Monday, July 30, 2012

The short version - Race results for Calgary 70.3

Yesterday was a great day!  I will end the suspense, and announce that I have now completed my first half ironman.  The swim was solid, and on the bike I just had so much fun.  The run was tough, but I got through it.

After the race I commented to a friend that it really hurt at the end.  She just looked at me with a puzzled expression and asked if I expected it not to.  Thinking about it, I somehow hadn't really realized it would.  I expected it to be hard, but not necessarily hurt that much.  Not sure what I was thinking.

The quick results are as follows:

Swim: 49:00
T1: 4:42
Bike: 3:37:18
T2: 4:25
Run: 2:33:58

When it comes to race execution, there are some things that I am completely happy about, and other things that I'll learn from.  There's not a single thing that I would change (okay, I wouldn't get lost in T2, but in my defense, with it being a point to point race, I never got to see T2 beforehand).  For my first half iron distance race, it was a great day!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Race tomorrow!

The training is done.  The taper is done.  Now it's time for bed and to wake up and race the longest distance I've done yet.


Have fun
Stay calm
Pace well
Don't let things that are out of my control get to me
Make cut off times and finish

If you are interested in tracking me on course, it should be possible with  I am bib number 529.  There is also an iphone app, though I have no idea how well it works.

If you're going to be on the course, expect me to be near the back of the pack.  I am going off in the newbie wave, which goes last at 7:45, and my times will mean I'm one of the later finishers.  I am really looking forward to seeing some of the people I know will be out there, mostly on the run course.  I'm sure I'll need the boost by that time!

Although I don't have time goals (other then making the cutoffs), if I were to guess, I'd estimate my times will be in the area of:

Swim: 51 minutes
T1: 5 minutes
Bike 3:45
T2: 3 minutes
Run: 2:30

I'll let you do the math if you're going to be out there.  All of those times could change anyways, so doesn't mean much!  Above all, I'll be crossing that finish line by 3:45!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Taper madness

I've actually done surprisingly well with taper madness.  I haven't been going too crazy and I've been keeping things somewhat together.  Yesterday, I misplaced my garmin, but rather then panicking too much, went for a run with my husband's (aka, my old one).  Fortunately, while I am a loser of objects, my husband is the finder in our relationship, and he located it for me.  My knee and ankle were niggling at me, but I've attributed it to me just being crazy.  Still eating well, not randomly losing my temper or having nightly meltdowns, so I think I'm doing okay.

2. Weather obsession

I know very well that I am not the only one that starts checking race day weather as soon as it appears in the 14 day weather trend.  Then, once it's in the 7 day forecast, game on.  Now that I am 3 days away from race day (holy crap, three days?  THREE DAYS?!), the weather forecast might actually mean something.

Current forecast: Sunny with a high of 25c (77f).  A little warm (I know any of you from the southern states or Hawaii will laugh at that statement).  Runnable warm though, and thankfully, no current call for rain.  I don't care if rains on the run, but really hoping it doesn't on the swim or bike.

3. A new name?

My sister and brother-in-law are currently here (from China, so awesome to see them.)  They raised the fact that calling Sunday's race a "Half Ironman" is misleading.  It's like saying it's half of something, or isn't very significant.  And while a half ironman is indeed half of something, it's still pretty impressive distances, in it's own right, and takes longer then a marathon.

Their suggestion?  The IronDwarf.  Admittedly smaller then an Ironman, but still a worthy opponent.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Ready or not...

About 1 year ago, I joined up with a group from Triathlete Within for an open water swim and a ride along part of the Calgary 70.3 course.  Unlike most of the people in the group, I was not actually doing the 70.3.  I was doing the Banff Olympic distance race, another race that usually has extremely cold water.

The swim went well that day.  So far, I've found that, despite the initial shock, I do fine in cold water.  I kept up with the group, some were faster, some slower.  Then we did the bike ride.  I felt great through the first half of the ride.  At the halfway point, we were stopped at our "aid station" and when the group found out I wasn't doing the race, they pointed out that there was still time to sign up for it.  I could still do it.

Then, we did the rest of the bike.

With a distance of about 65km (40mi), it was 20km (12.4mi) longer then the longest ride I'd done at that time.  As luck would have it, we also had the joy of doing the last 15 or so km into a brutal headwind.  It sucked.  It was probably one of the hardest times I've ever had on the bike.  My shoulders ached, my back and neck were going numb, I hurt all over.  Multiple times, I considered calling Jill (the coach) on her phone, and asking her to come pick me up.  In the end, I got through it, but it taught me two things:

1. I needed a proper bike fit.

2. I was not ready to do a half ironman.

I got a proper fit done soon after that, and not being ready for a half ironman was fine.  I wasn't doing one - yet.

Two days ago, I joined up with the group again, some of the same people, some different.  This time, I was more in the back of the pack on the swim, but it isn't that I've gotten slower, rather that different people were there.  It felt good.

When I got on the bike, I was feeling strong and confident.  Rather then having done a longest ride of 45km (28mi) going into it, my longest ride was 110km (68mi).  Going up the hills, I knew to gear down and spin (last year, I specifically remember mashing up the hills in a higher gear.)  The crosswinds were nasty, but I was able to maintain control and keep going, at a high enough average speed to do well on race day.  Going up Cochrane hill (one of the bigger climbs on the course, past the halfway point) was work, but I didn't feel like my legs were fried like I have at times in the past.

When I got to the point I was turning around, I knew something more clearly then I have at any other point in this training cycle.

I am ready to do a half ironman.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Back in Business, kind of.

So, things are starting to get better.  Yesterday I went for a brick (don't worry, it was part of the plan).  The bike felt good, and the run felt surprisingly natural.  I didn't even have the normal adjustment period getting off the bike.  Usually it takes close to 10 minutes to feel good.  This time, things were clicking almost right away and the run felt good.

Then I went for an evening swim.  And, my body hated it.  It was a super clunky swim, which is not surprising (I almost always feel clunky, at first, when I've missed any swim training).  What concerned me is that I had a really hard time with the endurance.  I hope it's just that I am still congested.  Even though I did fine on the bike and run, breathing on the swim is different.

So, I'm back on plan - taper plan now.  I still have some sort of long workouts this weekend (though not long in comparison to the last few weekends) and then my training volume is going down down down...  I mean, seriously?  Who does a 45 minute bike ride?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Excuses versus reasons

When it comes to training, there are lots of opportunities to make excuses to skip.  Sick, too tired, ran out of time, needed to do something else...  Blah, blah, blah.

And then there's reasons.  Sick, injured, legitimate last minute commitment...

You probably noticed that I put "sick" in both categories.

It's a tricky one.  Not every illness is something you need to halt training for.  Quite frankly, with two young children, if I stopped training for every tickle in my throat, I would barely train.  In my experience, sometimes training actually makes me feel better when I'm sick, even though it's harder to get started.


This time, I've been fighting a cold for the last week and a half.  I got my long ride in on the weekend, and then delayed my long run to Monday.  (I have the kids in half-day daycamp this week, so have a three hour block I can make use of.)  Then, I remembered I had an appointment on Monday, so the long run would have to be pushed another day.

What I did do on Monday was a short, easy run.  And I felt horrible afterwards.

Usually, when I have a cold, a run makes everything feel better.  It's like it clears out my system.  This time though, it left me wheezy, rattly, and feeling like crap.  It's like I just can't clear my lungs.

So, with a week and a half to race day, I am ditching my final long run.  I might do it tomorrow.  If I can't though, I think I need to let it go.  I'm supposed to be tapering now, and I can only push that long workout so far into my taper before it does more harm then good.

So, excuse or reason?  This time, I'd put it firmly in the reason category.

Now, just for the heck of it, I leave you with a picture of Scary Bunny, a craft my husband did with Sweetpea this weekend.

If he doesn't scare you into skipping the excuses, I don't know what will.

Saturday, July 14, 2012


I'll start off by saying, I am an absolute believer in wearing helmets, young and old.  I think it's especially important to teach children to wear them, both by having them wear it, and role modelling by wearing one yourself.

Having said that, I have an excellent ability to see both sides of a situation.  Even though, I disagree with the logic, I can somewhat understand the reasoning behind not wearing a helmet.  Perhaps it's too hot?  Too expensive?  Not cool enough?  You just don't think you'll ever fall, and therefore it's not necessary?

In places without helmet laws, this is still the choice of the individual.  I might disagree with the reasons, but I can at least understand where the thought is coming from.

What I don't get is why people bother to wear a helmet with the chin strap undone?  This is something I noticed while running on the paths yesterday.  There were numerous inline skaters, and a couple cyclists doing this.

Okay, so you have everything that might be considered a downside of wearing a helmet, but with the chin strap undone, none of the upside - such as saving you from brain injury or death.

Why?  This, I just don't get.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Update time!

My blogging has been horrible lately, my apologies!

I'm nearing the end of this training cycle, and it hasn't lacked challenges.  I've been sick multiple times.  Repeated problems with my bike...  

The biggest challenge has been in my head though.  At times, this whole thing has seemed incredibly overwhelming, and after being thrown out of the game by uncontrollable elements, I found it really hard to get back into the right head space.  A few times I've teetered on the edge of what I consider my shut down mode.  It's the place I go when I feel like I just can't deal.  Where I give up and stop trying.  It lets me avoid failure.  And success.

The good news is, I've teetered, but not jumped, nor fallen.  I'm in this game.  As my training volume is reaching a peak, my body and my mind are meeting the challenge.  This past week has been hot, and it's increased my confidence in my ability to run and bike in those conditions, which may or may not be present on race day.

My nutrition on the bike has improved.  In training, I'm now getting in enough, without weighing myself down or giving myself issues on the run.  When race day comes, I just need to remind myself to keep eating.  I tend to forget in races, and the half distance will be far less forgiving of that lapse then my previous races.

My run is feeling solid.  It is one of the first times I haven't overdone the run distance going into a race.  My final long run will be 20km (12.4mi).  In contrast, my final long run before my Olympic triathlon last year was only a couple km shorter.  It's a lesson in trusting my training.

My swim is feeling a bit clunky.  I feel like I'm swimming really slow.  I also need to get back into the open water, which I haven't been in since my Oly race in June.

I've got the kids enrolled in half day daycamps the first three weeks of July and it's been great.  I can get my training in without feeling guilty about taking away family time.  The kids love the daycamps, so that's good too.  Perhaps it's a bit of a taste of the year my daughter will go to kindergarten and I will train for a full Ironman.

So mentally, I'm now almost there.  I'm still afraid.  There's things I wish I had done, like lose another 20 pounds, or been more diligent in core work.  There's no changing my physical state at this point in the game though.  Now, what I need to do is get through my final long bike and run, and get my head where it needs to be.

Because in just over 2 weeks, I'll be crossing the finish line of my first half ironman.

Monday, July 9, 2012

I'm afraid

It's now less then three weeks till race day and I am in minor freak out mode.  This is a big race for me.  A half ironman?  Am I crazy?  When I set out on this triathlon journey, I only had a goal of doing a triathlon, any triathlon, probably a try-a-tri, or maybe a sprint.

Part of the fear is real, and valid.  It's one thing to go into a race with a goal "to finish", but when that race has cut off times, you automatically have a time goal if you want to finish.  And quite honestly, I am afraid of those cut off times.

The swim: I'm not too afraid of the swim cut off, but I really have no idea how fast I am in open water.  I've done two Olympic distance races (1500 metres), with times of 37:42 and 43:09.  Ironically, the longer time was the race that I think I swam better and faster in.  Even so, adding another 400 metres on, I should still be good to finish in 1:10.  Should.  I'm kind of hoping I can finish quicker then that so that I can be out of transition and onto the bike within an hour.

Because what I am afraid of  is the bike cut off.

5 hours from the start of the race.  So, if I manage to get on the bike within an hour, that gives me about 4 hours on the bike.  And I'm just not very fast.  Yesterday I rode about 100 kilometers.  I accidentally stopped my garmin at one point, so only recorded 96.  96 km, which took me 4 hours and 10 minutes.  The bike on the race course is 95km, and if I go that speed, I might not make it.

Close.  Very close.

Now granted, I did run 19 km the day before.  I've also been hit with yet another cold.  It was also a bloody hot day out.  At the very least, I can avoid doing a long run the day before my race.  No guarantees about what viruses my children will give me or what the weather will be like.

So, I should be able to make the bike cut off.  Should.

But I'm afraid.

I'm afraid because I know it will be close.  And, I know that a flat tire or a strong headwind on the point to point course could be my undoing.

I'm afraid.

I'm going to do it anyways.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Chinook Olympic distance triathlon, race report

(Note, this race was actually three weeks ago, but I wrote most of the report the week after, so I'm not changing places where it refers to it as a few days ago, etc.)

Saturday, I did my second Olympic distance triathlon, and as I mentioned pre-race day, it was actually my longest race to date, since the bike was 2 km longer then my last one.  Seems likely the swim was also longer, since I always suspected the swim at Banff was short.  So, moving up in the distances.  Now, I only need to double it in a month and a half.  No biggie, right?

Race morning

Race morning went pretty smoothly.  Early wake up, breakfast, drive to the start.  I saw Leana in the parking lot, the first of many familiar faces during the day.  One thing that I really like about triathlon is it really feels like a community.  Before you know it, you start recognizing people at races and everybody is a friend of a friend.

Then it was time to set up transition.  Like most people, I prefer to be near the bike exit, even more so since I switched to speedplay pedals, with their less walkable cleats.  I got pretty close and set up next to somebody that was using a huge beach towel for their transition space.  Their bike was on the other side of the towel though, so I figured I was still good, and had lots of room.

After that point, I still had some time to kill.  I used the washroom, got body marked, talked to people, watched the start of the half iron distance.  Keith was racing in the half and it was good to see him again.  We've been blogging buddies a long time, but only recently met off the web.

Then I watched the half iron racers start off.  Even though I knew quite a few people in the race, it's not like you can actually make them out once the swim begins.  Even so, it is pretty cool to watch.

Time to put my wetsuit on.  I've always done it myself, but I decided to take advantage of the Tri-It people who were there at the race.  With their garden gloves, they were able to get my wetsuit on and adjusted better then I ever have myself.  I don't think my wetsuit fits me as well as it should, but donning it properly certainly makes a difference.  Right after it was all nicely pulled up and adjusted I remembered that I had meant to make another bathroom trip.  No help for it though.  I didn't have to go that badly (yet), so I would either find a time to go during the race, or get through it without.

After that, I found a quiet place to sit down and visualize the race.  First I visualized everything happening perfectly.  Then I visualized all the possible barriers I could face and saw myself getting through them.  A rough swim, surrounded by the mob, getting jostled, hit and my head pushed under the water.  I visualized the ride with my biggest fear, mechanical break down.  I'm not even that worried about a flat, since I know I can change it reasonably quickly, but I'd only got one (very short) test ride in since getting it back from the shop.  I visualized my chain getting stuck and my front derailleur breaking again.  I visualized dealing with it.  Riding the rest of the very hilly ride stuck in the large chain ring.  I visualized myself being wiped on the run and pushing through regardless.  I reaffirmed my goal of not letting the uncontrollable get to me.  If something unexpected happened, there was no point in stewing over it.  I was going to just have to deal.

For the first time in a race, I looked out at the water and the buoys and my thought was: that doesn't seem so far.

After that, I got in the water to warm up.  "Warm up" might be a bit of an exaggeration, since the water was pretty cold.  "Get used to the cold" would be a better way of putting it.  Regardless, I got in, got out, and decided to wear my neoprene cap after all.  After fetching it, I went back in and swam for a bit.  Mostly back and forth, keeping an eye out for other swimmers.

Then it was time to head over to start line.  I was right next to Tara and Lisa, two triathletes I know from the pool.  I briefly considered trying to draft one of them, but they are both enough faster then me that I figured I would quickly lose them and just burn myself out by trying to hang on.  I was determined to hang with the crowd, rather then swimming super wide and solo, but I was just going to go in and see whose feet I could find.

The swim

Prior to this race, I'd done two other races with open water swims.  The first one, I'd panicked in the swim.  The second one, I kept my wits about me, but did so by swimming extremely wide and away from almost everyone.  This time, my strategy was to draft when convenient.  I tried to seed myself reasonably well, and although I got passed, I also did some passing, so I was happy with where I was.

Then it was time to start.  The first people ran and dove in the water. I followed the crowd, and as I approached the water, I ran until I was around knee deep, and then started swimming.

I have to say, open water swim races scare me and take me completely out of my comfort zone.  I'm realizing that I like to be scared and taken out of my comfort zone.

I wouldn't say the swim start was rough, but it wasn't calm either.  I was completely surrounded by other swimmers, but I managed to keep my wits about me.  Initially, I tried to sight a couple of times, and couldn't see anything.  I just followed the bubbles and the crowd for a bit.  I ended up next to and slightly behind somebody and drafted off their hip for a bit, but they suddenly switched to breaststroke, so I was on my own.  I drafted on and off, but didn't stay on the same person consistently.  I need to get faster.  It seems like most of the people around my speed regularly switch to breaststroke or swim really crooked (of course, I could certainly fit into the crooked category...)
Okay, so technically, this is the swim start from the half iron, but I can assure you it looks the same...
There were a couple of times I almost inhaled water or got jostled, and one of the things I'm happiest about is my ability to just keep going.  It didn't phase me, and it certainly didn't throw me into a panic.  After all, sometimes I swallow water at the pool too, so no reason to panic.

Before I knew it, I had finished the first lap and was onto my second.  For this race, you have to get out of the water, run a short bit and jump back in.  After doing that, I found myself slightly winded, but got back into my rhythm really quickly.

I definitely still need to work on my ability to swim straight, as well as my sighting technique.  I wore my garmin 910xt for this race.  I don't necessarily believe it's completely accurate, but at the same time, it showed me going pretty wide on the first lap, and crooked on the inside on the second lap.  Straighter lines would be good.  It also indicated that I swam 1800 metres, rather then the 1500 I should have.  It could be the garmin was a bit off.  It could be that the course was a bit long.  It could be that my sighting really was that bad and I swam that crooked.  Likely it's a combination of the three.

You can see the route my garmin recorded here.  I think the zigzag ish lines are probably  fairly accurate, since I know I swam crooked.  However, I passed almost right by the buoys both times, so it's not 100%, given the corners seem to be in different places.
The second lap was similar to the first, although with less drafting.  I was swimming around other people most of the time, but I found the people I was swimming around unpredictable and not always safe to draft.

Then I was just about to the shore.  I swam until my hands hit the bottom, and then I took a couple more strokes.  Then, I was up and out of the water.

Swim time: 43:09 - I wasn't thrilled with my time, but I was happy with how the swim went.  I didn't shy away from the crowd, nor did I panic.  Having said that, reflecting on it, I think I could have pushed myself harder on the swim.  I believe I'm getting a handle on dealing with it mentally, so it's time to push it physically a little more.


Out of the water, and I headed straight for the wetsuit strippers.  It's rare for an Oly distance race to have strippers, but since there was a half iron race at the same time, us Oly triathletes get the benefit from them as well.  They got my wetsuit off way faster then I would, I took it and headed for my spot.

Let the records show that I am a big wimp with sissy delicate feet.  When we headed out to the pavement, I found it really hard to run in my bare feet.  There might not have been any gravel, but the asphalt hurt my feet.  I ended up walking most of the way to my transition spot.

Once there, I tossed my cap and goggles down, socks and shoes on.  I remembered the gloves this time, although they aren't that easy to pull on wet hands.  They do make enough of a comfort difference for me that I will definitely wear them for my half ironman.  Sunglasses, helmet, bike, and go!

Unofficial T1 time: 4:17 (my garmin timed swim was a bit longer then on my chip, so the unofficial numbers won't add up completely.)


The bike starts off with a short ride through the community and then you're on to the highway.  They had the intersections really well controlled.

Now, as I mentioned earlier this week, I've had some mechanical difficulties with my bike.   I was going into this ride only having ridden my bike for about 20 minutes since getting it back from the bike shop.  I was paranoid every time I shifted.

As it turned out, my bike operated perfectly.  The shifting was perfect and crisp.  Huge relief, although I stayed careful the entire ride.

This course is described as hilly, and it is, but I wouldn't call anything a killer hill.  It's more rolling.  It's the kind of riding I'm used to and enjoy.  It might not lead to as good a time as a flatter route, but way more interesting.  The great part about it is the amazing view you get of the rocky mountains on the way out, made better by the fact that it comes in and out of view, so it's like a reward for when you crest a hill.

I am of the opinion that I don't usually push as hard on the bike as I could.  This race, I did a pretty good job of changing that.  On the way out, I passed more then I got passed, but on the way back, there were some of the half iron people coming back, so there was more passing by them.

There was one woman that was going around the same pace as me, so we leap frogged repeatedly through the bike.  I noticed she was pretty blatantly drafting whenever she was in front of me and there was somebody in front of her, so whenever I passed her, I put enough effort in to make it a fast pass, and held on to open up a space between us.

I had to pee during the bike, but I also knew I needed to hydrate.  It's hard to make yourself drink when you need to pee, and I was only partly successful, taking in about 3/4 of a bottle of sports drink.  I also took in less fuel then I planned, having only one stroop waffle during the bike.  Part of my problem was that I don't really like taking my hands off the handlebars to get my water bottles.  I'm much better at it then I was a year ago, but I'm going to have to improve it a lot more.  The low fueling didn't hurt me too much during this race, but the half iron distance is going to be less forgiving.

When we were getting close to the finish line, drafty girl passed me again, going faster, and I let her go.  She had a "T" on her calf, which meant she was part of a relay team.  Much easier to go into the bike finish blazing if you don't have a run after.

As I got to the dismount line, I easily got off my bike.  I no longer come in paranoid I'm going to tip over on my bike.  Of course, that kind of overconfidence means I'm probably due for a clipless pedal fall-over, but no point being waiting for it.

Bike time (including both transitions): 1:30:17
Unofficial bike only time: 1:24:45


When I got to my transition spot, I noticed that beach towel transition person had parked their bike on the other side of their beach towel, leaving no room for my bike.  It probably took me a good thirty seconds just to get my bike into the spot, since I was trying to do it without touching either of the bikes next to me, and also being nice to my bike.  I wasn't going to jam in in there.  Saving time in transition isn't worth damaging my bike.  In retrospect, I should have just slid beach towel person's bike over a few inches.  I know you're not supposed to touch other people's bikes, but you're also not supposed to use three spots worth in transition.

Even though I'm bitching about it now, during the race, I remained calm while trying to make space for my bike.  I didn't even have to remind myself not to let it get to me, which is a good development.  I'm finally learning to just take things as they come and let the uncontrollable factors go.

As I was putting my bike in, I got to see Grant Burwash, the winner of the half iron race come in.  He was blazing fast, even after a long race.  Totally worth the few seconds I took to watch him finish.

Helmet off, hat on.  Gloves off.  Totally worth the extra 30 seconds I spent on the gloves between the two transitions.  Change shoes.  Actually had my yankz on them this time around, so no wasting time tying them.  Run out of transition while turning my number belt around.

Unofficial T2 time: 1:45


Going into the run, I was feeling a bit low.  I knew I was probably a dehydrated as well as a bit low on fuel.  Having said that, I figured I had enough left in the tank, given that I only had 10 km left to run.  It's amazing how your perception changes as you continue to train and hit new milestones.  A couple years ago, I never thought I could use "10 km run" and "only" in the same sentence.

I figured I'd give it a bit of time before taking a gel, since I wanted to make sure my stomach was happy.

The run started off on pathways and past kids soccer games.  Then it went down into fish creek park.  It was a pretty steep downhill, and I found it a bit jarring.  I need to work a bit more on leg turnover when it comes to downhills.

I had to pee!  I had considered it in transition, but at the time it didn't seem so bad.  I hadn't been able to do it in my wetsuit or on the bike, so there was no way I'd be able to do it while running.  Luck was with me, because as we reached a fork in the path, I saw a guy in front of me go into a building rather then following the route.  Washrooms!

I was quick.  It probably cost me about 30 seconds, but not having to hold my bladder for the rest of the run would easily save 30 seconds.  Lesson learned: go before donning wetsuit!

Once I was back on the pathway, I was feeling better.  I decided to take a gel before the next aid station, where I could wash it down with water.  I reached into the back pocket of my tri top to get it, and it wasn't there!  I was quite sure I had put it there in the morning, so it must have fallen out at some point when I took something in or out of that pocket.

Alright, I only had 35ish minutes left to run, and that close to the end of the race, wanting the gel was more mental then physical.  There hadn't been any gels at the first aid station, and that was also the next one (the paths ran parallel to each other with the aid station in between).  So, no gel.  I'd just drink heed, rather then water and I'd be fine.

Somewhere in there, I did something that I've never intentionally done during a race.  I changed my garmin to a screen that showed my heart rate, but not my pace.  I was having trouble maintaining a consistent pace, and decided that I needed to focus more on maintaining a consistent effort.  While in fish creek, there were no hills, but it was a lot of gradual slopes up and down, so a consistent pace wasn't very realistic.  For the most part, I kept my heart rate between 155 and 160, on the high side for me, but an effort I was confident I could maintain for the rest of the run.

No hills, did I say?  Only while in fish creek.  After the last aid station, there was a big hill to get out of fish creek.  I'd been considering how to approach the hill since I ran past it, going the other way, a couple kilometers ago.

It was similar in length and steepness to a hill I often deal with in training.  I could run it like I would in training, but I wouldn't actually be able to run it much faster then I could walk it, and I would pay for it afterwards.  Or, I could walk it.  I don't like to walk during races, but I don't beat myself up about it anymore either.  Mentally, I deal with it best if I make the choice to walk rather then feeling like I need to.

So, I walked up the hill.  I took it at a good pace (for a walk), and even walking, my heart rate spiked up.  Having said that, when I finished the hill, I was able to resume running.  There was only about 1.5 km left, so it was time to bring it home.

My legs were tired.  It wasn't just exhaustion, but my legs actually felt heavy, like my muscles had shriveled up or something. (I realize that's not actually possible, but I can't figure out how else to describe it.)

This is where the head comes in.

My legs might not have had that much in them, but my head had plenty.  Ultimately, it is the head that makes the decision, and the decision I made with my head was to keep moving my legs.  I reminded myself that if I gave up at that point, it would hurt a lot more later then the temporary hurt I was experiencing at that moment.

And with that, I finished off the race with a strong run into the finish line.

This is a picture Leana's husband got of me.  I don't know if it was leaving transition or going in to the finish line.

Run time: 1:02:03

Total time: 3:15:28


One of the few complaints I have at the finish line of races is that they always want to collect your chip or timing strip right away.  Now, I get that they can't let you walk away, but I find it really hard to be expected to stand completely still within seconds of finishing the race.  I paced a little circle in the small finishing area, and then I gave up my chip.

Then it was time to collect my finisher's shirt and cowboy hat, which they were doing instead of medals this year.  I thought it was a neat idea, and given the collection of medals I have already, it's nice to have something different, although the hat wasn't really for me.  It was quickly claimed by Spud and Sweetpea when I got home.

I was wiped after the race, and hungry.  My fueling was low during the race.  I figure I took in, at most, 200 calories of sports drink and 150 calories of food (one stroop waffle).  So, 350 calories over three hours of racing.  In this race, the only place I might have paid for the low fueling was towards the end of the run.  However, it's something I need to get a handle on, and quick, because the half ironman distance is going to be a lot less forgiving if I only take in 100 calories per hour.

After getting some food, I went to collect my bike and gear from transition to take it back to my car.  I had planned to go back, but once I was at my car, I just didn't have it in me.  I headed home, grabbing some more food on the way.