Tuesday, June 10, 2014

After 9 years and 2 kids…finally a half Ironman PR!!

Executive Summary:
Swim - 38:49  (1.2 miles)
T1 - 2:45
Bike - 2:49:15  (56 miles)
T2 - 2:00
Run - 1:52:34  (13.1 miles)
Total - 5:25:23

In 2005 I raced the Harvest Moon half Iron distance triathlon in Aurora, CO.   I had a good race and managed a new PR of 5:30.  Then, there was a break to have babies, but there were 5 failed attempts to break 5:30 in the last 9 years.  I came close with a 5:34 and 5:33 at Soma in AZ over the years.   They were pretty good races, just not good enough.

Last year, I was perfectly trained for a new PR at Kansas 70.3  But, bronchitis on race day got in the way of that attempt.  So, it was back to Kansas in 2014 for another try.  This would be number 16 for me - the half Ironman is my favorite distance!  The Kansas course is really well suited to me.  A fairly hilly bike course and a pretty flat run.  I actually love the course and couldn't wait to race it this year!

The weekend started out well - no bronchitis and lots of fun times with all our friends out there.  But, I've had some nagging things going on with my calves.  It started with a pulled muscle in the left calf about 10 days out from the race.  The miracle worker, physical therapist Djimmer Bosman, got me fixed up, but not before the limping around took a toll a bit on the right calf.  By race weekend, both calves were sore and twitchy.  But, not debilitating, so the race was on!!

My swim felt pretty good throughout.  My wave was pretty small, so I had plenty of space.  But, I did have two girls who swam my pace, but were terrible at sighting, so they were often in my way.  All in all, the swim felt good.   I was a little disappointed in my time, but I got what I deserved with the swim training I've put in.

The bike is always fun for me.  I passed a ton of women from the age group ahead of me but passed very few in my age group - or so I thought.  I knew this meant that I had come out of the swim either really far behind or really far ahead - the latter is not likely!  I went into the bike in 23rd place and came off it in 9th.  So, apparently I did pass more women than I thought.  My goal was to hold back in the first 30 miles and then push the pace a bit coming back.  But, putting any pressure on my calves on the hills sent pain through them.  So, I super-easy spun up all the hills - and there are plenty out there.  I love this course - the roads are awesome and it's pretty farm country out there.

The run is where most of the women in my age group pass me back.   I was worried that my right calf would give me trouble so my goal was to go a bit easier on the first loop and see how things would go. I knew starting the run that I would need a 1:57 or better for a new PR.   Wasn't sure if it was in the cards.  I felt amazing for the first 3 miles, which I think are the harder miles in the loop.  Took a quick potty break at the bottom of the big hill and, unlike last year, cruised right up the hill.  I was almost giddy at how much better I felt this year than last year.  At mile 3 last year, I almost dropped out of the race.  This year, I started planning for a new PR.  I didn't want to get too excited though and blow it or have my calf go out on me.  So, I continued to hold back and enjoy the run.  Finished the first loop much faster than I expected.   I decided to try to hold my pace until mile 11.  The big hill was certainly harder on the second loop, but I ran the whole thing and just kept plugging along.    I leap frogged quite a bit with a woman in my age group.  She was clearly a better runner than me, but was having some issues with her hip.  She was really nice, so while we battled a bit for that position, we enjoyed chatting along the way when we were near each other.  I love when that happens on the run.  It makes things go much faster, too.

Got to mile 11 and decided to go for it.   I couldn't believe how quickly the 11 miles had passed.  That NEVER happens for me on the run.  Everything after mile 8 is usually a drag for me, but not this time!  I gave everything I had in the last 2 miles.  I knew I would be close to hitting 5:25 and I really wanted it.  The calf hurt, but not enough to back off.   As I made the turn into the finishing chute, I was passed by a woman in my age group.  I was bummed, but I couldn't go with her.  I found out later that she bumped me out of the top 10 in our age group.  But, I got the new PR - 5:25!  And a new run PR by about 3 minutes.

It's been a long time since I've been excited about a race result.  But, I was thrilled with this one.  And, having so many friends there made it even more special.  I was thrilled to learn that Brian hit a new PR as well, coming in at 5:46.  I'm so proud of him - he did awesome out there this year!

Getting a new PR hurts.  But, it's totally worth it in the end.  I'm excited and proud that I pushed myself to get there.  Congrats to all my friends who finished the race this weekend - some were first-timers, some set new PRs out there, and some participated in some great relay teams.  I'm so proud of all of you - you all inspire me!!  And, thanks to my wonderful in-laws who stayed home with our kids so Brian and I could get out there and do something we love.

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