3 a.m. - Woke up 3:25 a.m. - Mike B. arrived, packed up my car - we were off. 4:50 a.m. - Called Bubba to see where he was on the road. About 5 miles ahead of us. Told him we would do 100 mph and see him shortly. No just kidding. Told him we would meet him at the race site. 5:15 a.m. - Parked the car. Met up with Bubba. This would be the only time I would beat him today. We actually got to the parking area before he did. 5:25 a.m. - Mike registered. We picked up packets and chips. Racked the bikes and started to unpack. 5:45 or 6:00 a.m. - Not sure on the time - managed to take these pics of my tri mates. Don't they look ready to race?! 6:30 a.m. - Still not completely unpacked. Can't seem to focus my thoughts. Hands are shaking and my heavy sighing is starting to make everyone nervous. 6:31 a.m. - Bubba starts asking me what I need set out - "Shoes - these shoes?" "Where's your towel?" "I don't use a towel" I said - "Glasses, number, chip, nutrition?" He straightened out the mess around my bag and put my transition area together - Thank you Bubba. 6:35 a.m. - We headed to the beach for the course talk and warm up swim. 6:50 a.m. - Was thinking out loud about club members heading into Frankfort for the group ride. Was scolded by both my team mates for not staying in the "moment". 6:51 a.m. - Got in the water and swam about 50 yrds. before the "Star Spangled Banner" started to play. Stopped swimming. Listened - sang - wished they played this at all the races. 7:00 a.m. - Started swimming with 399 (guessing on the number) other triathletes. My 1st half Ironman started.
From this point on I'm guessing with the time line. I followed coach's instructions and raced with my heart and not my watch. I can say I'm glad that I did. I loved the entire experience!
7:20 a.m. - Found myself caught in a fishing net. Was wondering why someone would leave a fishing net in the water. Why wasn't this cleaned up before the race? Tried to swim out of it but it wasn't moving. Ok, I'm gonna complain. Then I realized it wasn't a net. DUH! It was seaweed. That's a funny word cause we're swimming in a small lake. But anyway. Finally got it off by stopping and pulling it off and swam on. Fought with the seaweed a couple more times but thought it was pretty cool because I've read about this happening to others and now I can say it happened to me. 7:45 a.m. - Got out of the water. Was hoping I didn't look like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Got to transition and saw Mike. He asked about Bub, told him not to worry, he wished me luck and then left. 7:50 a.m. - Got my bike out of transition and realized I forgot my Camelback. Oh well, I'll have to manage. 8:05 a.m. - Was worrying about Bubba. The mother in me does that. 8:06 a.m. - There goes Bubba. Looking strong and smiling as usual. 8:07 a.m. - Rode my bike. It felt good. The weather was perfect. A little wind. Not enough to make the ride difficult but enough to feel it when my back to was to it. 9:10 a.m. - Took my second Gel on the bike. Washed it down with the water bottle that was just handed to me - and I didn't stop, it was just handed off to me - that's a big deal for me - an even bigger deal, I put the bottle in the cage without stopping or losing my balance. Hey, I think I'm becoming a cyclist. Noticed a red shirt about a block ahead of me. (Coach, it was a real block, I'm not jazzing the distance up like when we rode the course a month ago.) Ok, I told myself "You're not racing but keep your eye on that shirt, use it as a guide." 10:00 a.m. - Reached the turn around. Red shirt is right in front of me. Red shirt doesn't stop for any nutrition. I let red shirt go. Get some water and go. Red shirt has disappeared. I'm a little disappointed but felt stopping for water was very important. My stop was only seconds - then I was off. I did ride slow and take another Gel (#3) and a couple of bites from my MoJo bar. I kept looking for red shirt. Ugh! Ok, just ride your ride I told myself. Things were feeling really good. I was surprised by how good I felt. 10:30 a.m. - Saw red shirt. She was about 2 blocks ahead! 10:45 a.m. - Red shirt was about a block and a half in front. The hills were getting to her. Unfortunately they started to wear me down too. 11:00 a.m. - Back to transition. Well, got off my bike just before transition and used the pap. Didn't want to put any extra time on my bike but wasn't sure how the timing mat would register my chip going in with my bike, then going out to use the pap then going back in to run out. Figured I put an extra minute and a half on my bike time. Yes, that long, no matter how bad I had to pee, that's how long it takes me. Ask my mom she can tell you. Eventually I hope to learn to pee on the bike. That sounds pretty crass. But a very valuable thing to learn when riding distances. :) 11:04 a.m. - I can't believe this happened but I cross my heart it did - I'm jogging to rack my bike and a young girl, dressed in tri clothes came running up to me, yelling, "I love your kickstand! Where did you get it?" I thought she was just being cruel and realized she was serious! I asked her where she lived and then told her where I got mine. Life never ceases to amaze me. 11:05 a.m. - Off and running. Hey, the legs are feeling good. The bike fit was worth every penny. :)
From here on out I'll use miles for time
1.5 miles - Took a gel #4. Was holding it while I passed the photo guy and realized I was squeezing it while running. I squeezed it all over me, my leg, arm, face and chest. The kind of thing you want frozen in time - ugh! 2 miles - Stopped for nutrition. Oranges!!! Beautiful, juicy oranges. I'll take one. ooh, I'll take another one. Then I saw it, my favorite drink. Probably the best use of caffeine ever (I'm not a coffee drinker). COCA COLA. It wasn't icy cold but there it was. I heard of athletes using it and feeling good after having it. So I downed it. It tasted good:) Drank some water and off I went. 2.10 miles - I see Mike. He was having trouble with his stomach absorbing what he had taken in. I felt bad for him. Really bad. I wanted to stop but kept hearing Bubba tell me to stop for no one, not even if they are crying, don't stop. Mike told me he would be ok. I moved on. 3.5 miles - Saw Bubba! I saw Bubba. No way. I have to try to catch him. I have to try. Called out to him. He looked at me and saw it in my eyes, even with my glasses on. The race was on. I can't believe I was feeling this way. Bubba is by far one of the nicest people on the planet and here I was ready to track him down. 5.5 miles - See Bubba again - put my hand out and we high five. I think I closed the gap a little. Now, I'm failing to mention that up until this point the course is rolling hills. I don't write that off the cuff either. They are literally rolling one after another. Then, they stopped because the hills started. 6.5 miles - I came out of the beautifully wooded park with the paved trail and there in front of me was the Mt. Everest. (on a much smaller IL scale but daunting at this point of the race) No shade trees and not a cloud in the sky to cover that X@#! sun. The hill twisted and went up and then twisted and went up. What kind of masochistic race director does this to a person?!? Well, I guess he thought he was being kind because at the top of the hill was an aid station. And, at that station was red shirt! She was walking. I fueled up. Little Coke, little orange, little water. I was off to get her and to find Bubba. 8 miles - Fatigue was catching up with me. Or maybe it was the poor nutrition choices I had made. My stomach was starting to sour. Yuck. Never felt this before. Was starting to regret drinking the Coke and eating the oranges. The 2 acids were playing havoc with my belly. But red shirt was just in front of me. 9 miles - Race volunteer yells out the mile marker is just ahead. I'm feeling the effects of the entire day now. But it's not going to defeat me. I decide to walk. This is a huge decision for me. The last time I walked was 2000 Chicago Marathon. I was way under trained for that race and swore I would never walk again. I know that deciding to walk today tho was different. This was a learning race for me. If I wanted to finish and finish even close to my goal I had to walk now, or I would pass out 1/4 mile up the road. 10 miles - Was running again and turned down another out and back area. I knew I was going to see Bubba and didn't want to. He had won. Ugh! I put my head down and watched the street ahead of me. Was looking at feet. Looked up and there he was. Smiling like always - I know he knew what I was thinking. He yelled something about the hills up ahead - I gave him a thumbs up. The next time I would see him would be the finish line. Was met by some more crazy hills and then headed back to finish the last 2 miles. The Last 2 Miles - I stopped and walked 2 more times. Red shirt was walking too. She was still in front of me. The last time I stopped she broke away. This was not a day for me to race, it was day for me to learn. Believe it or not I took comfort in that thought. I told myself not to be disappointed if I didn't reach my time goal. I had learned a lot today. I gave each part of the race the attention I needed and had fun. It was a training day disguised in a race. The Finish Line - There is was. People were cheering . I was smiling. I turned the corner and looked at the clock. I couldn't believe it. It just flipped to 6 hours. I would finish the race in 6 hours 41 seconds. My goal was 6 hours 3 minutes. My smile got bigger. I finished my 1st 1/2 Ironman. Ahhh, life is good. :)