Congratulations to all our athletes that were able to compete in the 70.3 this year! 2015 marked the third consecutive year that members of Sound Training and Racing raced in IM 70.3 Puerto Rico (previously known as IM 70.3 San Juan). Although the course profile is not as intimidating as other 70.3 events, this course is not an easy one primarily due to the temperature and humidity throughout the day.
Our group arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico on the Friday prior to the race, and with the help of our good friend Edbal, we went on a recon ride of the bike course then ran the latter portion of the run loop. Having Edbal escort us on the bike course was a key factor in being able to do a recon ride, as most of it is on the highway and he was able to block traffic behind us! You gotta love driving in Puerto Rico, where road rules seem to just be suggestions. Haha! With Edbal driving, Jennifer took the opportunity to snap some great photos of everyone on their bikes. Thanks Jennifer!
Saturday we went for a swim recon to check out the lagoon, the waves, and see how strong the current was going under the bridge. After the swim, we had lunch then returned to the expo for athlete check-in and packet pickup. Jennifer and Karen were planning to be cheerleaders, as they were still recovering from running injuries, but went to pick up their packets anyway. While chatting with volunteer, Jennifer inquired about the possibility of doing a relay (with the idea to have Edbal run the half marathon). At first it seemed a possibility if there was an open spot after check-in concluded, but after going over to the table for "on the spot" registration changes, it turned out that another relay team was missing two participants and the remaining lady WANTED to do the run! WOW! They managed to form a relay team while AT THE EXPO on the day before the race! The stars aligned and "The Virgins" relay team was reborn with Jennifer (swimming), Karen (cycling), and our new friend Katrina (running)! Karen was able to borrow a bike from another very good friend of ours and after a few adjustments she almost fit perfectly! What an amazing turn of events! Oh, and to top it off, that day was Katrina's birthday! HAPPY BIRTHDAY KATRINA!
The race starts with a 1.2 mile swim in the Condado Lagoon with a water temp of 78 degrees making it NOT wetsuit legal. The final stretch of the swim goes under a bridge which separates the lagoon from the ocean, and water flowing under the bridge can feel like swimming on a treadmill, and may require a lot of extra energy to make forward progress. Waves and a diagonal current are also evident on the other side of the bridge as athletes make their way to the swim exit. Up the ramp and down the steps brings you to an area that we like to call "T-point-5". Athletes line the path to transition with an extra pair of run shoes to ease the 1/4 path to transition which goes over paved road, side walks, and bricks. The transition area itself is inside the Sixto Escobar Stadium, which makes for very amazing pre-race pictures with palm tree silhouettes in the rising sun.
The bike course is relatively flat with the only major "hills" being on- and off-ramps near the start and end of the course within the city of San Juan, while the majority of the route is on a relatively flat highway to Dorado. However, flat doesn't always mean easy, as athletes face winds upwards of 28 mph on this particular day; I'm sure there were gusts that were higher. Also, as the race progresses, the sun comes up, and so does the temperature! The average temp during the hours of the bike leg was 81 degrees. Aid stations are limited on this bike course, so getting water or Gatorade at each station is very important; sometimes two water bottles so that one can be drank while the other is dumped on your head to keep cool. The second transition is also in the stadium, and heading out for the run course is just as expected. No abnormally long transition here.
The run is a dual out-and-back route which climbs up (and down) a plateau in each direction (for a total of 4 climbs). The turnaround point is "inside" an old fortress called El Morro, but better described as running along a stone path, with a white stone wall that reflects the sun and heat right back at you. One of our athletes reported feeling like it was a convection oven! The water stations and extra hoses were much better this year than in previous years. The average temperature during the run was 84 degrees.
We may have all underestimated the effect the heat would have on us, but we all finished strong! Congratulations!
Jennifer Santoyo - 33:59 (swim)
Karen Lam - 3:15:xx (bike)
Katrina Rowe - 1:41:xx (run)
Peter Lohrmann - 4:51:02 (Chip Time) - 32:13 (swim), 2:26:48 (bike), 1:46:05 (run)
Matthieu Marescaux - 5:08:10 (Chip Time) - 35:42 (swim), 2:43:15 (bike), 1:41:38 (run)
Erich Knaak - 7:30:28 (Chip Time) - 48:38 (swim), 3:09:29 (bike), 3:13:46 (run)
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