I completed the first Half-Ironman distance race of my life today. I did meet my first and second goals. The first goal was to finish and the second goal was to be under 7 hours. I managed to make it by 4 minutes and 38 seconds. It was a great experience that I never could have done without the support of my family. It is very hard to state how important their support was in getting me to the finish line.
I don’t think any coach would put my pre-race routine in their book. We went to a party with friends from church and were out until 10:30. We had a great time and I would not have traded it for anything. Then about 1:30 am the Tornado Warning sirens went off. I managed to fall asleep again on to be awakened by the Alarm Clock at 3:45. I got up, made coffee, got my water supply ready for the day. I had loaded the car the night before and just had to put the last few things in. I then checked facebook and saw this message from the Race Managment Company:
Well everything is basically gone, all the tents, bike racks, structures, all history. We were out trying to save stuff but it is all over the park. Everyone elses tents are gone, not sure if we still have swim buoys yet, I doubt it. Window on the RV broke, Crazy. All the crew is on site trying to pick up the pieces to have a race by 7:30am.
This couldn’t be good. I finished get the stuff in the car and drove to the race. I had left with enough time to drive the bike course. Since it was a 3 loop Lollipop course I didn’t have to drive all 56 miles. There were some fallen branches on the road, but nothing really bad.
When I finally arrived on site I could see all of the bad things that happened. There was no fence around the transition area. The Inflatables that normally mark the transition in and out were replaced by big ladders. All of the signs on the course had blown away. Somehow they managed to get everything together enough to have a race.
My official time for the swim was 45:32. This was a 2:17 per 100m average and was the fastest I have ever swam in my life. I am absolutely thrilled with my swim time. I came out of the water feeling great. I would have called that as perfect of a swim as I am capable of.
My time for T1 was 5:03. I am a High Maintenance cyclist and I just take time in getting ready to bike. I thought I was bad, until I got to a bike and found a guy sitting there blocking my bike putting lotion on his fee and God knows what else. He took 13 minutes at both transitions.
My bike time was 3:24 with a 16.4 average. I did this on my Mountain Bike. My road bike had mechanical issues that I could not resolve prior to the race, so I could either throw away my entry fee or HTFU and ride the MTB. I am glad I did this, but it probably killed my run, more on that later. The storms of the night before left behind breezy conditions that made me wonder how they could develop a course that was against the wind the whole way. Ok, it wasn’t the whole way, but it sure felt like it. I would have probably set up the run better by riding a 3:45-4:00, but getting passed the whole time was a little too frustrating.
My second transition was 4:56 but this was only because of a porta-potty stop. Slow guy was blocking my area again so I did everything from the other side.
My time for the run was 2:34:59. I was definitely tired starting the run, but still feeling pretty good. My plan was to run the first 6 miles at about 11:00 minutes per mile and then go from there. That plan lasted about 3 miles, then I kinda blew up. I started slowing down and eventually got to the point where I was running a tenth and walking a tenth of a mile. That kept me around 15 minutes miles. My legs are still a little store to go downstairs to sync my Garmin to see what I actually did. With about a half mile to go, I realized I needed to finish within 9 minutes to break 7 hours, so I ran as hard as I could go for the last half mile and made the finish in 6:55:22.
Now I am home and feeling a little tired and sore, but very happy with what I did today. One major lesson learned is that I will not do another race at this distance on a Mountain Bike. I will stick to Sprint and Olympic distance until I can afford an appropriate bike.