First top 5 finish in the Pro Field: Race Report from Eagleman 70.3

Cambridge, Maryland is a lovely spot and a perfect host for a triathlon. My dad and I drove down and were able to stay with some friends in neighboring Oxford (easy access for our pilgrim ancestors from the motherland via the Choptank River leading in from the Atlantic), right on the water. 

The Choptank River was uncharacteristically calm on race morning, which made for a lovely swim course. As usual I was disoriented during the swim leg and had no idea where I was in the race, but I did feel strong and smooth swimming, focusing on my mantra– “long and strong.” I had trouble sticking in the draft of the faster swimmers in front of me, so there is room for improvement there, but happy with the progress I’m making.

Transition

I was disappointed to hear that I was 6min back after the swim, but the plan was to “let it flow” on the bike, so I was not going to rush the chase. The course was pancake flat so the wind and turns provided the only variability. I was patient and let my legs come to me. I started to turn it on around mile 25 and dropped the group of girls I had been riding near. As I saw my average speed rise to 24mph, I knew a sub 2:20 split was within reach. The first half of the race my average power was 226W and I raised my average to 234W by the second half. The power allowed me to leap frog from 13th to 5th place. Fastest Bike split of the day! Thanks to Breakaway bikes for the disc wheel loan! 

My other goal for this race was to be able to really “run the run” and part of that required going out a little slower and really focusing on form. Although I wasn’t flying out there, mission accomplished and I cut off 3+min on my previous 70.3 run time. Out of T2, I was in 5th place, but 3rd place was in sight. I moved up into 4th place, the closest to the front of the race I’ve ever been in a pro race and was feeling great, despite the heat. I was quickly passed by another competitor, eventual 2nd place, so back into 5th. I continued to throw back the calories and took 4 gels plus coke cups on the run. It was in the 90s with limited shade, so cooling with ice and sponges was key.

The last 2 miles were more dramatic than I accounted for. I had finally caught 4th place after keeping her in sights for the entire race. I reeled her in around mile 9 but she was determined to stick on my shoulder and we passed and re-passed eachother multiple times. My dad and friends Anthony and Nicole were on course shouting encouragement, which helped a ton. With about 1 mile to go, an unexpected competitor zoomed by us both, and I mustered everything I had to stay with her for about 200 yards. It was enough to drop the other girl and though I was dying down the finishing chute, I held on for 5th place, and my best finish to date.

Davis-Hayes, Cecilia Swim- 32:52 Bike- 02:20:30 run- 01:31:40 total time: 04:29:55

Originally from: http://www.ironman.com/triathlon/coverage/athlete-tracker.aspx#ixzz4jo8ObXPy