My season started out late this year due to an achilles and ankle injury in February. I missed Columbia Tri and Eagleman and spent months in therapy. I knew I needed help to get me back in shape and ready for Beach-2-Battleship (my first Half Iron), and to stay injury free. Coach Rob really came through for me! Took a lot of patience at first but the end of my season proved very successful and lots of PR’s for me!
Liz and I drove down Thursday night and planned to meet Aldona, Raminta, Lara, and Teresa at the rental house. We arrived about 10pm, grabbed some of our bags and knocked on the door. No one answered, the door was unlocked, so we went in. I yelled, "Hello, we're here". And some guys comes out of the kitchen-woops! Wrong house! He was very nice though. Turns out the house we really rented was just across the street. Fun way to start the weekend!
The house was great, we all had our own rooms to spread all our gear out and get organized. We helped each other double check all our transition bags. It was a real nice comforting feeling being there with everyone and I think it helped me to stay calm.
After being up since 4:00 and out in the cold all morning I really couldn’t wait to start the swim. Liz and I were hanging onto the dock because if we let go the current would have pulled us right out into the channel. The gun went off and I let go and just let the water pull me out. I actually stayed to the right side instead of going out into the middle of the channel. For me I was happier being around less people than having the stronger current. My left goggle kept leaking and it took 3 stops of treading water to fix it. Then I could relax and felt very comfortable. The sighting was really hard, I never saw the first buoy until I was almost upon it. But at least that one was orange and I knew it was a turn buoy and that I had to go around it. After that there were only yellow buoys that I couldn’t see at all from a distance. Kayakers kept yelling at me to go left and pointing their paddles at me. I finally stopped and looked at the yellow buoy up and to the left of me, thinking maybe I had to go left of it? But no one else was so I didn’t really understand why they were yelling at me, or maybe it was someone else. I seemed to think I was on the general path to the finish. So then I just ignored them and pressed on. My right calf and foot started cramping after the first turn so I was only intermittently kicking. The water got a little choppier then and had some nice gulps of salt water. Finally saw the wiggly man on the dock, found a ladder, hung on to pee, then out I climbed. The wetsuit strippers were great and then we got to run under warm fresh water showers. Long run to transition, about 400 yards.
This is the first time I ever sat down in transition. I put on my compressions calf sleeves to help keep my legs warm, socks, arm warmers, wind block shirt (best purchase ever), short sleeve jersey, 1/2 finger gloves + full finger gloves. Saw Raminta in T1 also!
Bike: 3:30:44 (16.1 mph)
I felt the perfect temperature on the bike, my core and fingers were warm. My thighs were the only thing exposed but they didn’t feel really cold, just numb. This was my first real ride in windy conditions and very hard for me. I stayed in my middle ring and just tried to keep spinning and trying not to push my legs too much. I knew at some point (from what the locals) said that I would have a tail wind, but it was a LONG wait. The highway was the worst part since there was no shelter from the wind, then there was a very long bridge and the wind kept surging me sidewards and I felt very unstable. I just did what Coach Rob had said, squeezed my knees into the bike, and held on REALLY tight! I would like to do an IronMan one day but this ride was so hard for me that I just kept thinking there was no way I would be able to go 112 miles! My ankle started to feel sore at about mile 20 and was just a nagging soreness throughout the bike. Usually I do a gel shot every 30 minutes and I’ve been practicing eating a PB&J half way through. With the wind I never felt comfortable enough to eat my sandwich, plus I knew it would be harder with the full gloves on. I definitely I needed some more nourishment on the bike and was hungry. Finally got that tail wind for the last 15 miles and then I finally switched to my big ring got my speed up between 20-26mph.
It was a longer run in bike shoes on cement than I expected, all the transitions I have done have been on grass. Into the changing tent and took off all my layers but the calf sleeves. Grabbed a hat and my water pack, then hit the first porto-pot on the way out.
Run: 2:01:37 (9:20)
The run started off great, I felt good and my pace was around 8:40 for the first three miles, then 9.0 for the next three. Once I it the turn-around point, it was into 25 mph winds and I just kept getting slower and slower. This is the first run where I have ever had to really struggle to keep going, my legs hurt, my calf kept cramping. My forefoot also hurt on the run (right were my bike cleat is), and I’ve never had that happen in training? That last 6 miles felt like the last 5 miles of my first marathon! I was warm though and thankful for that, my calves were hot with the sleeves but I’m glad I left them on to help with the cramping. Usually I only eat my own stuff on the run but since I didn’t eat enough on the bike I hit a few of the rest stops on the run for bananas and heed ( I ran out of my fuel belt drinks). I knew there were two causeways I had to cross on the way back, which were much harder against the wind. Almost lost my had a few times. I was able to pick my pace back up for the last 2 miles. Then the finish line shoot lasted FOREVER, we had to wind around and run through this very deep puddle of standing water.
It was a great feeling finishing! I had some doubts on the bike but during the run I knew I would finish, just a bit slower than I had hoped. The bike course was a bit dull, but the run course was very nice, great downtown area and scenic lake path. It was a great, well-run race. And NO PANIC at all the entire race-that was a huge deal for me!
The best part was being with friends for the whole weekend, it was a perfect girls getaway. Thanks to everyone! Already looking forward to my next half!