I signed up for this race with some friends almost a year ago - I thought I’d enjoy a late season race in warmer weather. It was my 6th half Ironman. In all of my prior half IM races, I had a lot of GI distress during the run portion. It was the worst at Skipjack - 5 weeks before Beach to Battleship - and I was anxious about B2B as a result. Skipjack was the most painful run I’ve ever had in a triathlon due to GI problems. I ended up walking almost half of it. After Skipjack, I spent most of my time training my gut with an exact nutrition plan. I also have had a lot of hip and leg pain which got much better thanks to the best physical therapist in the world, Deb Taylor. But, I missed out on a good bit of run training. So, I really didn’t know what to expect at B2B.
I went to Wilmington with MMTC members, Robin, Lara, Raminta (my sister), Liz, and Teresa. I love doing races with other MMTC members! Setup did a great job with the athlete’s dinner (the pies they had for dessert were awesome). The dinner was good too and the talks were very inspiring. It was low-key - but fun. I thought I was prepared for the cold spell they predicted but it was without a doubt, the coldest race I’ve ever done.
Swim (36:50): We had a long wait at the race start - in the cold - and it was very uncomfortable. I walked over to the end of the dock and saw an MMTC shirt - there was George! It’s always great to see another MMTC face! I was in the last wave. The water was 69 and even though the air temperature was only 52, the water still felt cold. At the turn buoy (there was only one), I looked for my big landmark - the marina. Unfortunately, the weather was very misty and I couldn’t see the building. The course was also poorly marked. I had to stop and ask directions a few times and consequently, lost a lot of time. Also, after the turn buoy, the water was really rough. Not sure which way the current was going but it was one of the rougher swims I’ve done. Still, it was a PR although I can not attribute it to any great fitness on my part.
T1: (07:13)Yeah I know it looks bad but this included time to run up to transition - about 400 yards. Also, I had a lot of clothes to put on and I wanted to dry myself well due to the cold. Also, I couldn’t find my bike even though I had scoped out my area multiple times the day before - DUH
Bike (3:13:02): This was the windiest race I’ve done. Winds were 25 mph by the end of the ride.
There are a lot of twists and turns getting on to the main road from T1. Once I finally got underway, I noticed that the wind was even stronger than I thought and it was also colder than I thought - I didn’t put my tights on in transition because I had already taken so much time to put on arm warmers, a shirt over top, gloves, and winter socks. But once I started riding, I got very cold very quickly. My legs were frozen for the first hour. The winds were strong, the temperature was about 52, and it started to drizzle. It occurred to me that abandoning this race wouldn’t be such a bad idea. There were about 10 highway miles in the beginning that were absolutely brutal physically and mentally.
But I knew there was a tailwind on the way back according to some Wilmington residents. The wind was against us for 38 miles. Then the wind was at my back and I was able to make up some speed. At the end when I crossed the bridge to get to the battleship, a huge gust of wind almost knocked me off my bike and I just sat up and took it easy for the last mile - it scared the daylights out of me.
T2: (03:34) Normally T2 is quick for me. All athletes - both full and half - had to go through the changing tent. It was a zoo in there. There were so many people in there that I couldn’t find myself a spot in which to remove my top and gloves, change shoes, and put everything back into my T2 bag and tie it up.
Run (2:27:16): My goal was 1) run the entire time except rest stops and 2) PR for half Ironman distance. I accomplished both. I started off gently - and was very happy that when I took my first gel and water at mile 1, I had no nausea, cramping or abdominal pain. I also took a salt tablet as a precaution.
I saw George coming in as I was heading out and he was going so fast, I was sure he had jets! I did have to hit the potty at mile 4 which cost me a little bit but when you gotta go, you gotta go. This was NOT the flat course I expected it to be. There were some significant climbs. I did progressively lose speed (slightly) as the run continued on and the winds were incredible the last few miles as I was running into them. I had to take off my visor because it was going to blow off.
I really enjoyed the run - I ran past the restaurant where my son and I had lunch just before he was deployed to Iraq and gave thanks for his safe return. There were a lot of people cheering us on the run - volunteers are so amazing to stand out in that cold weather to pump us up.
After I finished the run, I got to see my sister complete her first half Ironman!
I was very pumped to find out later that I PR’d on the swim and run and the race. This race gave me the confidence to know that I really can conquer GI distress by meticulously following the nutrition plan without deviation.
This is a very well-run race in a really nice venue. Parts of the bike course were boring but overall, it was a pretty course, especially the run. This was the coldest it has ever been for this race but Setup was really prepared with a big warming tent with hot chocolate and heaters. Lots of good food at the end and massages. I highly recommend it.
Thanks to everyone for the good wishes - it really kept me going when it got tough out there. I love this club!