Finally... A free minute to get this thing posted! My tummy is full if delicious bruschetta that Steve and I made for supper, I've got an obese cat warming up my lap, and mentally, I'm trying not to think about the fact that I've got a long run tomorrow. It was supposed to be this afternoon, but it rained ALL day, so I'm taking my chances tomorrow morning. I was the designated photographer for Steve and Matt's team du this morning. Check out Steve's blog to see all of the great pics I took. So, I'm super cozy on the couch and figure that studying can wait till tomorrow evening and it's time I put this post together.
The night before:
We got to bed a little late, but I fell asleep quickly. It wasn't for long, though. We woke up to drunk college kids screaming at each other in the alley right outside our bedroom window. Thankfully, the cops showed up and sent them all home. Grr. It's the second weekend in a row we've had to deal with obnoxious college students.
Our alarm clock went off all too early, and we were off with my sister Steph in tow. She was our awesome photographer and cheering squad all day. Thanks again Steph! We set up transition, and before we knew it, the swim was about to start.
There were 4 waves, and I was in the last one (women). This meant that we were starting 12 minutes after the first group. I wasn't banking on catching many people, and I didn't. I hadn't swum in a couple of weeks, so the goal was just to stay smooth and not blow it all. I felt pretty good. The water was really clear, but it didn't really matter because I was alone for most of the swim, so there were no feet to watch out for anyway. I tried to draft when I could, but in two loops, we had all spread out pretty far. I exited the water feeling good.
T1: I was a little cold after stripping my wetsuit, but it was just overcast at that point, so I decided against long sleeves. Had I known the tsunami I was in for, I probably would have grabbed more clothes.
Again, in accordance with my "winging it" plan, I decided to go out pretty easy on the bike. I knew the course would be SUPER hilly, and if I pushed it too hard, I'd die on the run. Everyone and their granny passed me, but I wanted to keep it steady. It was hard not to set goals in the middle of the ride, so I stopped looking at my speed. I got stung by a wasp within the first mile, and it hurt like a mother. It took my mind off the course for the first loop, and just as the pain started to subside, the skies opened up. It just sprinkled at first, but before long, it was pouring rain. Freezing. Cold. Rain. Rain that was reminiscent of IM Moo 06, and just like Moo, my toes were numb, my fingers were so cold that I had trouble shifting my bike, and when I tried to take a drink from my water bottle, my thumb barely worked to squeeze it. The uphills were the same, but the downhills on the second loop were tough because I had to brake a little. Visibility wasn't great at that point, and I didn't always have a lot of shoulder to ride on. I didn't want to get smucked!
I realized with a few miles left that the "emergency" socks I had tied into a plastic bag in case it rained weren't going to do any good since I hadn't done the same for my SHOES. Doh! I was glad to be done with the bike, nonetheless, and as luck would have it, the rain stopped when I got out of T2.
T2: Nothing exciting here. In and out but now sporting squishy wet running shoes instead of bike shoes.
I felt surprisingly great on the run. I'm not sure why I felt so good. Maybe it was the cool weather. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn't wearing the fuel belt that I've been sporting on my long runs lately. Maybe I left too much room on the bike. Whatever it was, I was hoping that it would last. It took 2 or 3 miles to regain feeling in my feet, but I felt really fresh otherwise. I was cheering everyone I passed and everyone I met, and that always gives me a boost too. I started to feel it a little by mile 6 or 7 but was able to keep pace and even managed to pass another 4 people in the last mile. I came in with a run split of 2:13:59, my fastest run split ever during a half.
Swim: 45:51 - PR
T1: 3:17 - slower than Steelhead, but I had steps to run up and a wetsuit to peel off this time.
Bike: 3:33 (I think it was about 1.5 miles short too) - gotta work on this one, but without a lot of training, not terrible on a super hilly course.
Run: 2:13:59 PR on LOTS of hills.
Overall: 6:38:25 - slower than Steelhead, but I actually had a swim this time. My old 70.3 PR was 6:47, so even adding on another 6 minutes for the missing bike distance, It would have been a PR. On the hills. In the rain. Without much training.
Yikes I'm hard on myself! I knew going into this race that I wasn't trained to actually race it, but somehow people passing me and not finishing anywhere near the top half of my age group got me a little down. I quickly realized that I needed to take a step back and realize that not only should I be happy that I haven't lost a ton of fitness, I had a freakin PR!
I would definitely recommend this race to others, but not high maintenance athletes, and not first timers. The course is really pretty and fairly challenging. The only bathrooms were in transition. At least the corn's tall enough this time of year! There's only one water stop on the bike (could be problematic in really hot weather), but the run is well supported. It's pretty cheap price-wise, so if you're thinking about it, go for it!
I'm already looking forward to New Orleans. I'm a little nervous about the heat, because quite frankly, I'm Minnesotan. I have a lot of room to improve on my swim, and I think I'll take a few form lessons over the winter. I've got room to pretty easily cut 10+ minutes off. I'm excited for a flat bike at NO. I've never had a flat course for a 70.3 bike, so a PR is definitely in order... As for the run, I'm getting there, but slower than I'd like. I discovered doing intervals at the Metrodome this past winter, and I think I'll be doing more of them during our snowy months. In the mean time, I've gotta pass this crazy pharmacy test.
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