First I'll finish up with my training schedule to let you know what I did days leading up to the race and then will fill you on THE RACE.
Total miles leading up to the race for the week: 14 miles approximately
Ran 6 miles
Bike: 8 miles + a 10 min spin at wellness center
I was pretty quiet/on edge the week before the race. I tried to rest, but I ended up getting a "bee in my bonnet" and did a bunch of house cleaning Wednesday and cleaned out closets Thursday- crazy how different people deal with stress- I like to clean :). In-laws came in for the weekend to help out with kids on Sunday since we would be gone most of the day. So lucky to have them in our lives!
So now day of race...
Woke up at 4:45(that is a.m.) ate a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter and had my coffee. Left house at 5:15 a.m. only to realize we were almost on E, which is totally unlike us. So we stopped and filled the car up and headed onto Palo, IA. We got there about 6:15 and headed to transition- this is what it looks like with all the bikes ready. We headed out of transition at 7 a.m. to go attend pre-race meeting. I had heard rumblings of possible delay of race because of the fog. Yep there was fog- kind of thought it was a sign I wasn't suppose to see the buoys out on the lake when we drove in the park- couldn't see any of the lake. Well the fog faded and then I saw the buoys/triangle floating devices out in the water marking our swim route. HOLY BUCKETS- what had I gotten myself into? Hubby and I stayed together as long as possible and then like that it was time to get into my wave and get ready for the 1.2 mile swim.
I wore a wet suit, really most Pigman Long and Olympic distance participants did. It really does give you buoyancy. I went into the water at the end of my wave and tried to start swimming free style. I felt myself stopping to tread/attempt breast stroke multiple times in swimming to the first triangle, but felt I wasn't going anywhere. I went to my back for a few strokes and just swam and deep breathed. I really that first 500 yards was ready to swim to one of the many rescue boats and jump in and say "I'm done", but I didn't and after that first turn a light switch went off in my brain and I was fine. I started swimming free style and stopped treading/breast stroking. I did find myself swimming off to the left instead of to the right- I just figured it was my weird crooked swimming, but others said the same thing so maybe it was current. I likely wasted some time swimming off to the left, but after I swam past the second triangle I was on the home stretch and really swam well. Throughout the swim I was touched, a few "love taps" by other swimmers, but I felt safe and calm. I ended up swimming the 1.2 mile swim in 46:27.
I ran/jogged out of the water and did much better than I did at the Pigman Sprint getting through the Transition 1- 4:26. This was enough time to strip my wet suit off, towel off, put shoes on, put Garmin on and belt with bib on it- as well as the all important food in my tri shirt (ate a GU prior to swim, ate a nature valley Peanut Butter granola bar, fruit chews, and greek yogurt covered raisins on the bike, and then another GU and orange slices on the run), helmet on head and sunglasses.
This is what they call transition. Kind of eerie with no athletes present.
It was really a beautiful day.
Now in triathlons they put your age on your calf so it is known what "age group" you are in. So I was watching the varied age groups pass me- many older than myself. I just couldn't seem to make any head way. Well I had to just ride my own ride. It was a ride. It was hilly. The course description was "rolling hills", but it felt more like up and down hills, not rolling. Biking is hard for me. By halfway point I was hurting. I was pretty sure my "private parts" were going to be swollen for days. I was sore! By mile 45 I started experiencing leg tremors if I straightened my leg, which worried me because I had to get off the bike, straighten my legs, and run a 1/2 marathon. So I just kept pedaling to not experience the muscle fatigue. My ideal goal was 4:15 for ride and I finished in 3:52. Ecstatic I was when I saw the time, but not as ecstatic as I was to get off the bike on Sunday and be able to run with no soreness or pain.
Almost Done with the bike
Transition 2- went into the bike finish line and told them my number and that I had lost my chip. A race official went with me to my transition area to help me look for my chip and sure enough it was stuck in my wet suit. When I took my wet suit off after the swim the chip just stuck in the leg of wet suit. I strapped the chip on and away I ran.
Me after finding my chip- boy was I happy!
For some reason I like this picture- I'm not a little thing- I still have gymnast thighs, but my arms look pretty Burly! See the chip on the ankle that was what I was so happy to have back on.
By now it was extremely sunny, warm, and I had to run 13.1 miles. I knew they were going to have aid stations every mile and I was not disappointed. I had water, cup of ice, and orange slice at each aid station. I had brought my own fuel belt with PowerAde Zero and water and used this to keep me hydrated. They had Heed (a triathlete drink similar to the historic Gatorade used during marathons). Hubby had tried it at the sprint we did earlier in the summer and hated it. I tried it this time around and it was GROSS! Not sure if it was not made correctly or what. I was thankful for my own powerade zero. The water from the aid station I would either drink or pour over my head. I was so glad I had a hat. I put ice in the hat and put hat on head and by every mile the ice was melted and ready for refill. I also passed a fellow Tri club member and she yelled out- "put ice in your bra it will cool you down"- I tried it and she was right. It was an out and back course and so by mile 6.5 I knew I was going to make it. I ran all the miles except the aid station areas- even the hills. The run was when I started catching up and passing others. I wasn't even bothered by the heat/sun.
I truly had an epiphany when running that part of the race- "I AM A RUNNER!" I'm not fast or speedy nor do I have a runner's physique, but I can run and I'm a runner! Now I didn't have the same reaction with swim or bike, but the run I felt really good.
I finished running a 2:26 half marathon (11:08 pace) which I was ecstatic with after all the miles of swim/bike fun.
There were a lot of great parts of the day, but one of my favorite was coming down the last stretch- 2 miles or so- and hearing cars pass me and cheer me on/ yell out my name or my tri-club name as some participants were leaving the festivities. Then the very last stretch there were members of my team smiling and cheering me on. I was the last of my teammates to cross the finish line, but they were there to cheer me on and support me- no judgement and a lot of pats on the back after the race.
One of my Tri-Club teammates who also just happens to be one of my good peep's hubby cheering me on down the final stretch.
I'm a Runner! and I am finishing a 70.3 mile triathlon!