Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Ironman 70.3 Texas Recap ...

Location: Galveston, TX
Date: 4/1/12
Temperature: mid 70's @ start, 80 degrees @ finish
Official Time: 6:39:39
Swim Time: 48:55 (2:31/100m)
T1: 4:21
Bike Time: 3:17:31 (17.01 mph)
T2: 3:07
Run Time: 2:25:45 (11:07 pace)
Place in Age Group (30-34): 73/112
Place in Gender: 414/760
Overall Place: 1699/2670

The Good:

Racing with a Friend: When I first decided to race a 70.3, I knew I needed support. My solution - get a friend to race with me. Thankfully, I was able to convince one of my best friends, Heidi, to come along for the ride.
Athlete Check In
Trying to stay cool

At the athlete briefing
Goofing around waiting for Lance to arrive
Just before heading to the start
She trained in Texas. I trained here in Virginia. We met up for the race. And it was awesome. I can't express how grateful I am to have had her by my side (or in front of me, since she's wicked fast - she finished in 5:46). We had fun from beginning to end and despite the pain, we are already working on our future race plans.

The Bike: To be completely honest, I was a little scared that all of my miles on the trainer were not going to translate to the road and that I was going to blow up on the bike. But, fortunately, the course was so pancake flat that other than a serious headwind on the way out, this ride was just like my trainer sessions. Three hours and 15 minutes of non-stop pedaling.

Heading out from T1

After a rough start, which included that headwind and a bathroom break at mile 13, I kicked it into overdrive on the second half of the bike, negative splitting by 13 minutes in the last 28 miles. And I even rode in aero position for most of the second half. A huge deal considering I had NEVER gotten into the aero bars on the road before.

Nutrition: This is one area I feel that I really did well. Three hours prior to the race, I had a bowl of oatmeal and a banana, coffee and Nuun. 45 minutes out, I had a Luna Protein Bar. After the swim, a Honey Stinger Waffle. During the bike, four Chocolate Outrage GUs. Followed by another Honey Stinger Waffle in T2 and two more GUs during the run. It seemed to work for me and I never felt hungry or low energy. Maybe poorly hydrated, but that's a different story.

Strippers: No, not that kind of stripper. The wetsuit removal kind. Wiggle out of the top of your wetsuit, lay on the ground and two people rip it off you. Best thing ever.

The Bling: Just awesome.


The Bad:

The Swim: Prior to this race, I had never swam in open water. I had never been in a mass start. And I had never attempted to remove my wetsuit with any sort of speed. Needless to say, I was kind of freaking out at the start, even if I was doing my best to hide it.

I knew that on the perfect day, I could probably finish the swim in 45 minutes. About 30 seconds after the gun, I realized that it wasn't the perfect day. The mass start and open water kind of overwhelmed me. I was flailing. I swam with my head up. I swam backstroke. I swam breaststroke. I swam off course. I swallowed salt water.

It wasn't until 38 minutes in (I checked my watch) that I found my groove and cruised into transition. It was actually quite frustrating. Once I was swimming normally, I wanted to kick myself for getting so worked up. Later, I was shocked to learn I had only missed my "perfect day" time by about 4 minutes.

coming into T1 (Ignore the finger in the shot)

Hydration: In case you forgot, I am mildly freaked out by my bike. I am almost always certain that I am going to crash. Because of this, I was not brave enough to grab a replacement water bottle at the aid stations along the bike course. That meant I had 42 oz of water on the bike with me and once it was gone, it was gone - no matter how hot it was.

Right before I hit the mile 50 marker, I finished the last of my Nuun. 20 minutes left on the bike and nothing left to drink. Despite being very well hydrated heading into the event, those 42 oz of fluid were not enough to hydrate me during the first four hours of the race and I was so parched heading into the run. It was kind of a recipe for disaster.

The Run Course: Three 4.4ish mile loops. In direct sunlight. On an airstrip. Pure torture.

Signage: Although this was a very well run event entirely worth the $250 price tag, the pre-race (i.e. athlete check in/expo) was kind of a cluster. There was a severe lack of signage and we found ourselves wondering around quite a bit. A couple of big arrows would have been killer.

The Ugly:

The Run: Although I finished the run in 2:25:45, well within in the 2:10-2:30 window that I anticipated, it was rough. Right from the start, I knew I was dehydrated and my legs didn't have the power that I needed. So, I made a deal with myself - run one minute, walk one minute. I knew that as long as I just kept moving I'd finish. Sure, I wanted it to be over as soon as possible, but I gave it everything I had on that day.

Of course, as I sit here now, I can say, "Maybe if it wasn't so hot. Maybe if I had drank more on the bike. Maybe if I didn't push it so hard on the second half of the bike." There are a million "what ifs". But, I own that 2:25:45. I kept going when I really wanted to stop. And now, I have a mark to beat.

The Aftermath: Between the sunburn and muscle soreness, post race (and the last two days) has been ugly. I'm hobbling around. I'm short-tempered. I'm tired. But I don't really care, it was freaking awesome and I can't wait to do it again.

64 comments:

bobbi said...

You are amazing. That is all.

CONGRATULATIONS!

Alili said...

Woohoo! Awesome first 70.3!

Kayla said...

AWESOME!!!! CONGRATS!!!! So happy for you!

BabyWeightMyFatAss said...

woohoo!!! Congrats!!! YOu did awesome!

Cat B. said...

Congratulations! It's been so great following you on this journey and I'm glad it ended so well for you. On to the next one!

Kortni said...

It was so fun to track you and cheer you on from my house! I think you did freaking awesome. Wishing you a speedy recovery!!!

anotherrunningmom.com said...

You are awesome!!! Congrats!

Marlene said...

AHHHH so proud of you! First OWS/mass start - first road ride in aero - all in your first 70.3! Congratulations on a killer performance. Seriously, you rocked it out even if the run was rough. I hope you start to feel better soon! Can't wait to see what's next for you. :)

Michelle said...

Kind of speechless here!
First, so immensely PROUD of you. That first time is all about learning and simply crossing the finish line. You did that!
Second, be kind to yourself this week. Heal, rest, and cut yourself some slack.
I'm sure your house was happy to have you back and wanted you back in perfect mommy form, but for this week, they just have to accept it for what it is.
You are amazing.

Karen said...

Congratulations on a great race! Now that you have your first mass start/open water swim out of the way, you know what to expect next time :) Way to come back from a crash and GET IT DONE!

The water hand off freaked me out too until I saw it during my race in Augusta. Up until I saw it on the course, I wasn't sure I could manuever that process. In the end, it was much easier than I had made it out to be in my head, they kind of jam the water in your hand so it is hard to drop it. I did have a Plan B though in case I decided I couldn't manage the hand off - pull off the road just past the stop and get a water myself if I had to - I only had 2 bottles with me and knew that was not going to be enough.

M said...

WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! So exciting - amazing your first OWS was at a half. You rocked the whole thing. Thanks so much for posting your journey - I have my first half in July and am a nervous wreck. Hearing your story has given me lots of hope!!!!

gba_gf @ Neurosis of the Stay at Home Marathoner said...

love it, and you, and can't wait for the next one. maybe one day I'll get moving in the tri direction... until then, I'm here for you anytime you need a run.

Erika said...

You are amazing!!! So glad you enjoyed almost all of it! now that you know what to expect you are going to kill the next one even more!! Congratulations on a great accomplishment!

Cat said...

Congrats! I love that you set a major goal and achieved it - good bad and ugly. :) Thanks for sharing and can't wait to hear about the next one.

Michele said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!! I am so bummed that we didn't run into you AT ALL while we were down there. It was extremely crowded (more than I thought it was going to be). You did awesome - I was dehydrated and dying from the heat and humidity and I wasn't even racing - I was just spectating! =)
BTW - I love the way you broke this post up - may have to borrow the idea for my next race!!

MomRunningFromCancer said...

Don't quite know where my post went. . . Again
Great job - sounds like you LOVED it and that there are more IM's in your future.

Silly Girl Running said...

I'm in awe. That is all. :)

Congrats on an awesome race! The Quads didn't let you down, did they? ;)

Beingmorethanmommy said...

Great job!!! Sounds like you had fun and you learned a lot. You will crush your next one.

Meredith said...

So awesome, T!! Congratulations!

(Just) Trying is for Little Girls said...

Wow. I think the good, bad, ugly is a great way to wrap up a half ironman. Way to go!

Laurie said...

Awesome job! That is quite the accomplishment. You rock!

Colleen said...

Yippie! Tonia, I've been secretly stalking you all weekend, but didn't want to post anything on FB in fear that it would get lost in a sea of Tonia fans! :) I'm so proud of you. I remember the day that you contacted me about the training plan and here, just a short time later, you freaking rocked the race!

A few things -

Open water swimming is WAY harder than pool swimming. For you to ever find your groove is amazing. Be proud of that swim girl. There are many people (*cough cough me*) who have been swimming a long time and post times like that or slower. We panic too. I always start out on my back in my first race, thinking I'm going to die a slow death. I've been racing 6 years. :)

If you do this again (which I know you will), slow down at an aid station to get water. If you aren't comfortable grabbing water on the go, it's alright. It takes time... especially after having wrecked on your bike already. :)

Own that run. People don't understand how hard it is to run after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 and you did freaking fantastic! And you did it in the heat. And you had a boring course.

I'm so proud of you lady. When's your next one???

Amanda - TooTallFritz said...

You are awesome; love how you always own it. Congrats! I have two 70.3s on the schedule for this year. I'm sooooo excited!!

Runners Fuel said...

So awesome!! Great job!!

Geodess said...

CONGRATS!
You are so inspiring and I hope that you are beaming with pride !

Your girls most be so proud ;)

Tough Chik said...

I am so inspired by you! Great re-cap, great race and you are an IRONMAN! WOO HOO! Great bike ride, I knew you were going to kill it and you did. :) Way to go TOUGHIE! (P.s. you looked amazing)

H Love said...

Yay!!!! This is awesome and so exciting! Amazing courage! Go T!

Becka said...

Congratulations on your finish! I would freak out in an open swim too. Can't wait to hear what is next for you!

ttmom531 said...

Congratulations Tonia!!! You are so amazing! Open Water swimming FREAKS ME OUT. What you described at the beginning is my worst nightmare. Good for you for gutting it out!!

Jen Small said...

Congrats!! I was following along here in Maine :)
Which one is next???

Jessica (Pace of Me) said...

Wow. Wow wow wow wow. I am sort of speechless. Jaw in floor. What an amazing accomplishment, T! You trained so hard for this and are just so inspiring. Yayyyy!!! You are a total rock star!

workout mommy said...

amazing!!! congratulations!!

Aimee said...

Your race report brought back so many memories of my first tris. There is NOTHING like the mass start and swimming in the open water during a race...it is scary. BUT, you made it through and did it!! You should be so proud of yourself for finishing your first 70.3...woohoo!!!!
Take everything that you learned and use it for the next one!! :)
Oh...and get an aero bottle for the front of your bike! It makes drinking a cinch, so you won't get dehydrated! :)

MCM Mama said...

You rocked it! I am so in awe of you!

Wifey said...

So proud and excited for you!

BAD-ASS!

Winks & Smiles,
Wifey

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

CONGRATS lady!! You kicked some major Tri booty!!

Pam said...

You, my dearest Tonia, are the SHIT.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

For rsome reason this post has me on the verge of tears. I think I am just so happy for you. Another major milestone crushed! Congratulations.

abbi said...

Congratulations! That's amazing and sounds tough in the heat!

robinbb said...

Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing job, be proud.

TNTcoach Ken said...

I kept looking for you on the LIVE streaming broadcast and turned it off at 6:37.................. LOL, great job.

a runners' life said...

Congratulations! Sounds like you had an amazing race and experience. Awesome work!

Katie said...

congratulations!! I think everyone feels like "so many things I want to do better" after the first one :)

Running Girl said...

Congratulations!!! So very, very impressed with you & your IRONMAN. That's a pretty big deal. :-)

Michelle said...

Just awesome! Congrats!

Caroline said...

BRAVO!!!!!
congratulations!!!
you should be so very proud!

Julie16750 said...

Congratulations!!!!

Christy said...

You are amazing! Great job!

Jess @ Blonde Ponytail said...

You answered my question! You WILL do it again!

So brave to go after this event T you should be SUPER proud! +6 hours in that heat is no joke. The open water swim would FREAK me out!!

vtbRUNSsav said...

You are my hero!! WAHOOO!!!

ajh said...

Congratulations! You are awesome!

You do have me a bit freaked out being freaked out about the swim because I am already so worried about it. I do plan to open water swim before hand but it will be my first mass start although there are waves. Did yours have waves at all? I'm guessing not.

It is so great that you are already planning another.

And that run sounds horrible horrible Really? Loops on an airstrip?

And also on the swim - I think ocean swimming would be much worse than lakes. You are hard core.

Jason said...

That is awesome.

Let me say that for your first OWS you did great. My first was a sprint tri and was 500m. It took me nearly 15 minutes to do it. Congrats on that.

Consider this race as your practice race for the next one. You learned a lot about training. You learned a lot about racing. You learned a lot about nutrition and hydration. The next race is going to be super fast compared to this one.

So, when is the next one?

Lauren said...

Congratulations! It was fun to run into you during the race in T1 after the swim!!! Good luck on whatever you do next:)

Jan said...

Congrats a a great race! Very inspiring!

Running Backwards in High Heels said...

Congrats, T!! You are amazing!! I am so proud you conquered your fear of the bike and just rocked it. Sorry about the hydrating issues, but it's a lesson learned. Open water swim would scare the crap out of me. You=domination.

jamie@sweatyhugs said...

You amaze me! You are proof that hard work, dedication, and perseverance will always get you across that finish line! Loved the recap. Thanks so much for sharing!

Zaneta said...

That's so awesome!!! You are amazing!! A lot of people only dream of doing 70.3 and you did it!! :) Congrats!! :)

fancy nancy said...

You are seriously a rockstar!!! Way to go!!!!

Stephanie Anne said...

Nice job!! It gets me excited / nervous for my first 70.3 this fall!

carrie said...

AWESOME!!! You ROCK TMB!!! You're a true Honey Badger!!!!!

Amber said...

Way to go Honey Badger!! I'm truly inspired!

dreambigrunner.com said...

So proud of you!! Congrats!!

Zoƫ said...

CONGRATS TMB!!!! You totally KICKASS!!! I'm so proud of you! And your race photos are so freaking awesome too. You look STRONG. Bask in that 70.3 glow for as long as you want! :)

Heidi said...

#1: We rocked it!
#2: I am so glad you called me up to do this with you. The best thing to get me out of grad school dumps and get me back into kicking ass shape mentally and physically.
#3: Next year we'll PR up your way somewhere
love ya!
Heidi