Long Course National Championships 2016
Miami Man 70.3 was the venue for my second attempt at making the US National Team. Sometimes the second time is the charm!
I MUST start this race report my saying THANK-YOU to Coach Euleen Josiah-Tanner, Coach Iilonga Thandiwe, Coach Kamau Hogan, the members of the Metro Atlanta Cycling Club (MACC) and so many members of the Black Triathletes Association (BTA). I also can’t say enough about the members of the TriSports Organization and their leaders Seton and Debbie Claggett.
My entire 2016 Season was focused on one race. All the events I entered were in preparation for Miami Man 70.3, Long Course National Championships. The only race I tapered for was Eagleman 70.3 which I used as my measuring stick to plan for the march to Miami Man.
Arrival to Miami
I left for Miami I EXHAUSTED. I had a lot going on at work. I had just lost Donn Perkins Sr who was so dear to me. Euleen traveled with me and as usual wouldn’t let me do a thing and after the normal stress of getting The Green Machine checked in. The flight was uneventful. Picking up the car rental took 3 hours which completely drained all my patience but we pushed on. I was familiar with the area having attended Grad School at the U of M. Not much had changed. We drove to the race site with the intentions of my getting a swim in but were informed that I would be DQ’d both if I got in the water…even though I saw two participants swimming. OK never mind. We drove the bike course found some food, picked up some essentials from Publix and then went to our home away from home. I should thank Tony Brown for turning me on to AirBnB. I can’t give him too many compliments though. In the end, I was fine with not swimming I needed rest more than I needed a workout but I was concerned about not swimming for TWO days and then racing.
I drank my usual 2 days before the race protein shake was easily able to go to sleep early.
Packet pick up was almost too easy. I ran in to Norman Seavers and his lovely wife. I was excited like I was meeting a LEGEND. He’s is completely awesome and humble. Euleen and I sat through the athletes briefing. I didn’t hear most of it I was focusing on the penalties and qualification. I love the bike portion of the race but it can be the most nerve racking because of all the rules…drafting, blocking, 15 seconds to pass, dropping back. I decided I was going to stay away from people pass fast and keep going as fast as I could. I also ran into my brother in Islam Timothy Faucette he seemed calm, cool….and VERY popular. At least 4 people stopped by to say hello during our brief conversation.
I rode out to the first turn and back and then ran the first portion of the run to the zoo gate. The I walked over to the far end or the course and ran a little less than a mile of the course. I ran to the finish line and visualized crossing the line successfully. I was ready.
We went to get a Subway sandwich, with cookies of course that I saved for after the race and Chinese food for dinner. We were done by 1:00pm and in for the night. I made my nutrition checked my bike and run go bags watched TV, ate and slept……
“I told you game on!”
I woke up EASILY at 3:30 am. I had been relaxing eating and sleeping much of the previous day so I felt great. I deviated from my normal pre-race breakfast but it worked well because I was EXTREMELY nervous. We arrived at the race site right on time and were able to park relatively close to transition.
I checked the tire pressure on The Green Machine, loaded my nutrition and water then tucked my go bag in my aero box. The remainder of my transition prep was a small go bag for the run with salt and two GU’s, MiAdidas run shoes and my TriSports visor. I had been experimenting with more aero clothing and would be racing in a skinsuit with icefill leg coolers attached and sliding on my signature LAVENDER arm coolers in T1.
Quick bathroom break and I’m ready for the practice swim. I was a bit upset because after not swimming for THREE DAYS at this point my warm up was about 5 minutes!!! As usual the next thing I know I’m on the line and my heart is RACING……BOOM!!! I get to the first turn buoy with the front pack and then I get into my normal cadence. After about 600 yards I start to fall back from the front pack. I can see about 20 yellow caps in front of me. No problem stay steady Khadijah…follow he plan. Out of the water run around the cone back in the water for the second loop. OK passing a few yellow caps but still behind. Last buoy….stay calm keep swimming don’t you dare give up on yourself!!! Is this fool swimming on my back??? OMG I can't breathe!!!! Roll out and keep swimming!! Finally, out of the water
Swim Plan: 40-43 Actual: 46:01 I’m in 25th position
Its ok. Get to The Green Machine. Skip the wetsuit strippers. Stepping out of the wetsuit and putting my coolers on. Helmet on…….Khadijah why RU FOLDING your wetsuit?!?!? I’m off. As I go under the arch Euleen yells “You’re behind!!!!” Me, “I know GAME ON!!!”
T1 plan 3:30 Actual 3:13
I take off easy and get up to my normal cadence then step by step gear up. I pushed and I pushed HARD. The conditions were GREAT, only crosswinds. I knew I had a half marathon to run after this but I was willing to take a chance. I stayed on top of my hydration. I ate all the food I had in my go bag and I kept going. Sherri Shrock and I played tag for about 3-4 miles. There was also a guy who kept repassing me for about 30 miles. I think he had issue with getting dropped by a girl. I was pushing but I was SMILING most of the ride. I was on The Green Machine and in my happy place. I even realized I had my tongue sticking out about 20 miles in and laughed out loud!! I stayed focused on technique and keeping my heart rate down. At about 35 miles I thought a cycling club had accidentally gotten on the course!! A pack of cyclist came through together. I immediately dropped back and let them go. That was a PACK OF PENALTIES waiting to happen. About mile 40 I hit some headwinds and the lasted until the last 2.5 miles. I was still able to hold in the 19’s or so but by then I had done some damage. I sucked down some salt because I felt a mild cramp in my thigh, got a last swig of cold water and was off the bike.
Bike Plan 20 mph Actual 20.5 mph I’m in 15th position.
Euleen is yelling you killed it!!! “I told you game on.” I put on my Adidas run skirt, MiAdidas run shoes and TriSports visor and I’m gone!
T2 Plan 2:30 Actual 2:12
I knew I had to be on the run course 3:30:00 into the race to have a solid chance of achieving my goal time. I looked at my watch as I get on the run and my Garmin race time its 3:29:24. *Fist Pump* I kept focusing on long strides and keeping cadence. Relax Khadijah focus on keeping your heart rate down. I was surprised by the amount of trail running and HEAT. Timothy Faucette had warned me but yeah….. As we ran through the zoo it was hilarious how people stared! LMBO!!!! Every aide station I began to holler water and ice 20 meters out. Ice in my shirt, swig of water, the rest on my head. I was drenched by mile 4!! I ate the ice out of my bra between aid stations. The first loop, fastest mile 9:10 slowest 9:46. I was able to high five Sherri on the long out and back of the run. At the start of Loop 2 still feeling strong and I know where I want to make a move. I hadn’t passed or been passed by anyone in my division….hmmmm. I hadn’t even SEEN anyone. Don’t think about the finish Khadijah KEEP WORKING!! Mile 8 I’m starting to feel the heat. The smell of the animals in the zoo is annoying me. Keep your form!!! My cadence is starting to slow a bit but I’m managing to keep a decent stride length. Mile 10 is slow 10:26……DON’T YOU GIVE UP ON YOURSELF. I pass Norman Seavers and he yells show’em what you got! I pick up the pace. Yes!! I see someone in my age group. She looks back at the last aid station sees me and is obviously picking up her pace. I chase her for the entire last mile and with 600 meters to go I pass her!!! She finished THREE seconds behind me and obviously, someone was chasing ME as well because there was another competitor only FOUR seconds behind me as well.
Run Plan 2:05:00 Actual 2:09:26
I was HOT and exhausted! I couldn’t even bend over to take my chip off. I just smiled. I wasn’t pleased with my swim. I was stale, nervous and not aggressive but I recovered and EXECUTED. THIS was what I had trained for. THIS was what I had imagined night after night, training session after training session. I had NO IDEA what my time was until I sat down after going into the athlete’s refreshments area. I was waiting for my GARMIN to load my data and the time showed up I scream “YaAllah” and started crying. Euleen runs over and said” You did it Khadijah!! I KNEW you could do it 5:38. I knew you could do it!!!! 14th place!!!!”. Yes Tony Brown I put my head down on the table and burst into tears.
Overall Plan 5:35-5:40 Actual 5:38:50 I finished in 14th place
Last year at Long Course Nationals I was CRUSHED. I passed out at mile 7 of the run. Not making the Team is one thing but to have had what is still my only DNF at a race I had trained all year for was VERY upsetting. Even though I was still upset I focused on my 140.6 race in Louisville and had a great race. After taking a few days to lick my wounds I mapped out my plan back to Long Course Nationals. I say all this to say WE PLAN AND GOD PLANS BUT GOD ALWAYS WINS. Never give up on yourself!!! Last year wasn’t my time and it made this year all the sweeter. 70.3 PR on the bike, 70.3 PR on the run and an overall PR of 15 minutes!!
Never Give Up On Yourself
I am everything that statistics say is NOT a triathlete, I don’t come from a competitive swimming and cycling background. I was a 400, 800 meter runner in college. I’m a short, kinda chunky, African American, Muslim, Mom …… but I AM A TRIATHLETE. I’m everything that this country seems to be against right now but based on my performance I have EARNED the right to represent the United States of America at ITU World Championships.
Dream Big and Never Give Up on Yourself. Open your eyes WIDE and See the Unseen!
I have a new set of goals for 2017!!!! STAY TUNED Y’ALL!!!! Stay Tuned…….