K.R.C. LogoThe Book of Kara

Ironman 70.3 Indian Wells - La Quinta (2022)

Raced 5 December 2022

swim 1.2mi / bike 56mi / run 13.1mi - 6:49:28 - Official Results

The finale race of 2022 was one for which I'd trained an entire year. I'd heard so many things: that the ride was fast and flat, the run hot and the swim crushingly cold. I came prepared: swim booties, ear plugs, full-fingered bike gloves and a fairly sturdy jacket. My coach had also gotten me dialed in on nutrition — I had a minute by minute plan for when to eat, when to take AltRed and how much I needed to drink and when.

All my distances were feeling good. I'd spent the last few weeks biking dusty laps around the airport service drives — the only flat roads with traffice light enough to stay at speed — practicing getting up and down out of aero, and handling bumps or cracks that send the bike careening without panic.

My tech was also primed. The new Watch Ultra had the battery power to do the whole race, my Karoo had the routes downloaded. I was ready.

Most importantly though, my whole family as well my coach and some suprise friends were there to support me.

The race went phenomenally. The water wasn't as cold as I had feared; by the first buoy I was acclimated, the biggest problem was visibility destroyed by swimming into the rising sun. But by the time I got out of the water, the sun was high and warm, and I left all the layers in my transition bags.

On the bike I was roaring. The fast, flat roads were fantastic for Viper, my grape-colored QR XPR, and I ended the bike half an hour faster than I had anticipated. The only problem was some hitches in my hydration system, and I needed to toss a water bottle at an aid station and swap to a course gatorade.

At T2 I made my one mistake: I ate off-plan. It was just a coconut date bar that I pack for hunger rather than energy, but the entire half marathon it didn't want to stay down. By the time I started running, the desert heat had kicked in, and the run trail transitioned from dry, exposed roads to a twisting, up-and-down golf course that was lovely, but really tough to get into a flow.

My saving grace was the huge number of friends and fans I ran into along the course. I met other racers, my family waiting at the finish line, and coach — a one-woman cheer section complete with bullhorn — not letting me give up.

In my long runs, I tend to flag around mile ten. The feeling manifests my psychologically than physically, getting overcome with a sudden, intense desire to just be done. Stop running. It must be nutirition related, and I was surprised that four hours of exercise didn't make that mark come earlier. This time, I found I could stave off the feeling with a shot of carbs (literally just maple syrup and salt), but it came back before the mile was up.

The 5k was the worst. It was all I could do to keep my pace regular and in my head do the math on how many tenths of a mile it would be — before the next mile marker, before my watch said a mile, before the next aid station. Having a two-lap run was crucial, as I could visualize where I'd been an knew that it would, eventually, end.

But step after step the course went on, and the last mile I was greeted by a constant stream of cheers and friends and high-fives. Jasmine was there at the finish to medal me, and I was nothing but tears. The effort, the adrenaline, the months of training and the accomplishment swirled together in cocktail of emotions that my brain just couldn't handle.

It was totally worth it.

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