Now sit down my loyal reader while I regale you of a tale of the Fat Slow Triathlete attempting his first Half Ironman. It is a story that is scary at times, sad at times, and triumphant at times, but in the end it will prove to be pointless and self serving, but it’s my blog, and I will write about what I want to write about …
We left for the weekend later than we wanted to but we got there a got to relax and prepare for the next day. On Saturday we got up early and ran to Perkins for a light breakfast, then ran back to the hotel and got our bikes for some light loops around the area checking out the gear. It’s a good thing we did because after loading the bikes we noticed a tear in one of Jennifer’s tires. This could have been disastrous if we had not caught this until race day, but catching it as we did allowed us to get it fixed on Saturday.
The athlete briefing was pretty good, and we got to meet up with Kendra Sweet and Summer Baily. Kendra is a local and we have worked out with her a few times (in addition to being a co-worker of Jenny’s). Summer is a friend we met through KC and Daily Mile, so this was the first time meeting her in person, and she did not disappoint. Just as genuine in person as she appears online.
|Summer acting all calm, cool, and collected|
|Jenny waving to the camera|
|and Kendra following suit|
After the briefing we took the bike over to Kona to get it fixed but found out it was a 5 hour wait, so we had someone try to McGyver it. Not a good idea, so when we saw Kendra she said she’d help us change the tire out. This was an adventure in of itself, but the net net was that Jennifer now knows how to change her back tire, as seen below:
|LET ME DO IT!!!!!!!|
The Swim; or Why I Dislike the French
The swim, as most know, has always been my achilles heal, but I had a really good experience at St. Anthony’s and thought it was behind me.
Not to be …
I had no nervousness entering the water. It was relatively warm, but it was a crowded group, and we were all bunched up trying to get to a ridge where we could stand. At the same time I was trying to get my goggles un-fogged, while treading water, so by the time the gun went off I was already a bit panicky. On the first stroke I found that the race details describing the “clear waters of Lake Eva” were GREATLY exaggerated. I saw nothing but black, and the panic set in. My breath got shallow, and I rolled over to try to calm down, alternately flipping around to stroke as best I can.
I was just starting to get comfortable, hitting the first turn buoy, when the orange wave caught up to us. I was breathing to the right and watching the guy on my side when a foot caught him square in the face. He went under, and I held up because it scared the crap out of me, and the next thing I know he is flailing about and grabbing me for floatation (not a good idea as I was barely staying afloat as it was). I managed to yell enough to get him to calm down and helped get him to the buoy to hang on, then started waving for the boat. They finally got to us and I helped get him up into the boat, and then when I started to get back out the official stopped me and said I couldn’t re-enter because the boat had moved me.
To top it off, when the guy was laying down I tapped him on shoulder and asked if he was Ok.
“Do not touch me! I don’t like to be touched!!” in a nasty little french accent …
I looked at the sheriff and he rolled his eyes …
“You didn’t mind him touching you when he was dragging you to the buoy”
What an assclown …
Any way, they allowed me to continue the race because of what happened, thank god. I had no swim time for awhile which concerned some people that were following the race (sorry Kate). The funny thing is if you look at results now they altered my time and they have me placing SECOND in my group. Too funny.
The Bike; or Florida is Flat My Ass!
I swear to God, the next time someone tells me that Florida is flat I am going to smack right in the mouth.
I felt really strong on the bike right away. The first 28 miles FLEW by. I was cornering like a demon and was averaging 18.5 mph.
And then the hills hit …
I have never seen hills that don’t come down on the other side. You could see the top, thinking … ok … just get to the top and then coast the back side …
But there was NO back side. It flattened out then went right back up again.
My overall pace ended up being 15 mph, so that shows you how much I slowed down. At one point I think I was at 6 mph climbing the third hill. My legs were screaming at me …. luckily the very end was down and I could rest a little before hitting the run, but I knew my legs were toast at this point, and I was right.
The Run; or Walking 13.1 Miles Still Counts Right??
I did run the first loop, all but Mount Everest that we hit after making the exit from the park. Who, the HELL, thought THAT was a good idea. It was straight up … I swear …. straight UP.
And I walked it …
I did run the first loop using my 1: 45s splits, but by the second I was walking. I knew I wasn’t making the time I wanted, so just decided to do what I could, run when I could, I tried to stay hydrated and maintain a decent walk pace.
Most of the people I was racing with I saw on the run, either passing me for first time or last time (the run was three laps). All of them were encouraging, as they always are.
It the best thing about races really. The Penguin stated in an essay that the “back of the pack” is where the real race happens. We get our moneys worth. We are the REAL endurance athletes because we are on the course 8 hours. The winners only race 3-4 hours. We endure the heat, the dark, the pain, the fear, and the ultimate feeling of triumph when, despite our lack of top flight ability, we cross the finish line.
And the thing is, our medals look the same as the winners medal.
Parting Thoughts, and Lessons Learned
As with most races, the first attempt is the one you learn from. My first attempt at St. Anthony’s led to my good race this year. My first painful half marathon where I couldn’t even walk afterwards led to three more where I could race the next day. I am sure this one will prove to be the same type, and when I face Augusta 70.3 in September the result will be MUCH better.
As far as lessons:
- My hydration on the bike was spot on. Thanks to KC for the ten minute tip.
- I need a carbon bike. Pushing 240 pounds up a hill is bad enough without pedaling a 25 pound bike.
- The French Suck
- I need more hill work
- I still freak out in the swim. I need to get that under control.
- I need to lose at least 20 more pounds.
- RUN. RUN. RUN.
130 days left until Augusta, which will end the season. In between we have the Crystal River sprints and lots of training, and afterwards the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, for the second time.
I have never felt better in my life.