To read the beginning of the weekend, please go here first…
After the wake up call we get our breakfast and get our stuff together and pack it into the car to head to the race sit. First off, it was hot and windy in the morning. It was around a low of 70 and just walking to transition I started sweating. I knew it was going to be a rough day. I got in transition and tried to set up my little space. Again the end spot worked perfectly as I tucked everything to the edge.
After transition was set, TPG and I headed to the lovely port o potties to get our business done. The lady behind me apparently had waited too long and would not stop complaining about how long it was taking everyone. I just wanted to turn around and be all “they are all doing exactly what you intend to, which is to say they are all pooping.” But I didn’t. Yay for honesty progress! Once that business was done TPG and I headed to the swim start. We sat down next to the grass and waited. I had about 40 min till my start and needed to start getting my wetsuit situated. Beware that they are TONS of bugs there. I got eaten up alive by mosquitos and am paying for that in lovely red bumps this week that I can’t stop itching. I body glided everywhere I needed to (important fact to remember later) and got my wetsuit on. Gave TPG a good luck hug, husband a kiss and put my big girl panties on and headed to the swim start. Once on the pier all of us were nervous so we made for some great chatter. As we heading down to the edge of the pier Competitor snagged a pic of me! You can find that pic here. Before we all knew it the pros were off and we had to hop in the water. Yes, I was the first group in after the pros. No pressure, right?
I was not super stressed about the swim, once the gun went off I set myself into a rhythm and worked my way through. I tried to sight the whole time but soon realize that I was getting way off course. The current was pushing me hard right and I had to really swim diagonal to maintain my course. Which I did a terrible job of, obviously. Also noteworthy is that the wave behind me was 30-34 year old men and they were rude charging through the water. But I got them back – for every guy that was a dick that ran over me as he passed, his leg got pulled and his momentum stopped. I don’t care if you pass me, but don’t be a jerk about it and try to run me over when there is NO ONE around me.
I knew I had just missed having a time in the 30’s and that made me mad because I knew I was easily capable of that. Turns out I swam 1.46 mils according to Garmin, so had I stayed on a straight course I would have nailed my time. More practice indeed. I hopped out of the water and the wetsuit strippers were young kids and fun. I made sure to tell them they were fabulous and I headed into transition. The volunteers were so not ready for me to come charging in my area, in fact one of them moved a kid out of the way because he didn’t realize I was right behind him. I was in and out of transition in about 3 minutes. Room for improvement but overall happy about it.
I headed out on the bike and once I hit the seawall, oof, the wind. The one nice thing about the watch (Garmin Forerunner 910XT) is that in multisport mode it only tells you total time, mileage and what sport you are on. The only indication of speed are the auto laps you have scheduled (for me its every mile.) Luckily I didn’t feel like doing math in my head or I would have realized how slow I was on the way out and would have pushed harder. The one thing I did know? I wanted to burn my bike. My butt couldn’t get comfortable and I had to adjust multiple times a mile. In fact around mile 15 I got off my bike and tried to adjust my seat. I was looked at funny but I still had 40 miles to go. I ended up wasting a minute on that, but it was worth it. I still wasn’t comfortable but it was better. I have a new female saddle, but I really just need to go get an aero fit already, I bet my life would be a lot happier in the saddle. I was really good about nutrition on my bike. Having the water bottle between my aero bars is a lifesaver. I took Honey Stinger gel’s like clockwork. Even though I didn’t want to take the last one, I forced it down knowing that I needed my tanks full if I had any hope on the run where my stomach has been known to shut down.
Once I hit halfway it was an amazing feeling. I knew I could handle the rest of the bike. With the wind somewhat at my back I could pick up the pace a bit and try to make up for lost time. The one thing I absolutely love about tri’s is how positive everyone is. Yes I got passed left and right but you know what? A ton of people had encouraging words or we shared a quick laugh. This is what the sport is about – supporting each other while trying your hardest. Once I hit mile 40 I wanted to do a little dance – mile 50? I wanted to throw my arms up in the air, but alas, I just stayed tucked in and smiled big time. I turned off the seawall and had about a mile till transition. My mind started shifting focus to the run.
I dropped my bike off immediately and changed all my stuff for the run. It was a super awesome feeling that my bike rack was completely empty – it was a small victory in my head that none of those guys had actually passed me on the bike portion. I had recently purchased a set of bungee laces that worked perfectly – no tying no nothing. Just slip em on and GO! I’m half tempted to buy several sets so I never have to tie a shoe again. I had also completely frozen my handheld the night before which in theory would work. In practice I just ended up with a hot handheld.
As you can see I have a handheld, hat and a flask. I wanted to use a flask for hammer gel’s because when racing my stomach usually shuts down. I thought that if I had them watered down a little I could take sips of calories and spread them out. About .5 miles after this was taken I threw it away. Not because I didn’t want to use it, but I didn’t want to carry it. I had nowhere where it wasn’t going to bother me. My first mile was a little weird as always coming off the bike, but I started hurting fast. I have some serious heat issues and really hadn’t gotten a chance to train in the heat yet. I knew then that the run was going to be a walk/run if I was going to survive and not want to quit. So that’s exactly what I did. I ran when I could and I stopped when I wanted to die.
So this was the run course. It was 3 loops and it was miserable. No shade, barely and wind, several out and back stretches and more turns that I can remember. You couldn’t settle into a pace really because all of a sudden you were turning again, or turning around. The run course blew. Plain and simple. When I passed Brian the second time I threw him my handheld and my visor. I knew there was enough water stops to keep me going and the visor was holding heat into my head. After I took it off I could feel myself cool down. Every single water stop I got something – and seriously, bless the power of the sponge. I just kept plugging away at my miles, knowing I was disappointed in my time, but I would finish! On my last lap I met a guy named John and we held each other accountable for the run. It was awesome and made that last loop go by so much quicker. Each of us also did less walking by doing it together.
With about a mile left to go, I told John that I really appreciated running with him, but with a mile left I wanted to pick it up. So that’s what I did. I just kept telling myself that I could do anything for a mile and that it would be over soon. With about .4 left to go I see a girl come up past me and get far enough ahead and slowed down. I looked at her calf: 28. Oh hell no. There is NO WAY I was going to let someone pass me with that little to go. Honestly since I didn’t push my pace on the run I had a lot left in my tank, which meant that I could really challenge her. I came back up on her and just flew by. Her shoes were squeaky so I could hear her try to catch me but I picked up my pace and I sprinted that last .25 all of the way in. It was going to be a fight to the finish and I was going to give everything I had.
I sprinted across the finish and giggled a little inside. I did it! I was a half ironman finisher! SO AWESOME!
I felt really good as soon as I crossed the finish. Not only was I excited, but I wasn’t super exhausted like a hard race. Don’t get me wrong, that’s one of the hardest things I’ve done, but I didn’t push myself too hard to leave everything totally empty. I’m not pleased with my time, but I’m going to use this experience to build upon. One of the perks of not pushing myself to the total limit? Being able to actually eat post-race food for the first time and it actually sounded good!
I was super excited to get back on the course as a spectator and cheer on TPG on her final lap! I don’t know what I would have done without Brian or TPG that weekend. They were both my rocks and it was the most amazing experience to share with TPG. I don’t say enough how blessed I am to be surrounded by amazingly supportive, strong and positive friends. Y’all seriously rock my world.
Okay, so things I learned: the first is obvious at this point if you look at the above picture. Take the time to let them sunscreen you down. You should not be matching your bright pink top by the end. Also? even if you think you’ve body glided enough, go over it a good 6 more times. Salt water + wetsuit = the most uncomfortable burn evah.
I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me – but I’m ready to commit to the next one. Like June? Thinking about doing 70.3 Kansas. Anywho, I’ve got a lot of work on the bike and the run in the next few months. And now I have the time that I will be focusing on crushing!
Thank you for all of your support through this! You really all mean the world to me. And seriously – sign up for a 70.3 already – I promise it’ll be worth whatever work and sacrifice you put into it.
After all, I am a Half Ironman Finisher.