Sunday, July 24, 2016
Muncie 70.3 2016
The morning of my first 70.3 event was filled with a great deal of anticipation and nervousness. As with almost any big event, the night before my race was mostly just a series of groggy tossing and turning, watching the clock, waiting for the alarm to sound at 4:30am. I somehow found some sleep that night, and woke up in my normal routine of turning back over and falling asleep for another 15 minutes. (This was a good sign for a race morning, really...)
Hubby and I had already gone over to the venue the day before to check in my bike and stick around for the athlete briefing. So it was just a matter of getting on my race kit and making sure I had everything in my bag for the day. We left early and arrived around 5:30am, just as transition was opening. The parking lots were already packed full, so we were glad to be there to sneak into the secondary lot with ease. It was very dark and what should have been a quiet time of the morning was buzzing with athletes all over.
Lines for the "bathrooms" were long, and the morning air was cold. Getting in the water for my warm up swim proved to keep me warmer than standing out on the beach, but we eventually lined ourselves up to get ready for the gun. And it true IronMan style, the waves went off with exact timing precision. My group left the beach at 7:35am, the start for a long day.
I came out of the water at 47 minutes, 3 minutes better than my goal swim time. 1.2 miles down, 69.1 to go! Transition was slightly easier since it was a non-wetsuit legal race. I didn't have to deal with trying to peel it off, but did take my time to make sure I had everything I needed and was comfortable for the next leg of the event.
I could not have been happier with my ride. With a goal time of 3:30, I was so excited to come back across the transition line after 3:12. I felt great on the bike, and relished every moment the wind was at my back. haha It was a windy day, but the course was mostly flat and well maintained. We did two loops, and coming home after that second loop just felt so good!!
My run was more of a run/walk, just trying to get through the half marathon to that finish line. The day had turned very hot, and hydration was huge. I drank whenever I could, tried to keep myself cool with cold sponges, and ran whenever my legs would let me. I knew it was going to be a struggle for me, so I'd set a 2:30 goal time for my half marathon. The best I'd ever done was out here in Colorado at a 2:15, so it seemed like a reasonable goal if I was feeling good... I only missed it by 2 minutes, crossing the line after a 2:32 run, which was pretty darn good for how tired I was!
After all was said and done, I finished in 6:42:33. I had hoped to finish it all in 7 hours or less, so I could not have expected anything better. Coming up that last hill, I made myself find some running legs as I passed cheering fans and other athletes excited to finish. And as I crested the hill, there stood my family and friends, cheering louder than anybody, putting the hugest smile on my face. And as I ran down the finishing chute, I could hear my mom and sister yelling my name as I crossed that finish line. I am the luckiest person, I really could not have asked for anything better than what I got that day. I accomplished something that I really didn't think I could ever physically accomplish, had my family and friends there to cheer me on, and did it even better than I thought I could!
I'm not sure if any more 70.3 events are in my near future, it wiped me out more than I was anticipating and was so much harder than I imagined. The training was a bear, and life practically stops when you're spending all your time preparing for an event like this. But I'm guessing that the good memories will stick out a long time, while the pain and difficulty will start to disappear from my memory, and I'll be itching to do something again!! We'll see what's next...