Monday, July 29, 2013

Racine Half-Ironman, Ironman 70.3 race report.

 Note to self. Sometimes the triathlon with the fewest photos is the most successful.  This is it, friends, nothing but a parting shot as I drove out of town after the race on Sunday, July 21st.  The legendarily hot race wasn't as awfully hot as usual, but we were served up a treacherous swim.  The chop on Lake Michigan was as powerful as I have ever experienced, in training or racing.  I stood around for hours with my friends, a few who wondered if they'd bother with the swim at all. 

When it came time to start, at about 7:15, I took a deep breath and reminded myself that if I slowed down and took the swim calmly, I'd have plenty of energy to get me through the remainder of this half ironman.  Once I was in the water, swimming out with another hundred or so women in my age group, I realized that I'd make it alright.  As it turned out, the swim was less crowded and less aggressive than some of the other races I've done.  We were all focused on not swallowing too much water, and holding some sort of a line.  The U-shaped course allowed that we had to swim directly into the waves for quite a while, but I felt assured that there would be a lessening once past the break, which proved true.  Once we were swimming south further away from the shore, the waves were large, but I just rolled with them and forgot about exerting any great effort.  
Coming out of the water, I ran through the painfully long transition area, aware that my fancy schmancy Garmin 910
NOT MY ARM--(stock web image).
had been bumped improperly, so I'd have another failure to record my race and all my whangdoodle stats that should help me one day.  Oh well!  I sighed, played around with the buttons enough to make my transition a little bit longer than it should be, found my bicycle and got myself ready for a flat, fast bike course.  The ride, as anticipated, was flat and fast, although there were two factors that I didn't calculate.  One, there are many ninety degree turns on this course, with kind volunteers steering us through the maze.  What problem, you wonder? It can take the competitor out of their zone, and repeated twenty or so times during a three hour race, it's a little draining.  This, I survived, but for folks who rode the course, when I said, later on in the afternoon, "bang bang." "bang, bang,", they all knew what I meant.  Cracks on road.  These periodic breaks in the pavement are grueling when riding fast and flat and they are literally every 5 meters or so.  Needless to say, after 56 miles, I was happy to get off the bike and use the port-o-let.
My swim, nothing too impressive save for the fact that I finished, was upped by my ride.  I always get a wave of happy feeling if I come back to the transition area and not too many of my cohorts bikes are racked yet.  Today?  I may have been delusional, but they were all out there (a lot of them), still on the bike.
Now on to the run.  As cool as the weather felt, compared to other years at Racine, it was nearing midday and I knew that I had some heat in store.  The temps were somewhere in the low eighties and this is always a challenge four hours into a tough event.  I took some fluids, grabbed my flower hat, and headed out onto the 13.1 mile course.
Not a race day. Clean and tidy front yard.
Now about the run situation.  No matter how I try, and the numbers, technically, don't always bear this fact out, but I say that the race is mine to lose on the run.  I'm a tough enough cyclist, and a just good enough runner, that by the time I get off the bike, with empty racks all around me, that for the remainder of the day I'm watching women come huffing up behind me, passing like they're trying out for the varsity cut of their High School Cross Country team.  So today I had a plan.  Just run.  I may not be in rip-roaring shape this summer, but I've put some miles in, I'm in a reasonably older age group, and hell, I can run for a few hours and not explode.  My fancy schmancy Garmin, by this time, was doing it's job so I knew that my heart wasn't exploding (kept the HR under 150--which is high but hell, it was hot), and I was holding a sub-10:00 pace, which, when it's closer to 9:00 seems like a good thing, when it's over 10:00 I totally resent all of the effortless runners around me, and when it's at about 9:30, I'm thinking, hell, I'm not too shabby!!!!

So I didn't really walk.  OK, maybe through a few aid stations, but not as much as I might.  I held my jog, took a bit of fluid and nutrition, but not too much considering the length of the journey, and enjoyed the company of so many triathletes out there.  When I finished I knew I was solid, but wasn't until later that I learned that my slow swim, steady bike (19.76mph), and solid run (9.36) garnered me an 11th in my age group, which, in a race of this size is top ten percent.  Fabulous result for me.  

So, yay!  And too bad I couldn't grab any of the fantastic photos that I might have gotten if I had been a back seat racer or even spectator this year.  Last year I spectated and adored some of the photos I grabbed.   This year??  A great time with friends, a celebration at the end, and soreness for a few days afterwards.

So many fellow athletes out there, new friends and old.  Jilly, Beth, Charlene, Jack, Jason, Michael, John, Alice, Paul, and more.  Spend enough time in a place and it'll become home.  Spend enough time in a place and you'll grow family.  Spend enough time in a place and you'll fall in love with it.  Our midcentury midwestern old towns?  I love you. 
Shuttered furniture store.  Sold all the fancy stuff back in the day, says an acquaintance.

No comments:

Post a Comment