Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Soma Half Ironman

Soma Half Ironman – October 23, 2011

Swim:  42:37 (21/42 AG)
T1:  1:39
Bike:  2:42:21 (3/42 AG)
T2:  1:44
Run:  2:05:23 (13/42 AG)

Total: 5:33:45 (6/42 AG)

I really like this race.  It’s fairly small but really well run.  This is my third time at this race.  Tempe is a great place to spend a weekend.  But it was HOT.  Even the locals said it was hot for late October.  The high temp on race day was 97 degrees.   But, we survived!

This was my 14th half Ironman and it was my A race for the season.  The best part of this race is that it showed me that I’m getting closer and closer to my pre-baby race times.  I was only three minutes off my best half IM time ever.  Best of all, I felt great and had so much fun out there!

Our wave seemed pretty small. I think we had about 85 women starting in my wave.  I had my own space from start to finish.  I felt great.  I decided just to cruise the swim – I knew it would be the coolest part of the day!  I was surprised how slow my swim was.  My watch said 41:xx when I got out.  I did use the wetsuit strippers which resulted in a slightly slower swim (the timing mat was at transition), but a faster transition.  Goal – 40 min swim.  Actual – 42:37.  Oh well.

Super easy since my wetsuit was already off.  Got my bike stuff on and headed out.  1:39

This is a three loop bike course in town with a lot of turns and turnarounds.  On the map, it looks like it would be slow and annoying with all the turns.  But, in reality, they had so many lanes blocked off that the u-turns took up several lanes around medians, etc.  Piece of cake!  I actually like this course.  I’ve been racing with nothing but a simple sports watch.  So, I have no idea how far I’ve gone, how fast I’m going.  I just go by feel.   This course didn’t have mile markers, so I was REALLY flying blind!

I decided to use the first loop to get a feel for the course.  You go back by transition about three times on each loop.  It was great to figure out where my friends were cheering so I could look for them each time.  It was great to have all the spectators going crazy at the “hot corner” every time you went through.    I was able to figure out quickly where I could push the pace and where to conserve a bit. 

In loop two, the wind started to pick up.  So, on the headwind sections, I lightened up the gears and spun a little easier.  On the tailwind sections, I really worked hard.   I had to stop at a porta potty at the turnaround – it was a funny little lonely porta potty in the median that one of the turnarounds basically went around.  Later in that loop, my leg knocked my bike number off (they used these weird little number stickers) and it stuck on my back spokes.  Stopped to pull that off. 

Loop three was uneventful.  Pushed when I felt good, backed off when I didn’t feel good.    Really, there was only one section where I was over it and wanted off the bike.  In general, I really had fun on the bike course.   And, it turned out…it was my fastest half IM bike split!  Goal – 2:45.  Actual – 2:42:21.

T2:  1:44

My last run at this race was awesome.  I felt great the whole way and ran my fastest half IM split ever.  I knew I would not have my fastest run this time, but my goal was to run strong and at least feel good throughout.

It’s a two loop run course.  A different – and better – course than the last time I ran it.  I felt great as I headed out.  It was hot, but I just knew it would be better than Boulder.  I passed quite a few people in the first loop.  I hydrated well at every aid station and did everything I could to stay cool – dumping water and ice everywhere! 

As I headed out on the second loop, I knew this would be the meat of the race.  Things always feel good in a half Ironman run…until about mile eight or nine!  At mile seven, I started to struggle a bit.  That side of the lake seemed a little hotter.  At mile eight a woman running the relay ran up beside me.  I must have looked like I was struggling because she stayed with me for about a mile.  She chatted, asked me questions, told me a few stories.  Got me to the next aid station and headed off.  I was so thankful to have her company for a while.   I tried to stay tough during the tough patch knowing it could turn around.

At mile 10, I started to feel better.  Just a 5k to go.  I can do that!  I also knew at this point that I would make my goal.  Now I wanted to crush it!   I decided to buckle down and run with everything I had left.  

At mile 10.5, my friend Carrie passed me.  She is an awesome runner, so I was glad I was able to hold her off for that long!  It was nice to see her out there right when I needed that little extra boost.  Follow Carrie.  Run hard!

I didn’t see a mile marker for miles 11 or 12, so I just plugged away thinking about how thankful I was for a great, fun race.  Crossed the line and was just thrilled.   Goal – 2:10.  Actual – 2:05:23.  Yea!

Overall Goal 5:40.  Actual – 5:33:45.  Only 3 minutes slower than my best half IM ever.  Even better than the time was the fact that I felt GREAT!  I don’t think I’ve ever felt that good after a half. 

It makes me feel a lot more confident about my 2012 season and my comeback to Ironman.  A big thanks to the TNT crew who raced out there.  They were really tough, especially the first-timers!  Thanks to Brian and my in-laws who stayed home with the girls so I could race.  I couldn’t do any of this without their support.  Thanks to Tori for being our race sherpa and cheerleader!  Thanks to my clients and friends who went down to Tempe to race.  It’s always more fun with a friendly face or two on the course!  It’s time to give my body a break for a few months before getting back at it in 2012!

Thanks for reading!


1 comment:

  1. Nice race Mary!! Congrats! Now definitely enjoy the "off-season" before IMC training!