I am happy to say I've completed my first half ironman race this past weekend.
The race was held at Caesar Creek State Park about a 3 hour drive from my home. I drove down Saturday afternoon listening to the new Harry Potter book on tape, and not knowing where I would spend the night. I first stopped at the race expo to pick up my race packet and then I drove the bike course in my car. I had a good idea of the terrain because I biked part of the course back in July but this time I was able to follow the freshly marked 28 mile loop course.
I then drove to the nearest Holiday Inn and inquired about a room but when I heard 98 dollars I said, "no thank you" and walked next door to Max & Erma's for a Tuscan Chicken pasta dinner. I enjoyed the meal and then drove across the street to a Budget Inn and got a room for 48 dollars. I think I was the only one from the race that stayed there because I didn't see any other triathletes around. I spent the evening cleaning my bike and oiling the chain. By 7 PM I was snuggled in bed reading Fantastic Voyage for about an hour before my eyes got too heavy to keep open.
For race morning I woke up at 5am to overcast clouds and comfortable temperatures. I ate a banana, a Cliff Bar, and drank a sports bottle of HEED.
The swim consisted of 2 loops in a rectangle formation. I wore my wet suit and enjoyed that little extra buoyancy which I think helped my swim time. I swam steady with some efforts while getting out of the way of some people that were swimming too close to me. I have to say I had a good 1.2 mile swim.
The bike portion was my favorite. We had overcast clouds most of the time. The course was rolling. I found myself passing all kinds of people but no one in my age group. I couldn't have finished the swim ahead of every one in my wave and I knew for sure I wasn't the last one out of the water. It turned out 3 guys did get ahead of me on the bike and the rest were behind. I rode with my bike computer displaying my average speed. My goal pace was to average 20 miles per hour which I was comfortable doing and managed to finish with an average 20.1 mph for 56 miles.
My first 2 miles of the 13.1 mile run I averaged a 6:40 pace and realized after 3 miles I was pushing the pace too hard. The sun was out and I was getting hot. I think around 4 miles my legs felt heavy and stiff as a board which reduced me to lots of walking. I was wondering if I depleted my electrolytes and by mile 6 I took a electrolyte pill and wondered if and when it would ever kick in. By mile 10 my legs felt revived and I was able to run strong the last 3 miles without any walking.
Even though this was my first half ironman triathlon I was happy to complete it in 5:07:06 I know what to expect in the run and I'll remember to take some electrolytes and to not push the pace early in the run.
A link to the race results.