Another kind of racing .. my first 1/2 ironman
I know it’s not pure bike racing for you hard core roadies but I thought I’d share my 1st half ironman experience with anyone that’s interested. White Lake was the location I chose for my 1st ironman because my very knowledgeable trainer assured me that the lake was cool enough to race in a wetsuit (optimal), slick as glass (shouldn’t drink too much water), the ride would be flat with no wind and the also flat run would surely not be too hot. Well none of that actually turned out to be true but instead I experienced a race that tested my grit and determination like no other event I’ve ever participated in.
So the morning of the race they announced that the lake temperature had increased by 10 degrees over the past week and therefore would not be wetsuit legal (ouch). No panic at this point I knew I could finish the 1.2 mile swim but would just be slower than I had planned. Oh and by the way from this point in the race there was nothing about my plan that actually held together. I took off with my wave and stayed about mid pack, made the 1st buoy turn and realized that the wind had picked up enough to create some mild white caps which I in turn commenced to take a drink of about every other stroke. Little did I know at the time but the boat fuel I was ingesting would come back to haunt me. I finished the swim in about 5 minutes longer than the plan but no panic at this point because I fully planned to make it up on the bike. Transition one went OK except for a few clumsy stumbles and then I’m on the bike. Yeah! Well the 1st few miles on the bike were so rough that my hammer nutrition dumped out onto my SRM where the sun quickly turn it into a crusty substance that I had to scratch off to see my numbers. No problem the legs are feeling good and I’m flying by riders like they’re going backwards. Well that lasted for about the first hour until the before mentioned consumption of boat fuel set off cramps in my stomach that continued for the remainder of the ride and run. The wind gusts picked up and the road surface was not nearly optimal for a record bike split but I finished the 56 mile TT with the 16th best time. I did however have to put out way to much effort to push the bike through wind so by now I’m really ready to get off the bike and do something different because my butt is not getting along very well with the saddle at this point.
I crawled off the bike expecting to feel better by changing things up but once again a much different experience was waiting for me on the ½ marathon run. By this time the temperature had reached 95 degrees with no breeze. My pace was about 2 minutes per mile slower than I had planned but I was not going to stop. I watched as the elite wave of athletes came back in from their run looking like zombies (well except for the top two women that came blazing by looking they had just started … the first was a Pro Triathlete and then blazing by in second was Sara). I finished 72nd out of the 372 men that finished with a 25% attrition rate but am proud that I pushed myself to finish an event that was by far the most difficult challenge I have ever participated in.
OK, so after a week of recovery I plan to be back on the bike full time so I can come out and play bike racing with you guys!! Thanks for reading.