A half ironman two weeks out of an ironman is tricky, but this race made it less tricky in that it was only a 1-mile swim and 9-mile run. The run is what destroys your body and makes the recovery part difficult, so I was confident that 9 miles instead of 13 was A okay. What I didn't realize was how mentally hard it is to do a race but not race. The most difficult part was having people go by me, people that I knew I could hang with in a race. But once I let go of my ego, things got better. Pre-race, I felt nauseous. I'm not sure if it was nerves or what but every now and then, a wave of nausea would come over me, definitely not the norm for me.
The swim: 22:12
I really wanted to swim focused, always looking for the best line and finding feet. The swim seemed to go by so fast because I was always trying to focus on these two things. The only disappointment was that I felt like I had way too much at the end, almost like I was swimming ironman pace. Looking at my time, my gut response is mediocre. If I don't get some fast swim splits, I'm going to lose what little credibility I have left as being a fast swimmer.
The bike: 2:39:17
From the get-go, I just didn't have it on the bike which is understandable given that I had a full week of training. I just focused on finding that slightly faster than ironman pace and hold. Once again, just like at Wildflower, I started to get nauseous on the bike and felt like I need to hurl. I took a salt tablet and gagged and had to hold down some vomit. Thus, I thought swallowing a pill might be the culprit and went off my salt pill plan. The nausea did subside but not taking salt wore on me and I definitely began to feel the bonk come on. With about 15 miles remaining, my remaining bottle of fluids went flying off the cage-just like it did at the full Vineman last year. Mental note: find a new drinking system for the aerobars. I rode the last 15 miles or so with no fluid so I really had to back off my pace and effort. I started to get angry with myself and then, just like when I let go of my ego, I let go of my disappointment and any judgment of myself, and things got better. From then on, I just problem solved and was kind to myself. Also, number 2,358 reason not to wear a white race kit: if you pee on the bike, people are gonna know.
The run: 1:04:11
I was definitely scared of the run given the water bottle fiasco on the bike. But once I got into T2, I took my time, grabbing a bottle of water and downing the entire thing. The plan was to treat the 9-mile run like an ironman marathon. Thus, that meant a stop at the porta potty. Once I got running again, the stomach was definitely sensitive and on the verge of a hurl. So I sipped and took small amounts of gel. The first two miles, I was holding 7:30 pace. I felt better as the run went on, and other than an episode of dry heaving at mile 4, which had the aid station workers backing away from me, things really did get better. I ran controlled and it never got painful, even when I dropped down to 6:45 or so pace. I was now known as the happy guy, smiling from ear to ear, cheering for everyone. The run really did feel great and mentally, I felt like I could have held that pace for an entire marathon, very unlikely, but it felt like I could. I ended up averaging 7:07's (probably faster had I not jumped in the porta potty) which is much faster than my goal ironman pace.
The result: 4:08:30 [20th overall, 8th age-group]
Post-race, I was feeling good and mentally I wanted to get out and do my extra ride to get the mileage up for the day. I asked and asked but nobody could wrap their mind around as to why I would want to do this. A lot of people responded that mentally, they couldn't get up for a ride. I took it as a good sign and an indicator of good fitness that I wanted to get out there and ride. Fortunately, my teammate Natalie was on the same plan and her schedule called for a 1.5 hour ride (she too is doing IM CDA). To both of our surprise, we felt really really good on the 26 mile ride, like scary good. The overwhelming feeling I'm now left with is that things are going to go wrong at IM CDA, it just seems to be the year of racing mishaps. But the lesson I learned today is to not beat myself up, to be kind to myself, and just problem solve. Being reminded of this lesson alone is good enough of a reason to justify doing the race. Onward and upward folks. Sorry for the lack of pics, I couldn't find any.