I made the same promise I've made to myself every other year I've signed up for a half IM... "I will train harder than last year"... but somehow life always seems to get in the way. I swear - I read all the posts, emails, etc that everyone puts out, and I just dont know how you guys do it all! Maybe someday I'll be able to figure it out too! After deciding to do SM, I had a strong start to the season, but then had some injuries, work obligations, and some traveling that got in the way of training. I went out to DCL a few weekends ago to bike the course, but due to bad weather, decided to start at the wall (bad idea to hop out of the car after water skiing and attempt it). I finished the 38 challenging miles and was so tired by the end, I was really concerned I wouldnt be able to put it all together for the race.
At that point, I decided that at the very least, SM would be an awesome day of training. I have another big race (USARA nationals, 30 hr AR) coming up in October and figured that the 8 hours I assumed it would take me to complete the course would be just another day of training. My goal was just to finish.
Morning of the race - rather uneventful, just a little concerned driving to the park with the temperature reading 45 degrees!
Swim 29:47 (age group 1, 5th female, 46th overall) : accidently ended up next to the buoy line, which turned out great! I havent really swam more than 3/4 mile for awhile, so I just figured I would just take it steady. Had a great line, held the inside of the turns and only rammed into one buoy :) Rounding the swan I looked up and saw the driver - which inspired me...its this guy Ed, who is 78 and still gets up every morning to water skii in the summer/ski in the winter. I hope Im still able to be out there at that age! I was convinced I was in the middle of the pack of females but I guess gender identification with wetsuits/goggles in an OWS can be off!
t1 4:46,- slow as dirt. Transitions are usually my second fastest part of a tri ;) I took the time to stay warm on the first part of the bike so smartwool socks, compression leg warms, arm warmers, a jacket, helmet hat, and long gloves later I was on the bike...
Bike -4:07:43 (age group 5, 36 female, 240 overall) - my goal on the bike was just to finish it. I was happy with my swim at this point and figured if nothing else, that made my day. The bad thing about being an OK swimmer and a not-so-OK biker is that you get passed. A lot. Ive gotten used to this and just tried to keep a steady pace to warm up and conserve energy for what was to come. As I approahed the wall, I slowed down to create space. And of course, two people had to pass and fill that space just as we got to the wall! I tried to go pretty slowly up the first part, staying in my saddle. I was watching both of them carefully and paid attention to the amount of time they spent standing up and then started noticing both of their legs were shaking, and I just knew neither would make it up. I prepped myself to go to the left and was therefore was ready when they did fall. When I got to the broken portion of the wall, I just stood up and cranked it out, earning my brick. I was so happy and suprised! -When I tried the wall before, I hadnt been able to make it to the top, but the crowd cheering me on and fresh legs really helped! Once again, I was so happy that I figured if nothing else but suffering came out of the day, then I had a good swim, and I got my brick. Two bonuses I hadnt counted on!
The rest of the bike - well you know how it goes. Up hill, up hill, up hill, down hill, up hill, up hill, up hill. I loved all the signs and all the people cheering - it made it SO much more fun than doing it alone! I thought of Linda on Killer Miller when I saw a sign that said something about the hill being miserable but that it "sure is pretty!' Nothing much else to say, except that usually the last 10 miles I am SO ready to get off my bike. This time, I was ready to be done...but didnt have that "get my off my bike NOW" feeling I usually have! I'm attributing that to doing much better with nutrition and hydration this time. I was a little bummed I got passed by a few females on the last few miles (straight and downhill) but thats never my strength and I was pleased to maintain a steady pace on the bike. I was about .2 away from the transition area when all of the sudden my left hamstring started to REALLY cramp up. I tried to ignore it, but ever time I pedaled it just started to spasm and cramp up. I started to worry about the rest of the race, but figured first I would just get off the bike, and then see what to do. When I got off my bike, the cramping ceased and never came back to bother me. I guess I just need to spend more time training on my bike!
T2 2:04- - remembered to grab nutrition this year...
Run - 2:04:49 - (age group 4, 21 female, 127 overall) - I was nervous about this part because even though Im usually a decent runner, I know how tired my legs felt the last time I biked the course and didnt think I'd then be able to do 13 miles! I also havent done many bricks at all this season and that thought kept nagging at me. But I just started running and figured I would just take it one mile at a time. At mile 3.5 I was realizing that I was half way through the first loop and for the first time realized that I may make it in in under 7 hours. I was feeling pretty good and figured that every mile I could keep a decent pace at meant more cushion if something went wrong or if I started not to feel well. I walked the fireroad as I didnt see the benefit of running it. I kept trying to catch up to an agegrouper about a minute ahead of me but the gap never seemed to close. Loop two, I realized that even if something went wrong and I realllllly slowed down, then I would still make it in under 7 hours. I stopped to go to the bathroom and at that point the age grouper got way ahead of me...so I kind of lost my motivation. I knew I would clear 7 hours and to be honest, I got lazy. I walked a few hills this loop, including the fireroad. Going down the fire road, I picked up some speed. I picked up even more speed around mile 12 and had a solid last mile.
Overall - a FANTASTIC event. I've never done a half IM with so much crowd support throughout the bike course which made it really fun. There were tons of people out along the run course cheering which also really helped. Thanks to Linda for encourgaging me to do this and for helping me with training rides, Mike B for keeping me motivated during the run, Rick for chatting with me during the run, and Kim for sitting with me after the race!