I had a great first 70.3 for me
I had a great first 70.3 for me
We drove down the night before and stayed with my cousin who lives off courthouse road just 16 miles from Lake Anna State Park. I was in bed by 9:45 and got an ok nights sleep and didn't have any crazy tri nightmares. My alarm was set for 5am and we were out the door by 5:30am. I ate two hard boiled eggs and a yummy muffin on the car ride there.
We arrived at the Park at about 5 till 6. I thought this would give me plenty of time to get everything ready as transition was suppose to close at 6:45. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Set Up Events had only two people checking in athletes. I waited in line for 20 minutes and panic started to set in. To save time I sent Jason back down to the car to get my bag and my bike, just to find out he took my ID and USAT card with him. So, he had run back up the hill and get these back to me just as I was picking up my packet.
Once I got my packet I ran back to the car, got my stuff and headed to transition. I had about 15-20 minutes before it closed, but I was already feeling like a chicken with their head cut off and couldn't calm down.
I looked for my timing chip and it wasn't in the bag they gave us. Here you had to pick it up at a separate tent by the beach and have your race number with you, which meant I would have to run down there and back into transition to drop my bib back off. I ran into Beth and Allison at this point, but I was in too much of panic to really talk. Sorry guys. Luckily there was fog over the water and they pushed back the start time of the race which gave people more time in transition.
With all my stuff ready to go I was feeling better, but was worried this if how the rest of my day was going to go. I made one last stop at the port-a-potties and met up with Rachel as we made our way down to the water. The water was actually warmer (70 degrees) than it was outside and it felt good to have your feet in it.
Swim: 1.2 miles - 36:45
Before I knew it, our wave was in the water and the horn went off. It was a running start into the water and people were just diving in. I followed suit, but the water was still so shallow that I was actually scrapping my hands on the bottom. I was thinking WTF and thought I cut up my hand.
The start of my swim was not pretty. I was panicking with everyone around me and my heart rate was out of control. The thought actually crossed my mind to just give up and swim back to shore and scrap the whole race. I obviously did not do this and just kept swimming. I did calm down about 200 meters into the swim and got into a little grove. I probably could have swam faster, but I was content with taking it easy. After the first yellow buoy we turned directly into the sun! I couldn't see a thing. I had no idea where the orange buoys were at and had no clue if I was swimming on course. I stopped to breast stroke a couple of times because I didn't see anyone else around me and thought I was completely swimming the wrong direction. I eventually caught back up to people and was happy to make the final tun back to the shore line. Yes. I made it out in one piece and only got punched in the face once in the final 100 meters. Now the real fun was about the begin...
Nothing to exciting here. I struggled to take off my wetsuit and apparently blocked this guy in the picture from getting out of our row. Sorry. I fumbled around and I thought I was in there for 6 minutes or so. Jason was along the fence line yelling at me to get my ass out of there. But I took my sweet old time and wanted to find and put on my capstick before I left. If you have ever had sun burned lips, you would understand.
Bike: 56 miles - 2:59:35 - 18.7 mph
Boomer was excited to get off the bike rack and wondered why it took me so long to swim. Whatever Boomer. And per usual, I suck at mounting my bike and I'm extra slow at clipping in. At least I don't look like I'm the only one.
Once all clipped in I gave Jason a smile and wave as I knew I would not see him again for at least 3 hours.
There is one word and one word only for this bike course: LOVE! Yes I loved the bike course. It was a two loop course that had nice rolling hills and sections of shade which made it interesting.
I started off pretty slow with my first 5 mile split at 18:07 or an average of 16.6mph. I guess I was just peddling easy and getting my heart rate back down after the swim. I'm not sure why it took me so long to do this though? I picked up the pace for the next 10 miles and kept my average around 20. I had my nutrition plan in my head and wanted to take in calories every half hour for a total of around 200 an hour. I started off with my honey stinger chews and they went down great. It was also easy to remember to drink my Gu Brew mix in my aero bottle because well the straw was sticking right in my face. When it was time to eat again, I tried a Honey Stinger waffle, but my stomach was rejecting it and I thought oh just how lovely. I only ate half of it and decided to give my belly a rest and not eat for an hour.
The second part of the loop or right around mile 20 was a little harder than the beginning. It was basically a bunch of false flats, so I put boomer in a lower gear and just kept my cadence up. I was also too scared to grab a water bottle at the hand off and just drank my 46 oz that I had on my bike with me. I guess this could explain why I didn't have to pee at all while riding.
I was also getting passed - a lot! But mostly by men with money wheels and ok just a few women. I let my ego go and knew I was still going fast for me and didn't want to over push it and have dead legs for my fun fun half marathon. At the 2 hour mark I started to do some math in my head, which can be pretty dangerous, and thought I could get a sub 3 hour bike. I was getting excited and became obsessed with my Garmin and kept looking at it from that point on, oh about every 5 minutes. As we were getting closer to bike finish a couple of the guys I was riding around asked if everyone was ready for the real fun to begin. I responded that I have been thinking about the 13.1 miles since I got on the bike and was ready for it :)
As I coasted back into the park, I knew the sub 3 hour bike could be mine, but yet I didn't hammer it because I wanted to save my legs. Looking back, I actually should have pedaled harder those last few miles, but whatever I suppose. My edge had my at 2:58:28. I turned it off at the dismount line. My official bike time was 2:59:35, so I guess I was a slow poke running to the timing mat. But score, I got my sub 3 hours even if it was only by 30 seconds!
T2: 2 minutes even
I couldn't get my bike back on the race as my wheel kept hitting someone's big blue cooler that they had sitting there. Once again I fumbled around and couldn't decide if I wanted to kept my sun glasses on our off. Off was the final decision and I grabbed my race belt, Garmin, and capstick and went off running.
Run: 13.1 miles - 2:01:47
Jason had just finished running his 10 miles for the day and almost missed me running out of T2. I guess my bike split surprised everyone. We did a small loop and then headed back up by the transition area where Jason was waiting for me. I ran towards the port-a-potties as Jason yelled, "no your going to the wrong direction, run this way." Don't worry, I'm not that bad with directions, I just wanted to use the bathroom while I saw one. I'm not sure how long this took me, maybe a minute? My first mile split was at 9:15 so not so bad considering I made a stop :)
The run course I would like to describe as a 3 hellish hilly loops ... aka fun right?
Each loop was a little over 4 miles long and you got to run by the finish line every time. Loop number 1 wasn't so bad and my legs felt good and my stomach didn't feel too bad either. I wanted to try to keep around a 9 minute mile and tried my best to do so. After the first loop I saw Jon and Allison cheering for me as I ran up the big ass hill. I asked them how many loops we had to do because I was convince that 2 loops would make up 13.1 miles and if I did a third loop then I would end up with 16 miles or something. See, I told you doing math can be dangerous. Unfortunately they confirmed it was indeed three loops I had to run. Bummer.
I saw Jason shortly afterwards and he tried to give me a kiss, but missed and kissed my shoulder instead. I was laughing.
As I was running I came up with a little saying: "The only thing you can control is your attitude." You can't control the weather, how your body feels, or what goes on around you, but you can control how you think. I kept a positive attitude through-out the run and just kept repeating this to myself. I also thought about how much I actually love running and just to have as much fun as possible. The second loop seemed long though. The points between the aid stations seemed to take longer and longer to get too. At the bottom of one of the hills there was music playing which was pretty uplifting. I made friends with an older guy and we talked to rest of the run and helped push each other. I saw some of my friends on the out and backs as well and we cheered for each other. It was nice.
I ran through the trail in the woods and came out by the finish about to make my final loop. I kept looking at my total time and knew I could finish in under 6 hours and was happy. I saw Jason, again, and I was smiling and told him about how I ate a fly at mile 51 on the bike and that the extra protein would help me finish my run.
Although the last loop was the hardest. I started walking the aid stations. I had been drinking water and had been taking Gatorade at each station along with pouring a water over my head. It was out hot, maybe 80, but the water on the head trick seemed to help. My stomach had been playing nice to me most of the run, but it was on the verge of taking a turn for the worse. I had not eaten anything on the run as I usually can't, but ate three chews at mile 10. They seemed to make me feel better for a bit, but then my death mile came!!! I was keeping somewhat even splits throughout the run until mile 12. I don't know what I was doing here? Going for a Sunday walk? I guess so: Mr. 10:45 mile, you suck sir!
I got mad that I let myself slow down so much and I really wanted a 2 hour half, but it just wasn't in the cards. I pushed myself the last mile and felt like I sprinting with a 8:41 mile. But I saw the finish line and I saw Jason, I was pumped!
After what I never imaged myself able to do, I was crossing the finish line at my first half ironman :)
Which got my 39th place out of the women. I'm not sure what my AG placing is, as setup events does not have those results up yet.
Number one thought: I did it! and I stayed positive throughout the entire race. I couldn't be happier.
Take that 70.3 - I can't wait to do my next one and Louisville I'm coming for you !!
Also, I mentioned before coming into this race, I didn't care about my times. Honestly I really didn't. I am pretty proud of myself though. I hit all my time goals on the faster side of what I had set up for myself. I guess my day really couldn't have gone much better. But while laying in bed, all I could think about is how I could have pushed myself more on the run and finished the half in under 2 hours. I don't know why I do this to myself?
Anyhow, it was a such a fun race and it was nice seeing my friends through out the course. Plus well it was a great confidence booster for Louisville! Good Job to Rachel as well! She did so awesome.
Hope everyone had a great weekend :)