Another Incomplete Triathlon
I felt so ready to tackle the Half Ironman. My game plan was to be conservative and have a confidence-boosting day. I was ready to take my time – spend up to 7.5 hours – and finish with something in the tank.
Not able to do the full event due to weather. I was okay with being rained on, with wind even with rough waters. I just wanted to do it. When they announced that the swim was cancelled my eyes teared up. I worked to keep it in perspective, but I really just wanted to do the Half Ironman. Okay, more delays. They’d let us know at 9:30am what biking and running we’d be able to do at 10:30am.
Finally we know: 31 miles on bike, half marathon run. Ok. Not what I wanted, but I’m here and I’ll do it.
Then as I sat with the new news, I got nervous about the bike. We’d have a mass start out of transition and then immediately go up a hill. I’d need to clip in quickly and power uphill, then unclip and dismount at the bottom of this same hill at the end. The turnaround would now be a U turn, I was hoping it wasn’t too sharp and that I could handle it well. We’d also be more packed together, not spread out after a swim like usual.
So, the bike start was certainly hectic, and I went to the side and clipped in quickly and was ready to go and had to manage myself behind others that were more wobbly than me at the start. I got up the hill and we were off at a fast clip. I continued to pass people (and of course be passed!) and knew I was going fast, probably too fast. I tried to slow down and settle in a bit. Did maybe a little bit, yet still knew I was pushing pace.
It was windy, quite windy. The wind was moving our bikes on the road. We often were riding into a head wind. It felt busy to me out there. I tried to relax my neck and focus on my form. I tried different bike positions and felt comfortable with the variety. I drank and ate pretty steadily.
Going through an aid station, I was riding just right of center because I wasn’t stopping/interacting with volunteers and I wasn’t passing. I was moving through steadily. All of a sudden, I heard right behind me, “Oh shit!” I gripped my handle bars and felt the rider behind me side swipe my back tire. I wobbled and held on. The rider behind me crashed. It felt like an asshole move, but I kept going. If I were to slow down, look around, try to talk to others, I might cause another crash. I hadn’t done wrong, so I kept moving and reminding myself to breath. Whew! I was doing well with my bike handling skills!
My butt on the left side was hurting by the end. I tried to stand and reposition a few times – helped some. Validates my need/desire to get a 2-hour bike fit and ensure I’ve got the best change of long-term comfort.
Got off the bike, moved pretty quickly through transition (for me!) and took off on the run feeling like a triathlete.
Tried to settle in to a slow pace, which is harder than you think it is. Took me the first mile to settle down and go slower. The hills in the first mile helped. We were out in the 90 degree heat and by mile 3, I felt pretty bad. I’d overdone it on the bike so it was time to get mentally tough and keep moving. The first loop on the 2 loop course didn’t look too impressive. Yet I was consoled by the look of the people around me, they didn’t look too good either. It was looking like a hot mess out there.
Okay don’t worry about others. How can I keep moving? I had orange slices, I took ice whenever it was available and put ice in my visor, down the front of my shirt, held it in my hands. Then I figured I might need salt. Got pretzels at the next couple of aid stations with ice water. All this seemed to help.
I did the 2nd half faster than the first (Although not very fast at all!)
Bike 1:46 = 17.5 mph, faster than I’ve ever biked, a fast clip for me is usually 15 mph. And this was in windy conditions. Wow! Fast. (too fast).
Transition 2:49 – cut this in about half from my first tri.
Run 2:36 – 11:53 avg, nearly 12 minute miles. Yikes! A lot of walking.
- I can give myself more credit for my bike handling skills.
- I have more cycling power in me than I think.
- I need to and I can, hold back from full capability, and still be at a decent pace.
- I biked faster than I thought I could in windy conditions.
- If I was going to have a “bad” sport, its better that it’s the run.
- I could keep taking in fuel, cooling down and improving conditions while on the run.
- I felt bloated and terrible after finishing, yet I recovered on ride home.
- I was tired that evening and next day. I will be good for nothing the day after the full ironman!
And of course I learned and grew as a triathlete.
Since I weather kept me from completing the full Olympic distance triathlon and the full Half Ironman distance… Guess I’m going from a Sprint to an Ironman!