This is really my first half as my previous HIM, was cut short, at least the swim because it was too cold (Lake Anna Kinetic Half 2007).
I prefer cooler weather I must say, especially for the run. So the whole week was spent fretting about the +90F weather and the fact that the run portion would begin sometime after 11:15 AM. I was worried and the plan was to take it nice and easy on the run, I wanted to run 8:45 – 9:00 minute miles.
Watched Argentina play Nigeria (1-0), then ran around completely stressed out trying to get ready and convinced that I needed a new chain as I thought it looked stretched and was not meshing properly with the gears. Trip to bike shop, turned into “Why the hell am I driving to the pool?” turned around and went back home to have lunch with the family. Then drove to the bike shop (got it right this time), no new chain need. Drive to race site was uneventful but unfortunately at the same time as the USA – England game (1-1) well done USA.
Called Geoff to confirm my arrival and that I would see them in about ½ hour. Got completely lost (with GPS) and ended up driving 17 miles away from the high school, right through the area we would be biking in…… hilarious, eventually stopped some place to ask for directions. This area by the way falls into the 3% of the US that AT&T does not cover. Eventually found Geoff and Lance and chilled out. It was great to see so many familiar faces, David, Rick, George all at the camp site and then all the peeps at the dinner.
Great sleep, felt really good. Breakfast consistent of Coconut water, bagel with PB&J, banana. I missed my coffee but was grateful that it was available at the tent. As usual the spread at the tent was AMAZING, thanks everyone.
The water looked so nice and calm, not swimming in a wetsuit was fine, the only thing that bothered me was that I wanted to keep my modified bike jersey on but was worried that the pockets would act as parachutes. Geoff helped me tape them which worked really well and helped me avoid the struggle of trying to put it on later with a wet body.
Swim start was great and I settled in really well. Then my goggles got fogged up really badly and I could not see anything, which was really annoying, I had to stop to clean them a couple of times as I could not sight properly, so what should have been a lovely swim turned into a nightmare. I did not feel the current as I was completely focused on trying to sight. Swim disaster…. TIP: if you get just a little water in the goggles you can swirl your head around while swimming and it clears them a little.
T1 2:22 (story of my weekend) despite the amazing lettering of the rows I still managed to miss my spot, I ran down the wrong isle (can you believe it????). As it was longer race I put my socks on got all the rest of the gear into my bike shirt pockets including another Bagel with PB&J cut into quarters. Ran out of transition and remember that I had left my cleat covers on duh…..
Bike: 2:42:58 – Speed avr 20.6MPH
I expected it to be windier, thankfully it wasn’t or at least it wasn’t so windy for the start. Up to mile 40 I managed a 21.4 MPH avr speed, then it got windier and an incredible sharp needle type pain started setting in on my hips, I have never ridden that long on a flat before it was brutal, I kept having to stand or sit up to get away from the pain. My avr speed dropped to 21MPH and then during the last 8M it dropped to 20.6MPH, the last 8 miles were very hard. I was praying for hills or the run (ok not really the run but just something different please) I only took one bottle on the bike and chose to pick up bottles along the way which worked really well, I also grabbed 1 water bottle at each stop to cool myself.
The bagel was lovely and I also had 2 Accelarade gels. On the bike
T2 - 2:18 bit longer then usual
Run: 2:06:03 – 9:38
First mile was hectic, the water stops were amazing, I loved the ice, ice water, ice Gatorade, I even wanted to climb inside the Ice coolers…. They were really organized. I walked through every stop, pouring ice water on my head and placing ice cubes under my cap and inside my shirt pockets, I must have had a pound of ice on me all the time, I would reach back pull out some and chew it, put some more down my top, more under my cap, offer some to other people etc. Eventually I settled into a rhythm, run and walk the water stops. At one point from about mile 4.5 to 6.5M a lady tucked in behind me and asked if she could stay back there to shelter from the wind. I said: “Sure help yourself to ice too!” Snowcone at mile 6.5 with Gatorade was a great idea! Then the long slug back, I just looked for MMTC peeps to say hello to, played mind games and prayed for cloud cover a storm or some other sort of miracle. The last two miles were great as I chatted to a 10 year Eman vet, he warned me about the last mile, when you come around the corner and see the finish line but it’s still soooooo far.
Finished in 5:40 - I was happy it was over.
Thanks again to all the volunteers and all the lovely food in the tent. So nice!!! Unfortunately I had to leave straight away due to family commitments, I think next year I may consider staying the Sunday night to avoid traffic, which was a nightmare.