Heather’s Ironman St. George Race Report

It feels pretty darn good to be a 3 xIronman Champion! It is especially satisfying to have defended my title on the fabulously challenging course that is IM St. George. It is really nice when the hours and hours spent training, visualizing, and pouring all your energy toward a goal come together to the result that you’ve dreamed of.

That said, it was not a perfect race from me (I don’t think Ironmans ever are!) and there are many lessons to be learned from my performance. Instead of the usual play by play race report, I am going to list some things that went well and others that didn’t and what I learned from them

Pre Race: 

Positive:

Dealing with press and pre-race obligations is part of becoming a more and more consistent top performer in triathlon. I felt like I did a good job of planning my race week and had a fun time meeting people (the Perks autograpgh signing was awesome!) and doing interviews (here is a fun in-studio interview with ESPN sports radio from before the race)

Negative:

I may have been a bit too chilled out race week because my pre-race freak out (an inevitable part of the lead up!) happened during a fitfull sleep the night before the race. I was sweating, uncomfortable and I woke up (well, got out of bed) really really exhausted. At T1 I really had this sense of wanting to crawl back into bed and go to sleep! Not exactly the optimum level of focused intensity for starting an Ironman!

A positive did come out of this though, because I remembered one of my mental training cues and I was able to jog around and psyche myself up for the day. “You can perform well if you arrive early or late, if you have a brief or even a poor warm-up. You can perform well whether you are up or down in points, feeling great or not feeling great, on target or slightly off target. All you have to do is focus on doing it”

Swim:

Negative:

I started out well and was in the front group but got stuck for a critical second behind a slower athlete and missed the break as others went around. I blitzed myself a little too much to try and close the gap and ended up swimming pretty much alone. My time was 4 minutes slower than last year. I am way fitter in the water than last year and this shouldn’t be the case

Positive:

When the front group got away, I was able to keep fighting off negative thoughts and re-focus on swimming strong. I had the fitness to swim well without the aid of a big pack to draft in. Love my Aqua Sphere Phantom wetsuit and Kayenne goggles!

T1:

Positive:

I’ve been practicing my bike mounts for Phil Ligget (see last year’s Universal Sports coverage of the race) and I was a lot smoother and faster through T1

Negative:

I still get incredibly dizzy post swim and there was a brief weave when I first got going on my bike (shame! the guys on the triathlon squad will mock me over this one!) I hope with more practice at running hard out of a long swim, I can feel less like the earth is tilting…

Bike:

Negative:

Perhaps, in part, due to the hard effort on the swim, my ride legs were really not there like they usually are. I had ridden the course many times in training and the average watts that I could hold on a regular basis were not happening. It was also the first time that I’ve race a full Ironman with power (thanks to CycleOps power and Rolf Prima wheels!) and I got a little too obsessed with it at first – judging myself and concluding that it wasn’t my day – when I needed to just ride.

Positive: 

I stuck to my race plan and was patient. It was hard to hear that I was taking so long to close any sort of a gap up to Meredith and Jodie, but I knew that it was key to ride the first loop controlled. I pushed away negative thoughts, and rode my own ride on my super sweet new Blue Triad SL. I was happy to feel stronger throughout and really felt ready to run.

Run:

Positive:

I won it on the run! This was huge for me becuase with my other 2 Ironman wins I was in the lead all day and didn’t have to deal with the challenges of coming from behind.  I felt great for this part – my form was there, I was smart about staying fueled, cool (as possible), and hydrated. I was on a mission. My coach Paulo actually called Trevor and told him to tell me to chill out for the second loop. I had a good enough lead and I didn’t need to dig myself a deep hole so I slowed down a bit and didn’t hammer the legs quite so bad on the way in. It definitely helps the recovery from these things to be able to do that, and it is great to know that I had a lot left in the tank if I really needed to race hard. Getting closer and closer to that 3 hr marathon time that I need to do well in Kona!

I was also super happy to be able to wear my super sweet AVIA Bolt 3’s for the marathon. They are so light and comfortable, but in the past my form broke down towards the end of the run to the extent that I needed more cushioning. Not now. Woot!

I also had a happy digestive system throughout and didn’t have to make any porta potty stops. First Endurance Nutrition was key for this! You can see a detailed (read: long winded) nutrition race report here.

The volunteer and crowd support on the run was the BEST. It felt like everyone knew my name and it was so uplifting. This race venue has that special something that is going to make it one of the best Ironmans around.

Negative:

Umm… uuhhh… I had salt tablets in a little baggy and the very eager hose spraying guys at aid stations got them soaking wet. They partially dissolved and I almost choked really badly getting them in on the second loop. Need better container.

FInal thoughts:

It was SO great to feel embraced by the community around here and to really feel the love from so many strangers, friends and fellow athletes after the race. Trevor was my super support crew and spectator extraordinaire for this one and it was extremely motivating so have dear friends and loved ones on the course cheering.

Huge thanks to all my sponsors and to my coach Paulo and the Triathlon Squad. You are absolutely key to my continuing success!

I will end with a little mantra that I had in mind for a lot of the day (adapted from Terry Orlick’s Pursuit of Excellence)

“Every race presents a unique opportunity to win, to learn, to grow, to live my dream. My goal for every race is to seize each opportunity. I race every race with the intention of winning. I race to win! I focus fully on the moment and free my body to perform to its potential. Today’s race, this moment, this opportunity will never exist again. Today can never be lived again so I embrace it with my absolute focus and my heart and soul”

Cheers,

Heather

P.S. for some videos of my run and finish line interview check this site out. Thanks Dave!

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~ by trevorandheather on May 10, 2011.

7 Responses to “Heather’s Ironman St. George Race Report”

  1. congrats on a very impressive race and the WIN! Patience and pacing paid off, nice work!! Orlick’s book is on of my Fav!

  2. That’s our girl!!
    We are so proud and happy for you!
    One of the best Mother’s day presents, except of course, the day you were born!
    Love you

  3. its obvious you trained well seeing that you were prepared to tackle each ‘negative’. Internally I am pleased that you did not have to tackle an FE negative…yahoo!

  4. As I’ve said, you are my hero(ine)!! What an incredible performance of physical and mental combined to reel in the win!!!
    Love that last mantra! xoxo
    Mary

  5. Congratulations, Heather! What a fantastic race you laid down.

  6. Congratulations on a great race. I saw you on the run course several times, and your form did look really solid every time.

    I’d happened to bump into you on Thursday just as I was headed into registration — thanks for taking a moment to chat and say hello.

    Good mantra there at the end too. I’ll remember that one.
    Hope you and Trevor have a great season of racing!

  7. i did *not* know this about you when i met you @ my place 🙂
    feel quite privileged to have met you (if very briefly!) on your sojourn to this island
    have an awesome season!
    maybe i’ll see you again sometime
    take care,
    katie

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