Monday, October 27, 2014

Half Ironman

We drove to Austin Saturday morning with the Haley's. Carson stayed with my parents, thank you Teeny and Bebol!! Dan, Bridgette, and Eva graciously stayed at our house with the boys, THANK YOU! I was happy to head down there knowing all our kiddos were in the best hands! It was really strange leaving the boys. This was our first time to leave them over night. They did great.

We arrived at the Expo around 1 and checked in. Everything went smooth and we headed over to drop off my bike. I was nervous about the logistics of this race. I've never done a mandatory bike check-in, or experienced different locations for T1 and T2. It turned out to be a lot less stressful than I thought. Mostly because Ironman did a wonderful job putting this race together. It was well thought out!! 

So, we headed to eat. I was starving at this point.. Jake was asking Siri where to go, oh brother. We drove by two "top rated" places before finding a spot to eat... I had to say no- I was not going to risk brazilian tacos from a house and who knows what else he tried to pick, the day before the race. lol. I'm sure the places were great, but better safe than sorry! I agreed to Gourmand's. It was tasty! We headed to check in at the hotel with full happy bellies.

We stayed at the Hilton Austin Airport. It was lovely. I unpacked and looked over race details. Put my clothes by their designated bags, showered, and crawled in bed. I planned to watch TV until dinner, but ended up taking a little nap. The bed was soooo comfortable! We ate in the hotel because I didn't want to get out late and wanted to stay cozy. I left dinner a few minutes before everyone else; took a bath; bagged up my gear; packed up for early check out; and went to bed! I slept pretty great. I was in bed by 9:00. Slept from 10:45-5:20. Not bad for race day! 

Woke up, checked out, loaded up, headed to the race. It was nice having Jake for the support, and so he could help me carry all my stuff! :) Jake is such good help (family saying). 

We arrived in plenty of time to drop my run bag off, shuttle over to T1 and get my bike gear all ready to go. The only hiccup came when I didn't get water in my bottles. I only had ice and no time to find the water fill station. I figured it would melt enough to wet my mouth after the swim and I would just stop at the first aid station. Transition closed at 7:15 and the pros started at 7:30. My wave was at 8:30. Jake and I had a good time watching the pros, but I was too nervous to say much.

Pros hit the water:

.. and I'm off.

My small warm up to the start line felt great. The water was not too cold, and almost warm enough to ditch the wetsuit. I took a deep breath and waited for the signal. The first 200m I was just trying to slow my breathing. I was so nervous. I am not confident in the water and had several people kicking me/running into me. I finally found a safe place on the outside of my group, put my face in the water, and started swimming. I made the mistake of cruising closer to the buoys. I was in a rhythm, on the inside, when I felt a huge body swim OVER me. yes, over me. The men's wave caught up to me (again, I'm slow) and they were aggressive. For about 3 min, I just tried to get out of the way, and I don't think I made any forward progress. I wasn't tired, I wasn't afraid for my life, I just couldn't get in a rhythm. My pace was slower than I planned, but all in all I felt pretty good. I swam faster than I did my first 1 mile open water. *this was only my second open water race*

It felt really good to get out of the water and on my bike. 1) my wetsuit was rubbing my neck raw and 2) I'm much more comfortable on my bike. I took the first 15 miles easy, but it was a fast part in the course, so I was cruising. I hit the first aid station and dumped water in my bottles. It was no trouble at all. The weather felt great! Then, sadly (TMI), I started my period at mile 25 on the bike, which caused some longer stops for the rest of the race. I made it to mile 40 and there were feminine supplies in the port-a-potty!! how lucky. The last 15 miles were pretty brutal- head wind and several loong hills. I kept telling myself QBKS! Several times I looked out from the top of a hill and reminded myself to enjoy the whole thing. It was beautiful. I felt blessed to be healthy and on my bike. I thought of my Uncle often and felt proud to do this race, and thankful for the many ways he's encouraged me and helped me along the way.

By the time I rolled into T2 I was really hot! I grabbed some supplies from Jake, and took off. The first two miles of the run were brutal. By mile 3 I felt like I was in a rhythm, but going very slow. I decided around mile 6 there was no way to "push pace" and I settled in for a very hilly, hot, long run. Whoever thought up the course was cruel. Very cruel. It was a hilly 3 loop course with ZERO shade! It was also very mentally tough to run by the "finish" twice. It was nice to know what to expect for each loop; but, it was rough to turn and go back out for another loop. I loved having a support team there..  I knew if I could just make it one more loop, they would be there to cheer for me! I just kept moving, I was slow, and had to walk some.

But, I finished, and nobody can take that away from me!!! Austin 70.3. Took me 7:43:52.

I am tired, I'm a little sore, but not too bad. I'm sunburned and my skin is sensitive from chafing. My neck hurts the worst, but I was also rubbed raw under my arms and around my sports bra. My left hip flexor may need a little extra attention during rest week. My little toe is one big blister. But, overall, I came out of this race in great shape.

Today I rested, cuddled my boys, and enjoyed Takis for breakfast, mac n cheese for lunch, and I'm ordering pizza for dinner.

My plan is to rest for one week, do minimal training next week, follow a light training plan through the holidays, then back at it! I don't want to lose my base. I'm very proud of myself for finishing. Based on how the race went, and how I feel today.. I'm looking to get my next check mark November 2015.

Hard to believe a year and a half ago I only had two check marks!

August 2013


** Although they are very different, I still say fostering is harder than a half ironman. 

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