Yesterday was really hard. When other triathletes tell you an Ironman is hard, you hear it, and think yeah, but I’ve done long rides, I’ve done long swims, and I’ve finished a half or two, so how hard could it be? It’s really hard, that’s how hard it can be.
The day started pretty well, cool with calm water and overcast skies. My nerves were not nearly what I expected them to be. The water temperature was low 70s, and felt plenty good in the wetsuit. I was focused on the race so much that I barely noticed the national anthem or the 9/11 memorial. It was my first mass start, and I made sure to be at the back. There’s no doubt that living in the hotel for a month impacted our training immensely, but thankfully it didn’t seem to hurt my actual swim result too much. I hit each buoy pretty much right time for the first loop.
I didn’t sight well on the first loop, but in the second loop I did worse and was swimming left as I tend to when I’m tired. Notice how I said that the lack of training didn’t hurt my swim time much? I got out of the water at 2:09, which was 9 minutes slower than I hoped but still plenty under the cutoff. With all the bad weather and lack of gym time, that was my first 2.4 mile swim. So while I got out of the swim in time, I knew it was going to a while before I was ready to get on the bike so I took my time during transition.
The bike started great. In fact, it started too great, because I did 16 miles in the first hour, which probably was a little too hard but felt fine, in fact it felt easy. The second hour was a little slower, but too badly, and while I was slowing down a little I was still averaging just under the cutoff when around mile 60 I got hit by a hailstorm. It was an overly hot day, but there were these random storm clouds and coming up to one of the tougher hills on the course, the light sprinkle from the cloud became hail. With the pain I was feeling from the hail hitting me, I got out of the saddle to climb, hurrying to get up the hill and that’s when it happened: I felt a sharp pain in my back.
I was able to keep going but over the next few miles, I started having cramps with my legs to the point were around mile 64 my legs completely seized up. My left didn’t want to bend and my right didn’t want to straighten so every time I’d push down with the right leg, my whole body would hurt. I tried to keep going, but I simply couldn’t pedal anymore. Little did I know the broom wagon was behind me as at that point I was the last cyclist on the course. The folks in the broom wagon were surprised I had been able to keep going after the hail, but in the end it wound up doing me in as much as my lack of sufficient training.
I will absolutely say when I attempt this race next year, I will give it the amount of respect it deserves and train to make sure I won’t be hoping for perfect conditions just to finish.
This week, I’m spending time with my family and friends. Golf with my dad will probably be the hardest thing I’ll do this week as Rach is taking the bikes with her, and I’m in no mood to run.
Well, I’m going back next year to get my first 140.6, but for now a shorter race at Rev3 Anderson will have to suffice. I haven’t decided if I’m doing the half or the olympic, but I will be racing in October for sure.