I've basically been training since the end of January and now all those miles of training and racing are behind me. Strange to have the "What now??" feeling. More on that next time. But I digress.
Back to the race.
We arrived in St. Joe on Saturday around noon at Rob's best friend Bob's parents' home. They are the most gracious people and were such wonderful hosts to us. Rob and Harry headed out to play golf, and Martha came with Julia and I to the expo to pick up my packet and swag. Here are some photos from the expo:
All my credentials!
So well organized
Loved that everyone's name was on their numbers
Julia was so funny trying on all the hats!
I did get some Ironman gear including a water bottle, jacket, key ring and some sleep pants, some of which was 50% off which is always fun!
After, we went downtown St. Joe to walk around and let Julia go on the carousel there. She had so much fun. We were watching this storm brewing over the lake though and I saw the waves and had a BAD feeling about the swim.
Beautiful hand painted Spartan horse
Yea, not looking real good
We all rallied back at the Gossetts house for a spaghetti dinner (thanks again to Martha for cooking for us!!) and to get everything ready for the next morning. I kept watching the weather but then got irritated, stopped and turned off my phone and went to bed.
I slept ok and woke up at about 4:15am to get ready. We were able to let Julia sleep while Rob dropped me off near the start line. I had to walk my bike up into the park and it was sprinkling rain and very windy as I walked.
As soon as I arrived, the race directors were announcing that the swim was canceled. It felt like being punched in the stomach. I remember this sinking feeling of complete disappointment. I called Rob to let him know and had to fight back tears.
But then I checked out the waves and realized WOW. There is no way this would be safe to swim in.
You can check out a good picture of the crazy waves on my friend Matt's blog HERE (he has a great recap of the race as well!)
Here are two pictures I took in transition:
Getting ready to race
Amazing how many people and bikes!
I got my bike and gear set up and started to wander over to meet Matt. I also met his wonderful wife Jenn who snapped this picture of us (I stole this from Matt's blog!)
I spent a lot of time chatting with the ladies around me while we waited to start the bike portion. Also got to meet Mary from Tri Like Mary too which was great. Seemed like a more relaxed atmosphere as we all waited to start - everyone was very disappointed.
They decided to do a time trial start on the bikes, starting with the pros at 7:15am. They then went in numerical order, so I was finally ready to start at 8am.
I felt good on the bike - the course had a lot of rolling hills and was through mainly farm country and was pretty lonely with not many spectators other than the cops directing traffic. I passed a few people along the way, and then started to get passed by the super fast men who started long after I did. But that's where the names on the bibs came in handy - I could just read those as they went by and it kept me distracted!
I hydrated and ate my peanut butter and honey sandwich every few miles. I was figuring I was going around 19-20mph the whole time and turns out I was right on! I finished the bike in 2:54:41, averaging 19.23mph, a PR for me!
I had no issues getting off the bike this time (thank goodness!) and ran to my spot. My feet were a bit numb but they were fine after a few minutes. Changed into my shoes, visor and headed out on the run!
Time: 2:30 (it was quite a ways from the bike in to the run out!)
My legs were pretty sore heading out on the run. About 1/2 mile in, there was a HUGE hill and there was no way I could make it up. I walked up most of it, as did may of the people around me.
After that, I stopped to use the rest room at the first aid station and felt MUCH better!
I was feeling pretty good and kept on trucking. The run was a bit hilly but overall not too bad. I kept checking my watch and was averaging right around 8:30 pace - I was thrilled considering I felt like I was not going that fast.
I walked through every aid station to ensure I had enough water, Gatorade and my Sharkie chews. My legs were definitely yelling at me but nothing I couldn't power through.
There was one really big hill at mile 5.5 and again on the second loop at mile 10.5 that I was cursing each time. I had to walk up it both times, as did about 80% of those around me! It was nasty. But after that, the rest of the course was downhill or flat.
I got to the last aid station with 1.5 miles to go and checked my time. I knew my half marathon PR time was around 1:54 and I knew if I just kept going, I would be close to it!
The last 1/2 mile was tough - I was fighting a side stitch and my calves kept almost seizing up so I had to walk one more time right before I headed into the finish chute. I was mad I had to walk so close to the end, but I knew I had to so I didn't cramp up and fall over prior to the finish line - that would have sucked.
I picked it up as much as I could and was inspired by the crowd of spectators as I ran in. It was a really cool feeling to see everyone cheering!
I finally spotted Rob and Julia on my left about 50 feet from the finish line. I waved, smiled and told Julia hello as I raised my hands up and cheered "YES!!!" as I crossed the finish line! They announced my name which is always cool to hear.
My legs were shot at this point
So happy to have made it!
Julia was so over tired - poor girl
I checked my watch and originally thought I had gotten my run PR!
1:53:53 (8:41/mile pace)
Turns out I was about 27 seconds shy of it...but hey, that time was done WITHOUT biking 56 miles before! So I'll take it as a moral PR!
I was 32nd in my age group (out of about 92) but I think it's slightly incorrect, as the age group winner's run time was listed at 25 minutes - I don't think you could BIKE 13.1 miles in 25 miles much less run it! But oh well.
I was 810 overall (out of about 2100 participants, although not sure how many of those started/finished)
Considering the crazy fast people in this race, I was very happy with my results!
We headed back home to let Julia sleep in the car and after enjoying a cheeseburger and Diet Coke, I felt good overall - just sore and tired.
I was finally able to get a picture of Julia's shirt that she wore to cheer me on:
Love this girl!
A huge THANK YOU to Rob for being my biggest cheerleader and helping so much during this training. He has been wonderful and incredibly helpful to get me to this point. XOXOXO
And thanks to my dad RON for coaching me through and to my friends and family for encouraging me along the way. It was a crazy 8 months but I'm so glad I did it.
One more triathlon to go this season (tomorrow night).... sad to see it come to an end.
Thank you for reading!