I had a great time yesterday. It was just what I needed. I got my game face back on, renewed my love for racing, and regained my confidence. Perfect.
My final time was 4:44:46
26:45 Swim (3rd woman, 15th overall)
2:40:02 Bike 21 mph (3rd woman, 107th oa)
1:35:15 Run 7:17 pace (6th woman, 99th oa)
Finish: 3rd overall woman, 1st age group, 67th overall
I drove to middle of nowhere New Hampshire on Friday afternoon. Seriously, there is nothing over there. It's beautiful. That's about it. I met my friend Mike at our Inn and started to get settled. Mary, (Ironmatron) met us a few hours later. Seven of my teammates (Team NorEaster) were staying at this Inn together. It was fine. It was Great to have us all together...the accomodations were just a little...small. I guess that's the best way to put it. We did fine however.
Saturday we got up super early for the day before a race (5:30) so we could watch the International distance race. We had a lot of friends racing. It was fun to see them and it's a good way to get excited for our own event.
The rest of the day was spent shuffling gear, warming up,attempting to rest, eating neurotically (I swear I get crazy about everything that goes in my mouth the day before a long distance event), registering and finally-racking our bikes.
This didn't go as smoothly as someone with the Maiden name Small would like. (personal joke-we Smalls aren't always 'go with the flow' types-we try but we like our plans...) Just as I was about to stick my bike # on, I realized it said 530. Stop. Chip was 529, envelope 529. All the rest: 530. Not good. Back to the registration desk I went. I was basically forced to wait until race morning to resolve the issue. I didn't like this. I like all logistics dealt with Before race morning. I was forced to 'go with the flow.' A few deep breaths and I was good to go. Right Mary? :) I think I did ok. But honestly, I wasn't feeling so hot on Saturday. Nothing specific. Just off. My head hurt, my eyes hurt in a tired sort of way, I wasn't all fired up about the race. This worried me. Typically I am nervous. Here's the thing, the other half Ironman races I've done were my Big races of the year. I have been so focused on Ironman Lake Placid that I didn't have time to get worried about Mooseman.
It took some real self-talk to get my head in the game. I had been there on and off during the week, but I had to gather myself back to race mode on Saturday night.
Around 6:30, I started to feel better. I was eating dinner with Mike, Mary, Kim, Tina and Tim when my husband and little boys flew overhead. My hubby is a pilot and has a small plane he useds for business. He flew the kids over for the race. yeah! I was so happy to have them there. They landed at the airport up the road from the pizza joint. Airport---it was 1 uneven runway surrounded by woods, fields and cows. that's it. Pretty funny.
Enough pre-race babble. Time for the fun stuff.
I got my number issue resolved quicker than expected. Off to Transition I hurried. We had arrive at the site about 45 minutes later than I would have liked so I did feel a little hurried. Oh well. I had to 'go with the flow' again. It's good for me. I got myself 95% settled and then off to the beach we went. I did miss a few things because of the time....hopefully it didn't cost me too much.
The water was cold but not like last year. I wasn't worried. The wind picked up as soon as we hit the shoreline. The water was a little rough because of this. Again, no problem. I'm comfortable in the water so this really works to my advantage in the end. The waves of men started. Jeff ( my bro) was in wave 2 and I felt nervous for him. His first half. I knew he'd do great. He's an incredible swimmer so I imagined I could see him out in front.
Our turn. Wave 5.
Mary and I positioned ourselves on the left, out front, next to the buoy. GO GO GO GO GO!!! that's it. I finally had it. I followed coach Jen's advice and Hammered for ~200 yards. I put my head down and got my lead. After that it was all about digging deep. pull pull pull lats lats lats sight -repeat. It was a long swim. After about 5 minutes, I saw a pink cap pull up next to me. Ok. I can deal with this. She stayed within sight for the entire swim. This was good. On the way back into the shore, I caught many many men. It was hard to navigate through them but I don't think I lost too much.
I sighted on the arch and pushed hard. I really didn't kick too much. My legs just moved behidn me in a rhythmic manner. I would need them more later. pull pull pull pull
I swim in as far as possible. the day before I notice how many people stand up when they're still chest deep. If you do that....take my advice and don't. Swim until your hands hit the sand. It's much faster to do that then stand and waddle in. So I stood up and immediately heard Mark. "GO BABY" He always says that. cracks me up. I was moving well. felt in control.
Flopped on the wetsuit stripper mat and hollered for help!! pull it! I made sure they knew I meant it. Off I went.
The announced was saying, "first women age groupers! Here we go!..." It gets me revved up.
I headed off on the bike and tried to breath.
This is where it starts for me. Easy part is done. My heart rate was rockin'. It took miles for me to settle down. And there were many hills to climb on those miles.
The bike was uneventful. And this is good. My mission for this ride was to 'take risks.' Jen has encouraged us to do this. I have completed a Half Ironman and raced two. And I was ready to race this one. I was determined to push hard for the entire bike and see what I could do with the run. I really worked the entire bike. I passed men and I played cat and mouse with others. At one point, I found myself riding alone. I realized if I stayed that way for too long the ride would feel like a training ride. So I had a new mission to catch more men. I would do anything it took to get back into a pack. Another 10-20 minutes went by and I had people to race again. There, back in the game.
This was a 2 loop bike. I wasn't sure I liked this but turns out it was perfect. My parents, my husband and 3 kids, my sister in-law and her 3 kids were all at the 27 mile mark. From mile 20-27 I looked forward to it, then I had the fast happy burst of cheers and waves and of course "GO BABY!" from Mark and then for the next several miles I worked off that little push. Big push Actually!! Again from miles 50-55 I anticipated seeing them and then mile 55-56 it was all about adrenaline and preparation for the run.
I really do feed off the crowds. Pulling back into the park, hearing the announcer say my name and that I was one of the first females to come through, well it's extremely motivating. I fumbled my way through T2 (my socks were rolled backwards...had to turn it around because the heel was on top...hope that wasn't the 14 seconds I lost by) and headed out for 13.1 miles of who knows what!
I ran up the little hill out of T2 onto the road and was greeted by my 8 family members. I was SO happy to have them there!!! thanks guys!!!! Cameron and Tommy were standing there, "Hi mommy." Leigh and exchanged smiles and a little nod and Mom and Dad were there with cameras. I'm sure Mark yellled too..... as I said...he always does. He's not a quiet guy.
Off I went. Moment of truth. Hmmm....well.....OUch!
My shins were tight!!! The muscles on my shins were so so tight and sore. Strange. I just hoped they would loosen.
The run is out and back and out and back. We run along the lake with tall cliffs on our left. Beautiful. I do love this run. You can see far in front of you. I spotted my brother not far in front of me. I came upon him within a few minutes and told him to go easy for a bit, to get his groove. Take his time. He said it was all about 'one foot in front of the other.' Me too. I assured him, me too. From there I could see 2 more Nor'Easter tri shirts up ahead. I could tell by the gait it was Mike and Tim. Ok, good, catching the boys. :0)
Slowly but surely my legs loosened up. I climbed the first big hill and the second. Feeling good. Feeling Great for that matter. Time to go for it. Take more risks. My plan was to hold the pace until mile 11. At that point I would throw it all down. That was Plan A. I was learning to 'go with the flow' this weekend though.
Miles 1-5 were 7:03, 7:13, 7:23 (hill I think/hope), 7:15, 6:57. I was psyched. So far, so good.
As I neared the turn around, my male team members were also making the turn. Time for some teasing. As they headed back I gave them each high 5s and told them, "I'm coming to getcha!" :0) I'm not sure if they appreciated my humor or not but I couldn't let that opportunity pass me by.
Heading back to the half way mark I felt excellent. Legs were loose and strong. I held my pace. 7:11, 7:36, 7:26....
The dreaded middle 3. Miles 7-8-9. Ahhh. These almost killed me. I swear they were all uphill. The biggest hill is around mile 8 or 9 and I almost fell down. walked. Tipped over. It wasn't pretty. I was doing the ironman shuffle...in a half ironman. Well, I told you I was taking risks. My tank was almost empty. I was laying it all out there.
At this point I was replaying the words in my head: " accept the pain-embrace the pain." I was reminding myself that I was not the Only one climbing this hill for the 2nd time. I was not the only one suffereing. But I would handle it as well as anyone. I would feel the pain and rest at the finish line. You don't push hard for 66 miles to stop with 4 to go. Up and over the hill I went and down towards the final turn.
8:06, 7:49, 7:29 coming back to life a little-just a little
the quads were burning-shuttting down. That's ok. I had enough.
And then with about 3+ miles to go-she appeared. I might have seen her before that. I am not clear now. But she was 38 y.o. and Ripped. this woman was tall and very strong. Her back was cut her legs were muscular. She was running well. We were running step for step. Where did she come from?? I had my work cut out for me if I was going to beat her. I was hanging on but she appeared to have a little bit more than me. I was going to stay with her, maybe 5 steps back, but I would get her at the end. I had to. But oh...I hurt so bad.
We ran and ran. Step for step. My friend Melissa ran with us for a bit and I could tell she noticed this dual. I ran directly behind her, then next to her, then in front, and then behind.
Mile 11. I took some coke. I hoped it would give me that super powered kick I thought I might need. 7:33
Mile 12. Time to rock. Um. Guess I had to go with the flow again...I was on empty. The legs were barely moving...closer and closer. 12.3, 12.5. 12.6 I could see the end.
Down over the bank--she was 10 steps ahead at thsi point. Oh no. To the right for the 2nd loop, to the left for the Finisher line. WAIT?!!!!!!!!!
You can see what's coming here. She headed off for another loop!!! ha!! I clobbered her! how funny is that. No wonder she had more left.
I was jumping with happiness already. Down the finish line I went. I love that moment. The family was all there and I was smiling so so big.
I watched all my friends and my brother come in. We were so happy. I am so proud of all of us.
I woke up this morning and realized that train had run over me in my bed. I am unbelievably sore. That's ok. I put it all out there. I am on recovery mode today. I am forcing myself to sit, ice, take a hot bath, and just chill.
Next up: training camp in Lake Placid. We leave Thursday. I hope these legs can move by then!