I can’t believe it’s over. I decided to train for Ironman Muncie 70.3 14 weeks ago. I had plenty of endurance built up as I was coming off of a March Marathon, but in 14 weeks I needed to learn how to swim more than 2 laps without stopping and work on getting faster and building bike endurance. I’m happy with the outcome but it’s clear that my strength lies in the run.
I had some other life things going on the week of the race, that had me anxious so I wasn’t too caught up in getting nervous about the race. All is OK on that stuff and I’ll be posting about it soon.
I had a great taper week, got a lot of rest but knew I wouldn’t sleep much the night before the race. Whatever, the full week of rest would be plenty. When you set your alarm for 3:30am, there is only so much sleep you can get. I think I fell asleep around 10:30 or so, but was tossing an turning most of the night. Marshall spent the night at my parents house and my Grandma watched him all day on Saturday. Whew, we are very grateful for that- we could have taken him with, but it would have been a long day. Plus saved us some mad money not having to pay a sitter!
Glenn and I hit the road to Muncie at 4:15am. I still had 3 hours before my heat would start, so I drank a big full cup of coffee and enjoyed every bit of it. Something I never do before a marathon. Since I wouldn’t be running until around 11am, I knew I had plenty of time for coffee to settle. We had lot’s of good race talk in the car on the way there and I was very calm. Much calmer than I ever would be for a marathon or any race that just entails running for that matter. I really didn’t get nervous until I was waiting in line for the port potties 45 minutes before the race.
|20 minutes or so before my heat!|
Division Rank: 66/80
Overall Rank: 1208
Gender Rank: 354/462
Nutrition: 1 Espresso Hammer gel 15 min before getting in. (Thanks Michele for the tip to take a gel before the swim)
|Cold and Nervous|
|Getting ready for our heat to start! I’m right in front of the girl with the blue on her wetsuit.|
We stood watching the pros get started. The pros started at 7:00am and my heat was soon after at 7:19am. We were given the opportunity to warm up after they started, but I chose not to. Since the swim is so long, and I’m not exactly a competitive swimmer, I was totally ok with the first 500 meters being my warm up. Plus, I thought if I got in and out of the water, I’d freeze standing in my little swim suit… seemed like almost everyone else had wet suits on!
The swim ended up being wet suit legal. Which is crazy for this race- July in Indiana? Last year, it was so hot, they had to shorten the course to an Olympic distance race for safety reasons. SO, no one expected it to be wet suit legal. The water temperature was 75.5 and wet suit cut off is 76.1. Well, I don’t own a wet suit and I wasn’t going to buy one as I had no reason to think we’d be able to wear them for the race. Triathlon is a really expensive sport and I wasn’t about throwing down the big bucks for all the bells and whistles for my first “season” especially if I might not even use them on race day.
It seemed like about 80% of the field wore wet suits. I know you swim faster with one, and I don’t know how much faster I could have been with one, but I know I still would have been pretty far back in the field. Only 14 women in my division finished behind me on the swim.
I’m not disappointed with my swim time. I do think I could have pushed myself harder, but I’m not totally sure how to swim hard for such a far distance. The fact that I even trained myself to be able to swim that far without freaking out or having to stop at all is a big accomplishment to me. When I started this training 14 weeks ago, my swim workouts were 500 meters and I built up to 2500. It was a process and I’m proud of it. It took a lot of discipline to get myself in the pool 3 times a week.
The whole swim was kind of weird to me- looking out at how far we had to go only made me slightly nervous. I knew I could do it, I’d swam that far many times (in a pool though). The only open water swim I’d ever done was a few weeks ago at the Eagle Creek sprint triathlon and that was only 500 meters. Waves went off every 4 minutes or so and as I fell to the back of my wave, not too long after the wave behind me started mowing me down. The next age group was men 30-34, of course I’d get mowed down. Our division had purple swim caps and as the swim went on I started seeing less and less purple and lot’s of yellow and blue. There were a decent amount of foot tugs and arms running into me, but it never scared me like I thought it might.
I stayed tight to the inside, closest to the bouy’s and was off track more than a few times. I’d pick my head up and feel like the group of swimmers was way far to my left, so I’d angle back over to the group, swimming extra. I wasn’t sure if it was OK that I was that far over, I’d look up and eye the lifeguards on the kayak’s wondering if they’d somehow tell me to I needed to get back on track. Once we made the turn back home, I was excited. I remember thinking the first straight away out was pretty long, so don’t get too excited, you still have a ways to go. Toward the end though, when I would look up to sight, you could hear the announcers and see the arch you run under to transition. While the experience was weird and I was glad to get out of the water, I enjoyed being out there, if felt free to me, and it made me feel strong knowing that I was able to swim that distance in open water. I had absolutely no clue what my swim time was until after the entire race.
Not much to say here, except, it could have been faster. The run up to transition was up a hill and kind of long. I was flustered drying off and getting my bike clothes on. The best part about this is that I ran off with my bike without my helmet, only a few feet but I had to set my bike down and run back to my slot and get my helmet. It was kind of funny. My time was slow, but I wanted to be careful to make sure I did everything right… and I still ran off without my helmet. Oh boy.
I first have to say THANK YOU times a million to my friend Stacie for letting me borrow her bike. It was a least 8 lbs lighter than mine, breaks worked and gears shift like they should. It’s a nice bike and I certainly would not have biked as well riding mine. It didn’t sound like a CAR like some of the bikes out there, but it was awesome.
1st 28: 1:35:53
2nd 28: 1:35:15
Division Rank: 51/80
Overall Rank: 1159
Gender Rank: 304/462
2 Hammer Gels
1 Pack of Honey Energy Chews
1 Honey Stinger Energy Bar
Couple drinks of Preform
Oh the bike. I took a gel as soon as I got on and reached down to get a drink of water, only to realize that I forgot to put water in my bottles. Yep. That happened. Glenn told me 5,000 times before the race to make sure I’m hydrating and eating well the first half the bike. Well there would be no hydrating until the first aid station haha. The aid station was at mile 15, so it wasn’t a huge deal, but I was thirsty! Glenn had a 16 mile run to get in so he was running the bike course and I saw him at mile 11. I told him I thought he had filled my bottles since he put them on my bike. I had set them out the night before and was gonna fill them in the AM. But he put them on my bike and loaded the car before I was even out of bed in the AM, so I just assumed. Never just assume…. eek! I am the queen of these kind of issues!
The bike was my biggest challenge mentally. I knew it would be going into the race. Three hours is a long time to sit on a bike. I focused on getting to mile 10, then 20 then 28 (the turn around), then 35, 45 and 56. Seriously that’s how much I broke it down in my head. Making myself work hard for such a long period of time on the bike is something I’m not used to. The beginning of the course was fast, until mile 10 and the last 10 miles were also fast. There was rough pavement that was really annoying to ride on in the middle 30 miles. It was an out and back so you got to see the people ahead of you on the way out and the people behind you on the way back. I was trying to spot others I knew racing. I did see Ashley, Jake and Bob on the bike, but missed others I knew racing.
|This was me telling Glenn I had no hydration in my bottles. WHOOPS!|
Miles 37ish to 42ish were the longest 5 miles of my life. It felt like my odometer was just creeping. When I hit 40, I knew I had less than an hour to go, with 16 miles left and I was so ready to get off that damn bike. Then I started getting mentally prepared for the run torture I was about to put myself though. I passed a decent amount of people on the bike, but got passed by more. Not too many girls though so I was happy about that. When I did get passed by a couple of girls in my age group, I was shocked that I had actually beat them out of the water.
I got to see Glenn again at mile 40, my parents at mile 45 and my friends were lined up waiting for me right before transition. Always a HUGE BOOST when you get to see people out there supporting you. The last few miles went by so slow, I just wanted to be done. And when it was all said and done, I was surprised my bike pace was 17.5 mph- I thought it would be at least 18 mph as there were some good stretches were I was hitting well over 20 mph. I guess that bumpy middle section counteracted those quicker paces.
I’ve never been happier to get off a bike. Apparently I did a good job hydrating because I had to pee really bad when I got off. There was one porta potty in the transition area and there were three people in line for it. I wasn’t waiting around for that. I figured if I really needed to, I could catch another one on the run. But I REALLY did not want to stop.
Division Rank: 28/80
Overall Rank: 733
Gender Rank: 167/462
|Just getting started on the run. No clue how bad it’s gonna hurt.|
I definitely peed my pants a little at some point in this run. The urge to pee went away after a few miles and I know I had to go bad enough that I didn’t sweat that out. I didn’t and don’t care.
The first mile was weird. The pro girls were finishing and I was envying that they would be done in the next 6 or so minutes, while I was just at the beginning of my 13 miles. My legs were heavy, but I was ready mentally to start passing as many people as I could. I knew I’d pass a lot of people, but I felt like I was running really slow and didn’t understand how I would physically be able to. Turns out a lot of people run a lot slower and there were a good amount of people taking walking breaks. I kept reminding myself that I am a runner and this was my strength so go on and be strong about it.
The volunteers on the run course were phenomenal. There was a stop at every mile and I was grateful and excited to see every one. I got to mile 3 and had to regroup, I was struggling both mentally and physically trying to get my head around the idea of running 10 more miles without walking, which I refused to do. At that aid station, I knew I was hungry but couldn’t stomach a gel, so I grabbed a few bites of a banana, drank water, poured a few cups of water on my head, took a deep breath and moved on. I really wanted to walk, as I moved away from that stop, running sounded almost impossible, but I ran. And it got a little better. Walking would only delay finishing and I wanted to finish as soon as possible!
The course was surprisingly hilly- no steep hills but lot’s of rollers. The uphill tested me every time. I told myself to get to mile 5, then 6.5 (the turn around), then 8, then 10, then finish. I’m always in the game of breaking things up into smaller pieces, because I can manage that mentally. Like the bike course, the run course was an out and back so you could see who was ahead of you and on the way back who was behind. I knew a decent handful of others racing so it was fun and uplifting to see them on the out and backs.
Somewhere around mile 4 or 5 I saw Heather, who is from Chicago and reads our blog. As I passed her and she yelled “Out for a Run?!” I turned back and we exchanged words and I told her I’d find her at the finish (which we never did!). We side fived once I hit the turn around and saw her again. HEATHER- How was your race?? I also got to see a handful of others I knew racing- Smitty (Runners Forum), Josh, Ashley, Bob, Chris, Jake and I feel like I’m missing someone- there were others out there that I somehow missed.
At the turn around, I heard a volunteer say it was 12:17. That was the first time I’d heard a time since we started at 7:19. I counted the hours haha- and realized I had 62 minutes to run 6.5 miles if I wanted to break 6 hrs. Unless I took walk breaks, I knew that was entirely possible, one more reason to keep moving as fast as I could to the finish line.
I got to see Glenn around mile 7 and then again around 8... I think. He asked me how I felt, I said “Terrible” He told me I looked good and to keep up the pace, but I don’t know if he was lying or not haha.
I started kind of running with a couple of guys in their late forties around mile 9- I’d pass them down a hill and they’d pass me up it. They were very encouraging to me and it was nice to be packed up for a bit.
Mile 11 was my slowest but somehow I was able to find some will power to pick it up the last two. I was only passed by one girl and one guy on the entire run, but I think I ran the guy back down. I did not however catch the girl.
Mile 1- 7:11 (I felt like I was running MUCH slower than this and thought my watch was off. It wasn’t)
Mile 2- 7:45
Mile 3- 8:21 (moment of truth here- HOW am I going to do this. I have no idea)
Mile 4- 8:16
Mile 5- 8:20
Mile 6- 8:05
Mile 7- 8:08
Mile 8- 8:45
Mile 9- 8:40
Mile 10- 8:22
Mile 11- 8:58 (hills and side cramp, ouch)
Mile 12- 8:15
Mile 13- 7:53 (get me to the freaking finish line- this mile ended up two really annoying hills)
|FINISH LINE. HELLO.|
My initial thoughts post race-
- I could have worked harder on the swim.
- I am happy with how I biked, given my bike experience and where I have came from with it. My splits were nearly even, so am happy with how I paced.
- I worked my ass off on the run. It hurt bad. I told myself I just want to finish and I never want to do this again.
BUT. Of course. Now I’m thinking of all of the things I could have done to make this race faster.
Here is what I’ve come up with:
1. Take at least 5 minutes off my swim time. I could have done that.
2. Take at least a minute of T1
3. Get my bike time down to sub 3 hrs.
4. Run sub 1:45
If I did all that- it would take around 20 minutes off my time, putting me at 5:35- I can’t help but say I’d want my goal to be sub 5:30 though. AHHH- why am I already talking about this?
And I couldn’t pick just one after race pictures- so here are a bunch.
|With Chris- who has done a full Ironman and also had the bad luck of a flat tire this race.|
|My cheer squad. Dad, Mom, Sarah, Glenn, Emily, Andy and Candice. Love that they all came out, made me feel special.|
|With Jake- who you will get a race report from right here on this blog in a few days. He did an amazing job and had fun while doing it. I was so happy to be able to cheer him in to the finish.|
|With my coach and number 1 supporter. Best friend, love, and baby daddy.|
And did we even talk about my sunglasses? Yes, I raced in those, and yes they are Anheuser Busch shades. And yes, I got them at good will and yes they are awesome.