When I looked at the swim set up at the Lake I realized that the area between the buoys and the marina was very slim. That meant that if I am in the sprint to get through the bottleneck I may go out too fast and if I get lagged back then I might have a slow swim OR I could get into the mix. Buzzer goes off and I mixed it up baby. For triathlons that means the washing machine of arms, legs, water, and jockeying for position. I mixed it up. It was the first of my 4 races this year I had the confidence to stick my face in there and swim. I made people swim around me or through me. As i get through the bottle neck its a clear shot to the first buoy. I started to think as I swam my ass off. I thought about BoBs 3 words and I came up with my theme for the race. STRONG, MOXY, BELIEVE, (I added a 4th), and GRIND. I repeated it over and over. Its funny how that came to me and funny how those words dictated my behavior the rest of the day.
I like it when training translates to performance. The groove I find myself in occasionally came quite easy. I killed this swim. I was not afraid of anyone. I let myself go all out. I figured I would let it all hang out. When I sat down to discuss goals for the race, I decided that since I have routinely been around 50 min at this distance in training that I would set 45 min as my goal. The rest of the swim went very well. Sight, swim, and stick my face in there. I didnt "rest" like I have in other races and put my best foot forward. I exited the water ready for the bike. Im gonna have a good day.
1.2 mile swim in 44:09.
My goal was to get nutrition, get a smidge of rest, and make sure that I have everything I need. The bike has been my hardest discipline to get up to par and I wanted to perform well. I had never been in a changing tent so I didnt know what to expect in there. I have never done an event like this so the entire day of nutrition would be a learning process. Out in 7:52, a little slower than I thought but for me this would not be a day of seconds and a few minutes.
I exit transition with the mindset of get to the run. Once I get to run I will make it just fine. There is a nice climb right out of transition so as I climb Im thinking boy I feel strong. My legs are fresh and I am going to get after it. This course if grueling. Many experienced triathletes around here questioned this as my first 1/2 iron. I wanted this one though. As I made it through my first checkpoint I am 15 minutes ahead. I take inventory and I feel great. I am climbing well and descending quickly. I am passing fitter looking people with much more elaborate bikes. The next checkpoint comes and I able to keep this pace. I look around and I realize that it is very hot. Id guess 80 degrees. Even though I am 30 miles in and feeling very strong will I be able to hold it? Then the cramping begins. Quads, hamstrings, and adductors slowly locking up. Uh oh. When I stand on the pedals they cramp. I dont have any climbing legs. The 3 sisters are OUT then. I didnt even attempt them. I felt so much better not even going there and it turned out to be a good race strategy. I ended up passing 4 guys that tried and failed to climb them. I didnt see them the rest of the day. Through 45 miles I am now a bit slow on my timeline. I dont have the high gear I need for speed, but I grind. I trained into this plan. Get off the river mountain loop trail in a position to grind it out. I have visualized this so many times that I am very relaxed knowing where I am going with this. STRONG. MOXY. BELEVE, GRIND. I am 15 min slower than I wanted to be at this time and I decide to take T2 very slow. Rest, cool off, let this sugar get to my legs. Regroup.
56 mile bike, 4:15:42
Regroup. I am changing and I am considering my options as far as nutrition goes. What do I need? Water, gatorade, electrolytes, salt, and sugar. So this transition area took a lot longer than I wanted to. I thought if I rest now that will translate to turning these legs over to running legs. I was out in 8:19.
Just get to the run. Here I am on the run and now what. Im tired, crampy, hot and tired. Here I am on my most confident discipline and given my last race experience I can get through anything. This is nothing compared to that day. So I decided to enjoy it. Im gonna finish but in how long? Im not close to my goal time and it is an automatic PR, so enjoy it. There is not one flat surface on this whole course. Brutal. What was the worst part about it was that there were no spectators(except for MY people but I will get to them soon enough). I am slow for a 1/2er and the very fast full-ers were the only ones around. Translation, lonely. I ran as strong as I can, I showed some moxy and I didnt let the pain influence my experience, I believed that I belonged there, and I grinded out a very hilly course on a hot day after a lot activity. Was it slow? Yeah. I dont think I ran an entire mile without walking from start to finish. I would get about 1/2 to 3/4 a mile and start to cramp. The aid stations saved me. I would be good for a while then cramp. I spent the whole run in pain and cramping but I never quit. I have mentally visualized the silverman carpet now for a year. This was the first time on top of it. It was the culmenation of all my hard work. I earned it and I am proud I finished.
13.1 mile run: 2:55: 16.
WHAT CAN I DO BETTER?
Get fitter. Before that I need more strength. I am going to keep up the running and the time I spend on my fitness will not change (except for a little break). I will concentrate on strength building and running. 2010 will have some triathlons but it will have at least 1 marathon. May be multiple 1/2 Iron with a plan on Ironman in 2011? I dont know and I think it is too soon to decide. Faster 5K? faster sprint or olympic? I am proud of where I have come from but at the same time I am not content. I have some nutrition and health issues to work through since I did not lose a single NET pound in 2009. That influences my performance. I am not happy at the end of the age group/clydesdale list. May be a cycling coach? I need some training partners too. Long rides and long runs to run with.
The volunteers were phenomenal. The race was well organized. The weather was awesome except that heat part. My friends and family literally lit up the race course. As far as I am concerned the support I received from them and having them in my corner is on par with my race. There was NO ONE out there except the "Gallaghers Groupies." The had a boom box, they sang, they danced, and they had many athletes comment how they changed the race for them too. They had a sign contest. They were flat out awesome. There is something to be said for them participating in my daily life and supporting me on a regular basis. Thank you guys, I could not ask for more support and I could not have finished with out you.
Karl (who you can get to from my list) is a huge source of support. He is always level headed and smart. His brain works so scientifically and is not as emotional as me. He helps me tremendously from a personal and performance standpoint. I would not have changed my life if it wasnt for his leadership. He is a model man, husband, father, physical therapist, and runner. We may just hook up for a relay some time.
My wife. She was the ring-leader for the groupies. She knew how much this meant to me and out did herself. She is my rock and my inspiration all year long. She put up with me when I made quirky decisions about fun vs training. She always supported me when I had to sacrifice. She had to sacrifice right along with me and she did it because she loves me. Every step of the way she has been there to encourage me and support me. I want her in my foxhole any day of the week. I know that I can count on her. I LOVE YOU honey. Quote:
"We live in deeds, not years: In thoughts not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart throbs. He most lives Who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best."
Whats important in life? Friends, family, and living life to the fullest. 1/2 Iron-CHECK.
Note: I am totally stealing Karls idea or he gave it to me....I have been thinking about changing it for a while. He just gave me the spark I needed.