Gator Half Race Report

This was a breakthrough race for me.  I towed the line with the thought, I am here to win.    I finished the race with the win as the first overall female.  This was a serious paradigm shift and included the incredible feeling of knocking off a bucket list goal; winning a triathlon!

I won’t bore you with my typical race report.  In my sixth year of the sport, the general outline of preparation to execution does not really change.  Since this was an early season race however, I did try some new things:

  • Arrived at the race the night before and left the next morning.  
  • Swam in water with alligators.  Something I said I would never do in my lifetime without medication.
  • Totally ignored the pack in the swim.  There was lots of wind on race day.  For some reason the pack went really wide on the first two segments (waves and current).  I stayed on course and passed a group of people at the second turn.
  • Tried a new nutritional product.  Carb consumption the first two hours on the bike was 64g (260 calories).
  • Lowered front end on bike.  Not great for my back but may have helped in the wind.
  • Ran latex (instead of butyl) tubes with Continental 4000′s on my bike.  I don’t know if they made a difference but they did feel different.
  • Used a fuel belt because I knew on course aid was limited and the product offered did not sit well on my stomach.  Fueled with gels and flat Coke.
  • No walking aid stations and almost no ice.  It was tropical and windy.

Why the paradigm shift?  My coach, Marilyn Chychota McDonald, spent time with me at our Endurance Corner Tucson camp pushing me to the wall, and then through it.  She has been consistently reframing my competition perspective from women in my age group to all the women racing, including the pros.  Not in an unrealistic way, but in a “you can compete with most women toeing the line” way.  Not all.  Most.

The hardest part of the day was the last portion of the run when I knew I ran myself into first place.  I like hunting people in front of me but soon felt the stress of being hunted.  I kept wanting to look over my shoulder to find out how close the women chasing me were.  I didn’t look because I didn’t want to give anyone behind me a reason to think I was concerned about them chasing me.

I did take a peek at the last turn on the course and realized I was far enough ahead for the win.  I pushed until the end and to the victory.

Much thanks to Marilyn (@chychota) for the coaching and guidance, to the other coaches at Endurance Corner who have helped me through the years (Gordo Byrn, Alan Couzens, Justin Daerr) and to my EC team mates who push and support me.  None of this is possible without the foundation of my family.  Anytime I leave for a race, the last line I hear is “don’t come home unless you win.”

I came home!  A winner.


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2 Responses to Gator Half Race Report

  1. Lona says:

    Helo Sue!

    I couldn’t find your e-mail details so I’m responding to your “woman’s Tri perspective” article here. Something that I found hard to deal with is all the men overtaking me on the bike, until I realised that I’m not racing against them. It’s difficult to not feel deflated when person after person keeps overtaking you, 100, 200 or maybe 300, but it’s confusing feedback since they don’t count! :-) Now I make sure that I only notice the women overtaking me, and good on them! They motivate me tremendously. Remembering this helps a lot to keep me positive and smiling!

    PS I love your articles!!

    Leone (from sunny South Africa)

    • admin says:

      Great comments Lona and thank you for reading! You reminded me of another issue we face. Men’s egos when we pass them. I can’t tell you how many guys speed up on the bike when they realize they are getting passed by a woman! Unfortunately, it can lead to drafting penalties for us.

      Keep focusing on racing the women and eventually you will find yourself passing a lot of guys! Be fit, fast and focused!

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