Ok. Buffalo Springs – DONE. I still believe that numbers do tell the truth. Here’s the BS 70.3 story.
I opted to wear a borrowed speed suit (thank you KC) because my wetsuit is long sleeve and the water was very warm. While this may have cost me some time on the swim, I didn’t want to get hot in the water. As it turns out I was quite warm in the speed suit. So, I’ll stand by that decision.
Swim start – we lined up on a beach. You couldn’t see the course as the swim start was in a cove. We were to swim out of the cove to the right. Kind of weird to not see the course prior to gettting to the corner and entering the cove. I did get right up front – no one was aggressive, just ready to swim. We were the second to last wave to go – that felt like a lot of waiting. The gun goes off and we start swimming. I am honestly swimming at a sprint for about 400 yards or so ! I look up after rounding the corner to get my bearing and even though I started off the front…there are a LOT of women already ahead of me. Yikes. Little ego check. I caught sight of my first big buoy and kept the hammer down. Rounded that corner and by now I had some room. Prior to that it was crowded but not a lot of bumping, mostly just hands at my feet. That didn’t bother me. It meant at least I wasn’t last! Rounded the second buoy and then found myself nearly on top of a really, really big dude floating, legs bent in the water arms barely moving. I honestly thought about flagging for help b/c I didn’t think he could. Then I remembered I was racing and that was someone else’s job to worry about this guy. But I did worry for a little bit after I decided to pass him. Rounded the last corner and put the hammer down a little more. Stood up and saw my watch. 33:03! Holy wow! My first thought wasn’t that I was ahead of schedule or that I had a great swim despite not having a wetsuit. My first thought was the course must have been short! Ok, the course was 1.2 miles and I had a nice swim! Well, really I do think the course was a tad short…..
On to the bike. My plan on the bike was to hold heart rate around 140 as an average ( my mahr is 139). After my debilitating ride on the computrainer on this course, I was a little nervous about trashing my legs. I went easily up the first and immediate hill out of transition and started to fly down the back side. Then, there was an explosion of water bottles popping out of everyone’s DBAC’s (double barrel ass cans – they hold 2 bottles of water off back of the bike seat). I spent my time going down hill dodging this explosion and trying not to crash. Geez. Nothing much to tell on the bike. I rode, felt good, pushed the hills and enjoyed passing a LOT of people on the bike. Saw Julie twice. Go, Julie, go!! The bike course was beautiful, hilly as heck and a lot of fun. Coming down one of the big hills I did have to duck to miss a guy’s co2 cartridge that got launched off his DBAC. Could have knocked me out. In hindsight, I took it a little too gently on the bike. I really wanted to finish in right at 3:00 and have some legs. According to my Garmin my heart rate average was 137 – a few beats off the plan and therefore a little off the pace I planned to hold and definitely could have held.
Run – I had tried and almost, yes almost succeeded at peeing on the bike. I was so close…yet so far b/c I couldn’t do it. Will keep working on that. Once bike was racked there were port a potties I planned to hit before leaving transition. I looked for a door with green on it – signally available. I opened the door and a guy is sitting there, elbow on knee, head in hand. Come on dude..at least lock the door. Went to the next green door – there’s another dude standing there. I holler, “lock the doors men..please”. Finally an empty port a pottie. I lock the door! Out on the run course and my legs are tired but not too bad. I am now excited that I may have a solid run! As I follow the course, I realize that it is going in a totally different direction than Robert and I had driven..crap..that means I didn’t know what hills I was in for! Oh well, run on. Even in the first few miles with no hills, just tiny little inclines, I couldn’t believe how many people were walking. My plan was to run 9:30 and walk :30. Well, once I saw the hills that didn’t work out so good b/c I felt guilty walking the hills and wanted to run more. Not sure that was wise. All but the top runners were walking the hills. They were long and pretty steep. I kept hydrated and had 2 power gels on the course. Stopped at every water stopped and poured water on, drank water down and grabbed ice and threw it down the front of my shirt. I didn’t feel the heat. I was thrilled about that. I focused on doing a 13 x 1 mile repeats and not running 13. This worked beautifully. Mentally, I was the strongest I have ever been in a half ironman on the run. The hot stretch out on what they call the energy lab wasn’t that hot and didn’t throw me off mentally. I hit the mat at the 1/2 way point and realized that my legs were actually feeling better. I pushed it here with a nice tail wind and slight down hill. Then, back to the hills. Cool, those are over with, now I’m in the park. I begin to push it again..then at mile 12, I found the physical brakes. I was hurting and just couldn’t push the legs. I kept trying, then walked, then ran, they walked… the last 2.1 miles felt longer than the previous 11. The tiny little inclines in the road felt like going up the big hills earlier. But, I just kept pushing as best I could, focusing on relaxed arms, high cadence and trying to find a lean. I’m sure to look at me you wouldn’t guess that’s what I was doing!! I realized that 6:00 is not going to happen..and that’s ok, just keep pushing to that finish line where Robert, the Dixons and the Piels are awaiting my finish.
I cross and my final time is 6:04:13. I am very, very happy.
What I learned:
Put average heart rate on my Garmin screen along with current heart rate to go with the average speed and current speed. Do this for both bike and run. No need to see time on this screen – if i hold the averages the time comes.
Speed suit – read the new Triathlete magazine, make sure I buy one that fits the WTC and USAT requirements and invest in one. They don’t offer buoyancy, but they do help you slide and glide right through that water.
the run – #1 thing to figure out. Three things here: 1. efficiency in form. 2. more miles on the legs – I don’t have much experience running and racing prior to triathlon. 3. improve mental strength and ability/willingness/confidence to hurt on run. I am ok hurting on swim and hurting on bike. Now need to increase the level of discomfort I am comfortable with on the run. I can and will do this. Yes I will. Just wait and see.
KC Triathlon and this race I held back too much on the bike. Ride my bike harder – I can and it’s a strength. Now I have a clearer idea of what too little is like and need to practice and play with what’s too much. Ego wise it has been hard to hold back on the bike!!
Pleased – I am please with my ranking in each sport – 13th, 15th and 18th – historically I am low in the swim, super high on the bike and average on the run. Now, I’m starting to level off – that’s being a TRIathlete. This makes me very happy because the best TRIathletes are good in all the sports.
swim 33:23. pace is 1:35/100 y
Bike 3:02:41. 18.4 mph average
T2 3:22 (had to go potty!)
Run 2:22:33. 10:53 min./mile pace