Since I was coming back from a hamstring injury and starting from zero mile base, I decided not to go with a coach for my first HIM. I wanted to really listen to my body and build up my run slowly after the physical therapist gave me the okay in January. I selected a 16 week training plan from The Complete Triathlete’s Training Manual. I took the Evolution Running clinic and that has helped with the hamstring issue. Once commencing the 16 week plan, my husband had to have an outpatient surgical procedure, promptly came down with bronchitis. Then he decided we needed to go to England for 10 days to see his family (no training due to my fear of running on the hedge-rowed lanes of rural Devon.)Then he caught the mumps and had to be hospitalized the week before Columbia Tri. I kept Mark Yost’s Tips for a good relationship posted at my desk. Tip #3: Be flexible. That became the theme of my Eagleman training.
I had insomnia the week before the race so I meditated, did visualization exercises and decided to save myself for the run. I would ride in the upper 80s-low 90s RPMs and have a moderate swim.
Race day: Slept 4 good hours, ate a pb & craisin sandwich with a Starbucks mocha frappuccino. Got to transition early and was instantly intimidated by my neighbor’s physique of zero body fat, probably half an inch of hair on her head , her speed suit, tattoos and general taking over the entire space allotted to me. Got to the MMTC tent and checked in with Heather. She seemed shocked that I was doing the full race and not the Aqua velo; I put down 8 hours as my expected finish time. At this point I was just hoping to finish. I had bought a 70.3 magnet at the Expo Saturday and wanted to put it on my car. Funny how such a small thing would be a huge motivator later on.
Swim: 56:58 Given wet suits were not going to be allowed, I had ordered the De Soto 78 degree top .But since I couldn’t get out of it by myself (poor zipper pull arrangement) I ditched that idea. Should have just bought a speed suit but hindsight is 20/20. Swam in my bra and tri shorts. The bra dragged the entire swim and I didn’t fasten the timing chip strap tight enough and I could feel it being tugged as well and worried it would come off. Someone’s elbow hit me hard in the right cheekbone, and I decided to move to the left of the crowd. Stupid decision because I got no drafting benefit but at the time it didn’t register. About the time I got to the first turn buoy, a mass of orange caps came past and over me like a stampede. Near the finish, I noticed people were walking in the shallow. I swam until my hands hit ground.
T1: 5:03 The zero body fat lady’s bike is still racked! Someone was actually slower than me! I sprayed on copious amounts of sunscreen, put on my MMTC singlet and did too many other things to prep for only the third time I will have ridden this distance. Ever.
Bike: 3:48:43 Had to go to the first station porta potty and as I slowed down, saw someone crash trying to bottle swap. A volunteer looked at me and said: Let that be a lesson to you! Next aid station I did my first bottle exchange. I was wearing gloves and no problems there. Cool! Pretty uneventful ride with the exception of dropping my Armour-bite mouth piece and going back for it. It was nearly run over by a truck. Two more bottle hand-offs and that penalty tent looked pretty tempting. Can I stop and rest there? By now the sunscreen on my forearms was sizzling. I think I could have fried an egg there. Stayed within the 80-90 RPMs the entire time and my legs were still okay, but my neck and shoulders were stiff. I have no aero bars on my road bike. I ate portions of two sandwiches every 10 miles and then switched to my gel flask. Drank water every 5 minutes with Endurolytes when I remembered. Four accidently at one time since I was dumping them straight in my mouth from a little bottle. Because I’m only 5’2” my bike frame is really small and only holds one bottle cage so I used a 32 oz camelbak as back up.
T2: 4:58 More sunscreen. Put on my French Foreign legion cap with the neck flap (really a head-sweat hat) and Garmin forerunner. I didn’t use bungee laces because I wanted a perfect fit so I took time to tie shoelaces.
Run: 2:40:41 Took Garmin a while to find a satellite. I turned it on right away but it didn’t connect until about .15 down the road ( I figured that out at the 1st mile marker.) I wanted to do the first half no faster than 12:00 mm and have a negative split. However, the Garmin kept telling me I was going 8:35 then 17:58 all before the 1st mile marker. I wasn’t doing either of those paces. I lost faith in it and pretty much ignored it the rest of the way. Hudson Road seemed to be cantering and that was making my left foot hurt. I was glad to get off of that part. I kept running with the same woman. She would walk and I’d catch up then she’d run past me. Repeat for 8 miles. We finally introduced ourselves. Kate. I walked all the aid stations, I drank whatever they had. Pepsi, Gatorade, it didn’t matter to me. I dumped water on myself. Stored ice in my bra and under my hat. I kept telling myself at each mile marker, the magnet says 70.3, so keep going. Don’t quit or you can’t put that magnet on your car! Finally I decided to leave Kate behind. I ran through the aid station when she stopped and I didn’t see her again until retrieving my bike from transition! I saw Chip in the last mile but I was not recognizable in the FFL hat so he had to ask me who I was! What a great feeling to cross the finish line! I did it, and I was putting that magnet on my car! First split 1:22:28. Second split 1:18:13.
Total time: 7:36:23