This was a big deal.

This race was great. In hind sight it was everything it was supposed to be. It was and should have been a learning experience. Boy did I learn a lot. There was so much planning the day before. This is a difference between the HI and a flat marathon. I was pretty much in plan mode the entire day. From the moment I woke up till the moment I lay down. At one point I said to Kathy, " I am done planning what you will do while I'm out on the course. You are on your own." I didn't want to think anymore.

Sunday came around, up at 4:20 because our hotel was 1/2 hour from the race. That was OK as we had made the trip about 4 times. My new Transition Pack worked like a charm. I was totally organized. Thank goodness I was since I had hardly any room in the T area for my belongings. Apparently some people get more space than others.. :)

The water was about 62. Not bad at all. I was surprised at how comfortable I was with the temp. I thought I would be freezing. I almost threw my neoprene beanie away but errored on the side of caution. I saw Ange and Mary at the start.. they were all business.. but chatty at the same time. It was good to see them. Kathy was the photographer and took 68 photos.. hehehehehehe.. She is such a good sport.

The announcer said GO and I was in the water just trying to survive the kicks and pulls and trying not to drink too much lake water. This lasted quite a while because our wave of women age 35+ was the biggest wave by far. Just goes to show you how popular this sport is to women over 30.. (cool) Finally by the the last 3rd of the 1.2 mile swim I felt like I was in my groove. I finished the swim in 44 minutes. I have a lot of work to do on my swim but I am proud of my accomplishment. Just last year I was still over coming some fear of swimming far in open water.

On the bike I immediately dropped one of my bottles because my fingers were to stiff and not nimble enough to hold onto the bottle as I placed it back on the lower holder. That was a bummer. I soon found that they were giving out bottles to bikers so I grabbed one. Straight Gatorade is a bit hard on my stomach but I still have one of my watered down bottles. This is where I made my mistake. I should have taken one bottle of straight water rather than 2 bottles of GA. The numerous Gu's you have to eat need water to liquefy. By drinking only Gatorade the GU just sat there. In my stomach unbeknownst to me. I felt good on the bike and was able to average 17.3 MPH.. I was hoping to do at least 17 MPH.. I also had to burp a lot.. heheheh. Kathy was mortified when I told her I burped so loud that the women who I then caught up to asked "was that you?".. Yes, I couldn't help myself.. "That was AWESOME".. She replies.

As soon as my foot hit the pavement to do the half marathon I knew my stomach was not going to back me up for this. I had a searing stab in my side. A cramp. From the GU that had no place to liquefy. I should have known. Jen, my coach, reminded me of this theory. This is such an old rule of thumb that I have known for a long time and just did not apply. I guess I just plain forgot.

This agony lasted about 4.5. miles. I took a pit stop and it got worse so I had to walk run for about 2 miles. The other miles I just hung on. I got inspired during this time actually. I saw this guy on the side of the road.. Thank god for the spectators.. Many of them are seasoned athletes and know exactly the right thing to say. This guy yells, not even to me but to someone near me. He simply yells, "stay with it". Those were the words I needed to hear at the moment. I just stayed with my agony until it went away. I hung onto that slow place in the hopes that things would chang e. And, Voila, the pain disappeared completely sometime during mile 5..

This led the way for a very strong finish.. my 10:00 m/mile pace soon dropped to 8:30, 8:00, 7:50, 7:45, 7:38, etc.. my last mile was 7:23.. YEAH!

Mel B., Dan, and Kathy met me at the finish.. for them it was a long day too. They learned that they should bring a cooler with food and drinks of their choice. So, in September at Pumpkinman it will be even better.


IronMatron said...

Congrats Melissa! You had a great race and I'm so impressed that you did stick with it despite the bad cramping. I think everyone's body responds differently--to Gu and Gatorade and exerting for 5+ hours straight! I don't have to take water with gu--I don't even have to take liquid--but I think I'm unusual. I do need to drink a ton, though--more than most. On the run I had to drink a cup of water and a cup of gatorade at every stop!

So cool that your last mile was a 7:23. Mine was like an 8:20!!!!! ridiculous... :)
I'm proud of you and so psyched for you.

Meredith said...

Great job on sticking with it and working it out. The next one will be easier. I'm looking forward to reading about the adventures.

Jennifer Harrison said...

Melissa!!! You have SO much to be proud of! AND have worked very hard for this, so CONGRATS on everything....this is just the beginning!!! congrats again!

Ange said...

CONGRATS!!! Wow..you were TOUGH!! Half Ironman is TOUGh and you did it adn did it WEll!!! I'm so happy for you and proud of you!!!! Dropping your run down to 7:23 is Excellent!!!! Savor this accomplishment. You worked hard for it!!
(wish we could have chatted more!! I was definately in 'stress before race' mode when we saw you!!)

Anonymous said...

I think Mel did FANTASTIC!!! It was a great race to watch. As far as being a sherpa - I did not plan well for this race. I guess because I have been a sherpa at sooooooooo many marathon races, I did not even give this race a thought.....boy was I wrong. Just as much as it was a 1st for Mel - it was a 1st for me too! Next time I will plan my day a lot better too.....for one - I failed to realize that I would be at the race a very very very long time. I am not used to this - usually Mel is done with the marathon in half the time. Next one, I will bring a cooler, sandwiches, snacks and a very comfy chair! So as much as it is planning for the participant - there is planning to be done as a sherpa!

maria conley said...

Mel, 70.3 has the distance and there is nothing to joke about. All your hard work has paid off. The next one will be even better. Way to girl! Can I be you for one day or two. You rock!!

Speed Racer said...

CONGRATULATIONS! You did it!!! Maybe swallowing all that lake water had something to do with the nasty burps too? Anyway, I'm glad you were able to impress the other athletes :).

And good point about people taking up too much space in transition. I HATE that! Some people just have no manners! I've been known to plunk my bike right in the middle of their stuff. (Of course on the day in question I got an earful from the girl whose stuff it was, but anyway...)

Congratulations again. I'm so glad it was a positive experience, and that you're excited to do better next time.

Anonymous said...

You are an inspiration!

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