Friday, May 12, 2017

St. George 70.3 Race Report - Amber Foster

Regardless of finishing time, there were so many gutsy performances at SG 70.3 last week... picking just one for a race report was not easy!

We reached out to several people for "nominations," and Amber Foster's name came up multiple times. This was her first attempt on the course, and she crushed it, finishing 2nd in the F3539 age group.

Here is her report!

I've always been reluctant to compete at St. George, as it's known for its challenging course and unpredictable weather. But it is also known for its beauty and the North American Championships! This means each athlete gets to share the course with some of the biggest names in the sport. This race also brings out many of the local athletes and triathlon clubs, which makes the day basically a big party with friends! I figured that since the race has had such extreme weather the past couple years that it was due for some great weather in 2017! I tend to stalk the weather report leading into the race and it wasn’t looking ideal; the weather was calling for high wind without any change to the forecast. The night before the race Ironman sent out a message moving the start time of the race up for the pros, as well as each age group wave due to the concern of winds that would be moving in.

My nerves were unusually high race morning, not knowing what the day was going to bring in terms of weather, as well as knowing that the day was going to be challenging on this course. As I arrived at Sand Hollow the weather was perfect! There wasn’t much of a wind and the water was smooth as glass; I thought maybe the day was going to end up being ideal. Little did I know that at the sound of the horn my day was going to be a battle. 

Typically swim waves are 3 minutes apart, but due to the change the night before they would only be 2 minutes apart. My age group was 3rd to the last wave to set foot into the lake. Due to that this swim was the most congested, physical swim I have ever experienced. With the waves so close together we quickly ran into the slower swimmers and previous waves; I don’t think I have been hit or kicked as much in 36 minutes as I did in that lake. It felt like I had been swimming for a very long time and I was certain my watch was going to reflect that when I got out of the water; I was shocked when I came out of the water in just over 36 minutes!

The St. George bike course is most likely my favorite of any 70.3 race. It is hard and challenging, but equally beautiful. The course climbs over 3,000 feet in its 56 miles, with the longest and most challenging at mile 40 up Snow Canyon. I was excited to get on my bike and put my fitness from the BAM winter computrainer classes to the test! I wasn’t as worried about the wind on my bike… BAM camp last year cured me of any fear riding in the wind and I am sure I will never have to bike in wind like that again. The miles quickly ticked by and I was surprised at what a fast bike course this was actually shaping up to be.

The wind had picked up slightly on the bike but we were lucky enough to have portions with a fantastic tail wind that made the ride an absolute blast! As I was biking up Snow Canyon a competitor told me, “I think I accidentally practiced on the easy part of the course.” I assured him Snow Canyon is tough on the legs at mile 10 or mile 40. The wind really started to pick up as I descended down from Snow Canyon into town, and I realized that those behind me had some serious wind they would have to deal with as they finished up their last 10 miles. My bike was kind enough to save the flat tire for 3 miles from transition. There was no way I was going to stop and fix a flat that close so I said a little prayer that I could just roll into town. I was thrilled to bike a 70.3 PR!

The run course is also a very challenging one that starts off with 3 miles of uphill onto Red Cliffs Drive…. this course is relentless! My legs did not want to play from the get go. I knew that the run was going to be a mental battle to the finish. The wind was much stronger on the run once I got up to Red Cliffs Drive. It was a serious headwind that was coupled with hot temperatures. I like to refer to Red Cliffs Drive as an inferno of heat… I am pretty sure it is a furnace waiting to scorch each athlete that passes through. I kept telling myself that the last three miles of downhill would be great…just get to mile 10.….but the weather had other plans. It was a strong headwind and high heat that each racer would face once on Diagonal Street and back to the finish line.

St. George goes down as one of the most challenging, yet rewarding courses I have completed. It was hot, it was windy, it was hard! But this is a race that is raced among friends, training partners, locals, and professionals. A race that you can put all your winter training to the test, and that makes you battle to the finish. A race that has enormous community support, wonderful volunteers, and a great finish line!

Amber, Andrew Stasinos, & Tracy Campbell

Coming in 2nd in my age group was a little shocking (editor's note: rock solid 5:09:07). I hadn’t met my overall goal time and experienced such a mental battle during that run that I wasn’t sure I would even get on the podium… it wasn’t until that moment that I realized everyone was battling the same tough conditions out there. Triathlon is a funny sport…. rarely does the day go your way. Likely there will be challenges along the way that you have to face and deal with, but that is also what makes the sport so great! Sharing the podium with several BAM girls was a highlight of the day…a huge congratulations to each one of them…I see their diligent work day in and day out as they balance being moms, working, and achieving their goals! I feel fortunate to get to train among them. A shout out to my coach, Andrew Stasinos, for his incredible coaching! He has kept me off the injured list and has assisted me in becoming a stronger triathlete since I have started training with him and for that I am so grateful! Also a shout out to First to Cross Nutrition….this is the year I am nailing down a nutrition plan that works for me and theirs has fit the bill!

podium hardware for Ali McInturff Amorim, Amber, Tracy & Laura Yost

Congratulations to each athlete that crossed the finish line on Saturday among less than ideal race conditions!

Related Posts

Results Breakdown: St. George 70.3

BAM Strong: Interview with Andrew Stasinos

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