At some point when I was in elementary or middle school I learned about triathlon and about both the ironman and the half ironman. Ironman seemed totally ridiculous to me so I decided that someday I would do a half ironman. I had kind of forgotten about this idea until 2004 when I started doing triathlons. Since I started racing I have continually put off doing this distance because it just seemed SO FAR but this weekend, I finally took a crack at it.
The saga begins on Thursday when I had a massage with a person who was not my regular masseuse. I know massage hurts some time but not one second of this massage was not painful … and not good pain. I woke up Friday morning with radiating pain through my neck, up over the top of my head (?!?!), and down through my shoulders and arms. I was also really really sick all day Friday. Personally, I blame this on the massage (Isn’t there some weird “pukey” nerve that you can pinch?) but it was probably just a bug. By Friday afternoon I was feeling more and more like I wasn’t going to race. This sucked. In all my years of racing I have never DNSed a race that I’m registered for and I have never had a DNF.
I got all of my things ready Friday night amid waves of nausea and managed to get about 7 hours of sleep.
Saturday morning Tom picked me up and we headed out to Spokane. We ate a lot of pretzels, drank a lot of water, and listened to good music … truly a bonding experience. We were in Spokane by around 1:00 and it was thankfully not absurdly hot like it had been in past years. We met up with Adam, Jenny (our awesome race support), Parker, and Jonathan and then Tom and I decided to go for a bike and run. We invited everyone else but they were busy carb-loading (drinking beer). Tom was feeling good and I was feeling like I wanted to puke but I think, at this point, it was more nerves than anything else.
After the most pointless pre-race briefing ever the dudes and I (team sausage) drove out to medical lake and went for a swim. I kicked everyone’s asses in the water because I’m so awesome.
After a lackluster attempt at driving the bike course (the map on the race site was less than enlightening as you can see) we headed back into town to pick up Jenny and eat some food.
Tom, Parker, and I all shared a hotel room and the three of us got all our gear ready and were in bed by a little after 9:00. I slept really well except for one interruption by a certain sleepwalker who tried to battle the curtains in our room with a pillow.
Sunday morning we were up by 4:15 AM. I ate a bowl of cinnamon roll oatmeal, 1/4 of a blueberry bagel with a tablespoon of peanut butter and a banana. I was having a hard time eating but managed to get at least some calories in my stomach. By 5:10 my bike, transition bags, and person were on the bus on the way to Medical Lake for the swim start.
We got to the lake, I set up in transition and about 15 minutes before my start I went for a 5 minute warm-up swim. It was go time.
The swim was a beach start. I started in the front to the left. About 30 seconds before we went off Julie Vieselmeyer wished me well and all I could say was, “Thanks! It’s my first time! I’m scared!”
The horn blew and we were off. The swim was just how I like it, totally uneventful. It was one large loop around Medical Lake marked by 6-8 buoys. I drafted off of one girl for the first half but when she started to really pick it up, I just let her go. The swim felt great. I didn’t take in much water and had very little body contact. Because of all of the people in the water, I didn’t really have to spot at all which was great.
1.2 Mile Swim: 35:09
T1 was pretty easy. I knew exactly where my bike was and I was in and out of there fast. My wetsuit came off easier than normal. The only problem I had was mounting the bike. I had just put new cleats on my shoes and they were a little tough getting in but I was clipped in within 20 seconds after crossing the pad.
The bike was great. I had heard it was “flat to rolling” but in reality it was pretty darn hilly. In other words, it was really my kind of bike course. I was picking people off one by one throughout the bike which was the way I like it. I’m still a little uncomfortable on my bike due to some fit issues (although awesome Tom Price and Tom Roseberry have both helped me a lot on this front)
I was feeling awesome until about mile 40 when I heard that awful sound “pop! pssssshhhhhhhh!” I had flatted in the rear. “CRAP!” This was the first time I have ever flatted in a race and thankfully also the first time I had brought a flat repair kit with me on the bike. I initially thought it was my front tire but it was actually my back one, making it more of a pain in the butt. I took my bottles out of my aquarack, flipped my bike and shifted into the small cog to get my wheel off. I actually got the tube in pretty quick but then I ran into problems. I realized I had no idea how to use the CO2 pump that I had brought with me. It didn’t have a trigger like my normal one and I had no f$*#ing clue how to use it. I was about to throw in the towel and flag down a truck when I finally figured the dumb thing out. I got probably 80 lbs of air into my tire and I was using a butyl tube rather than a latex one but I was back in business. I wasn’t wearing a watch but I would guess that I lost at least 6 minutes changing the flat, not to mention time lost having to use a butyl tube at lower pressure.
I hopped back onto my bike and took off. I tried not to push it too hard, it wasn’t worth it to try and make up for lost time.
I got into town feeling pretty okay. I was actually a little surprised when I got there, kind of like “oh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! Yay!”
One little post script about the bike, my nutrition was my saving grace. I did three scoops of GU2O, 7 servings of E-Max, and 6 Thermolytes or roughly 650 calories and 900 mg of sodium.
56 Mile Bike: 2:50:08
T2 was awesome. The volunteers were so great. One guy caught my bike and I gave him my helmet, glasses, and shoes. It was so great. Then a lady was right there with my run stuff. I threw on socks (first time I’ve raced with socks … this was a good idea), shoes, race belt, visor and grabbed my nutrition.
The run was hard from the start. It was starting to get pretty hot out and I definitely did the shuffle for the first bit. I actually very clearly remember saying “You have got to be f*%$ing kidding!!!” when I saw the mile 1 sign because it felt like I had been out there for an hour.
Little by little the miles started to come easier and easier. It was getting pretty hot out and there wasn’t a lot of wind or shade on the course. I grabbed iced sponges at every aid station and stuck one down the front of my shirt and one on the back of my neck. Those really helped to cool me off. At around mile 5 I started getting really hot and seeing spots. Not good. I was carrying a flask with a mixture of E-Max, GU20, and Water. A little swig of that got me going again. At around mile 7 I ate my one packet of carb boom which was a godsent. From there on out I started walking the aid stations just so I could suck down a whole cup of water. I didn’t touch the Heed that they had at the stations since I don’t particularly like it and I didn’t want to try something new.
The last half of the run was actually really great. I was passing people which is nothing short of amazing. I even re-passed a girl at mile 12 who had passed me at around mile 4. I felt bad, she looked like she was really hurting, but oh well, one more place for me!
The finish was awesome. I couldn’t help but give a little kick for the last .1 miles. My goal time had been 5:30:00 which I figured I would have missed due to my flat so you can imagine my surprise when I crossed the line and saw that I had still beaten my goal by nearly 5 minutes! With a flat! It was awesome!
13.1 mile run: 1:57:17
4/11 Age Group
I had so much fun at this race that I am going to do another one in September! And not get a flat!
Mind The Gap
9 months ago