Friday, August 21, 2009

Utah Half Race Report

The Utah Half Triathlon was quite an experience. It was not easy. I wanted to quit a few times. I was almost in tears a number of times. But after I crossed the finish line, having given every ounce I had, it was so worth it.

The morning began early, but calm and cool. But as the morning progressed, the weather turned worse. The temperature dropped and the wind picked up. The cold front was supposed to move through Friday night leaving a cool, but calm morning. But the front decided to move though the morning of the race. As the athletes walked toward the lake, the wind got fiercer and fiercer. The men started to get in the lake and the rest of us shivered on the dock. Luckily, the swim was held in the protected harbor. Views of the actual lake, brought agonizing fear to me. Huge, ocean-sized waves crashed in the main lake, while smaller white caps disrupted the harbor. Race officials postponed the swim as the weather was checked, buoys were replaced after being blown away by the wind, and I shivered from cold and fear with my best friends.

Finally, after about an hour of waiting, race officials decided to start the race between two cold fronts moving through. The swim was cut in half to allow both the men and women time to get through before the second front moved through. The men started and I got in the water. The water was choppy, but not cold. The gun went off and I started toward the giant orange buoy. I was swimming directly into the waves. For every stroke I took, a wave hit me in the face. I panicked. I basically survival swam out to the buoy. I side stroked most of the way to keep my face free from the water. Many swimmers were turning around early, but I was determined to make it. My training buddy, Carol, was tempted to quit, but I encouraged her and we both carried on as best we could. Finally, I made the buoy and began the easier swim back. However, the wind was blowing at an angle and although I was swimming with the waves, I was blown way off course and had to stop to figure out where I was when I thought I should have been done. The finish buoy was no where in sight. I raised my hand to signal a kayaker to help me figure out where to go, but no one saw me, Luckily, I wasn't actually drowning. I followed an island toward the shore until I could see the buoy. I made it out, safely, and one of the very last ones.
Swim-1000m: 28:45 (pathetic, I know)

T1: 2:46
I hustled the quarter mile to the transition area, stripping my wetsuit as I ran. As I entered the transition area to almost no bikes, I was a bit discouraged. Ashley was long gone because she rocked the swim. Carol and I transitioned together. I grabbed a drink, put on my socks and shoes and got on my bike. I grabbed my arm-warmers and some food and put them in my super cute pocket (post on those to come soon). . I got on my bike and started the 56-mile windy trek. The first few miles weren't bad, because I had a tail wind, but when I turned and had a cross-wind or headwind, it was awful. I caught my training buddy Ashley close to the turn around as we tunneled directly into the wind. Luckily, the course was flat, but my legs burned from steadying my bike in the wind. The 28 miles back were all either in to a headwind or cross wind. And when I though it couldn't get any worse, it started to hail, yep hail.

It stung, but I didn't want to stop to put on arm-warmers. The hail stopped and turned to rain. I was soaked through and pretty cold. One advantage was I didn't need to drink much. And the advantage of being almost dead last out of the water, is I got to pass a lot of folks without a single person passing me. By the end of the bike leg I counted that I was in close to 20th place.

Bike-56 miles: 3:00:19

T2: 1:27 (4th fasted female, thank you very much)
I was freezing at the start of the run. I couldn't even get my helmet off because my fingers were numb. I stuck the strap in my mouth and bit the clasp open. I took off my soggy bike shoes and put on soggy running shoes. I felt surprisingly good at the start of the run. I stopped for a potty break and had to wait in line. I figured I lost 2 minutes there, but I had to go.

The run consisted of two loops and a number of little out and backs. I thought I would hate the out and backs, but they weren't too bad, because I could see who was in front of me and if I was gaining anything and if I was losing anything to those behind me. The wind had calmed and there was just light rain. By the third mile, my extremities had warmed and I was feeling great. I was pretty consistent the whole run and felt pretty good. I only had 1 mile over 9 minutes and had one right at 8 to make up for it. The course was spectator friendly and I got to see Tom at least 4 times. That really helped my morale.
The last three miles were hard, but I pushed myself harder and tried not to slow down. When i crossed that finish line, I truly didn't have an ounce of energy left.

Run-13.1 miles: 1:52:48 (8:34 miles)

I ended up in 16th place, 8th in my age-group, with a time 5:26:06

I am so ready to try another one. I am even tempted to do the full-ironman, but realize that is impossible with little James at home. But I am glad I did it. I am a little disappointed with my swim, but now have something to look forward to improving next time. I plan to work on getting my bike faster, but am content. And I am super happy with my run, I couldn't have expected to run any faster, but will still try to do better next time.

I feel like I put the training in, and got a great result. Hard work does pay off and now I get to focus my energy on the St. George Marathon in October.

Here is my good friend and training buddy, Ashley. She looks hot and rocked it!

Here is my other good friend and training buddy, Carol. She is 45 and crazy! She rocked it and will rock the full Ironman in May.

Click here for full results and click here for photos, my number is 65.


Linda said...

That was a great read! The swim sounded grueling, and the bike like a winter storm, and your run was refreshing. Congrats! You asked how Rachel does with kids and training. They both start at 4 in the morning, each taking turns being there for their two boys. On Saturdays they again take their turn at whatever they need to do, bike, run, swim. She goes to his store and spins while the boys are in Nick's office. Gets a little crazy for both of them. A huge sacrifice on everyone's part, including the boys. I wish I were closer so I could help out.

Dansie Family said...

linda, that is so awesome that rachel and nick do that. it is so wonderful to be doing the things you love with your husband and have him so supportive. if only i was more of a morning person. 4 am?! she is dedicated. we take turns on mornings, but not the same one so i only have to get up 6. i hope she does sg im, i will totally be out watching and would love to cheer for her.

hillary said...

You are so amazing! Great job!

anna jo said...

that is amazing. can't wait to do one one day... :)

Jen said...

Hey, at least the shoddy weather made the lighting perfect for your pictures. You look so awesome. You ARE so awesome.

Janelle said...

Wow amazing! I thought that you had signed up for an iron man race. I just don't know how your body can do it, obviously a lot of training and hard work!