First, let me just say I am deeply saddened by the death of a fellow triathlete. Found that out this morning. I still am unsure how to feel. It is very sad, and it could happen to any one of us. My thoughts and prayers are with him, as they were when I saw an EMS truck turn right next to me as I was leaving the park on the start of the bike leg :(
It does feel a bit weird writing a blog about my experience with that sad news above. But I guess I'll go into it.
I asked a fellow Team Toledo member which way I was supposed to swim and through which buoys. He explained everything to me in great detail, but when I'm nervous, sometimes it's hard to focus. It made sense to when he explained it to me, but when I seeded myself near the front to get a nice spot in the water, I kinda started to follow all swimmers, (again, it was sunny, and the buoys were yellow!) and then noticed I was way out of the buoy line. I wasn't swimming the path of least resistance, so I had to swim over to the buoy line. On the first turn around (it was an out and back course), I forget what my friend said, to swim between the yellow buoys or the orange and yellow buoy. Then, I finally remembered him saying keep all yellow buoys on your right until the second lap, where you get out of the water between the orange and yellow buoy. My fault for being confused. Other than not swimming in a direct path, I felt rather strong on the swim.
Well, it was hiller than I expected. I knew there were going to be hills, but the first part was a nice steady incline with random little hills thrown in them. I know this course was nothing compared to other races, but I'm not used to riding on hills! I did enjoy them, though, they just killed my average speed. Later in the race, Catawba hill they call it (we had to do this lap twice...), it had a pretty good percent grade, I looked down and saw 3mph at one point...hahaha. Anyways, on the first leg my water bottle fell out of it's holder, I didn't drop it, but some air got in it, and so it wasn't sealed correctly, which made it easy to fall out of the holder when I hit a bump. Great. I was down 1 bottle and I only drank about a forth of it, and I was only about 1/4 in the race! It had my herbalife 24 hour athlete sports drink in it too. Luckily, I had one left. So I drank that until I got to the water stop. Here...I grab the bottle from the volunteer, and realize I had my other bottle in the easier holder to get to. The only holder requires more skill on my part to get the bottle in and out. So what did I do? I was already on the verge of falling over, so I just threw the water bottle on the ground, volunteer said she'd get it :( Ugh, so I still had a little left in my other bottle, and rode the about 7 mi or so back to the turnaround, get water there and continue on. I drank both of those up by the time I get to the water stop again. And what happens? THEY RAN OUT OF WATER. HOW COULD THEY?? I was already pretty mad that the race director decided to start the half-ironman athletes at 8:42am, when the SHORTER races started at 7:30am. It's a hot day. Don't you think you should be prepared for enough water on the longest leg of a half-distance ironman triathlon?!!? So I was about 10-15mi without water. Would've been fine if it wasn't for my stupid mistakes too, ha.
Well, I wasn't expecting anything pretty here. I didn't practice brick workouts, I admit. I raced a few triathlons over the summer, that was it. Plus, training for this and the 10k swim was a challenge. My main focus was the 10k swim, though, because I knew I could do well, and I wanted it the most. This, I just wanted to finish. I'm a slower runner anyways, and by the time I get it in a triathlon, it's definitely a jog. Which is fine, I can't be good at anything, but there WILL be more brick workouts in my future! This summer, though, I taught spinning at certain times, so I used that at my cycling workouts during the week (not the best think to do, I know, but I'm not a pro athlete here, so it worked!) and many times I had swam 1.5-2 hours before that, and then left for work or worked on my thesis. So it was just hard to get a run in after the bike. I guess I could have on my weekend long ride, but I usually did a long run the day before, and knowing my body, I can't run the day after a long run. I'm not going to injure myself again like I had in the past from too much running.
By the time I got to the run, it was almost 1pm. So, 1) my pace slowed because of the 93 degree heat, and 2) I'm not that great of a runner = my time of 2:27!! But hey, I finished the thing :) Anddd 2 weeks after my 10k swim race :)
I'm pretty happy I did all this. I completed my first half marathon at the age of 21. My first full marathon at the age of 22. My first sprint and olympic distance triathlon, and 5k open water swim race at age 25. And my first 10k open water swim race (my favorite by far), and first half ironman, which was only my 5th triathlon, at age 25 :) I'm not stopping unless something happens to me where I can't train!
I must start to train even smarter, though. Those brick workouts...even though I hate them....I must do them once a week or once every other week, just to get my muscles used to the stress.
Other than all the negatives here, I enjoyed pushing my body to it's limits. I'm going to bed now :) Happy adventures!