Monday, April 28, 2014

White Lake Half Ironman Race Recap

I cannot believe the day that I had anticipated since early December has already come and gone! Wow, what a day!

I took the Friday before the race off. I had a vet appointment for Paisley at 8:00 for her last round of puppy shots so I got up and got in an easy 10 minute run, took her to the vet, came back and finished packing, and then we were off to meet Jennifer and Julie and hit the road.

We got to White Lake around lunchtime and hit up Subway before heading to the expo. I also got in a quick ride on the bike and a short easy swim just to calm my nerves.

The husband, the kind loving soul that he is brought his cooking utensils and made us an awesome meal including pancakes, bacon, eggs, and toast! There is not much to eat at White Lake and we were staying at a friends' home so eating in was the best option! 

After sitting around and organizing our gear we hit the sack about 10:00pm. I slept horribly. I woke up ready to roll only to look at the clock as it read 2:00am. Really?!?! I tossed and turned until the alarm actually went off at 6:00am. After double checking and triple checking the gear we were off to the FFA Center on the lake.

My first time having the end of a transition rack and it was wonderful!! I was and still am very thankful that I had this transition spot!

W.T.F - Women Triathletes of Florence

Race morning was well organized and a total breeze. But most importantly, the water looked like glass! Hallelujah! It was a beautiful morning and I was and still am so thankful! We set up transition, got our chips, took a few pictures, and before we knew it the time was near! In the water, we went! 

I started to the left to stay out of the way of the faster swimmers although in the picture above I am dead center. It was never too crowded which is always a plus for a smaller race. I got bumped and kicked a few times but nothing bad. This course was a triangle. It was set up with 3 orange circular buoys and then a bigger triangle. Mentally, I counted them down one buoy at a time. I did get kicked in the arm about 10 minutes in and it  was right on my Garmin. It was hard enough to push one of the buttons and it stopped my watch. I did not feel like messing with it in the water so I just kept on going and reset it once I was on the bike. Once I got to the second triangle and made the turn towards the dock it was smooth sailing from there! I was elated to get out of the water and head towards my bike! I cant believe I am going to say this but the swim was great and the lake was absolutely gorgeous!

Swim:  54:26

There was a short run from the swim to T1! I felt as though I was moving through T1 pretty quickly but my time doesn't show it. My spot was at the end of the rack right near the Bike Out which was good. I did stop and take time to put on sunscreen.

T1:   4:07

I was happy to get on the bike. I felt so good at the beginning. The first 12 miles were wonderful and I was averaging over 19MPH. Then we made the first of two bike turns and the wind hit. I was still feeling pretty good keeping my average in the 18MPH range. After about mile 35 is where I begin to loose it. It was getting really hot and my bike seat was quickly becoming really uncomfortable. (Note to self: Get a new bike seat NOW.) It hurt to stand up and it hurt to sit down. After making the second of two turns on the course we hit the road of evil! It was so cracked up and uneven. There was nowhere on any part of the road that was smooth. I wanted to cry or either cuss someone out! I am pretty sure I ended up doing both (silently of course).  I was okay with my bike time but not overjoyed. I know I can ride 56 miles faster than what I did. (another note to self: When in training, do not stop and take breaks during your rides. You will pay for it on race day) I wanted to stop so bad on those last miles but my mental game won out and kept on pushing. I knew my parents would be there by the time I got done with the bike and I think that kept me going also!

Bike:  3:08:14 (17.9 MPH)

T2: I don't remember much about T2 other than my mom and her incredibly loud voice screaming at me, haha! The run started at the back of the transition and I got to run right past my husband and my parents and I started. My dad gave me a quick high five and I was on my way! Little did I know what I was about to encouter!

T2:  2:48

The first mile of the run off the bike for me is always fast for some reason. I guess I can't feel my legs yet and they just do what they want that first mile or so, haha. My first 2 miles were under 9:00 pace and then I never saw that again for another 8 miles. It was so hot and we just have not had hot weather to train in. My body was not adjusted to the weather and I could tell. I had to start stopping to walk during the third mile and from then on I walked some during every mile. It was so disappointing but I knew if I wanted to cross that finish line I had to listen to my body and it needed walk breaks. It also needed lots of water, ice cold orange slices, pretzels, flat cola, and icy towels. The aid stations and volunteers were angels that day. I had an ice cold towel handed to me at every single aid station and I used every single one of them! I think my run would have been a whole lot worse if I had not had those to cool me off. I tried to run from aid station to aid station (every mile) and then walk as much as I needed to after each aid station. This worked during the second half but during the first half I walked a good bit more. My metal side kicked in after mile 7. I always say to myself "the faster you run, the quicker you will get there". It seemed to work for me then. I was happy with the fact that I was a lot faster in the second half of the race and I did not give up! This may have been the hardest half marathon to date for me. Alas, I made it and although I was disappointed, I was so happy to have completed a goal I never thought was possible!

Split (Mile 7):  1:17:55

Run:  2:17:25 (10:24 pace)

I huge thank you to the race organizers and volunteers for their jam up aid stations!! 

Total Time:  6:26:58

My parents and my husband were right there at the finish line and I was so glad. It always helps knowing your family is waiting for you. I crossed the line and kept walking through the water sprinklers and straight into hugs from them. They congratulated me and then after a picture or two I went straight to the food. (Keep in mind I had not used the bathroom in 6 1/2 hours) Priorities people! Food first! Pizza, Doritos, water, chips...whatever I could get my hands on, I ate! Then, I hit up the restroom. All this talk about using the restroom on the move is crazy. It was not happening. As embarrassing as it is to say, I tried it but I was totally unsuccessful!

After taking care of the necessities, I kept moving around and waited on Julie to cross. She was about 10 minutes behind me! We saw her finish and then headed to transition to pack up my stuff and pack the car. I changed clothes and took advantage of the snacks my mom so graciously packed! Homemade pimento cheese on nuun bread is absolutely incredible (almost as good as that pizza at the finish!) I took advantage of the lawn chairs too and parked it to get off my feet some! Jennifer was still out on the course so we hung around and chatted for a while waiting for her arrival! After she finished we chatted and enjoyed hearing about each others day. After sticking around for awards and being amazed at how fast people are, we headed back to the house to pack and clean so we could get on the road back home.

I will never forget Saturday April 12! I was a crazy emotional challenging mentally tough day but it was one of the coolest days in my running/triathlon career. I was also a very sad day because after the race I learned on facebook ( I hate facebook for this reason.) that my husbands cousin had passed away unexpectedly at age 32 from a condition that was yet to be diagnosed. My overly tired, aching, sore body suddenly meant nothing compared to what her family was feeling at that time. 

So, this will be a day I will never forget! Cheers to 70.3 and slapping that sticker on the back of my car!!