Where to begin? This weekend was so intense, wonderful, difficult, draining, fun, hot, uncomfortable, trying, inspirational and absolutely unforgettable!
Bonnie and I drove down to lake San Antonio on Thursday afternoon. We got there in time to set up our tents in the light and then have some beers. There was some tequila drinking that I did not partake in. I knew I needed a good night sleep two days before my event, so I went to bed at 10 while the others who had gotten there early as well enjoyed their libations.
The next day we got up and I realized I had to get some swimming in. I hadn't swam in 3 weeks! I was a little nervous, but Mark and Bonnie and I headed down to the lake for a swim.
I swam half a mile, and realized that I really need to start doing my swim workouts. There is only one part of the Ironman that could be easy for me, and that is the swim. But if I keep slacking off, it's not going to be easy. So I made a little promise in my mind to Sedonia that I would be making sure to do more swims. :)
That night I made sure to be in bed before 10pm (again) and I got a good nights sleep, except for my weird dream. I dreamed that I had set up my bike in transition and then went back to it, and it was gone. Finally someone found it, but someone had stolen the front tire and tube (but not the wheel!) I know, weird, I was happy when Bonnie woke me up at 5:27am, even though my alarm wasn't set to go off until 5:30.
It was time to put our tri packs on and ride down to transition. I think I am finally getting the hang of setting up a pretty good transition area:
After transition is set up, us women have hours to kill before our race starts. My wave wasn't until 9:20am, so I went around taking pictures of the lovely ladies who were going to be kicking ass that day:
Finally it was time for my swim start! I was excited, but I didn't have butterflies like I did last year. I knew I had done it a month before, and I knew that there was no way possible it could be worse than that! Riding 56 miles in the pouring rain is awful, so I knew that the day was going to be good, because it was going to be better than training weekend.
The swim was actually great. I finished in 38 minutes and 40 seconds. The water was so refreshing. As I was on the way back I remember thinking: "this is the best I am going to feel all day, I better enjoy it!"
Then it was time to transition to the bike. I got on the bike and the first 12 miles didn't seem that bad. In fact I was feeling pretty good, until I got past the Olympic turnaround and I began to realize that there was a huge headwind. Visually it looked like I was going downhill, but in reality it felt like uphill and I was only going about 8 miles an hour. Now I don't do math very well when I am busy working out, but I was pretty sure I needed to be going faster than that if I wanted to get in under 8 hours. On Jolon road I was able to get into my aero bars and get up to 13 miles an hour, but it was still pretty hard. I knew I just had to really push myself on the downhills.
Around mile 25 Emily McClure caught up with me, and after that the rest of the ride was so much more fun. We stayed together and chatted, and yes, there was some girlie gossip. She was ahead of me on Nasty Grade, and just seeing her up there helped me keep going. I kept telling myself, Emily is up there, just keep going, because she is going!
We finished the bike together and then started the run. Or should I say hike? We started out running, but that didn't really last long for me. My plan went from 10 minute run/2minute walk to walk uphill/run downhill. The problem with that is that it seemed like the entire course was uphill! There is a F%*king hill at mile 4 to 5 that just doesn't stop. At one point you get to go down hill for a little after a water stop, so I thought I was done, but no...there was more uphill after that! Finally my goal became to get the 13 miles done in less than 3 hours. Luckily once I got into the pit, I was on familiar ground. I knew I had run out of it before and I knew I only had 3 more miles. So I am not saying I ran completely out of it, but I was able to go back to run/walk. I got to the top of lynch hill and I knew I wasn't going to make my 8 hour cutoff but I still could make my goal of getting my half marathon in under 3 hours, so I raced down that hill as fast as I could!
I ended up doing the run in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Not too bad, considering it really wasn't what you could call a 'run'. My overall time was 8 hours and 6 minutes. 6 minutes off what I wanted it to be, but I still felt great. I had never in my life done such a difficult run, in so much heat! And I had completed some of my other goals. I had definitely made Nasty Grade my bitch, and I had fun doing it. I can't say that run was fun, but I finished it! And it felt so great running down that shoot at the end.
Then it was time to go sit in the cold lake so that our muscles wouldn't get too inflamed. I also had to get in the lake because I was completely covered in petroleum jelly. On the run my shirt had begun to chafe me under the arms, and I kept asking people at the water stops for vaseline. They obliged a little too willingly and by the end of the race I was covered in the stuff!
So I went to bed by ten! But that is ok, because I made up for it the next day. We started off the day with screw-driver mimosas, got dressed up and went to go cheer for our friends doing the Olympic course.