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Lonestar 70.3

April 25, 2010.  A pretty spectacular day if you ask me. I’m still a little shocked that I did, but I completed my first Half Ironman.  There was something very profound about crossing the finish line. It had been a mere six months since I had decided to take up the sport of triathlon and, while I know I could have posted a better time, I’m glad that I did what I did in the race.  Without further ado, here is the report!

Swim:

The swim was, as you all know, the part that scared me the most.  Having never really been a swimmer, I was worried that the length of the swim would be too much for me. Fortunately I had two things going for me: (1) it was wetsuit legal; and (2) it was in salt water.  Turns out that there was more to be concerned about, the day before the Olympic and Sprint swim had been cancelled because the water was too choppy.  There were rumors swirling that the swim for the 70.3 would be cancelled as well, but since it was a pro championship race, they let the race go as planned.

The water was choppy the morning of the race, but not too bad. The salt water and the wetsuit gave me comfort, but as I floated there in Galveston Bay waiting the start, the butterflies were doing their dance in my stomach.  When the gun went off and we started, I quickly got in my rhythm and went.  The waves were daunting and there were several points where I felt like I was going nowhere, but I made it through. I didn’t know my time until I came out of the water, but it ended up being about 54 minutes. Not too bad for someone who hadn’t swam for more than six months.

Bike:

The bike was rough. It was 56 miles along the sea wall so there was wind swirling and beating on you the entire time. I remembered cautions about the middle miles of the bike and losing focus, and it happened to me.  I was at mile 23, going along at my planned pace, when I lost focus and went off the road. Fortunately it was grassy and I was able to maintain control of the bike, but it definitely freaked me out and woke me up.

People were talking as we approached the turn (it was 28 miles out and 28 back) saying that we had to get some tail wind soon. There was no way that the wind would be in our face on both legs of the bike. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. The wind on the sea wall was brutal and you had to fight the wind on both sides.  It definitely tired me out, and as I turned into the resort where the race was located, I couldn’t help but think that I should have been more disciplined on my long rides during training.  I think I was only going about 13 mph for the last couple miles.  It was very discouraging.  I pulled in to T2 at about 3:30, significantly slower than I intended on my pre-race plans.

Run:

My legs were incredibly happy to be off the bike, and I felt good. As usual, I went out on the run a little fast.  It felt so nice to be using different muscles again that my first mile was at a 7:30 pace.  I knew this was going to kick me in the butt and needed to slow down. Fortunately, I started running into my teammates from Team in Training about this time and it gave me a chance to slow down and run with friends. This actually became my theme for the race. I wasn’t so worried about time, but I really wanted to enjoy the race and help encourage my teammates.  I would run between the aid stations and walk the aid stations with teammates, and there was one guy who particularly needed some help so I ran walked with him for about 4 miles.  It was blazing hot, and I forgot to put on more sunscreen in T2 and I could feel my shoulders burning. I ran the last two miles strong and finished with a 2:51 on the run.  Not a PR by any stretch, but I finished and I was very happy.

So that was my race. It was hot and I ended up with blisters. It was more challenging than anything I’ve ever done, but nothing like what awaits me in Louisville. I don’t have any other 70.3s awaiting me this year, but I will definitely do one or two next season.

Total Time – 7:30

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