Monday, May 19, 2008

Ironman 70.3 Florida Triathlon
Current mood: accomplished

I'm still in shock that I FINISHED! And in regulation time
What a testement to picking a goal that's a true stretch and then busting your tail chasing after it. I may actually start feeling like a real athelete soon!

The day before the race, I was FIRED UP and so full of energy.....but the one critical thing I forgot to pack was sleeping pills. In normal life, I don't usually go to sleep til about 1:30 AM and since I was so excited, I got pretty much NO sleep the night before, and was lethargic and quiet. Hubby drove me down to transition and left to park the my stuff together quickly and headed to the water's edge.

This would have been a good race to have some cash on hand, as they were selling coffee....but I had none :-( Finally found hubby at the beach, and Sue stopped by to say hello....and got to see me drop by goggles into the sand...ugh.

Swim Comments:

I should learn to swim and SIGHT. Did pretty okay for me until the first turn-around (@ 25 min), there was still one or two from my wave in the water and that leg was at least 60% freestyle. Had a few off-course adventures, but it was okay. Once we made the turn, it seemed like the guys had taken over and from then on, it was a fight to breathe. Guys suck!

There's a technique in cave diving called 'pull and glide.' Its used when you are trying to get through a cave that has very high flow.. you grab onto a rock and PULL yourself forward until you can reach another rock and pull there, etc. Thats how the guys swim and unfortunately *I* was their rock!

T1 Comments:

Not sure what took so long here. Rinsed my feet with a discarded water bottle, no socks. Sprayed sunscreen on my shoulders..It landed as white dots everywhere...should have done this before the swim. maybe that's what took so long.

Bike Comments:

I executed this to the BEST of my ability! Riding through Disney was fun...especially "Buffalo Bend" and although it seemed there were many little turn-arounds and overpasses, it was effortless. I even passed a few people (maybe not as many as passed me) This time, I recognized the course marshall's motorcycle sound and avoided the penalty tent! I had no fear though...I was quite far from the person in front....though they did go NUTS with their horn to someone close by.

The first aid station was adorable..done in a 'Bee' theme...all the folks had antennas on and they had signs like "BEEleive in yourself"...adorable. I had barely drank anything at this point and didn't pick up anything other than gels (just in case...for later). I was popping a fig newton every 15 min...just like training and it was wonderfully overcast. Ah, bliss. What a wonderful day!

I was very pleased with how they had sectioned off US-192, so we didn't have to ride right next to cars, but the winds from the west pretty much sucked! I was happy, happy when we got to the bank and turned right...even though I knew the hills were coming!

Well, it took forever to get to the hills cuz we had to do so many side street stretches..and while I was on Porter road, the sky opened up and it started POURING! Since this is the part of the course where I was hoping to hit 30+ on free speed downhills, it was a little scary to have all this water to skid on. I guess everyone around me felt the same cuz it seemed that everyone slowed down about 10mph at this point, and I started passing folks left and right...especially on the downhills! Wheeeeee! And they mostly didn't catch up to me on the uphills, either! Bye Bye scaredy-cats!
I guess ignorance is bliss...having never ridden in the rain before, I've never had any scary moments to make me fearful either!

Felt great all the way to the Publix....the last 10 miles was hard...the sun made itself known and the traffic was bad on the last stretch. And they had us do some crazy hop to the sidewalk thing...yuck. Picked up a gatorade at the last aid station and drank most of it by transition.

T2 Comments:

Well, there was no place to rack my bike when I got back. And I had 2 bikes over my transition towel, so it was hard to get to my stuff without moving their bikes. Grrr.

Since my rack was under a tree, everything got SOAKED during the downpour... and instead of drying off when the sun came out, all my transition stuff got leaf droppings instead. So, I came back to wet shoes, wet socks and tried my best to dry off my wet feet with my wet transition towel.

Run Comments:

Ugh. Started off walking....knowing I needed to cool off a bit before picking it up. I'm soooo grateful that Beth told me to bring a water bottle on the run...this SAVED my race and probably kept me from getting heat stroke too. Brilliance!

Picked up a couple of sponges at the first stop and stuffed one in my shirt. Tried to get the other one to stay in my hat but that didn't work, so I carried it and kept wiping off my face and neck. I had energy to run, and I'm sure if I hadn't been so overheated in the sun, I'd have had a much faster first lap. Perhaps the mental toughness was missing here?

Ran into Christine's hubby and mine too...Mike was thrilled with my time so far and made the colossal mistake of telling me I could walk the whole thing and finish. And this is pretty much what I did, though at that moment I was horrified at the thought of walking the whole thing.

Met some cool guys who were also on their first had lost 35 pounds getting to the race, and the other had lost 60. They were pretty surprised when I told them I had lost more than both of them PUT TOGETHER....they were awesome, but faster runners than me and the dark haired guy took off. Hung with 1975 for most of the rest of that loop and we both really tried to motivate one another with "let's run to that cone, come on 30 seconds" . . . but it was clear that he was the faster, better runner and when we got back to the shade, I encouraged him to go on ahead.
He was funny and said "you're going to MAKE me run??" and I guess I sort-of did....he managed to work up to a half mile ahead of my by the last lap and I was very proud of him!! Kept hollering encouragement to him as we passed each other at the turn-arounds. Also hooted to some girl named Meggan who I passed on the bike...she was behind me, but hanging tough!

My routine at each aid station was the same: Hit the ice trough, chill hat and sponges, pour ice down my shirt. Picked up Gatorade and drank, then ice for my water bottle. A few times I got grapes or gels. The pretzels were gross, the cola (it was REAL COKE!) was disgusting. Then run for as long as the 'cool' lasted. I think the amount of time running made up just the amount of time wasted standing at the ice trough.

The second lap surprised me because there were still plenty of people on the course (YAY!) but everyone was walking. People weren't even making the effort to pick it up for the crowds or the finish. Walked for a bit with BTer "tri the world" guy. He was very cool and is doing the Austria 70.3 next week. Wow!

Since I had pretty much walked the first lap, I started to worry about the 3:00 cut-off here...and did my best to run whenever possible. Sometime on this lap was when my right foot started feeling like it had a shell trapped in the shoe. Since I was soaked, I was afraid taking my shoe/sock off would take too much time, so I kept pressing on until I finished the loop and made the cut-off.

When I got to the end of the 2nd lap, there were still a handful of folks out there cheering, and the race director was standing there too....I knew I had made the cut-off by over ten minutes and according to the pre-race literature, I had unlimited time now to be an 'unofficial' finisher and 1:15 to be 'official' (before 4:00PM). Tom called out "you've got an hour and fifteen minutes....are you going to make it?" I guess that could have been a little embarrassing, but I just hollered back "ABSOLUTELY!!" and this made the folks standing by just cheer me very loudly...that was awesome and it lit a fire under my ass to make sure that I made it in that time frame.

As I started the last lap, there was only one person behind me....this guy must have had a flat or something bad happen cuz he passed me doing 8 min miles and was GONE. So it was just DEAD last, starting the last loop. I took a minute and fixed my shoe...didn't find that shell I thought was there, but I guess I unwrinkled my sock or something cuz it felt just a teensy bit better (at least that's what I told myself) and went to work. At about mile 11, I passed the guy who ended up being the final finisher. YAY me for beating a 67 year old! During mile 12, I passed a girl and a guy...moving on up! And in the last 1/2 mile, I powered past another girl (who cheered me on....saying "Go for it! I've got nothing left!") and another guy!

I was trying to maintain a run through the entire finisher chute, but I just couldn't do it the whole way....saved a little bit for the last 100 feet.

There were still a few people hanging out and some stuck out their hands for a high-five..that was fun but the BEST was crossing that finish line!! And they had tape out too! That was a huge surprise and it made me FEEL like a rock star. I made the official time and finished 20 seconds before 4:00.

Hubby was there and bawling....he just kept saying how proud he was and hugging my nasty sweaty self tight....his face was TOTAL emotion and it made me cry too....what a perfect finish!

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