On September 25, 2011 at 3:31pm I crossed a finish line.... not only did I cross a finish line but I let out a guttural yell, began crying and hugged my boyfriend longer than comfortably allowable in such a sweaty state. It was the day of my first half Ironman or as some prefer 70-dot-3. The following is my story:
A week before the race I knew losing the 20 pounds to get me to peak race weight was impossible unless I got liposuction or dropped a toddler sized deuce, an uncomfortable thought. Despite standing on a self induced weight plateau I felt that my body was ready for the race ahead. So I tapered properly, packed up, checked my list (only once, Santa must be OCD) and got on the road towards Augusta, Georgia.
We had about 40 triathlete friends who were in Augusta for this event so from the second I arrived I became highly over stimulated. My own neurotic thoughts about random things like whether I picked the right socks (in a weird turn of events this was in fact an important decision) mixed with the infectious energy of surrounding people created "what the f*ck cat":
|He thinks my race belt's sexy. It really turns him on.|
Arriving at the swim start my anxiety doubled, possibly tripled...I'm not sure but I know I needed to pee again to calm down. I had made the decision to go sans wetsuit the day before and I was second guessing myself seeing so many waves suit up. My coach must've seen this because I was pulled aside right before my 8:52am start, given a pep talk and what was really needed, a hug (lame I know, but deep down I'm just a big vagina). The swim was massively quick and I felt like I'd barely exerted energy at all when I ran onto the platform 27 minutes later. I saw my friend Danielle 5 feet ahead of me and knew I needed to stay with her if I wanted to stay on track, she was my rabbit.
|Total: 1.2 mi. (27:56)||1:28/100m|
|Saddle up...I'm heading to the Carolinas|
After 3:53 in T1 I had already lost site of thumper... I started my Garmin and began watching my time closely, it was up to me. I had planned my nutrition meticulously and knew taking in enough fuel was half the battle of this distance. Too much and I was gonna throw up, too little and I was going to be the little engine that couldn't.... and then as if right on cue, I dropped all of my salt tablets. Not even 3 miles out the door and my meticulous plan might as well have been written in crayon. I decided I was going to get as much salt from performance drinks as I could. I chugged one, then did my first ever aid station bike grab - I spoke to the guy in slow motion figuring it'd be a little more entertaining, "thaaaaaank youuuuuu". He chuckled out of pity I think. My drink plan plus intaking sports beans or a waffle every 30 minutes kept me not only energized but let me launch ahead of two of my tri bike team mates in the last 10 miles of cycling.
|Total: 56 mi. (3:09:33)||17.73 mph|
T2 lasted a total of 2:23 - socks, shoes, hat and I'm out and right on schedule. If I can just pull a 2 hour & 30 minute half marathon I can make it around 6 hours, CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! I do not have a fond love for running, not even a mild crush but what I had energy, still, somehow. I ran till the second aid station where I treated it like the open bar at an ex's wedding... 1 water, 1 sport drink, 1 coke, 1 cookie and a cup of ice. Back to running. At mile 5 the shit hit the proverbial fan and flung it around like a monkey on spring break. The foot problems I'd had in the past just resurfaced with spectacular timing... I knew there was only one answer, the shoes had to come off. How the hell was I gonna make it through another 8 miles of rain drenched, rock paved roads in my soaking wet thin gray socks?!?! It didn't matter how, I'd already gone 62 miles, I had to finish even if it was as my alter ego "Barefoot Chuck". Each step got more painful, more blister prone, more ankle wrenching, but I was close. With only a mile left I saw my coach for the second time that day. Standing in the middle of the road he said "if you have to drop your shoes, drop em"... what I heard was "GO"! The shoes hit the ground and I took off. Mom, dad, sweet sweaty boyfriend - I'm coming, I'm coming for my bling!!!!!!!!!! And I did...
|Total: 13.1 mi (2:55:41)||13:24/mi|
|Overall Finishing Time 6:39:26|
I was not hungry or thirsty after passing the line, all I wanted was someone to fix my feet. I hobbled to the massage tent where a nice lady looked at my them and responded "ohhh dear no, you need ummm, not a massage, a salt bath, maybe?" As the day went on my feet callused over but the hunger didn't set in until the next morning where I demolished 3 plates of breakfast foods....
The next morning also brought a soreness I'd never known before. I couldn't laugh because it made my ass hurt, I couldn't walk faster than an 80 year old and I was chaffed in parts of my body I didn't know were chafe-able. After the dust settled and the muscles loosened up all I'm left with is my race goodies, the pictures, the memories, the bragging rights and the task of setting new goals. I think that's a pretty sweet trade off really.