Well, I finished the race, and believe me, after reading this recap you will see why I am content and perfectly happy with that. The fact that I am content with this shows me my own growth as an athlete. I accepted the day and the race for what it was. The race is over and I don't feel the need for redemption, I'm ready to recover and move on to the heavy Ironman Louisville training block.
Let start with the events leading up to race day. Months ago in February one of my good friends I was in the Army with who lives within an hour of the race town agreed to be at the race for me. My plan was set so I registered for the race and booked my hotel. Monday of race week she informed me she would not be able to go, causing me to panic. A half ironman is a race I do not want to do sherpa-less, so this caused me to frantically look for a sherpa, stressing me out to the max, and almost causing me to back out of the race. Loraine is usually my sherpa for half ironman race, but with Joel still deployed, she was staying home with my kids. Thursday my friend Tatiana, who is in swim club with me, agreed to accompany me to the race and be my sherpa. Phewww, crisis averted. Crisis #2 was soon to follow though.
Sorry if what I am about to say is too PG-13 rated, but I am a woman racing and this is part of the lifestyle. On Friday Mother Nature payed me a visit with my monthly gift. What timing!!! If Mother Nature was to take her human form, I would have punched her where it hurts at that moment. So, with everything else going on during a half ironman race, this was yet another thing I would have to deal with on race day.
|On the road to Haines City|
|Always love the first name on the bib|
|Going to dinner win Kim|
|Almost go time|
This was an "M" shaped swim. The concept seemed simple, but actually swimming it was quite a challenge. I did well on the first straight line. Got hit in the face a few times. The water was so gross and murky. Made it to the first turn buoy, so far so good. After that I was a bit disorientated since swimmers were coming from all directions. They were 2 sets of "sausage buoys" we have to swim through in the middle of the "M" so I was sighting on the first set of those. After I got through the middle of the "M" and was on the last long straightaway I hadn't looked at my watch, but I knew I had been in the water for a long time. Wasn't exactly happy about this, but all could could do at the moment was just keep swimming. Suddenly I had my head up to sight and I got kicked HARD in the gut by a girl doing breast stroke. It knocked the wind out of me. I had to tread water to gather my composure again to swim and and get to the beach. Finally I made it the beach, the muck was so deep it was a struggle to walk through it to get to the swim exit and timing mat. I got out of the water feeling tired and beat up, as seen in this picture. Swim time was 49:34 Garmin File
|My face says it all, that swim was ROUGH|
|Doing the shoe dance|
T2 I took my time, I was so tired and the thought of running a half marathon at this point seemed so daunting. Exchanged the cycling shoes for socks and running shoes, and the helmet for a running hat. Put my run nutrition in my tri top, snapped the race belt on. Made a quick stop to the porta potty in. On my way out to the run I was looking all over for sunscreen volunteers. At every ironman branded race I have ever done, there are always sunscreen volunteers. Not at this one. A feeling of dread and regret came over me. I knew I was going to be badly sunburnt at the end of this, and I knew from experience not wearing sunscreen was going to suck any energy I had in the run. I didn't think to bring any sunscreen for transition because of my experience at all my other ironman branded races. Tatiana was cheering for me and I gave her a smile and wave. Thought I was ready for this run. T2 time was 6:29
The run, if you can call it that, was absolutely brutal! It was so hot! I expected heat, I signed up for this race expecting the heat, but this was a different kind of heat! This was a 3 lap course. The first mile was nice, coming out of transition and the athlete village lots of cheering spectators and great mojo. At the start of mile 2 there was a huge hill, I managed to run up the whole thing, but my energy was absolutely zapped at the top of it. Then I realized I would have to go up this thing 2 more times. Made it to the aid station and walked through it since I was so hot and needed to cool off. After the aid station I started back running, but then started to cramp up. This was strange for me, if I am going to cramp it usually doesn't happen until about mile 9 or 10 and at that point I'm able to just suck it up. I started walking again for a few minutes in hopes that the cramps would work themselves out. They didn't, but I wanted this race to be over so I just picked up a slow jog. At the next aid station I dumped ice water on myself and filled my tri top and hat with ice. Picked up another slow jog and finally lap 1 was done, 2 more to go.
I was able to keep to good pace going through the athlete village again, the mojo from the crowd always does that to me. I was able to run until I got to the base of that giant hill. I made the decision to conserve whatever energy I had and walk up the hill. Lots of folks were walking up the hill at this point. I was eating some of my Margarita shot bloks every 20 minutes for the extra salt. I was cramping everywhere, calves, hamstrings, quads, sides of my abdomen, and the worse, those girlie cramps from Mother Nature's gift. I was in a pattern of running when I could walking when I had to. I was getting very overheated and dizzy, and I could already feel bad sunburn on my back and shoulders. At every aid station I was dumping cold water on myself and putting ice wherever I could. Was able to run through the athlete village again for the last time, and on to that giant hill for the last time. I was in survival mode at this point. People were dropping left and right. Lots of ambulances and people receiving medical aid. All my time goals were out the window, and my only goal now was to get to the finish line and receive my medal and not get taken away in an ambulance before that could happen. My first time really going into survival mode in a race. I promised myself I would not be upset about my finishing time, and I would be happy just to cross the finish line. Was chatting with a nice young man when my Garmin beeped for mile 10, I told him "come on we got this, only a 5k to go". He said "that's very sweet of you, but I am only on my second lap". After the aid station I really had to pee. Normally I would suck this up too and just go as soon as I get to this finish. I had 2.5 miles to go until the finish line. All my time goals were out the window, and thought I might as well be comfortable, so I went ahead and made that visit to the porta potty. I was able to run the last 2 miles a little more, it was almost over. Finally I made the turn to the finishing chute and was so relieved to see the finish line. More like happy I survived. Run time was 2:12:35 Gamin File
|Happy I survived|
Got my finisher's medal and hat, and found Tatiana in the crowd. She knows my running ability and was asking what took so long (I love my friends, they all know me athletically so well). I told her about the menacing punishment that was the run course. Told her about what I went through on the run course just to finish. She sat me down in the shade and got me a shaved ice, which tasted amazing after that run course.I was sunburnt badly, it really hurt. After I felt well enough the move again, I packed up transition and grabbed my bike and we headed back to the hotel. We were going out to Buffalo Wild Wings (which I love and we don't have one where I live) for dinner with Kim and I was really looking forward to it.
|Celebrating my survival at Buffalo Wild Wings|
|Sexy tan lines|