For those of you that read my brief “I Finished” post, you know that I successfully completed my goals of one, finishing the race, and two, having fun. And I did it all faster than I dreamed possible, 5:42:08.
Thanks to my sister for most of the pictures here!
The day started with a beautiful sunrise over the Boulder Reservoir. We got to the race around 5:30am and made our way to transition where I set up my bike and run gear (we had checked our bikes in the day before, so didn’t have to deal with that this morning which was nice). Having never done a half Ironman, and my only Olympic distance triathlon being 2 years ago, I was a little nervous and uncertain about how to set up my transition area. Unfortunately, my husband was not allowed into transition to help me, so I looked at how everyone around me had set their area up and just figured it out.
Setting up my area. I’m the one with the bath towel wrapped around my legs…it was cold!
Next up was “body marking” where you get your race number written on you and also your age on your calf. I was blessed to have a friend of mine who was volunteering do my body marking. Jane is a super experienced triathlete, and she and her husband were volunteering, and later in the day they were some of my best cheerleaders out on the run course.
The transition area closed at 6:30, so we made our way toward the swim start. I still had an hour and twenty five minutes before my wave started, so I tried to relax as much as possible, enjoy the rising sun, and take it all in.
Friends: Brian, me, Ryan, and Mike that were also racing and all did fabulous!
My awesome husband who sacrificed his Father’s Day to support me.
Finally the time had come to get started. My sweet son walked me to the beach where the swim start was and gave me some last minute pointers, as he is a much better swimmer than I am!
My “swim coach” walking me to the start.
I did a short warm up in the water and then watched the swim waves that started before me. Eventually it was time for me to go line up, and then my wave got in the water where we waited for our start. I lined up toward the front of the middle of the pack of women and close to the inside buoys. I was excited to just get swimming after all the hype of getting ready and waiting all morning.
The swim starts near the blue arch in the distance and finished through the white arch.
I was happy with how my swim went. Sure I was kicked and swum on top of a couple times, but I was expecting that after things I’ve heard from other triathletes. It was a little unnerving trying to be cautious of people in front of and around me because I really didn’t want to get kicked in my face. I know it cost me some time by looking up more often to prevent a blow, but I made it out of the water without a serious hit to the face or body, so I was happy with that. And I was happy to look down and see my time as I got out of the water. Better than I expected!
Swim Time: 38:23
Next up was running up a little hill to the transition area. As I shuffled up there I took the top part of my wetsuit off and since I usually have a hard time getting it off my legs and feet I sat down and pulled it off. I was a little wobbly in the head from going from the horizontal swim to vertical run up to transition, so sitting down to get my suit off helped and was worth any extra time. I dried my feet as much as possible, put on my cycling shoes, sunglasses, and helmet, grabbed my bike and headed out.
Transition 1: 3:17
I was still a little wobbly feeling, and was worried about hopping on the bike, so I got to the bike mount line and went to the side and slowly got on and started peddling and off I went. It took me a few minutes to get settled in, but I was so happy to be on the bike and excited for the next few hours of riding. The race course was one loop and covered some rural farmland areas on the outskirts of Boulder. Throughout the ride I would remind myself to look around and take in the beauty of where I was. Not having done this distance of a race before (and not even having done a training ride this long), I wasn’t sure how I would hold up, so I just tried to peddle consistently and not go too hard. I stayed on top of my nutrition and hydration because I knew that would be super important as the day went on and temperatures rose. I was having some issues with my watch, so I had no idea how fast I was going, and honestly didn’t really care, I just kept telling myself to ride within myself and not get carried away. With so many hours on the bike there is a lot of time to think, and I spent much of that time feeling blessed to be out there doing this and thinking of two of my friends, Sherri and Jane, that were supposed to be doing the race, but were not able to for health reasons. These 2 girls have no idea how much their spirit and prayers powered me through my entire day. Whenever I would start feeling tired or that this was hard, I just thought of them and boom, I would be fine. They were my secret weapon!
Bike Split: 2:56:15
Part of me was ready to get off the bike and another part thought “wow that went fast”! But, overall, I was super excited to get to my favorite part…the run! I racked my bike, was surprised that no other bikes were right by me (meaning the other women in my age group that were set up in my direct area were still out biking), took my helmet and shoes off, put on socks and running shoes, race belt, cooling shrug (best product ever, I’ll talk about this in a future post), grabbed my nutrition and took off for the run.
Transition 2: 2:18
I got to see my family as I was on my way out to the run course and took time to get a couple kisses in, and then heard one of my kids say I was a mess. Yes, after swimming and biking, I guess I was covered in sweat, maybe some dirt, and probably had some sticky sports drink on my face. Leave it to family to keep you grounded!
My daughter and son cheering me on, or telling me I stink, not sure which!
The run was 2 loops around the Boulder Reservoir. I took it easy and walked through every aid station to get water and most importantly poor water on my head, shoulders, arms (which kept me cool thanks to the shrug I was wearing). I kept thinking that I would hit the wall at some point, so I didn’t want to go out too aggressively on the run. I was passing people and was able to keep a fairly consistent pace around 9-9:30 per mile including my walks through the aid stations every mile. During the second loop the wind picked up and as I was crossing the back section of the reservoir it got so strong, I had to lean sideways into the wind to not get blown off the ditch bank. I ran with a guy for a few minutes who said the wind was his punishment for not finishing earlier! Thankfully I was only a few miles from finishing at this point, and was able to keep at it and finish strong, with even enough for a little sprint through the finish line!
Run Split: 2:01:55
Sure, that’s my slowest half marathon time ever, but I’ve also never run a half marathon after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles, so I’ll take it! Could I have gone faster? Maybe, but I’m super happy with my overall performance and I look forward to trying another 70.3 in the future, but that will have to be next year, after all, my next race is the BIG ONE…Ironman Arizona this November.
My “Klean Athlete” supporters, my sister and kids after the race
Thank you again, to all my friends and family that were both there in person supporting me and those that weren’t able to be there, but supported me in prayer and phone calls and messages. And thank you to Klean Athlete for believing in me and my journey and selecting me as your Klean Oath winner. You have given me the spark and courage to pursue these fun new dreams this year (along with the nutritional tools to help me succeed!). I am one blessed person to have this kind of support.