**Updated with official times at 10:45 am 8/4**Mary's Race 2008 (9:22:19 yep, that is a nine)
Picture: My puffy paint race jersey. Classy? No. The reason I finished? Hell yes!
Quick Review of the Barb's Race 1/2 Iron Distance (Women's only)
If you were looking for the flames of Hell this weekend, they were busy heating Windsor, CA.
I am going to start this report by calling for the head of whatever asshole at weatherchannel.com who said that it was going to be 80-81 yesterday.
Ummm, hey buddy, let's try 98! Yep, 98 f-ing degrees! I don't think a 23% error is acceptable in anyone's profession.
Good news was that it only felt like 112, so ....yeah.
Overall: Great race, highly recommend, will do again, but prepare for heat (see above).
- Raises money for breast cancer research
- Volunteer force comes year after year and the race runs like a well oiled machine.
- Beautiful course (clean, calm, relatively warm water. Challenging, but doable bike course. Pretty vineyard and livestock views. Run course has one real hill, but the rest are rollers)
- Well stoked well supported aid stations on bike and especially run.
- The community is very kind and supportive of race.
- No cut offs for bike and run since there is a full iron distance at same time
- Can be hot!
- Long stretches of no shade cover on bike and run. Wear sunblock!
- A stretch of run course (about 1 mile) from high school to first aid station where the running space for two-way traffic is REALLY narrow.
- Point to point course, two different transition areas. This may be a pro to some, but I am not a fan.
Swim (1.2 miles, 54:29 min.)
Picture: RBR girls, pre-race ham shot
As always, I was worried about the swim. This was my longest and fastest open water swim ever. Yay me! Water temperature was 74. I wore my wetsuit (full suit) I was concerned about being too hot, but I was comfortable for the entire swim.
It was a deep water start (start in the water where you can not touch the ground), which was a first for me as well. It was an out and back. My plan was to keep my face in the water other than brief sighting and breathing pattern of 1 stroke, breathe, 2 strokes, breathe. I find that counting strokes like this helps me calm down and just swim instead of constantly thinking about wanting to be done. It must have worked because I swam it in ~53 minutes (2:30/100 yd) which my fastest race swim. Go me!
When I got out of the swim I was surprised by wetsuit strippers. WAY COOL! It was almost a little disconcerting how quickly they ripped that sucker off, but versus wrestling myself out of the neoprene straight jacket, I thought it was AWESOME!
T1 (8:11, hey I just got over vertigo. Don't judge me!)
I started feeling a little queasy on the swim, but not until the final 500 yards are so. I took my time in T1 (thank you Jane, excellent advice) ate some fig newtons and drank some water. I started to feel better and I was off. My Garmin on my bike was dead when I came out of the water. Rats! I want credit for the race profile I worked hard for it! Picture: Run buddy setting up transition
Bike (56 miles, 4:18:06. Shade break to keep from puking ~3 min)
The bike was absolutely gorgeous and I felt fantastic for 46 miles. Now, I am taking that as a huge win. Really, I was only trained well enough on the bike for a 40 mile ride. I had only one long ride at 56 miles and it didn't go so well. The fact that I was laughing, joking and cheering people on, for 44 miles says that I felt much better than I expected. Chalk Hill wasn't really a laughing, joking moment. It was tough but not impossible. Had it not been 12 billion degrees I would have done it without stopping. I took a shade break about 100 yards from the top (I didn't know I was that close) but I really felt like I might throw up so I took a break. Even though I stopped, I did not walk my bike. I wanted to ride the whole hill and I did. The downhill following it was wonderful.
The last 10 miles were brutal, just plain brutal. No hills, just flat, but I got REALLY hot. I had goosebumps on and off during Chalk Hill Road, but now they were constant. I felt like I was panting even when I was coasting, which I did A LOT at this point. Picture: Random out of place picture to break huge block of text. RBR girls at pre-race meeting.
What I was happiest about on the ride was that for the first time I got my nutrition right. I never got to that dark place where I wanted to throw my bike in a ditch or fell victim to, what I have heard called, Cyclist Tourette's, where I scream obscenities at no one in particular. I ate 4 Fig Newtons (regular, I hate the whole wheat ones), 3 Cliff Shot Blocks, and one Gu in the first 3.5 hours on the ride. I also drank about 2 liters of water. I probably should have drank more, but I used another liter pouring water on myself instead of drinking it to keep from bursting into flames.
When I got into T2 I was hot and cranky. The thought of running 13.1 miles was about as appealing as lighting my hair on fire. I decided to sit in the pitiful shade of one of the trees in transition before heading out on the run. Random observation: Did they plant all of the trees in Windsor last week? Those are the skinniest-ass trees I have ever seen!
Run-ish ( 13.1 mi, 3:47:51. Hey, at least I beat my full marathon time. I wasn't sure I would for a little while out there)
I am actually a little embarrassed to call it a run. I probably only actually ran for about 3-4 miles of the 13.1. After running out of transition, I made it for about a mile before I had to walk. Not a good sign. I ran a marathon 2 months ago. Running is my thing. If I can only make it a mile without walking, I am in trouble for the next 12.1.
Truer words have never been typed. I was seriously in trouble. I took ice, water and coke at the first and second aid stations. I saw my LA run buddy at about 3 miles. She was about 2.5 miles ahead of me and hurting as well. We reluctantly separated and went on our way. After the turnaround I had a brief running stretch of about a mile when there was a long down hill. It was my last continuous run stretch of this length. I was so hot. So, so, so hot. My skin felt like it was on fire. My brain felt like it was on fire. I was heading back in to the transition/finish area and could not imagine heading back out for the last 4.4 mile loop. Mentally, it was very getting dark and thoughts of not being able to finish flooded my brain.
**Cool inspirational moment read this** (I know you are skipping stuff. It is really ok!)
At one point during this dark hour, one of the full iron athletes started walking next to me and asked me who Mary was (from the back of my shirt). I said "She is my friend with breast cancer and why I am doing this race. She died on Wednesday. I have to fucking finish, but I am in trouble." He told me words that turned my run around, "You are moving forward. That is how you finish. You keep moving forward. You will be fine. Mary would be proud."
Yeah, yeah, I cried a little. Big sap. Whatever.
I don't know if it was the coke and ice, iron dude's cute ass as he ran away,... ummm, I mean his inspirational wisdom, but I decided right then I was going to finish no matter what. I had until 11 to finish this fucker and finish it I would, even if I had to walk every last fucking step.
I started cheering and joking around again. I asked the ANGEL (some Windsor resident) at mile 2 that was spraying runners and playing rock music to marry me. I made the photographer retake my picture so I could fake run and gave him a high five as I went past. The volunteers at the aid stations were AMAZING. Let me repeat AMAZING. Fun, friendly, excited, efficient. Just plain AWESOME!
I wasn't running, but I was having fun again. When I came back in to turn around for the final loop I heard "Run Baby Run!" It was Willie!! So exciting! He came out to cheer me on and it was like a shot in the arm I think I ran for about 50 yards that time. Seriously it was WAY cool to see him. I ran off course (shh, don't tell the race officials they make take away my age group award) and gave him a hug then went back out to the surface of the sun to do another 4.4 miles.
I saw LA Run Buddy when I was about 1.5 miles into the second loop and she was about 3 miles into her second loop. She decided to wait for me at the Mile 1 aid station so we could finish together. We had both had a long, tough day and it was very touching that we finished together and is one of the MANY, MANY reasons I love her to death.
I had really wanted to finish in under 8 hours so that I would have made a cut off if there had been one, but when you pretty much walk the entire run that is not going to happen.
I was here to finish. I had to remind myself several times that I was here to finish and I had to get "other people's 1/2 iron distance" times out of my head and run my race. That is what I did and with help of my best friends, my new blogging friends, 1000+ awesome volunteers, citizens of Windsor, and the Barb's race race organizers, I was able to finish my first half iron distance triathlon. Plus I set myself up for a pretty sweet PR on the next 1/2 iron I do.
Thank you all! Your encouragement, inspiration and support are very much appreciated and were instrumental to my finish!
Bloggy friends and heroes coming soon!