A Sick Race at Cocoa Beach

Sunday I competed in the Ron Jon Cocoa Beach Triathlon racing in the Sprint Duathlon. I caught my first sickness mid-week for the first time in 7ish years and was thankful it was on a taper week and weeks before Nationals. Here I share my experience from an awesome morning on the Space Coast.

This was the final tune-up race before the USA Duathlon National Championships, April 30-May1. I was excited to see where my race fitness was getting close to Nationals and how I would feel shaking off a pretty good sinus infection. Saturday night I felt better than the entire week as my energy was coming back and headache subsiding. When I woke Sunday morning my legs felt as elastic as they have felt this year. That was a great feeling so I felt ready to roll and with this being a sprint, I thought my sickness wouldn’t impact my performance as it would be roughly an hour worth of work.

As I took off on the first run, 1 mile, I had a gentleman pull away from me about a quarter mile in who looked like a young deer, running very fast and effortlessly. I had a very good first run, beating my goal by five seconds as I transitioned to the bike leg, 12 miles. My only hope to catch the leader was to get him early. I pressed hard on the bike and caught him at mile seven. As I passed him I thought, this probably isn’t good enough, but you never know. I continued to press as hard as I could and had my best power output on the bike this season. I was pleased with the bike effort.

I quickly transitioned out on the final run, 5k (3.1 miles), and found myself running faster than my target goal pace and that built my confidence. I continued to press knowing he would be closing the gap at some point based on his first run and even if he wasn’t, that’s what I convinced myself. At mile one he caught and passed me, looking again like that young deer. He was fast! I pressed on with the thought of keeping as close to him as possible and keep my second place position. I didn’t have a feel for how far behind the 3rd racer was so that helped me press too. I crossed through the finish with my fastest 2nd run 5k in years.

I was ecstatic with my run paces and pleased with my bike effort. I really didn’t feel effects of the sickness until late in the final mile of the race. Even on my best day which this was pretty darn close to my ceiling I would not have beaten Alvaro Coutinho, who I met after the race along with his wife, Samara. We shared stories about the race and how we pushed each other to our proud efforts. I was honored to share the podium with this fantastic competitor. Alvaro is the current and two time Brazilian Triathlon National Champion so that made me feel even better about my effort to hang with him. He made me better on this day and for Nationals in a few weeks.

I also got to race in front of my one person fan club, Lauren Nolan, so that was great to hear cheering throughout the course when I’m usually faced with boos and hisses…just kidding.

About the sickness. Many things to consider here:

  • Listen to your body and what it’s telling you (you know your body more than anyone)
  • Consult with a coach for input as well to help make a decision to shut training down, modify training, and/or race decisions
  • Consult with a doctor to determine exactly what you have and limitations you need to consider
  • Consume as many immune boosting foods you can. No doubt living a plant-based lifestyle made this a quick blip and first sickness in 7ish years…#plantpower
  • Use the race as a data point as you may be sick during a more significant race and determine what modifications or strategies to implement. We never feel 100% going into a race. This is just another factor…
  • If you decide to race, race like hell. Nobody cares if you are sick. It’s you and the clock, that’s it.

I received clearance from the doctor I wasn’t contagious, was ready to roll, and raced like hell. Now on to training like hell leading up to Nationals.

– Add Health to Your Life

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