Sorry it’s taken me a while to write this one… it was written in my head during the race but of course I never put the pen to paper until today! I will try and piecemeal it from memory (yeah, the same memory that makes you think it was so much fun you want to do it again and again). Yeah, that one.
I can’t actually start with the race without mentioning the very cool Ironkids mile race that went on the night before. Kids got checked in (“yeah, my own number”) and got to finish by running through the official “finish chute” of the Half Ironman.
Once they got over the shoulder rubbing, kid bumping, first stage of it (before the gun even went off), I think they actually enjoyed it! Official “Ironkids” to add to their resume.
So, back to that other race that happened. 🙂 I went in with a goal of having a really good, solid race. I wasn’t set on winning (although that sure sounded good) but I was set on feeling “good”, having my nutrition dialed in, “enjoying” the course and – of course (as written in a previous blog) believing in my heart of hearts that there is truly a WHY for doing this.
Achieved (you can stop reading).
Here’s my story (if you desire more):
Swim: 1.2 miles
Cannon went off and soon thereafter I caught up with a friend. I call her my friend because I wanted her to be my friend (the reality is still have no idea who this person is). Her and I were similar speeds and deep down I think we knew we needed each other out there trying to battle through the herd in front of us. It wasn’t a mass swim start, which means my particular age group left 45 minutes after the pros. This also means we (40+ year olds) are trying to swim through people constantly. Nothing good will come out of that scenario, you just need to swim with style (avoid hitting people) and courage (you will get kicked a lot). Turns out we got split up about half way through so it was me vs. the other swimmers (as is the entire race but for some reason it felt different). At the end of the day, we all wanted one thing, have a good swim and get out with legs to move the pedals.
Highlight – Top 10 overall female (can I get a whoop whoop!!!), 3rd in age group.
Bike: 56 miles
Course was absolutely stunning. I felt great at the beginning despite a little shortness of breath (hmm guess even just some altitude affects this sea level gal) and lots of climbing. There wasn’t a single flat. A lot of ups. A few downs. We biked from the reservoir back to the St. George town square so you didn’t even get the pleasure of coming down something you just worked so hard to climb! I was looking forward to seeing the family at the planned spot around mile 25 and AHHHH THERE THEY WERE.
My energy awaits me!! Felt great cycling by and couldn’t wait till the next sighting. The hills ahead I just can’t describe. The beauty of them nor the pain they brought to my body. I climb a lot of hills and the one around mile 38 in particular took my breath away (in more ways than one). Somewhere along about mile 40 (I think I was in my own little world at that point) I went from 3rd place to 7th (I had no idea at the time). As my son would say, wwwaaaa wwaaaa wait whaaaaat!!! It really didn’t matter because I was hurting pretty bad and maybe just maybe I could’ve given it more (easier said then done right) but I also knew what was ahead.
Monster hills to run on for 13.1 miles.
Highlight: Apart from the scenery and seeing my lovely family out on the course, I think it was a person who said “damn, you are fast for someone your age”. I had to think about that one for a while.
Run: 13.1 miles
Saw my crew again as I rolled into the second transition. I am not sure how they houdinied it to the other side (where all the runners come out) but I just missed my high-fives (saw them a second too late). They were probably wondering what took me so long in there (damn port o potties).
Moving on… the first 3 miles are uphill. First 2 are what I like to call “gentle” uphill and then by mile 3 you have to decide whether it is faster to walk or run because I’m pretty sure you could do either and not lose much time. Probably not the best mantra, but I kept thinking that this course really is “laughable”. Right when we got to the top there was a water station (yeahhhiiippppeeeeeee!!!) and you could see a brief downhill and then another huge hill. I dumped water on me, grabbed ice, stuck a few sponges in my kit, and went on my way. I have decided if there would’ve been an aid station every 1/8 mile I would’ve won (not really but fun to dream). I felt like a total rock star after getting something cold in AND on me! By this time it was probably in the low 90s but felt like 110. No shade, 3,000 ft., but it’s a “dry heat”. So, on we went the next 10 miles. Up. Down. Thank goodness for my family at mile 7 and again at mile 9 giving me a much needed “power boost” (high five). So fun seeing them and running with them if even for a few seconds. Their love gives me energy and it was so nice to have them there.
This right here was as good of reason as any of WHY I race. They see hard work put in, not just by me but the thousands of people out there, and they see the satisfaction afterwards. If any of that rolls off into their lives, then it’s a win.
Highlight: Is it cheating to say the highlight was the finish line?
As I came down that last (3 mile) hill I felt excited my day was coming to an end, and excited the goal was achieved. I had raced a race I have had on my list for years and known as one of the toughest out there.
At the end of the day…
So on the drive back home we played a nice long game of “would you rather”. One of the questions asked was “would you rather score a soccer goal into your own goal and win the game OR play your very best and lose the game”. My answer was the latter. Compare this to my race – I felt like I did play my best out there and although I “lost” (some would argue 7th isn’t losing, or at least I would!) I feel satisfied.
I am super happy about my race. My nutrition was solid, I felt great on the run despite the hills, had an incredible swim, and learned a few things along the way. It was what I like to call a stacked field, and a race known as one of the hilliest in the 70.3 Ironman circuit.
I was proud to represent Betty Designs with the skulls and butterflies and was honored to be amongst other Bettys out on the race course. And I’d always rather be a Betty……