The race started at noon, which was odd. I woke up, ate a peanut butter waffle and had some coffee. Then I sat around for a couple of hours. Brian drove me to drop off my T2 bag (there were 2 transition areas), then took me to T1 to set up my bike and get ready for the swim.
Both transition areas were "clean", which means you had to keep all your stuff in a bag. One of the many things that were new to me.
|T2-All our run stuff had to be in a bag|
I got all my bike stuff in my bag, put all my morning clothes in a bag, and headed down to the swim. I waited until the last possible moment to put on my wetsuit. It was somewhere around 80 degrees at the start. A full wetsuit in 80 degree weather is no fun.
I borrowed Erika's wetsuit for the swim. I only have a sleeveless one, and I figured full sleeves would be good in 60 degree water. "They" say you should never try something new on race day. "They" are right. I was so happy to get in the water after baking in the sun for an hour. That changed as soon as I put my toe in the water. 60 degree water is COLD!! I forced myself to go underwater to get used to it. I was having trouble controlling my breathing. I could feel myself panicking. I got myself under control in time to see a boat bring in a swimmer who was shivering. This was not what I wanted to see.
Finally they let us go out to the swim start. I hung out with 60 of my closest friends, getting kick and being pulled by the tide (It's a reservoir. Not really sure there was a tide, but I was getting dragged by something.) We were all bunched around the buoy and I was getting claustrophobic. I remembered Erika said to move away from the buoy at the start, so I moved.
Then the horn went off. All 60 of us started swimming. Even away from the pack, it was rough. I was kicked and pushed around. I'm certain I kicked my share of people too. Once I got some space, I noticed my sleeves were filling with water. I started freaking out. I kept swimming, but I was freaking out. What if my wetsuit is filling with water? What if I drowned? Can I stay afloat with a wetsuit full of water? What if they have to pull me out of the water? I can't have my race end after 5 minutes!!!
I finally calmed down and decided since it was just my arms, I'd be ok. I guess this is why "they" say not to try something new on race day.
This was the hardest swim I've ever done in a race. The water was like a washing machine. Every time I took a breath, I got a face full of water. I was constantly struggling to stay on course. I'm not sure how far a swam, but it was way more than 1.2 miles.
I have one word for T1....wetsuit strippers. AMAZING! Once my wetsuit was off, I headed to my bike. My T1 time was horrible. I felt sick after the swim, so I took it slow. I also had all my bike stuff in a bag, so I had to dig through to get everything. Then I had to put my swim stuff back in the bag. Anything left out wouldn't make it to the finish.
Here's where things got ugly. I was expecting it to be hot. I was expecting some hills. I was not expecting the wind. It was 54 miles of a headwind or crosswind. There were 2 miles of no wind. At one point, I was pedaling downhill, against the wind, and I was going 15 mph. DOWNHILL! It was crazy. And the crosswinds were scary. A couple of times I thought I was going to get blown off my bike.
I should go back a bit. At T1, this is what my bars looked like.
This was where a lot of my calories were going to come from. Now, they were a melty mess. I left them in my bike bag. Around 400 calories I would not have.
Back to the bike. Did I mention it was windy? It was. I kept telling myself I could make up time on the way back. I there was a headwind going out, there had to be a tailwind coming back, right? Nope.
Around mile 15 I saw my cousin, Wes, and his family. That was such a nice surprise. It really lifted my spirit.
I finally made it to the turn around at mile 25 and was feeling good about things. I started passing people. It was awesome. I was pumped for the last half. I just knew I would make up time and could still reach my goal. Did I mention my goal time? I wanted to be around 3 hours. I would have been happy with 3:15. At this point, I was averaging 14.5 mph. That was not going to get me to my goal. But I had plenty of time to make it up. Especially now that there was no wind. Then, after about 10 awesome minutes, the wind picked up. It was so windy, it made funnels in the dust. It looked like tiny tornadoes. THEN.....I got hit by a tumbleweed!! No lie. Three tumbleweeds blew across the road and one hit me! And if that wasn't enough....a yellow jacket hits me in the face. Thank god it didn't sting me.
During this whole ride my nose was running like crazy. Insane amounts of crap coming out of my nose. I kept wiping it, because I can't bring myself to blow a snot rocket. Between rubbing my nose, and the salt and sunburn on my face, I was hurting. Did I mention the heat? It was hot. It might have been 90 in Boise, but wherever we were, it was hotter. There was not a cloud in the sky and there was no shade on the bike.
By mile 40 I was done. I told myself I would finish the bike, but there was no way I was running. I was beat. I had consumed somewhere around 300 calories. I knew this wasn't enough, but it was so hot, I couldn't make myself eat. Plus I was missing my bars...
Once I got off my bike I was still pretty sure I wasn't running. I promised Brian I would be safe, and not push it if the heat was too much. There were a couple of people on the bike course who were getting medical attention because of the heat. It was no joke. I knew I was under-fueled and dehydrated. I had close to 5 bottles of fluid and still didn't have to use the bathroom.
At some point, I decided to keep going. I got my shoes on and headed to the sunscreen people. I was told the run was shady.....
Did I mention the run was going to be shady? It was...for awhile. I felt pretty good when I started. I was so happy to be out of the sun. About a mile in there was a guy laying on the grass getting an IV of fluids. Not really what you want to see. Over the 13.1 miles, I saw at least 5 people on the ground, in various states. It was scary.
I made it to the first water station, around mile 1. I drank water and stuck ice down my shirt. I tried to run to every aid station. It worked at first. Then, somewhere around mile 3 (maybe) the shade was gone. I was back in the baking sun. I did the best I could. WAY more walking than I wanted. I was an emotional and physical mess. I was miserable. I just told myself to get to the next aid station. Whatever it took, just keep moving forward. Once I started my second loop, I was feeling better. I had cooled down and came to grips with the fact that my race was not what I had planned it to be.
I was going to finish, and I was going to make the best of it. I started talking to people. I cheered on the people I passed. I talked to the volunteers. I thanked everyone who cheered for me. I stopped to help people. I made the best of it.
I have to say the finish of this race is awesome. The streets were lined with people cheering. I was so emotional. It is really hard to run and breathe and hold back tears. I managed to keep the tears away until I crossed the finish line.
I saw Brian, the kids, and some friends, after I crossed the finish line. I burst into tears. I was so happy to see them. So happy I finished.
This was not the race I wanted it to be. I was disappointed for awhile. I felt pretty sick the rest of the day and the following day. I was seriously dehydrated. After everything I drank, I still didn't pee for over 8 hours. I was sunburned and I'm not sure I've ever had lips so chapped.
I had hoped to finish in 6:30 (secretly, I wanted to be closer to 6 hours). My official time was 7:16:08. I'm ok with it now. Things happen. I learned a lot from this race. I made mistakes that I hope to avoid in future races.