This racing season has been filled with speed suits and lots and lots of sun and sweat! Raleigh 70.3 was the beginning of hot races for me. I had a slow but steady swim without my trusty HUUB wetsuit. Then I had a great bike split for me but had to ration fluids a little towards the end. Lastly, I THOUGHT I was good to go for the run but very shortly I realized I was in trouble. I was already thirsty coming off the bike and to make matters worse, I left my Base Salt electrolyte replacement on my bike.
Normally one water bottle an hour on the bike does the trick for me but I did not realize that with the increase in temperature I would go through my fluids a lot quicker. So, even though I had a great bike split without pushing myself into the “red zone” I was still toast coming off the bike. On the run, I normally cruise through the aid stations grabbing a cup for each hand on the move and keep on trucking. I do not walk the aid stations unless it is absolutely necessary. For a half, that is not until at least mile 9 or 10 if at all. On Raleigh race day, I was walking by mile 3. The cloud cover and potential rain that had been forecasted was no where to be found and instead Mr. Sun was in full force. I was not only walking part of the aid stations but walking the full aid station so that I could take in as much fluids as possible. I mistakenly thought I would be able to get some sort of Electrolyte supplement on the course but Ironman DOES NOT provide any unless Base Salt is on the course and they were not on the course in Raleigh. So, be prepared to carry your own if you are planning a hot weather Ironman Brand race. I finally resorted to asking people if they had any salt, and I was lucky enough to get an acquaintance to toss me an extra vial of Base Salt from across the street! Thank you Sophie Evans!! This helped get me through the end of the first loop and back out for the second loop. When I got the end of the second loop I did get the courage to run through the last aid station and made it across the finish line running. It was my slowest half marathon time to date but I felt good about my decision to take it slow through the aid stations so that I wouldn’t shred my body. Recovery time after the race was much easier and given that this was not my “A” race, it was a great learning experience kind of day.
I have gotten lots more practice with hot weather training this summer so I have been able to experiment a bit more with what works for me on a hot day. I was able to weigh myself before and after a bike and figure out that I sweat 30+ ounces an hour on the bike on a hot day so I know that I need to go through at least 3 water bottles every two hours. Knowing how your body responds to different types of weather is key to having success on the run and the whole triathlon in general. Thanks Raleigh 70.3 2016 for the life lessons!!