Saturday, August 13, 2011

Troika Half Ironman Race Report

When I finished Boise 70.3 in 2010 at 6:02:25 I made a goal for 2011 to do a half Ironman in under 6 hours. My other 2011 goal was to go under 4 hours for a marathon but I broke my tailbone 6 weeks before my planned race (Windermere) and was just glad to still be able to finish it. So my goal for Troika was pretty important to me.

My last Troika swim in 2009 was around 42 minutes. My Boise swim was also 42 minutes. My swim at this year's troika was 53:34. Not only was the course long but the turn buoy came unmoored and floated out as I was approaching it!!!??? It was very weird and frustrating to look up at the bright orange globe that I’d been sighting off for a couple hundred yards and have it suddenly disappear as I reached it. It was being towed back in by a kayak!

T1 went quite smoothly and it was reassuring to see several Team Blazers get out of the water at the same time as me. I did drop my chain as I was mounting my bike however and I may have said a naughty word in front of some spectators, not a very good reflection on my team colors.

The bike was great. I had prepared a bottle of concentrated Heed and marked out levels so that I knew how much I needed to take in per hour on the bike. With water in my aero bottle that I refilled at the aid stations and one gel that I took about 30 minutes in, it was just about perfect for the 56 miles of a half Ironman distance race. Except that the bike turned out to be 60 miles. I still liked it. My average at Boise was 18.54mph and this year it was 20.33mph so definitely some improvement.

The run was hard but steady. I put ice in my hat and jersey from the first aid station because I knew how hot it was going to get. Each little cup of coldness seemed to give me a tiny burst of energy. It was encouraging to see everyone out there cheering and to have coach Scott come up and give me a mental push. Kind words make a huge difference at that point. I tried to pick it up as I ran into the park but I kept looking down at my watch and seeing that even though it felt faster my pace was still holding about the same. One girl in my age group had passed me at the beginning of the run and I could see her walking up ahead at the place where the trail splits before CI Shenanigans. I passed her and kept thinking she was going to run me down again but mostly I could see I was so close to my time goal...if I could just go a little bit faster...I turned onto the bridge and could hear the cheering and the announcer saying my name and then I saw the clock said 6:05:17 In my head I'm thinking “minus3minutes for the women's start =6:02.” :( David was there at the finish line and the caught me. The first thing I said was "I didn't make it" and started crying. He and Tristin and everyone from Team Blaze were so nice and kept saying lovely things and reminding me about the longer course. I felt better quickly, I really appreciated feeling part of the team and everyone being so supportive. Thanks Team Blaze! When I felt like I could go over and check my times (I still had to know if I had made my secondary goal of beating David's bike time ;) ). I saw that I was second in my age group. That definitely boosted my spirits!

I have two more Triathlons this season: Priest Lake at the end of August and Titanium Man one week later. Both are Olympic distance so a harder effort over a shorter time. I can’t wait! J

Thank you Suzanne Smail and Donna Melville for the photos.

No comments: