Saturday, August 24, 2013
(Side note: I forgot to recap the Bix at the end of July, but know that it went well. Perfect weather, new PR, nothing unusual to report.)
As of this past Sunday, I can consider myself halfway to my Ironman by 30 goal after completing my first long course/half-Iron distance triathlon. My goal was to finish between 7 and 7.5 hours, but with a solid swim, better than expected bike, and slower than I hoped for but not disappointing run, I finished 10 minutes ahead of schedule, crossing the line in 6:50:52!
Swim - 1.2 miles, 41:41 (1:58/100 yards)
The race officially started at 7:30am, but the Olympic distance triathletes started first and with a time trial start (one at a time every three seconds) I started around 8:00am. The swim was solid and rather uneventful. I was one of the first people in my wave to start, so I had plenty of room to swim. The route was a triangle, so it got busy around the corners as people swimming wide got closer to make the turns, but that was about it. I'd hoped to be out of the water in 40-45 minutes, so I was off to a good start. I was out of T1 in less than five minutes and onto the bike.
Bike - 56 miles, 3:34:17 (3:50/mile, 15.7 mph)
The bike is definitely the most mentally challenging leg for me since it's the longest. I wore my tri suit for the race and had a pair of bike shorts I was going to put on for extra padding, but I forgot all about them in transition. I was a few miles in when I realized I wasn't wearing them and had a brief moment of panic, then accepted that I'd just have to deal with saddle soreness. Luckily though it wasn't too bad. There was a bit of wind that was helpful as a tail wind but not terrible as a head wind. The course was sort of a U shape out and back. My goal for the bike was to average 15 mph and finish around 3:45, but when I hit the turnaround I was ahead of pace around 15.6 mph. My legs were feeling good so I decided to keep at that pace but knew I could slow down if I needed to and still make my goal. There's a big hill at the entrance of the park where the race started, and at the beginning of the bike I almost hit 30 mph going down the hill. Going back up was rough since my legs were getting tired, but I cruised into T2 well ahead of schedule. A few portapotties were set up in the transition area so I took a few minutes to empty my tank before starting the run. Even with the pit stop I knew I was going to break my 7 hour goal, the question would be by how much.
Run - 13.1 miles, 2:26:04 (11:09/mile)
My first two miles were just under 10 minutes, which is where I paced on my long training runs. I was hoping to run around 2:15 (just over 10 min/mile) but I knew I'd be tired so I set my goal range at 2:10-2:30 for the final leg. I'd done most of my training runs on shaded roads in the morning, so my body wasn't quite used to running at 1pm on a road with little to no shade outside the park. There was an aid station at every mile with Heed, water, and food, but since I've never used Heed and don't eat solid food on runs I stuck with water. Even though I made a pit stop in T2, I made another one at mile 4 and again at 8 since my body was sending me that signal, but nothing came out. I'd never had such a strong sensation with such little output, but I'd also never done a physical activity for 7 hours straight. (Looking back I think I should've filled my handheld bottle with Gatorade for the run to keep my electrolytes up.) Knowing that feeling was a false alarm, I pressed on but slowed to shuffle, reminding myself that a slow run is faster than walking. In the last mile I came up on a guy who was also struggling, and I tried to encourage him to keep running with the hope that we could pace each other to the end, but he fell back after a few surges. I told myself I was too close to the end to walk, and with encouraging cheers from spectators and triathletes already wearing their finisher's medals, I finished the run in 2:26:04, making my total time 6:50:52. I told my dad I was glad I'd have 10 hours to do it again if I were doing the full distance. I'm not going to worry about that though until I still next year when I start training for the two half tris I'm planning to do in June and September.
I was surprised how well I recovered this week. By Sunday night my bladder was pretty much back to normal, and on Monday morning my legs just felt like I'd gone on a long run. I had a massage Monday afternoon (felt awesome!) and Tuesday morning I was up early to run a very easy 3 miles to start training for the Park to Park half marathon in September and the Madison marathon in November. Always training for something!