Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Ironman FL 70.3 May 16, 2010

Race Report for my first and possibly ONLY half ironman.

We arrived the day before the race with plenty of time for checking in. Getting to Disney was easy, and traffic was light. We had the option of either riding our bikes to transition or taking a bus. We were going to take the bus over, but then after we realized the bikes had to go in the cargo holds on their sides, we opted for riding over. It was a very short ride... no big whoop.

Check in was chaotic, but well organized. There were people everywhere. We had to go through about 4 different areas before we were completely done. I will say that the SWAG was awesome. The shirts are excellent material, we got great hats and the bags are awesome. So, we checked in, and then took our bikes to their transition areas. Transition is kinda far from the swim...fyi. So we walked around hoping we could maybe get a little swim in before race day. Not.going.to.happen. They do not allow any swimming there, which is very unfortunate. Especially for the panicked swimmer like myself. Oh well. So we walked around some more and then decided to go check into the hotel. The information meeting was not mandatory and still 2 hrs away, so we opted not to hear it.

We went back to check into the hotel and decided we were starving. We went for a bite at Sweet tomatoes across the street at the CrossRoads. I had planned bagel w/ egg for breakfast, but I forgot the cooked eggs at mom's so... we went to grocery store and got some Bee's Knees Peanut Butter. MMMMmmmmmm. Plus there was not a microwave in the room, so i wasn't entirely sure how I would be making that bagel sandwich warm.

So we got back and laid out all our crap for transition to be sure we were ready to roll in the wee hours of the am. Closed the blinds, set 4 alarms and got cozy in the bed watching tv. I think i was out by 9 or 10 pm. That 4 am alarm came early, but I had been well rested, so I was ready.

So we ate our bagels and PB, had our coffee, got dressed and grabbed our gear. We had a hell of a time trying to get to the park. They had everything blocked off and did not give clear directions to where to go. We ended up going all the way back out (from downtown disney area) on I-4 and coming back in another way- that worked. Then the wait for the bus was ridiculous. My advice here is to leave earlier than you think you should leave. There is always, always, always something that will hinder your forward progress on race morning. Trust.

We finally made it to Transition. We did not have but a few minutes to get our crap unpacked and spread out. They were closing transition. Thankfully we made it. We went and got marked. Went potty. Went to see the pros come out. Then my wave started before Brian's so I was making my way back to the start. And a little info for you right here. If you have never seen what 1.2 miles looks like all spread out at one time in a body of water... yeah- it looks like a million miles from shore. Just sayin.

The swim waves were well managed and not too many people going out at the same time, so it wasn't a complete free for all. I had to start out slow. My heart rate was out of control and I knew that if I tried to put in my face in the water, I would panic and quit. So I went w/ breast stroke, then free style w/ my head up (that's hard- your legs keep dropping), backstroke, side stroke... all the above for about 4 buoys. I was getting tired and I still had a very, very long way to go. I attempted the face into the water again. SLoWLy... Then I was able to swim one stroke and breathe to the left. I kept this up for about another buoy, tried one breath to the right and I then I found my groove and I was off!! WHoo Hoo. Thank you, Lord! I was fine the rest of the swim except for the few men who swam over top of me, or kept grabbing my leg, whatever. Men are rude. At least the women are civil enough to look up once in awhile and try not to run over people.

So, yay- I made it through the swim. I should have done 10 minutes better than I did, but well, I did complete the task. I took a nice 5 minutes to transition from swim to bike and I was off and running. FL really is nice to bike in. So flat. Hills are a joke compared to what we do here. I welcomed the "challenge" whenever we had a hill. A little headwind here and there. Not so much tailwind- which was a bit disappointing. Anyways, I was aiming for an avg of 18mph- I did 17.9. I'll take it. I didn't want to go too hard for fear I would have nothing in the tank for the run. Good call on that. My food source was a bad idea- Fig Nuemans. In heat and humidity, they stick together. It was a mess. I managed, but probably should reconsider that next time. No flats, no drafting penalties, no wrecks. I was happy. This bike is not comfortable for 56 miles. I wanted to get off that bike so bad towards the end. My shoulders, my legs, my knees, my back, my neck, my business end... it all was hurting. But alas, I made it to transition.

Another long 5 minute transition- but look- I had to pee since about mile 2 of the bike and I was cramping from holding it in, so I had to go and do it. Otherwise I might have been able to shave 2 mins off my total time there. The run course was a trip. It's a 3 loop course and half of it is a trail run on grass. Seriously. And do not wear your brand new kicks, because they will be trashed by the end. Well, they will be full of water and mud- it did wash out. (for the record) It was very hot and humid. Walk the aid stations at least. You really need those breaks. I chose the aid stations, each mile marker and towards the end, perhaps one or two more walks. Those were seriously the LONGEST miles ever. I think they stretched them out. Ladies- a little advice- ice in your bra(front and back). It will help keep your core temp down and keep you moving. My chest was completely frozen when I finished and I still had ice in there. It was like my own personal cooler. lol. I was never so excited to see the third loop finish. I gave it all I had for that last push.

I am an Ironman 70.3 finisher. And frankly, it feels pretty darn good.