In December 2010 I had never ridden a road bike, had never really done any open water swimming and I had recently done a 10km race for the first time. I wasn’t really planning to get up at 7 every Saturday for many months at that time but I really enjoyed the first Pro Sports Club Triathlon team workout with great coaches and even greater team members. I read as much as I could find on the internet about Triathlon and saw that there are sprint and olympic races in addition to the crazy long triathlons. I spent the next few months getting used to bricks where you do two or more sports after each other as part of your training session. I quickly learned that I needed a road bike so research started to find something that wouldn’t break the bank … I really failed in my research and bought a fantastic ride called Argon 18 Krypton. I had never ridden a road bike before so this was really exciting and I love the bike and just wish I had ridden it more.
When it was time for the ProClub tri teams first brick training with a couple of hours on the bike and then run 3k made I just laughed and thought – that’s nuts! Fact is I really enjoyed training during the weeks and then when I started doing races in May I was hooked – triathlons are just a whole lot of fun.
Sure, getting up at 5am to go for a long outdoor swim doesn’t sound that fun but you forget all about that when you see the beautiful sunrise over Lake Sammamish or Pine Lake.
My season was supposed to be a few sprints and a couple of olympic distance races which you can read about in other race reports on this blog but in late June I had a chat with coach Cody Novak about ending my season with a Half Ironman and after talking to team mates Alan Faulkner and John Brewer a few weeks ago we all three decided to go for it.
Black Diamond Long Course triathlon in Enumclaw, WA is the last race of the season and I picked up Alan and John at 6am for the drive toward the majestic Mt Rainier and Nolte State park. Transition station is all setup and ready by 745 so time for a quick warm up run and a few trips to the bathroom. The field was just 190 people in total so only 3 waves as we got started on the swim on a very foggy Deep Lake. The starting waves were pretty big and it took me some time to get into a rhythm after being hit, kicked and swam over a few times. Sighting was hard in the fog and as I was quite aggressive going around the buoys I was hit and kicked a few more times before getting out of the water at after 36:23. I am ok with the time for a 1.2 mile swim.
Biking for 56 miles requires a lot of planning to make sure you get the right amount of nutrition to both make it through the bike feeling strong and also fuel up for the half marathon run. This was a great experience for me in that I think I was pretty ok on nutrition, maybe a little low on calories and carbs but plenty of water and electrolyte drink. The bike course didn’t have any big hills but plenty of rollers where you would struggle to keep cadence and speed on a road that looked!!! pretty flat. I felt really strong on the bike and realized after the first 28 miles at 1:25 that I was going too fast and really tried to preserve some energy on the rest of the ride but as strong as I felt I just kept going and finished in 3:03 which is the same pace as I have had in my sprint and olympic races this year.
Big energy boost in transition 2 when I saw Charlotte, Caroline and Sofia cheering me on.
Wow, cant believe how good I’m feeling but then between mile 2 and 3 my quads just told me they were not going to take this anymore. They must have completely missed the salt tablets and hydration I had taken on the bike… Ok, this is going to get tough but I can do 10 minute miles. Mile 4 and I could barely walk and my average pace was now over 10 minutes per mile so I realize I’m not trying to finish these 13 miles in 2.10 to get under 6 hours. I now focus on surviving and and taking it as slow as necessary to prevent getting injured and to be able to finish the race. Limping around with cramps made my run/walk form really messed and my back started to hurt. When I hit 7 miles I started to dream about getting into the water after finishing the race, mile 9 I walked a little with another cramped up 40 year old and we realized we were so happy to not have 9 miles left when we met a few people in pain on their way out. Miles 12 and 13 took me 35 minutes to complete but I did jog across the finish line and what an amazing feeling to cross the line with my girls and a bunch of Pro Club tri team members cheering me on. I did the half marathon in 2:31 but who cares … 70.3 miles / 113km …
I FINISHED THE HALF IRONMAN
Next season training starts next weekend !