I scored a hotel right beside T2 and the shuttle bus pick up. I woke up at 5am, put down some Rokitfuel and packed my things in the car as I would not be staying another night. After the race I had another long drive to do back to Utah. All the athletes boarded buses and headed up to the host chateau for the race start. The water temp was warm and it came within .2 degrees of being too hot to allow wetsuits. I would have been ok with either but I am glad they allowed wetsuits for the majority of the other athletes sake. A lot of athletes are just trying to make it through their first half ironman day and experience and the swim can be very daunting. The half ironman day is long enough without starting it out with a negative experience in the water.
The swim was calm and very straight forward. With the waves only 3 minutes apart the water became very congested as the many waves became one. It is always fun for me to listen to people conversations on the beach before their day begins. So many people are excited and are on the brink of writing their own Ironman experience. We all have different reason for doing what we do and all the stories interest me. Why do we do what we do? What drives us to toe the line? What makes us come back for more? I just love this stuff. I had a modest comfortable swim with a time of 34:30
I came out of the water not having driven the bike course (I just wanted out of my car) but had heard it would be one of the biggest challenges of the year. I headed out with excitement to see just how tough it really was! Either I'm getting tired or these bike courses just keep getting harder. I would like to think that it's the latter. This course was both fun and challenging and my Ellsworth bike handled the conditions perfectly. The course had us either on long climbs where my bike felt light and comfy or descending where I felt stable, aerodynamic and fast. The set up of this course had me biking either 10 or 38 mph, nothing in between. I was still taking it easy as my leg is still giving me a few small issues. If I can make it through this race and next weekends race in Augusta then I will have 3 solid weeks to heal before racing my last 3 events - Austin, Miami and Clearwater (70.3 Worlds) I enjoyed this hot hilly ride with a time of 2:52 It is still impressive to me when I see the pro's on the course, fast!
|I sure hope this is climbing cause I'm outta the saddle in all the race pictures.|
The day really started to heat up and nutrition was going to be key heading into the run. I was hoping to pull from my 17 previous races in hopes that I had learned a few things about racing in the heat. I made sure to grab my bag of pills as I made a quick transition. I got a few strange looks at the first aid station as I open a bag of pills and choke them down. I take in some very key nutrition at this juncture in the day. Extra electrolytes and potassium are key here to get through the humid weather and finish the race.
|This is the section down the middle of the mall - awesome idea!|
The run was a flat fast 3 loop course. It was super spectator friendly and we ran the length of an outdoor mall. This is a great course design as a spectator could browse the shops as they wait for their athlete to come back around. Triathlon isn't the most friendly for spectators and can potentially be a long day for supporting family member and friends. I started out with an easy manageable pace and handled the heat well. Each one of my laps were a little slower than the one before but I felt comfortable and put in a conservative run while trying to keep my nutrition and legs under control. I knew I had to jump into my car and drive right after the race and didn't want that part of this trip to be worse than it needed to be. I can't just look at each event individually, I need to look at the project as a whole. I finished with a run time of 1:57 and a total race time of 5:30. I want to be going much faster but again feel that I am making some smart big picture decisions.
|Welcome to the gun show... not very impressive but welcome!|
After I crossed the finish line I jumped into the big fountain which was filled with very cold water. The water was refreshing and very welcoming. I also managed to get in a quick post race massage and felt this was time well spent as my body wasn't about to thank me for immediately jumping in and trying to drive to Denver (801 miles). I was STARVING after the event and couldn't find any post race food. I'm not saying there wasn't any there, it is possible that I just couldn't find it. I loaded up the car, grabbed two subs and two Monster drinks. I struggled with comfort but make quick work on the drive and made it to my friends house in Denver by 12:30am. I was very happy to be in a bed and not in my car.