I love this race. I didn’t PR, I didn’t place, but I still love this race. This race will test the best of athletes, no matter who you are or how good you are. I tried to go into this race telling myself to do MY RACE and know it might not be as good as last year only b/c last year this was an “A” race. This year my “A” race is IM Austria right now, so I am training for twice the distance. This is not an excuse, I just have to remind myself daily what my goals are so I don’t set myself up for disappointment.
I was very excited b/c there were a lot of people doing this race that I know. I had 3 other people in one hotel room the night before, which provided lots entertainment. Monica Diaz (tnt mentor) was doing her first half ironman ever, and Sarah Parker (tnt participant) was along for the ride to provide support and take in the experience. The normal crew was there and Kat and Troy were also participating, and they are always a laugh a minute. Okay, so down the the race specifics. Can I say HOT, and if you didn’t prepare for hot than you were probably one of the 30+ people that DNF’d. By the way, Keogh must have been right when he said women are much tougher than men b/c out of those 30+ people, I think 8 of them were women and the rest men.
The swim was called wetsuit legal, thank goodness. This race is always borderline wetsuit legal, so you never know until the last minute how it will go. Everyone was talking about how far away the bouys looked, so I didn’t even bother looking at them. What’s the point, I will see them when I am swimming. The musics playing, I am getting ready, trying to position exactly where I want to start my swim and the horn blows. I decide to run in the shallow water along the beach rather than jump right in which actually took me from the middle of the pack to the front. Not in my plan, but I stayed a little to the left so it wasn’t a big deal. I managed to avoid all the punches and blows, but unlike Susan, I actually swam to the bouy rather than away from it and towards the shore. I am serious, evidently everybody on shore was wondering who that was, well now you know. Susan told us about it after the race, I am so hoping Sarah got some good pictures for that one. Anyway, I felt good and strong on the swim and never really got off track. The only time I had any problems was when the sprint course joined us and then it was an all out battle. I came out of the water at 36 flat, and was happy. I wanted to make some improvement from last year, and to make atleast a minute gain was great. There is a long steep hill you have to run to get to transition so I took my wetsuit off at the bottom this year to avoid the cramping from last year. Good plan.
My goal after talking to Forrest was to take the bike easier than I did last year. The heat this year wasn’t necessarily worse, but the difference was it started out hot this year and last year the rain from the night before gave us a cool start. It was hot from the moment we got out of the hotel at 5:30. I didn’t start the bike feeling great, but was hoping that after the first couple of miles I would kick in and I was right. I was right up until my 30 where my tailbone and lower back started acting up, I just had to tell myself to focus on something else and the pain would go away. I hydrated and was feeling good but could tell by my avg. mph on the computer that I was definitely not going to be anywhere near last years bike time (2:52). I was ok with that only b/c the thinking was with as hot as it was going to be you needed to save that energy for the run. I focused on heart rate and tried to let the bikers keep passing me. I knew if there was any hope of placing today it was going to come down to the run. I came into transition at 3 hours exactly, a little frustrated but I had done what I was supposed to.
I started the run trying to take it by sections. The first 3 miles I just wanted to take extremely easy since I have a tendency to feel good and go out fast. I looked at my garmin and the avg. around 8:30 which was faster than I wanted to start at so I tried to slow down. The heat felt great and it also felt good to be off of the bike. I knew immediately that I needed some salt tabs, and probably should have taken some on the bike. The humidity was so high it was incredible. I saw Janice (Chris’s wife) around mile 1 or 2 and she is always supportive so that was great. I took one mile at a time and was alternating salt tabs and gel and sports drinks at the aid stations. Unlike some people, I walk every aid station, whether that helps me or not it is just something I do it for a half or longer. It’s kind of like my goal is make it to the next station and I can walk while I drink or gel. A little treat for hard work. My system was working good even the hills weren’t bad and I was still feeling decent at mile 9. That’s around when all heck broke loose. Right before mile 9 they had an aid station, but the next one wasn’t for more than a mile and a half which wasn’t good. If I had realized that I would have taken some gel at mile 9 b/c the next mile and half was pure hell. I made it to mile 10 when I started to get dizzy and lightheaded so I walked a minute, tried to start back up and no go. This is the worst spot for this to happen, it is wide open in the hot baking sun with no shade. I tried multiple times to jog atleast, but it wasn’t happening. I hated to be beat down to a walk after I had come so far with so little left to go. I finally make it to an aid station and get what I need and start the final 2 miles to the finish. Mile 12 I make a choice to stop at the aid station rather than jog through it to the finish. Little did I know this might have cost me a placing. I didn’t want to come this far and have to walk again so I decided to stop at the aid station and hydrate some more before I headed up hill for the last mile. I finished in 5:41 and missed placing by 1 minute.
I have never needed an IV after a half iron before, but I definitely needed one this race day. The nurses had a hard time getting a vein on me. They finally got the IV going and the nurse asked me why in the world I would do this. I told her it wasn’t just about swimming, biking, and running. There is something so empowering about knowing what you are fully capable of. I saw people who you wouldn’t believe out there racing this weekend. These endurance events are about testing yourself, and finding out who you really are. After my first IM, I came out of it realizing that no matter what life throws at me I can handle it. I am human, and have bad days like everyone, but I try to remind myself and other people to make the best of things. If you can’t fix it, suck it up and deal with it. On that note, out of everyone one Monica had to look the best after finishing. Congrats to her for completing her first half iron on such a hot day, she really did great and didn’t want to kill me either:). If you would like to check out results you can go to http://www.setupevents.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=event_results&id=939