Friday night I did not sleep well. I awoke and started overthinking the race.
Saturday, I hit the expo quickly. I purchased a new bicycle computer as mine had been acting up lately and I could not get the speed and distance to work. Unfortunately when I got home I had the realization that it would not mount on the bar I needed it to. Crap! So we made an emerency stop at Dick's that night and bought another computer. However that computer would not mount on properly either! Bummer! So I was going to go with no computer. Grrrr!
After a short, but good night's sleep, I awoke around 4:15 to get ready. I was still not awake and managed to hit the door a little earlier than planned. No one was on the roads except a couple cops which I passed. On my way I realized I had managed to forget my water and gatorade so I made a pitstop at 5AM in Chardon at a gas station. I had to laugh as I overheard a girl say to the other worker as she looked at me, "Oh I feel guilty now. I am going to have to work out when I get off." I suppose they don't get too many crazy exercise people in there at that hour of the morning on a Sunday.
As I drove up to the race I snacked on a generic lowfat fruit and grain bar and chugged a Rockstar to wake up.
I parked right next to transition (the bonus of getting there early!) and started setting up. I had not really prepped the day before so it was taking me some time to put the numbers where they belonged. All this extra swim stuff in my transition area had me scratching my head on the best way to put it all out. The area was tight and I set my transition bag out of everyone's way over by the fence. However one of the officials made a beeline to tell me that I could not have stuff there that it had to be in my space. OK. I personally would prefer everyone to keep any excess crap out of the way since transition area is so tight, but whatever. Since I parked close, I ended up just taking some stuff back to my car and adding a few other things to the transition space.
The morning flew by as I chatted it up with other CTC folk and before long Brandon and I started on the long walk down to the start. Thank goodness he had talked me into departing when we did, as it took us a long time to walk down the shore to the start. I was feeling SOOOO lucky as I peered out into the calm lake on this gorgeous morning!
After a quick dip in the water to wet the goggles and get a feel for the water temperature, I lined up with my age group for the start. I remained nervous but felt somewhat calm as I glanced around and saw familiar faces of Mickey (the best RD) and my other CTC friends. I started in the second wave at 7:03 AM. As I darted into the water I started swimming hard out to the first buoy. It took a long time to get out to it and by the time I rounded the bouy, my form started to go. Gosh, the end looked unbelievably far away. People were splashing all around me and I was slightly anxious. I decided to take some rest breaks of 5 to 10 second breast strokes to catch my breath and remain calm. I swam bouy to bouy and even caught some caps from the wave ahead of me. There were people from the waves behind me catching me. I had to stop to let out a giant burp which was probably part water, part Rockstar! So ladylike! A funny thing happened about half way through. I finally got into a rhythm. I started taking less breaks and felt much more relaxed. As I rounded the last buoy, I started to get really excited that the swim was almost over and I did fine!!! 1 mile swim was 38 and change. Wahhooo!!! Yeah, anything under an hour was going to be cool by me on this day!
As my feet hit the sand I was taking it in and not really pushing too fast. I smiled for a picture and was excited to see all the spectators on the beach!! Unfortunately as I ran to transition I could not get the sand off my feet. I took so much time trying to get it off and was getting frustrated. After wasting a ton of time trying to get the sand off, I gave up and proceeded to Body Glide my feet as this year has been filled with blister issues. I left transition over 4 minutes later.
When I pulled my bicycle on to the road, a girl was ahead of me going slower than I wanted to go. Two guys passed us, but I did not want to pass her as I heard you could get penalized for passing in the park. So I just hung tight. As I went out on the course, I felt like I was going so slow. Was I tired from the swim and just trying to adjust or what? Later I would realize it was just a headwind that I would take advantage of on my return trip. While I was on the bike I made an effort to start drinking. The day was heating up so I alternated between my water and my gatorade. I was riding pretty conservatively as I wanted to make sure I had plenty of strength and energy left for this long event. At 10 miles in, I was at 33 minutes. I climbed the one decent hill on the course and then I rolled up on some spectators who were none other than MT and Espeed. Oh I was stoked to see them! They had even made signs!!! Oh they are the best!
At 20 miles in, I was at 66 minutes. Consistent anyways! It was slower than I would have liked, but the goal here was to have a nice steady day. I was really taking it all in and enjoying myself thanking the cops and volunteers as I made my way through the course. As I was starting the second lap, Jodi caught me to my surprise. I had assumed she was already ahead of me as I figured that even though she was in a later swim wave, that she would have swam by me! I passed her back as I told her that she realized it was going to be impossible for me not to try to keep up with her! I guess her goal of lighting a fire under my butt had worked! Sometimes when I am out in the course I start relaxing a bit too much and can use people like Jodi out there to keep my head in the game!!!
On lap two I had my first successful bottle grab of some water on the bike and I refilled my aerobottle. I cheered as I circled around to see the girls, espeed and MT again! They were going nuts, as was I, and I saw the cop directing traffic just laughing at the display! They rock!
As I neared about 48 miles in, I took a gel. I had two short loops to go still on Heisley road. I enjoyed seeing all my friends at Snakebite racings water stop. They were a spirited bunch!! I grabbed a second water on one of my loops. During these two loops and much of the last 15-20 miles, two other ladies and I kept passing each other periodically. The short two loops on the freeway had some good bumps which were not feeling so good on my lady parts at this point in time! Finally, I pulled into the park to the next transition area. 56 mile Bike time 3:02 and change. ~18.5 mph My biggest complaint at this point were my feet which felt bruised from pushing the pedals!
When I got into transition the first thing I did was pop open my cooler to chug half a blue Rockstar! Oh my was it soooo good! Mmmm! And then it was out to the run as I left transition 3 minutes later. My transitions were slow but I figured I just wanted to take my time to do what may prove to be important in them!
As I headed out onto the run, I went out behind one of the ladies I had went back and forth with on the bike. She looked pretty strong and I just followed her pace. I was hot and wanted to keep my energy high so at the first stop I took a gel and had some water. Dang, I was thirsty! As I made my way down by Pickle Bills I saw my girls again. Wooohoo! I was again re-energized and hooting it up with them while they briefly kept me company! With renewed energy I passed the lady in front of me as we got into the hilly portion of the course. I missed some of the mile markers and other hit my watch a little late but here the splits as I hit them.
Mile 1 7:57 Another rockstar burp!
Mile 2 8:51
Mile 3 9:00 Oh crap, my feet are blistered already I can tell and I had to adjust my stride!
Mile 4 8:13
Mile 5 9:49 (hit late)
Mile 6 7:27 (started late)
Had to love the energy at the turnaround as I threw my hands up in excitement!!
Mile 7 8:47
Mile 8 10:10 I hit the bathroom! First pee of the day since I started! No bike peeing for me at this point! Saw TR and wanted to catch up to him to see if he had anything funny to say, but alas my stop put me back.
Mile 9 9:56
Miel 10 8:45
Mile 11 9:19
Mile 12 9:14
Mile 13.1 8:31 little pick up at the end!!
Total time 1:56 and change ~8:50 /mile pace. All in all I felt solid the whole way through. The volunteers were fantastic!! I really think I could have went faster on the bike and run. However I wanted to play my first half safe. Plus I definitely tried to take it easy on my feet with my blisters!
Final time was 5:43:06! This ended up putting me in 5th and I got 1st in my age group! I am happy to take that for my first half! I do like this distance a lot and nothing can beat a half iron debut in your own town with all your peeps around!
I had totally winged the nutrition and strangely it worked out fine.
-3 bottles of water, 1 fruit punch gatorade and one gel on the bike.
-2.5 gels, water at nearly every stop, and one glass of gatorade.
At the end, I felt pretty good. However, as the day wore on, I got more sore by the minute. I started to get rather uncomfortable to the point I could not sleep well that night as I was in quite a bit of pain.
Monday I felt better. I did an easy 25 minute spin before sitting in the hottub. Lots of stretching!
Tuesday I ran a 5 mile treadmill workout at various speeds averaging out to an 8 minute mile pace. I really felt fine and back to normal already!