The swim was nice and warm and despite getting my goggles knocked off it was smooth and steady. I found out the numbness in my hand that I had last week at the Xterra REAL was from bad form...pulling my shoulder out too wide. I got it corrected and had no issues at all. Before I knew it I was running up the carpet into the transition. They go all out for ya!
Do you see the arch at the end of the transition?
It was 2,100+ racers from 30 countries huge!Getting on the bike was going to be all about self discipline and patience. I really went easy at first and I think that it paid off. I felt solid until the very last mile and the run would prove I went out easy...maybe even too easy. Just like Folsom, this race showed me that my bike is spot-on but I need some work on the swim and run. I got to ride with Sean for a bit before he passed me by and as we hit a downhill on the "no passing zone" I got to take in another new experience. It was like a baby bird taking flight...almost instinctively, unplanned and necessary... I was peeing off the bike like a natural. ha ha!! It was efficient, fast and felt great!
Sean also mentioned about how lucky we were for starting in a later swim wave (19th&20th) because we would have a good time passing people the entire time on the bike. I didn't realize how much it helped until I passed about 500 people and that it was only about halfway through the bike. Seriously, it was kind of odd when more than 10 seconds went by and I was not passing someone . . . Not that I was going that fast but I guess you have to expect that at a race with thousands of people...it was pretty cool.
Bikes R Fun!
Time to run! I was scared about the run but I knew I had held back on the bike and felt pretty fresh. I had my pace set on running something I could manage. No sense in killing myself at a distance that is beyond me. The last time I ran 13 miles was the Surf City half marathon. To my surprise I felt great right out of the transition. I kept it slow until the first turn around and then started stepping up the pace on the way back. It felt so good. Something about shifting my hips and balancing, it felt effortless. . .balanced and FAST. I cannot remember enjoying running so much.
As I ran back towards the finish area I was running with a group of three guys and we were moving at a good pace. What I didnt know was that they were on their way to the finish and so was I....yikes! I crossed the finish line as they called out my name and tried to give me a t-shirt. I'M NOT DONE! Where is the turn around?? It was a bit crazy and I was bummed but tried to save as much time as possible. I wanted to keep running so I ran back through transition and made my way back to the turn around... Lesson learned.
As much as it sucked it was actually a moment that made the race for me. I started building expectations throughout the race and after that little mess up I stepped back and decided to really take it all in on the last run out. Seeing Melissa, Josiah, Kirstie, James and Team Wiens out there really lifted my sails! I started thanking every volunteer, reaching for every high five and stopped to stretch with Keevin when I passed him the second time ;-) I got to focus on my running form and enjoy my finish of my first (of many) Half Ironman events. I was stoked!!