Mountains 2 Mainstreet Half Iron+ Distance (72.3 miles instead 70.3)

Before AND After

Before AND After

This race report will be a little different, but I’ll preface it with it was the worst possible time (3 week taper due to work, if that’s what you’d call it), a grandfather basically dying for the past 3 weeks (said goodbyes finally, then he awoke which equated to trying to see him when lucid b/c the overall situation hadn’t changed), and I was exhausted mentally and physically.  My husband who is always supportive thought I’d lost mind when I said I was racing.  I’ve learned through the years that not being physically fit stinks, but if I’ve got my mental game in check I have a fighting chance.  The problem was, at this point I had neither.  I couldn’t pull myself together.  

The companies that support me, I hope you realize the gift you’ve given me, stress relief is just a small portion.   You all enable me to put the rest of the world at bay for the few hours I race, and escape into my own little utopia. me for 20% discount code), Atlanta Bread Co. Cherrydale, Barracuda, and Nuun, I heart you all for allowing me to continue in this sport.

Getting to the start line was a miracle in itself.  I’d worked 19 hours on Thursday, woke up to flat tire that I kept filling withair so I could make it from Charleston to hospital in time for a visit.  There was a wreck that had me at a complete stop for 45 mins.  My check engine light decided to magically appear.  I get to the hospital right after visiting hours, but managed to weasel my way in.  I finally get home, and off to bed.  Heath and I tried to handle logistics with getting the car fixed, back to the hospital, and then back home to start actually getting stuff ready for the race.  I’m on the way to check in when, thanks to a friend, I’m informed I have to go to Seneca to drop off my bike.  I knew this, but forgot and wanted to be close to hospital in case something changed.  I get to check in, see Kelly (SetUp), get a hug, and break into tears.  Same happens when I see Katie.  She offers to take my bike with hers to Seneca, then asks about my T2 stuff.  I realize I’ve not even brought my running shoes to have T2 ready.  Thankfully, Dane from Run In saves the day, and without driving home I was ready to go with some new Hoka’s.  In case you can’t tell this community rocks!   The hysterical laughing began the morning of when I go to get my bag with all my stuff in it, AND it was all chewed up thanks to Jax.  It was like a sick joke.  I honestly couldn’t quit laughing.  Throw some more stuff my way, PLEASE!  

It's sweat, not tears...

It’s sweat, not tears…

I’d gone by the hospital at 5:45am before hitting the race site,not sure what my grandfather’s outcome could be during my race.  I stand at the race start, Kelly and Abby gave me hugs, I lost it.  Literally standing on the beach bawling.  You know ladies, the ugly crying!!  Kelly smacks me on the rear and says pull yourself together!  I did for a few minutes, but then on the beach right before the start, JD plays our normal songs, and teammates are wishing me luck, and yet again I’m losing it.  I looked like a blubbering idiot.  I’d tried to focus the night before about how I envisioned my race, wrote 4 Papa and Focus on my arm, but things were looking pretty bleak.  

And suddenly it all disappears....

And suddenly it all disappears….

The horn was blown, and honestly the rest is history.  My light switched on.  Many people have given great recaps of the race.  The swim for me was smooth, and I didn’t over shoot the 1st-2ndturn like a few.  The bike was windy, hilly, and a little lonely.  No real way to gauge competition.  I had a friend/photographer that would be in certain spots and help break it up, but I knew this course and knew I had to ride conservatively to finish strong.  Like many other things in my life lately my computer crapped out, my cadence and h/r went dead about 20 miles into the bike.  I laughed again.  I’d not been on the bike in almost 3 weeks, so go by feel is

The push I needed

The push I needed

all I could do.  I hit the run, get dropped on the 1st hill by 2 girls I was chasing, and finallycatch them both by mile 6.  I was happy to be running with this girl (Holly) as we’d chatted on the bike and I had a sneaking suspicion we could push each other.   I was right. I heard she needed salt, I had one left and gave it to her without a 2nd thought.  Karma people.  I probably could’ve used that salt later, but look what everyone did for me the day before, how could I not help?  What goes around comes around, and she was fun to run with. I remembered last November (and recently, haha!!) when I was just thrilled to be running again and not in a pool running, and I tried to bottle that thought in my head over and over.  I just kept saying, this is just an end of one of your normal long runs, embrace the freedom of all other thoughts and stresses and just run.  Let it all go.  Luckily I was in my hometown with all kinds of AWESOME supporters (too many to name) out there encouraging me.  

and DONE!

and DONE!

As hard as that start was, the race (hardest half I’ve physically ever done) was just what I needed.  I owe major thanks to my friends for helping me get there.  Katie Malone wrote me a note saying just what I needed to hear after she’d been in worse scenario 1.5 year ago.  Abby, Kelly P., and my Malone teammates thank you.  Many of you didn’t know what was going on, but were there to hug me and offer words of encouragement.  Thank you Flemming for being Sherpa for the day and taking awesome photos as usual!  My hubby takes on a lot during this time of year (my work), and unfortunately this year’s been worse and I can’t thank him enough for understanding this particular family day needed to be a Nicole Day.

Oh, results….I almost forgot!  The race was 1.2 mile swim, 58 mile bike, 13.1 mile bike.  I finished in 6 hours and 20 seconds.  I finished having no clue what the time really meant, nor did Icare that much which isn’t usual.  I ended up 8th overall female and 2nd in my age group, but the best part is, as of this moment my grandfather is still with us.


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