Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Soma Half Ironman - consider it DONE

It's taken me quite some time to post my "race recap" of my half ironman from October 19. There have been so many emotions, positive and negative, running through my mind. I wasn't ready to put it down on paper, or blog.

So here's my recap! Which is so hard to put into words!


Let's start this journey talking about how I felt going into this race. The word is crazy. Going from 10 hours of training per week to 5 made me feel utterly stir crazy. But that's what an endurance athlete wants! As my training partner Sharon reminded me all week, "We want to crave that distance race morning!"

And that we did.

It was a so good to have my girls with me. I had my friend Sharon who did the full 70.3 with me. Two of the other friends in my training group split it into a relay, as one of the girls had a plantar fasciitis. One of our friends was our supporter. She trained with us the whole summer, but isn't too keen on the open water swim, so just came to support us!

Here we are at the expo Saturday afternoon. Craving that distance!
We went to "My Big Fat Greek Restaurant" as our pre-race dinner. Greek food is my "go to" pre-race food. Don't ask me why - it just gives me good luck. I love getting pita bread, hummus, and grilled veggies with a greek salad. It worked before my last marathon, and so the rest of the group decided to join my tradition Saturday night. We then walked around Mill Ave in Tempe and just laughed off our nervous energy!
The Swim:
As you probably know, the swim is 1.2 miles. This was what I was most confident about. I swim hard 3 days/week in the masters team. And I felt amazing in that water! Hardest part was the mean men who would grab your legs, push you underwater, and swim on top of you
The swim for me was about being "strong" and "steady". I knew I had 6 hours to go, so didn't want to get my heart rate too high. The 1st 800 m, I couldn't see where I was going, because of the sun rising in my eyes. The swim felt fast and extremely surreal. 
Total Time: 44:14. No records here, but I'll take it.
Here are a few photos of "swim mode":
This is my friend Lisa and I - who I swim next to every M, W, F. We were feeling nervous, so taking pictures was a fun distraction!

I'm on the right - and team Lisa/Amber are on the left (they relayed this race together! And they placed 4th in the women's relay!!! Amazing!!!)

This is kind of a neat picture to just show the energy of all the people in a tri! I love it! Triathlons are the coolest race experience ever!!

These are my "swim sisters". We are next to each other on our masters team - and our energy carries us through!

Here I am "launching!"


And here I am finishing the swim, running into the "chute" to my bike! I was crying happy/excited tears in this picture!
The Bike: 56 miles
The 1st thing I'm going to say about the bike was: I have a $500 bike, and many of the athletes in the race were seriously riding $10,000 tri bikes with aero-bars, and crazy looking tires and helmets! Like this:

So I could beat myself up over a my 3:26 total time, with my 16.5 mph pace. And I did. But I won't. I had a lot of fun on the bike. My goal on the bike was to hydrate and get in calories. I never take any nutrition when I train. So forcing myself to take 4 "gu's" was torture.
I did Skratch Nutrition for my hydration. It's an all natural electrolyte drink mix. And I took Vanilla Bean Gu packs. I forced myself to take a drink of fluids every 5 miles, and a Gu every 10 miles (but after 40, I stopped to get my stomach ready for the run.
I have a very weak stomach.
The Run: 13.1 miles
This snuck up on me. I thought this was going to be my strong point since I'm a runner. But being it was hell on earth 95 degrees out when I started running around 11:00 am, it was awful. I have never seen so many walkers in a race! I ran most of the 1st 6.5 miles, but the last 6.5 miles, I walked for 40 seconds every 4 minutes!
This was hands down the hardest physical thing I've ever done. I couldn't keep hydrated, even with a water station at every mile. I was downing Gatorade, pouring ice on my head, and putting ice in my sports bra.
Stopping caused my legs to start spasming. Stretching would make my cramp up and then I'd fall.
This was my wall.
This was where I found myself saying, "What the hell am I doing? Why did I sign up for this? How will I ever finish?"
But I finished. And let me tell you, when I could hear the music at the finish line, tears were rolling! I couldn't believe I made it!
My total run time was 2:12 minutes. I normally finish a 13.1 in 1:45. So this was ugly. Unfortunately, for about 4 days after the race, I spent a lot of time feeling bad about my run time and beating myself up over it.
I finished the whole thing in 6:32. That's a one hell of a long "cardio" workout. Ha!

I don't even remember taking this picture, but I was absolutely stunned it was done!! 
And here we are with our medals!!
Post race:
Post race was rough going. The dehyration really set in. We got to our hotel, showered, and headed out for some pizza. At this point, every time I'd stand up, I'd get dizzy and nauseated. Let's just say it was a rough "journey" to the restaurant.
But once I got some water and margherita pizza in me, I was golden!

And then from Sunday evening - Wednesday morning, I couldn't eat any solid foods. Due to a raw, burned, red, sore mouth. I'm not sure why. But I couldn't swallow. So lived off smoothies and squash.
All in all? This was an amazing experience! The heat juts really sucked. Bad. If I were to do this again, I would train so much more on the run.
I waited over a week to do my recap, but I had to let it sit. And I'm done beating myself up over my pace and time. Because at this point, no one cares about my splits. A lot of people have no idea what a "good" pace in a 70.3 is compared to a "bad" pace. Nobody cares! I shouldn't either. I finished. I trained my butt off. And I had fun doing it!
Next up?!:
I am looking forward to weight training, trail running, sprint triathlons, and just doing what I want!


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Yes, I promise you that no one cares about your splits or knows what a good time is. It's an accomplishment to finish something like this, especially in those kind of elements! Please don't beat yourself up!! Plus it's not fair to yourself to compare your 1/2 marathon time during a HIM to a stand alone half... You had already been pushing your body hard for 4+ hours at that point and it as 95 degrees outside which I'd venture ti guess is WAY HOTTER than it was when you race any other halfs!

You should be proud of yourself for finishing! I so could never do something like this. I just don't have the dedication and desire to put my body through it! I am sorry that you had such issues with hydration and those mouth sores. :(

Congrats on having this behind you! I hope you are enjoying the freedom from having to train!!

Marlys said...

You didn't mention swimming? I hope you plan to keep that up as you really seemed to love it!
I am totally amazed at the fact you completed this event in the heat you had to experience! That was grueling! It pains me to read how you suffered, especially from the sore throat after the race! UGLY! I was just thinking that if you ever do have a baby, it will be a breeze compared to the pain you endure in these races! You are amazing!

Barb Geier said...

So proud of you, my dear.
What a goal and what an accomplishment.
In 95 degree heat???? No way. I couldn't even WATCH a race in those temps.

Amber said...

A half-ironman is a HUGE accomplishment so definitely do not beat yourself up about times. Also this is your first half-iron right? So it should all be about finishing, you can focus on faster times at the next one. Plus the fact that it was SO hot would have played a huge factor in time.

CONGRATULATIONS! Be proud of yourself :)