Boom: here we are, race week.
It seems like just yesterday the husband and I were debating making the decision to head to Chattanooga for me to race in the 70.3 Worlds. Similar to with Kona it was not an easy decision mostly due to money. As an age grouper I fund ALL of my training and racing so it gets very expensive and while I want to do all of the races I first have to think about our life. I am thankful that my husband and I work very hard to save, and earn so that I can chase these dreams. Maybe someday I will have some sponsors to help ease the burden of my crazy on our family.
As the title of this article suggests it is race week which means we decided to make it work and give the World Championships a go. I am looking forward to racing as I feel as though all I have been doing lately is training and it will be a good test effort to see where I am going into the last push for Kona. Because of all the training I have been doing and all my thoughts focused on Kona I am not 100 percent sure how I feel about this race. The nerves that are normally fairly suffocating for me don’t see to be there at the moment, however ask me again on Thursday when we arrive I may have a different answer.
With Kona only 5 weeks from this Saturday we, Coach Heather and myself, decided to train through 70.3 World Championships which meant a big training block the week leading up to the race that included a 3 hr ride and a double run day to total about 23 miles of running this past weekend. Sunday’s workout of a double run day ended up being one of my best sets since beginning to work with Heather. My husband road his bike next to me while I ran and it made a huge difference. He kept me hydrated, focused, on pace, and on point with my form plus it was fun having him there with me while I ran.
Here is quick look at the challenge the competitors at the World Championships face, as it really will be a Championship course designed to challenge, push, and separate the best of the world.
I am very excited to see that it is not a mass start, for if you read my last post mass starts are not my favorite. The gun goes off for me, as part of the 25-29 age group, at about 8:45 am to which we then dive into the river to face the upstream current. I have made a lot of gains in my swimming and I hope to just focus on staying strong and keeping my power up. Even prior to the improvements that I made I have always been competitive when I get into the water, swimming way above my actual training/ability, so I hope to tap into that.
Swim goal: stay focused and in the moment, do not get bored.
With about 3,500 vertical feet of elevation this is no easy bike course, though after Whistler’s 15 mile climb out of Pemberton I know that I will be able to manage it. It takes you up Lookout Mountain before heading back into town.
Bike goal: keep my cadence up especially on the climb, breath, and take in my nutrition
The run course takes athletes through the scenic city with two loops (I love when they are loops for spectator purposes) of undulating hills. Previously I was training to run 6:55s for the full 13 miles however the last month we’ve turned the focus more towards Kona so while I am hoping to be able to keep the speed up it is something I am unsure about.
Legs felt pretty fresh during my short bursts of race pace this afternoon despite the long bike followed by a long day of running. Fingers crossed they stay that way.
Run goal: Run fast, stay in the moment, and embrace the suck.
Traveling to Chattanooga is going to be short and fast for Brandon and myself. We head out Thursday morning flying into Nashville then driving to Chattanooga and head back home Sunday morning bright and early after the race on Saturday. I wish we were able to stay longer as to enjoy the atmosphere and activities that surround a high profile race like this but with work, and going to Kona here in 5 short weeks we couldn’t justify the cost behind a longer weekend.
I am trying to pack most of my food for the flight tomorrow as I do not do well when I cannot eat as per my routine. The problem being that there is a lot of food that would have to be packed….
Overall I am looking forward to this weekend, it is a chance to test my legs and heart as well as a fun opportunity to race against the best in the world. To toe the line on the world stage one time prior to Kona and because of that the main goal for this weekend is to soak it all in and use it as a strength training day for Kona.
If you want to follow my progress this weekend download the Ironman Tracker App and either search for my name, Kayla Bowker, or my bib number 1508. Finally, stay tuned for the post race recap to come afterwards.
Good luck to ALL racing this weekend and thank you for all those out there supporting, cheering, and volunteering.