Myrtle Beach Halfmax Championship and Olympic Distance Tri

HalfMax National Championships is a race I’ve wanted to do for 2 years now. I’d finally gotten lucky, Myrtle Beach SC was the race venue this year, and I’d qualified at IMKY last year. Ok, so I wasn’t lucky for too long b/c then came bed rest and birth and I just wasn’t in quite the shape I needed to be to compete. is a sponsor of this event though, and I wouldn’t miss the chance to come play and cheer on the rest of our teams athletes. That was until I realized there was a Quartermax going on the same day that I could possibly do. I love to spectate, but if I get a chance to race I’m not going to pass it up. 

I’ll spare you the details of the drama leading up to the race, but I’ll go ahead and tell you I didn’t get to leave for the 4 hour drive until 5:30 pm the night before the race, I don’t think I got registered until about midnight the night before the race, I found my bike in some bushes the morning of the race, and I had no bike rack w/numbers that matched mine. I have learned to roll with the punches, however you will find out later that after the race I almost got upset. . . 

The morning alarm came very early, but Addison’s grunting didn’t seem to keep me up all night like last time. Score 1 for team nicole! Sarah and I managed to get out on time and head over to the race site w/o any drama. Once we got there I went to find my bike since Chris G. was nice enough to carry it down for me, and it was MIA. I tried not to panic and a nice USAT official found it for me in some bushes, crisis averted. Now to find my bike rack that didn’t exist, that was even funnier. I swear people thought I had never done a tri before. Another nice official had me rack “wherever” I could find a spot. I just knew I was going to have a penalty. I was able to get everything situated in transition and was on my way back form the car (the feeding chores) when a spectator informed us about the swim being cancelled. I seriously thought it was a joke. I mean, I had swam on wednesday! No way that hard work would be for nothing:) No joke, E. Coli was on the loose. Score 2 for team Nicole! The race start time was now going to be postponed until 9:15 and it would be a bike and run. Oh memories of St. Anthony’s rang in my head, same thing happened in 2009. 

 I enjoyed the down time while waiting by cheering on the start of the half ironman peeps, and chatting with some other team mates. Addison was wide awake as well, so it was nice to see him up and watching everyone. I tried to think of what my goals and strategy would now be since it’d be a 28 mile bike and 6.5 mile run. I finally decided that hammering the bike and hanging on for the run would be what I’d do. I started the bike feeling pretty good but not enjoying the head wind. I like to go off cadence, especially on a flat course, but my cadence wasn’t picking up so it was going to be all on feel. I pushed on the bike like I haven’t pushed since last year. My goal was to average around 20 mph, and I wound up with right at a 21 mph. The bike was tough, but I wasn’t going to let anything go. Every second was going to count. 

I rolled into transition and saw the little guy, Sarah, and Jaclyn ( sponsorship coordinator) and it was so nice to have them there cheering. I’d had a really good run earlier in the week, so even though my original goal was just not to walk during the run I’d secretly hoped for xxx time. I start the run, and the typical heavy legs I’ve had lately were there. I just told myself to keep moving forward and take it mile for mile. I wasn’t going to leave anything out there today, I was going to give it my all. Every mile was tough. Every step got harder and harder. I’d see people I know every mile or so, and that seemed helped. I’d tried to gel about mile 2, but couldn’t keep much down. Everytime I’d feel like puking, I’d just tell myself it wasn’t going to happen. I wouldn’t allow it. By mile 6 I was done, I just kept reminding myself I can do anything for 5 minutes. Since it was a time trial start you had no idea where your competition was and I wasn’t going to let myself slow or walk and loose a precious second that you may need. I rounded the corner to see Janis cheering, and it gave me the energy to finish w/some oomph. I managed to finish my 6.5 mile run in 1 hour and 1 minute. 

 I was happy to be finished, amazed I didn’t walk, and yet still unsatisfied with my finish. I look for my results after the race and they don’t have me listed. I start to panic that maybe they put me in the wrong race (3 distances going on that day) and try to get some help. After 30 minutes of them playing with my times, they figured I finished 7th in my age group out of 26 people which isn’t too bad. I seriously would have blown a gasket if all my hard work that day wouldn’t have been recorded. A big thanks to Matt who figured out the problem and fixed it. This distance is the longest I’ve gone since pregnancy, and I’m happy to have it behind me. I have an olympic distance race I will do in a week and a half, and all I can hope for is to feel better than I did on this day. I know that my body has been through a lot with bed rest and pregnancy and my thyroid still being out of whack, but I also know that the mind is a powerful thing. I’m fitter than I think, and just have to be patient with getting back to my old self. 

 Major thanks to Gman for taking the bike, to Jaclyn for getting me into the race, to Sarah for cheering/watching Addison, to for having such awesome teammates cheering eachother on! Huge thanks to all my sponsors who continue to support this somewhat out of shape chick! Heath, just one more tri for the year!!!


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