With sore legs and a happy head I can sit down this evening and write about starting and finishing my first half ironman :)
My goal was to break 6 hours, so happy to get it done with 18 minutes of buffer!
The cool thing is I knew I could do it faster. On the swim I did the exact time I was planning, but knew when I got out of the water that I could have gone harder. The start had been delayed by 30 minutes and as I was in the last wave I waited for 45 minutes in a wet wetsuit (still wet from the day before) in 49 degrees (f) – chilly! I think that brought my body temperature way down and took a bit of getting used to.
With only 100 competitors in the half distance the swim start was very mild with no thrashing and bashing. I had a good start and once my body warmed up I got into a good rhythm. Struggled with staying on course though and did a fair amount of zig zagging. Need to focus more on sighting and holding direction.
Swim to bike transition was nicely laid out with a short run from the water up a blue carpet into the bike transition. Unfortunately in my joy of being out of the water I pulled too hard on the wetsuit zip and jammed it. So had to get someone to help unjam me which took a bit of time up. I decided to take my long sleeve biking top with which was a great decision. With the wind blowing, overcast skies and cool temperatures this really saved me and kept me warm.
The bike was probably at my limit from a legs point of view, while my heart rate stayed low my legs took 45 minutes to warm up and feel strong – I think this was from the cold of the swim. I enjoyed the ride though and caught a few people towards the end. Kept my cadence around 90 and worked the gears well. Drank Perpetuem as well as Heed on the ride. After 2 hours I realised this was a mistake as my stomach was acting up and I did not feel good. At that point I stuck to Perpetuem and was able to recover over the next hour. In addition had 2 Hammer gels on the ride. Tried a few Gu Chews but did not love them.
Bike to run transition went pretty seamlessly, although I did find my hands were tired and I struggled to tie my shoe laces - going to get some quick pull laces for next time.
The run was a tale of 3 cities. First 2 miles were tough, legs were not responding! Then they came back and we had a good run to mile 10. Had 3 Hammer Gels and water on the run. They were offering Heed as well but by then I was so done with Heed.... Mile 10 and 11 were tough, I found myself walking for 30 seconds without even knowing it! Think at that stage it was very mental, but legs were sore!! Everything came back in the last mile and did a 9:10 mile feeling good. Was so happy to get to the end.
For the first 4 hours I spent a lot of mental energy figuring out how hard I could push and what the distance that was left would do to me. Having not done this length of racing before I really had no idea what to expect and much of it was all about learning the distance.
I spent the last 30 minutes in a raging argument with myself over whether or not I could double the distance. As I write this tonight though I am full of confidence and optimistic about completing the full race and enjoying the training leading up to it.
A great part of the last 24 hours has been sharing the accomplishment with friends, family, facebookerites and colleagues who wished me well and enjoyed (I think) hearing the results. Henry, my long distance coach and friend, has been full of advice and optimism after hearing my thoughts and analysis of the day. Planting seeds of greater things to come over the next few months :)
So in reflecting I think I could take 5 minutes off the swim and 5 to 10 off the run in the future. Not sure about the bike, but with more training and strength who knows...
My learning’s from the race are:
- I was super calm the night before and in the morning of the race, great positive thoughts came from seeing my brother and nephew, a good taper and knowing I had lots of training in the bag.
- Don’t mix Heed and Perpetuem – too much caloric intake I think. Will do Perpetuem with electrolyte mix on the long rides going forward.
- I suck at wetsuit transition – this time the zip got stuck which took 90 seconds to get unstuck!
- I need to get the quick pull laces for my running shoes – hands don’t work so well after the bike and not easy to tie my laces!
- Stay away from all the competitors before the start – way too much ironman gear being worn….
- Need to do more core work and strength training to help the longer distance endurance
So now its a few days of rest until training picks up again. My first 100 mile road ride is in 2 weeks time. I forsee pain! Its also 100 days to Mont Tremblant!!
Photos from the weekend:
Chazza with my new fancy Aero helmet
Spent Friday night and Saturday morning chilling out with my brother and nephew, I think was a big contributor to keeping nice and relaxed before the race
Lake Absegami - swim location with the blue carpet up to transition
Cervelo and gear all ready for action
Final time, somewhere along the way I lost a mile!
Bud Light never tasted better....