so vineman 70.3 was my second go at the half ironman distance. last year i finished vineman 70.3 in 5hrs 11 minutes. i had planned to take on the 5hr barrier at honu 70.3 this year, but unable to run, i don't count that as my second half ironman. because it was really 2/3 of a half (which is one-third for you mathematicians).
i knew i could be running by vineman 70.3, but i failed to consider what my running shape would be like heading into the race. i figured that running is the thing i am best at so it would be fine...in the 12 weeks leading up to the race, coming off injury, i had run 1 hard 10k in a race, 2 one-hour runs, and a smattering of runs 30 minutes or less. but i was sure i could fake a half marathon. or at least run as well as i did last year on that course (1:33) as i didn't feel like i pushed my limists in 2008 and ran comfortable.
my main race goal for 2009 was to have improved bike and swim times from last year, maintain on the run, and with all that combined, hopefully break 5 hours.
here's how it went:
the swim- 1.2 miles 31:xx minutes
i had a poor swim at San Diego International just a few weeks ago, so i promised myself to totally go for it on the swim and not just sit in in my comfort zone. during my pre-race swim in the river, i think i finally discovered how to hold/pull water in my wetsuit (which i somehow could not figure out) and i tried to remember that feeling and mimic it in the race swim. my zoot zenith felt awesome and definintely gave me some speed.
my wave start. thanks for the pictures, tawnee!
as the gun went off, i put my head down and went hard for the first 50meters. when i finally came up for air, i saw a small pack a few yards ahead of me and went for it to catch them. i also needed to shake off the girls swimming directly to my right and left that kept swatting me. the vineman swim is quite claustrophobic becuase it is in a narrow river channel that doesn't give a group much chance to spread out. i pushed hard throughout the swim and felt good. the swim felt long, so it was nice to pop up at the turnaround buoy for a quick look around before diving back on the feet i was chasing. the water is less than 2ft deep for much of the swim so your fingertips practically graze the bottom. overall, the swim was warm and crowded, but i really pushed myself and swam about 2 minutes faster than last year. not sure exactly becuase they lumped our swim and T1 times together this year, so swim plus T1 was 33:30. but, i glanced at my watch when i came out and it was 31something. a PR for me!
T1: T1 was pretty solid. i think about 2 minutes. my wetsuit came off much easier this time, as i used PAM cooking spray all over my legs. i've heard that PAM can disintegrate or corrode the wetsuit rubber, but i've also heard it really works. i tried it for the first time and i'm a big fan. i figure if i only use it in races, not for training swims, the suit should remain intact. we shall see! i had a long run to the bike out, and was please i had remembered to put it in the easiest geal for the steep hill out of T1 where i saw lots of people walking or slow speed crashing. i spun up the hill and was on to the course.
i stayed in my aero bars for 90% of the ride (a definite first) and rode 11 minutes faster than last year. this was a big win for me. i made a saddle change about a month ago (LOVE the new ISM racing saddle) that has made all the difference. i was never in aero before becuase i could NOT sit on my saddle for more than 5 minutes. i didn't realize that wasn't normal. the saddle changed my life.
i settled into the ride, reminding myself to push and focus and not try to chat up everyone that came my way. i focused on drinking and went over my nutrition plan in my head. my plan on the bike was 2 bottles of Hammer Perpetuem-orange vanilla (one scoop each, so a total of 260 calories) and one Hammer Espresso gel (90 cal) plus one additional bottle of water. my bike total for calories was planned around 350. well, plan out the window as i reached around for the gel right around 2 hrs and it wasn't there! i did NOT want to take gatorade as it has made me sloshy and barfy in the past. i rolled through the last aid station and tried to call for a gel, but they had no gel. the last guy in the line threw me a mini peanut butter powerbar and i grabbed it SCORE! i yelled to him that i loved him and he made my day! the last hour of the ride, i ate my tasty bar and drank a bottle of water. back on track!
during the whole ride, i did get passed by about 5 women on the bike, but i passed a few myself too. one girl passed me and i kept with her (legally) for almost 20 miles, switching places at times...she eventually dropped me, but at least i didn't just sit in and watch her go by. the last 5 miles seemed to take forever, and i was happy to get off my bike. i thought i was ready to run!
heading into dismount in T2....not blowing it!
T2: i was in and out. my zoot's slipped on easily and i threw on my visor to block some of the 100 degree blazing sunshine. my only mistake was that i had a baggie full of crap that i needed to sort through once i was on the run.
run: out of T2, i realized i had 1:35 to break 5 hours. DONE! i could totally do that. last year's 1:33 on that course wasn't even that hard, i was chatting, making new friends and having way too much fun, so i knew i could just plow through and reach my goal. counting chickens, counting chickens.
well, this is where the magic DIDN'T happen. first, the baggie. the baggie had 3 clif blocks (margarita! 2x the sodium is great for a HOT day) one powergel caffe latte, a packet of suncreen and various assorted white pills. the white pills included salt tabs, tylenol cold, and caffeine pills. they were all different sizes, but being delirious as i was, i couldn't tell them apart. soooo...i popped one pill (caffeine maybe?) and just tossed the rest! that baggie was a ball of stress and i just wanted to unload it. i also thew away the powergel, figuring that if the pill i popped was caffeine, i definitely did not want anymore. but, i kept the shot blocks and began to eat them the first couple miles. i noticed my run legs didn't show up for the party, but thought they'd come around after a mile or two. WRONG! chris berg, a breakaway teammate showed up and i tried to run with him for a bit, but was eventually dropped on the big uphill. i ran and jogged alone. my legs had NO juice. i just could feel the complete lack of running fitness taking over my body. my quads ached like nothing ever before and clearly my body wasn't used to this. but, the hip was a total non-issue. all better. i wanted to walk, i wanted to stop, i wanted to quit, i wanted to cry. the run was not fun and nothing short of a disaster. i kept moving, but at an uncomfortably slow pace for me. and i didn't really care i just wanted to see the finish line and lie down. the second half of the run, i tried some coke to revive me, but no luck. a few girls even ran by me. i've only once been passed once the run before this (by that huge swimmer girl who out sprinted me at imperial beach last year), so i was bummed.
during the last few miles, i started to laugh at myself for acutally thinking that i could just go out and run a half marathon around 1:30-1:35 without training. guess that run showed me!!! i eneded up running 1:39 and crossed the finish at 5:04. not what i had envisioned, but i was happy to have improved big time on my swim and bike. i took 13 minutes off the swim/bike combined from last year and can still see room for getting better.
i ended up 9th in my AG and 27th female out of 769. i didn't reach my sub-5 goal, but i think i have another race in store for that before the season is over. a spot to Clearwater (the 70.3 World Championships) rolled down to me, but that's not in the cards this year. just too much going on at the end of the year (like our wedding!) and that race isn't one i'm dying to do.
so anyway, i stumbled across the finish and james was there to catch me. he told me later i was "pretty out of it". he was pretty much the best race sherpa ever (always) so i made sure we hit lots of breweries pre and post race to keep my sherpa happy. i wish he loved me as much as he loves beer. kidding.