Disclaimer: This report is long. But, what can I say? The race was long. If I can be out there for almost 6 hours, you can read this for 10 minutes (I’m bossy).
This picture was taken at the start when I am all neat and tidy, fresh as a daisy. Before the shit hit the fan.
The half ironman distance is nothing to sneeze at – yet, I know that in November at IM Florida I will be DOUBLING what I did in yesterday’s race. That is just slightly daunting, no? I bow down to you bad asses who do Ironmen (and I don’t mean sleep with Ironmen, but complete the 140.6 distance).
It all started innocently enough (does anyone not look like a dork in a wetsuit)?:
I’ve got to admit I was pretty calm, minimal nerves. However, no matter how you slice it, 70.3 miles is a long freaking distance and it intimidates me. Many people can’t even drive that far (ever heard that one before?)
To be smart and avoid hyperventilating, I did what all the other cool kids did and got in the water to warm up. I knew I’d be fine. Cool as a cucumber.
And, there we go. Right into the sun because that makes it very easy to see. It was 1.2 miles – swim out .6 mile, go back .6 mile. I wasn’t super speedy, but I was calm and steady.
Swim: 38 minutes
Here I am struggling to get my damn wet suit zipper down and run and breathe at the same time:
My transition #1 was pretty short considering how my wetsuit and I got into a raging fight. She did not want to leave my body. Slut.
I headed out for the 56 mile bike. I rode this course last weekend, so there would be no surprises. The bike is kind of a blur. I basically got down in my aero bars and and cruised. The hills on the backside were a bitch, but oh well.
Bike: 2:52, 19.4 mph average
Here I am coming into T2. This is right before I fell on top of my bike. Being a klutz and a triathlete don’t really mix.
Here’s me in transition #2 trying to get my sh*t together. For me the worst part of a triathlon is starting to run after the bike. Your legs want to fall off. Even though it looks like it, I am not praying. I probably should have been knowing now what I know about the upcoming run from hell.
Here I am starting the run and realizing what a bad mood I am in because it is now over 90 degrees and I have to run 13.1 miles on concrete with no shade. For a race of this distance there will be many highs and lows (mostly because you are just out there so freaking long). This was a low.
You can tell how slow I am going because in the span of 10 seconds the guy in front of me is so much further ahead. I never saw him again. Show off.
So here is where it gets ugly. I don’t wear socks with my shoes during triathlons. I skip the extra step of putting on socks. That is all fine and good, but I forgot that the shoes I chose to wear yesterday I had never worn before without socks. Yes, that is right. I committed the ultimate sin and did something new on race day. Damn me!
Within the first mile I knew this was going to be a major, huge problem. The friction between my feet and shoes was causing blisters to form instantaneously. There are problems during races you can overcome and there are problems you know are MAJOR issues that might take you out of the race. Yes, I have never DNF’d any race. Yet, the thought was now crossing my mind. My feet were on fire. I kept stopping to loosen my laces, anything for more comfort. I was cussing myself out, “You mean to SAVE the 10 seconds it would have taken to put on socks, you are now looking at having to quit this race. Idiot.”
Time to problem solve. The way I saw it was I could:
- run 13.1 miles barefoot
- find a pair of socks.
I went with option 2.
I came up to the second aid station at mile #2. It was manned by 4 teenage boys. I asked the first two if they could puh-leez give me a pair of their socks. They said they didn’t have any. Liars. They did. On their feet.
I begged kid #3: “Please. If you don’t give me your socks I will have to quit the race. I will pay you money later. I will do anything.” And just like that, this heroic 16 year old, Tom, took off his shoes and handed me the most disgusting pair of long, black, sweaty, old teenage socks. I told Tom I loved him. I threw on those socks like they were the best running socks I had ever owned and went on my way. Tom, if you are reading this (and I know you are not), I owe you my life.
The sock trauma behind me, I marched on. This was probably the most un-fun run I’ve ever been on. I tried to keep a positive attitude and just go one mile at a time (13 times). The last two miles were the must brutal – but I kept telling myself that it was 2 miles out of 70.3 and I wasn’t going to stop. I thought of the famous words by Winston Churchill (and Rodney Atkins), “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”
Coming into the finish. Finally!
Run: 2:18 (10:35 average). My slowest half marathon ever! Yay for me.
The very best most awesome part of this run was the slip ‘n slide at the end. I cruised through the finish chute and straight onto the slide. Normally I’m kind of grossed out by communal things full of sweat, grime, fecal matter and dirt, but I was so hot I couldn’t give a crap. I slid through and they sprayed me with the hose. Then this nice little girl came and pulled me into the cesspool. I think I got 45 infections.
Then I danced because I was happy.
Here I am giving that little girl a high five and trying to strike my best red carpet pose.
Post-race I got a huge plate of Wahoos food. I no longer look fresh as a daisy. More like an old hag.
And, what ever happened to the socks you are wondering?
I put them on the food I didn’t eat and threw them away. Sorry Tom (I love how the guy beside us is hiding the sock from his sight).
Total time: 5:53
9/20 AG, 35/140 female. I will say, this was a competitive race. Lots of very skilled and experienced athletes. I felt really crappy that I didn’t do a better run. Just didn’t have it in me, I suppose.
Many thanks to:
- Ken for getting up at 4:30 a.m., spectating for almost 6 hours and being my personal photographer and biggest fan
- Erika for cheering me on at the finish and being my friend
- X2 Performance for the awesome race gear and pre-race fueling. And for my new mantra: “Dominate today, everyday”
- Tom – for the socks
- Without Limits for putting on a great race with tons of amazing volunteers.
- Sharpie for making me train my ass off
Make me feel better. What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done in a race?
What’s the toughest race you’ve ever done? I think the last few miles of the Boston Marathon in 2011 were my toughest because I was so undertrained. I actually cried during that race, and not out of joy.
PS: The winner of the Words to Sweat By giveaway is Beth -
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize!