After I planned my winter trip to the Cayman Islands, two of my friends (Danny and Marie) on the island contacted me to let me know there was a new 70.3 race. The dates worked and I immediately registered.
The first thing I did after registering was order the Ruster Sports Hen House. My Aerus Biospeed bike case is great but everytime I use it I get dinged by the airlines. International travel with my bike would cost approximately $200 each way. Thanks to the Hen House, I incurred no bike travel fees either way and it paid for itself in one trip!
I arrived in the Caymans twelve days before the race. The first week would be light training as I spent time with our family. The second week was to be a big training week culminating with the race.
The day before the race, the event coordinators were kind enough to let me do a talk on 70.3 execution emphasizing how to race successfully in the heat and humidity. It was a great turnout! Thanks to everyone for their questions and enthusiasm.
Race day itself involved an hour commute from our side of the island to the race site at the Reef Resort on the East End. Coach was enthusiastic as always driving me over there and giving me a pep talk that went something like, “your goal is to beat the pro…”
I entered the race knowing that the four other age group women entered had dropped out. There was just me and the women’s pro Lesley Smith. Depending on your perspective, as long as I finished I would be either the first or the last age group female!
The swim was within the reef. The first and longest leg was a bit of treadmill with current. At one point, I was convinced that I wasn’t moving as the buoy appeared no closer than the start! Fortunately, I found a pair of feet and and stayed on them through both loops. I lost a bit of time on the last returning leg as the current picked up and threw me wide.
After a short beach run we ended up in the transition area within the parking lot and off we went on the bike. Temps were comfortable on the first loop. The last section (8-9 miles) of the bike course was a slow rise with headwind. On the second loop the heat and headwind definitely increased. There were two aid stations and I made sure to stop at each one to get plenty of fluids. I consumed 600 calories of EFS and a gel. I increased effort, watts and heart rate each loop.
When I got back to T2 it was hot and sunny. My first order of business was cleaning my feet of all the sand and gravel that were on them during the bike ride. Transition took a bit longer as a result. I had brought a small cooler and grabbed my gatorade on the way out. I drank 20 ounces of cold gatorade before my first running stride.
The run course was a bit of a bowl with a slow climb to the first turn around and another slow climb to the next turn around. Since this was the first long triathlon on the island with people that had never volunteered before, I provided quite a bit of amusement as I loaded my bra and hat with ice!
How hot was it? One of the volunteers sandels melted to the pavement at the aid station!
The first three miles I made sure my feet were under me and that I was hydrated properly. I took a caffeinated gel at mile 3 and another at mile 8. I started on Coke the last three miles. Despite how hot it was, I felt strong and worked to pick off some competitors. The finish was a beautiful beach run with the Caribbean sea in the background.
This was a very small inaugural race and I cannot compliment the race organizers enough! They did a fantastic job making all the competitors feel welcome and providing great organization. I was truly impressed and look forward to returning!
I finished as the first and only woman finisher in 5:34.21. I was 6th overall (men and women) and had the 4th fastest run overall. I was pleased that my effort was good relative to my fitness right now (very early season and 6 lbs over race weight). I raised my effort during each loop of each event and finished the run strong.
For comparison sake, you will find my data below for Galveston 70.3 versus the Caymans race. Both had heat, humidity and wind:
- 151 Watts Avg/152 HR Avg/84 RPM/19.9 MPH Galveston
- 133 Watts Avg/149 HR Avg/81 RPM/19.3 MPH Caymans
Galveston was last April and I was much fitter than I am now. The interesting thing to note is that my new bike position seems to allow me to be faster with less effort. A good sign.
- Endurance Corner Tucson Camp late February
- Gator Half in March
- Galveston 70.3 April
- Ironman Texas May
Special thanks to my support team. Coach is amazing and enthusiastic at all times. Her and Pedro must have hit it off while I was out suffering:
One of the gifts of triathlon has been our friends Danny and Marie who have cheered me on in Galveston and the Caymans. They even helped me to become a Conch Hunter on this trip!
Continued thanks to Marilyn McDonald for her coaching and guidance.
A final pic to explain why I like to train in the Caymans. My open water swim course:
Now I just need to survive the arctic blast at home. Brrrrrrr….