I wasn’t entirely sure what to think when I finished this race. Some things went well. Some things could have been a bit better. I was by myself, just a minute or two after finishing with my head in my hands, waiting for my brain to unscramble. I’m sure I had written parts of my race report in my head during the race, but I couldn’t remember how it went. Will I be happy when I tell someone how my race went or go right into sharing regrets? When my brain cleared enough to lift my head up, I knew exactly how I felt. Grateful.
*I felt Grateful to be in Florida having just raced an Ironman distance race.
*Grateful to have the physical ability to complete one of these.
*Grateful to have a family that supports me and allows me to do this.
*Grateful to have friends who share in this sort of lifestyle and push and support each other.
*Grateful to experience the comradery of strangers who share a single common goal on race day.
*Grateful that my hobby is healthy, social, inspiring and challenging.
*Grateful that despite moving my family cross country from Boulder to Charlotte 10 weeks earlier, I was able to scramble and find new swim, bike and run options and patch together enough work to show up prepared.
*Grateful that I chose to sign up for this race on Wednesday and set out on the 8.5 hour drive the next day to come down solo and do this race after my Ironman North Carolina race fell through.
*Grateful that when I get I got a flat tire, I’ve grown enough to know that being angry, complaining or posting on Facebook doesn’t solve problems, actions do and I was able to fix it and get on with my life with hardly a complaint.
*And perhaps most of all, grateful that in the little gray thing between my ears there is something that makes me want to challenge myself by doing hard things, just to see how I will respond.
And at that moment I wasn’t worried about how I did. I just felt grateful to have had the opportunity to once again challenge myself just to see how’d I respond.
In pictures where I have them (and drawings where I don’t) this is how it went.
I had a great swim! Other than burping up the big time array of things I decided to eat race morning (from memory – water, orange juice, beet juice, coffee, Ensure, Perform, sports gel, bagel, banana, peanut butter, coconut water, Power Bar, pretzels). I was long and strong and lead the entirety of the 3 loop swim and was first out of the water.
The bike course was 3 loops, each of which contained 4-5 nasty little buggers of a climb. My plan was to go easy on the first loop and then even or negative split the remaining loops, which I did. The is the biggest climb of all, Sugerloaf tops out at about a 14% grade. The young lady behind me was having a bit more of a struggle with the grade. Other than having the wrong gearing (I brought the setup configured for a pancake flat Ironman in North Carolina) and the flat, it all went well and by feel was as good as any ironman distance ride I’ve had.
At mile 100 I had a scare when descending at about 30 miles an hour I hit a pothole. My front aero bottle spray my glasses with water so I briefly couldn’t see. Both of my water bottles flew out and my front carbon fire wheel made a loud CRACK as it hit the hole. It was a brief scary moment. I didn’t die, but I did get a flat tire for my trouble.
I got in from the bike in 6th place. I felt very good at the start and ran between 8:xx and 9:xx miles through mile 20, then some miles began to tip over 10 mins. I never walked except for the aid stations and avoided crashing and burning at any point which is a an improvement over recent IM runs. This is the only run I can recall where I felt like I actually could have run faster when I was done, which for someone who doesn’t have a ton of a confidence on the run, was a big win.
I finished with a 4:08 run and an 11:17 finishing time and 11th place overall (first AG). It was a little slower than I expected, but it was a complete race and the first one in a while where I felt strong enough to compete over the entire day. People have overcome more, but I was happy that I managed the cross country move and the very last minute switch of race venues to arrive at that very spot.