First, I want to start off by saying that Keith Jordan and endurfunsports put on a great race. Mooseman in Bristol NH at Newfound Lake was extremely well organized. The lake is beautiful and clean and the bike course is difficult but pretty.
This was my first half iron event. I have been very nervous about this because I (somewhat unwisely) signed up to do IMLP without ever having done a half ironman. What if I couldn't hack it? It's only 7 weeks away from IMLP-it was scarey. Fortunately, I was smart enough to hire a fabulous coach who saw a lot of potential in me. He laid out my goals for the half and for the IM. To me, if I didn't nail the half iron goal, I was in deep trouble. Anyway, based on my previous performance and LT testings- he suggested a goal of 5:15-5:20. In my head, I knew it would be closer to 5:20..
The week before the race, I went up to NH and rode the course 3-4 times-those hills were killers(!) but I felt better knowing what they were like. I also swam in Newfound Lake and at Walden pond out here in MA. I told my coach "Don't expect a good swim time" and he reassured me "The race is already determined-you've done your training and now it's just time to execute."
A bunch of friends were doing the Oly the day before the half so we went up on Friday night. It was great to cheer them on as well as get familiar with the surroundings. (Plus that meant they had to stay around to cheer me on the next day!)
I didn't know what to expect but a friend had once told me that 37 minutes was slow. I didn't know what that meant but I knew I wanted to do less than that. I also knew that I cannot swim in a straight line and I waste a lot of energy. Right before the race, someone told me to position myself up in front, behind the faster people and just draft as much as I could. I took that to heart.
The gun went off and it was the usual thrashing of arms and legs. It's funny how all my meticulous swim technique training went out the window as I just fought to get behind someone.
I was nervous about getting stuck behind someone slower than me but even more nervous that my zig zag swimming and poor sighting might get me into trouble. Soon, I figured out a system: I drafted behind someone for a while and as soon as I began to feel comfortable with my breathing and my stroke, I hauled butt and got behind someone else. I bounced from swimmer to swimmer and just prayed that they were faster than the previous one. It's funny how the swim seems so much longer than it is.
I emerged from the water and the first thing I saw was another local coach right in front of me. Could I have done as well as her? I did!
T1: They had wetsuit strippers! It would be my first time using them. Although some friends from the day before cautioned me about using them (they were mostly middle school kids) I knew they could still probably do a better job than I. It went perfectly and T1 went off without a hitch. I didn’t see my friends around-humpf! They must have slept in!
After doing a sweat test, I knew exactly how much fluid I needed (not much thankfully) and my coach had me eating every half hour. The bike was pretty uneventful. I stayed close to some other people and we kept passing one another for the first hour or so. Finally at about the half way point, they fell away behind me and I stayed alone for much of the second loop. As I came around to begin the second loop, I heard my name being shouted by 6 or 7 people from Boston Triathlon Team. Oh they’re awake! One of my friends made a sign that said “Go Sexy, Go.” It definitely made me grin ear to ear.
Back to the second loop: My cadence meter wasn't working which it tough for me because I always feel more comfortable with a lower cadence than I should. Oh well. My goal for the bike was 2:45-2:50. I have been disappointed in my biking lately so was thinking it would be closer to 2:50. I kept thinking "biking is not your thing but wait until the run, wait until the run". I pushed through the giant hills and was off the bike.
Bike: 2:51:13 (although my watch said exactly 2:50!) 19.6 mph
I knew this was where I could do some damage. I've been doing so many bricks, that running off the bike wasn't hard for me anymore. My previous stand alone half marathon PR was 1:40:25, something I set in Feb. I knew that I was stronger so hoped I could do this in 1:40 too. The first mile I clocked in 7 minutes. Whoops-probably too fast. I slowed it down a little and for the second, did it in 7:32-ok better. I started passing people right away (A definite bonus for being in the last start wave and for being a stronger runner who has a lot of IM training under her belt!) The run was also a loop so when I came around the 10K mark, I saw the fabulous cheering section (God, I’m so lucky to have so many cool friends!) It definitely invigorated me to push on. I kept the rest of my miles somewhere between 8:00 (big hill) and 7:11 with most of them being about 7:30. I couldn’t believe how strong I felt! I sprinted in the final 200 meters after seeing my friends again and finished with a 5:07:49 and a huge grin on my face.
I was hoping I would’ve place with that time but alas there are some strong women in New England. 20/142 female, 169/517 overall, 11/39 AG. Man, being in the 30-34 AG kills! I’m still 29 and if I raced in that AG I would have come in 2nd! Oh well!
Hold on LP, here I come!