So I actually did my first 70.3! I did this race on the suggestion of my sister Aldona, and signed up for it last December. This year, I think every event I did was geared just for this event. I did my first half marathon at the end of March, and after that I sincerely wondered how on earth I could swim AND bike and then run 13.1 and still be alive! I then did Eagleman Aquavelo, and that went well for me, and I was beginning to gain some confidence that the 70.3 was feasible. All was going well until I went to do a .8mi/40mi/7mi race in PA in July, and the night before the race they cancelled the bike part. wtf??? OK, so I thought I would just swim and run and just continue my training. On the morning of the event, I realized I had forgotten my socks. I have never run without socks, so I figured how bad could it be? At the end of the race, I had blood stains on both of my sneakers, multiple blisters, and one wound so deep and raw that I still have a scar from it today. So, for the next 3 weeks or so, no running, and very limited biking. And wow did that set me back.
Having lost valuable training time and confidence, and also following a 1/2 ironman training plan that I got from Karen Smeyers, the stress began. Major stress. She is very hard!! When I first saw her plan at the beginning of this year I thought "This can't be THAT bad". Well, for me it was. In fact, I think my beginner 70.3 training plan was harder than my sister's 'advanced' training plan!!! ;-) Every weekend was devoted to training and nothing else. On the weekdays I was trying to fit in the training, and still work, take of my house, etc... STRESS!! And then the thought of doing it in such cold weather DOUBLED the stress! At which point, I just wanted to get it over with.
A PR for me, and I am sure I will never beat it, unless I swim in that same channel again. The swim was actually nice in that I felt safe with plenty of kayakers and support. The one difficult part was sighting. I could not see any of the buoys!! When I exited the swim, I made the last minute decision to have my wetsuit stripped off of me, and I am glad I did because that was very helpful for running back to T1 and getting ready for the bike.
Well, whatever time I gained in the swim was lost in transitions. This was a difficult one. I couldn't find my bike. I was trying to put on arm warmers and knee warmers over damp skin and that was VERY difficult! I finally got everything setup and my transition bag packed and realized I packed away my gloves. So then I had to pull everything out of my bag to find them. But I eventually made it out....
Wind. And more wind. Headwind, sidewind, crosswind...wind coming from about every angle except behind me. For 38 miles, the biking was just grueling. And I thought, 'This is all my sister's fault!' ;-) I mean, what else was I supposed to think about grinding it out at 10mph ? Luckily after 38 miles, that changed, and I was finally able to cruise at about 18-20mph. This bike was 15 minutes slower than my Eagleman bike split time!!!
Due to technical difficulties (literally), while I was ready to start running after 3-4 minutes, I didn't start running until 8:46 minutes! ah well !
Well I think my time explains it all. I was tired, my ankles and knees were hurting, and the wind picked up to 25mph. While the scenery was beautiful, I just could not muster up any energy to go faster. In fact, I needed to save my energy so that the wind would not KNOCK me over!!!
It was soooo nice to finally make it across the finish line! My friends were there to cheer me on, I got a very nice massage, and then sat in the warming tent and got to talk to a professional who finished the full that day in about 9:30 hours!! wow!!
I think the best part of the weekend (in addition to completing a 70.3!), was spending time with my friends. I had an awesome group of people! I drove down with Lara Blatchford, and got the race with my sister, Robin Kovach, Liz Jakobsen and Teresa Margerum. They were the ones that really got me to that finish line!
This race was EXCEPTIONALLY well organized (except for not being able to sight the buoys). Everything was great! But I don't think I would do it again as it is too late in the season and just too darn cold!!!!!
OK, so now it is back to the real world!!