WOO HOO! I completed my biggest race of the season this past Saturday! It was a 1/2 iron distance triathlon - 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and a 13.1 mile run. 70.3 miles in all. We had major weather issues that almost cancelled our swim, but instead just shortened it to about .75 mile. My goal was to finish in 6 hours, and my final time was 5:32:03. Very happy with that! I will outline the gory details below for anyone who wants them!
Swim - as I said, major weather (as in WIND) nearly cancelled the swim. Finally, they decided to let us swim one lap, which was a little more than half the distance due to the swim out/back in. Now, I have practiced in some pretty big waves at Sand Hollow Resevoir, but this swim was SO tough. We had to swim out in a straight-on headwind. Sighting was very hard because every time I looked up, I got a face full of spray off the white caps instead of a look at where I was going! Anyway, finished the swim in 21 mins, 22 secs. Crawling out was one of the hardest parts, but they had people there to help us to the mats!
Bike - Again, the wind was a major factor in this part. We had steady 40 mph winds the whole way. Most of the time, the wind was either head on or coming from the side. The only part of me that has been sore since the race are my shoulders, which I think is from holding the bike up through all that wind! About 40 miles into the bike, the hail started coming down - OUCH is all I have to say about that! Hail turned into rain just as I was headed back into the downtown portion of the course, which meant going very slow on the corners so as not to slip. Finished the bike in 3 hours, 3 mins, and 15 secs. This is about 18 minutes slower than I thought I could do it, but I wasn't expecting to do the flat parts at 11 mph in a headwind!
Run - When I got off the bike, I was frozen to the bone! I was shaking so bad I could barely walk my bike to the transition rack, let alone lift it onto it! I had trouble aiming my feet into my sopping wet shoes that had been sitting out during the rain, and my hands were so numb, I couldn't get the shoes tied right. I ended up having to re-tie both shoes at different times later in the course. I really thought to myself, "I can't believe I'm going to go run a 1/2 marathon after all that!" But, run I did! The weather finally cooperated for the run. We had a few refreshing sprinkles, got to run by a perfectly smooth lake, and the sun even peeked out just before the end. I kept myself entertained on the course by yelling encourgement to all the runners passing by me (there were two out and back sections on the two-loop course). The Southern Utah Triathlon Club had 29 racers in this one, so I knew lots of people and had several friends racing with me. I finished the run in 2 hours, 2 mins, 9 secs. That was better than my first 1/2 marathon, and slower than my recent San Fransisco race, but I felt it was respectable, considering.
The high after this race was unbelievable. I've trained all summer for this race, and the feeling of accomplishment when I crossed that finish line was amazing! I can't wait for my next long course triathlon, which I hope will be in Miami in November! I have to give some MAJOR kudos and thanks to John! He drove me and two other friends, Andrew and James, up there and back, took all the pictures, and popped up on the course at all the intersections. He was there to hand me my sandals out of the water, and encourage me at the end of the run! It was awesome to have him there supporting me!