I swear that Mother Nature doesn't like me. There, I've said it. I'm convinced of it. Or maybe it's just the Toyota Challenge Half Ironman. That race is my arch nemesis. Yet...
I keep signing up for it.
I'm a glutton for punishment, what can I say?
Anyway, the race was Sunday. Tom and I, and my mom and dad rented a cabin in the woods (rustic doesn't begin to describe it... no, it wasn't that bad, although Tom and I did relive our college days and slept in bunk beds - separate ones of course, just like college!!!) It meant we were only 5 minutes from the race start. When we checked in on Saturday, they told me that they didn't have start times yet. Lovely... no freaking clue when I have to be down there! This wasn't looking good already!
Sunday morning we woke to rain. It was cold and rainy, the only thing I haven't raced in. I knew that would happen (better that Mother Nature gets this out of her evil system before the Ironman though!). We get to transition around 7:30. Still no clue what time we're starting. I went to a worker and asked them for start times - her answer, "we don't know yet... you'll probably race sometime between 9:15 and 9:30". I love definite answers! We racked our bikes, covered them in a towel, didn't put any of our stuff out and went to the car. Around 8:15, it had stopped raining so we were able to properly set up our transitions. Around 8:45, they announced that they'd be starting the race soon (again, such definite answers). Tom and I decided to get in the water (because it was warmer than the air). Of course when we got out, we froze. I mean straight up shivering. I'm so not ready for fall. Anyway, we still had about 12 waves until we went. We stood around and talked to my mom and dad, tried to keep warm, etc.
The swim - all of the half girls went together. That's the way it always is. There were only 28 of us. The wind had picked up significantly (although it had stopped raining) so the water was fairly choppy. I felt good through the swim. Had someone on my toes the entire time which made me laugh - if they knew they were drafting off someone so slow, they probably wouldn't have picked me right off the bat. Oh well. I finished in 42:12, including the run to transition. I was happy - I think that was a PR for me. T1 was slow as I decided to put on sleeves which I think might have been my smartest move for the day.
The bike - the course is 3 laps. I've biked the single loop a total of 13 times since I've been a triathlete. I know it like the back of my hand. That's a good thing and a bad thing. :) First lap wasn't bad. Second lap gets a little windier and a little tougher. By the third lap, I wasn't having so much fun anymore. The tail wind was lovely, but the headwind just took everything out of my sails. Plus the course is uber boring - cornfields upon cornfields. That's it! I played cat and mouse with this one guy all day. With about 5 miles left, I passed him. He said "go get 'em big girl". Okay, so I know he meant well, but really? That's the only compliment you could give me as I chicked you? I ended up finishing the bike in 3:06:50.
The run - I knew the run would be slow. The bike had zapped me. My goal... run. Just run. Hell, jog, who am I kidding. I don't know what happened to the days of 1:51 half marathons, but I just wasn't having it. During the first lap I stopped to use the port-o-john. I drank the brown water at the water stations. I talked to my mom and dad. I had a lot of time to think about the Ironman. I thought about the fact that there's no way I could double the distance. The next thought was of how I could double the distance and will (you know what Ironman training can do to your thought process...) The next thing I knew, I was finishing! I ran a 2:08 half which was really slow, but finished in 6:01:55. Good enough for 2nd in my age group! :) Can't complain about that! And Tom kicked ass (as always) and took home 1st in his age group so it was a good day for the Kingerys.
Oh, and a funny thing. After the race I was talking to a group of three ladies in pink TEAM MILTF shirts. They did a relay and I saw them throughout the entire day. One of the girls who I saw on the run says to me "did you do the whole race by yourself?". I kind of laughed and said yes. She asked if this was my first. When I told her no, and that I was actually training for my second Ironman, all three girls squealed and proceeded to call me a Goddess. It was so funny and totally canceled out being called a big girl by the douche bag on the bike.
Thank you ladies... you made my day!