Wonder Twin Powers: Activate! Form of: Super-Fast Triathletes
I never thought I would say this, but the swim was the most pleasant leg of this event. It’s a beach start (if you can call it that) and I’m so glad I got to watch the pros and other age groupers start before they started the entire wave of Women 44 and younger. Shawn was in the wave before me and we watched with anticipation as each wave above us took off in a mad dash. It was during this time that I met blogger Cindy for the first time who was incredibly excited about her first Half-Ironman. In fact, she's got a great race report and pics on her site as well. I love the fact that she took time to brush her hair in transition!! Classic! I also ran into James and Rafael from Austin whom I’ve known for years from Austin Fit. The start of the swim was an event unto itself because you started in a sprint and the water remained incredibly shallow until you turned a corner of the point where I assumed the actual swimming portion began. It was at least 20 good yards of running in ankle-deep water! “Hey! This could be good for me!” I thought… I kissed Shawn goodbye, wished him luck and lost him in a sea of green male caps. Then, it was my turn.
I lined up in the middle and when the air horn sounded, I began running in the water along with everyone else. When we turned the corner, people were still running. “Hello! We’re supposed to be swimming people! I’m not Jesus for crying out loud. I can’t keep this up for the next 1.2 miles!!” When the water finally went above our waists, the swimming commenced. As per usual, the first several hundred meters were brutal and sufferable. However, once we turned the first buoy, I was able to find some space and actually had several stretches of what kinda felt like actual swimming instead of a new “American Gladiators” event. I had no idea where I was in the pack, but there were white capped swimmers around me at all times, which was encouraging. Hell, I was keeping up with someone and that’s good enough for me. About half-way through the swim, I actually started passing dudes in the age group before me. Shawn and I had joked that I would probably pass him on the swim. At one point, I thought I did see him, but I wasn’t about to tap the guy on the shoulder or blow him a kiss to find out if it was indeed my husband.
As always, the swim seemed to take longer than I thought it should and I was actually getting warm in my wetsuit. I’m pretty sure the lake temperature averaged 77.9999999 degrees—barely making it a wetsuit legal swim. I can’t tell you the excitement I felt when I climbed out of the water and quickly glanced at my watch to see 35min and some change. That’s almost a 10 minute PR for me!! By the time I had my wetsuit stripped by a wonderful volunteer and crossed the timing mat it was over 36 minutes, but it felt like I had broken a world record.
The bike course has eight challenging climbs, including one immediately upon leaving transition. You are barely clipped in and you have to start pushing the pedals. Thank goodness we knew this and had our bikes in an easy gear ready to go.
Smiling (or grimacing) as we pedal up that first hill out of transition!
I never saw a crash happen, but viewed the aftermath of many including people walking with road rash on their legs, waterbottles and hydration systems strewn across the road and an ambulance at the bottom of a descent with a beautiful Cervelo bike leaned up against it. Presumably the rider was INSIDE the ambulance at this point. I just didn’t want to risk any type of injury. During this point, I was barely hanging onto 15.5mph. pathetic...The last 12 miles were a different story. We FINALLY had the tailwind I so longed for on the way back to town and I rode it like a freight train hitting 25-26 mph with little effort. It was all I could do to get that damn speedometer up to 16.5 mph before I re-entered the park and lost my tailwind and gained the last two climbs of the day. I think I ended the ride with a dismal 16.3 overall average—which is slower than my Ironman ride at double the distance. All I know is that I was off the bike after a long epic 3hr 26min battle with Mother Nature. Originally, I thought she had won, but the fact that I didn’t quit or crash makes us at least even.
Check out the intensity! (and the rockin' headband!)
Let the Run Assault begin
The last three miles are always a blur as my mind and body were simply trying to keep up with each other. Plus, is it me or do the last three miles always seem so much longer than the first three!?! I was amazed at how many people were just starting the run as I was finishing. It definitely made me feel grateful as I moved closer and closer to the Finish Line! At long last I crossed virtually spot-on with where I wanted to be for the run.
All in all, I can't be disappointed with my time of 5:53:57 even though I've already run through the litany of, "Could I have gone harder on the bike?" moments. Part of me feels like it was a meltdown, but I also knew that I didn't want to take unnecessary risks. I am proud of the strong swim, run and decent transition times. All in all, it was a well-executed race physically and nutritionally. Mentally, I was a little "off," but that's part of the game!!
I was able to get my bike loaded in the car and change clothes in time to watch Shawn coming across the Finish Line looking strong as hell! (yes, by this point, I had put some distance on him even though it took me 20 miles of the 70.3 to catch him!)
We Did It!!
Time to drive back to Austin! Who wants the first shift?!?
Hey Carrie--you can take your race number off now...It's over.