw Michelle and the kiddos on the beltline cheering me on which was awesome!
T2. As I was taking my bike shoes off one of my cleats fell off and I was in shock that I did the bike with a loose cleat…. Got my shoes on, my bib, and debated between my Apex Visor and Stuart Coaching hat.
Decided on the visor since I was hot and its white. Sorry Kari. Waddled out but first…. Potty break haha. That’s actually good though because it meant I stayed hydrated on the bike. Michelle told me I just need a 2:45 half marathon to be under 7 hours which had me in a great mood.
I felt like a baby giraffe heading out so I did a walk run for the first half mile or so. Saw Ben Stuart and he gave me a bunch of encouragement that made my mind right. I had a nice pace the first two miles or so. Then it happened. My back locked up and I could hardly walk. I got everything I could at the aid stations. Gabriele yelled at me…or talked normal – I couldn’t tell she’s German – to keep moving forward. As I was walking past the med tent, they had me come in. They didn’t have much for me other than try and stretch. I walked like a zombie and made it to the halfway point.
I talked to myself in my head that I’m going to hug Michelle and quit when I see her… Well luckily, she wasn’t there so I headed out on my second loop. Saw Coach Kari and I could barely talk to her. My back hurt so bad. She said It’s up to you but if you need to quit you can… but first go back to the med tent. So, I made my way back to the tent. They pressed on my back and then decided to just put Biofreeze everywhere. I headed blackout on the run but with my back on fire. Saw Gabriele and she dumped ice down my back. That felt great for about half a mile. Then the water made the Biofreeze migrate down my back and farther down if you know what I mean. This hurt so bad I forgot how bad my back felt. But I was able to walk run the remaining three ish miles. Got to the finish line and finished with my daughters holding my hands. I was so happy to finished this race and was sooooo happy I decided not to quit.
I need to thank Michelle for going along with my craziness especially when it’s our anniversary. My in-laws and parents for watching the kiddos at random times and of course Emma and Riley for waking up before the sun to cheer me on. I have never felt more prepared for a race and that is because of Stuart Coaching! I can be honest and was skeptical at first as to how much a coach would help me. I may be a little stubborn but time after time Kari proved she knows what she’s doing and was great at explaining the why behind her ideas. I would strongly recommend Stuart Coaching if anyone is ever interested in getting faster and becoming more prepared for any type of physical race.