Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Muncie Race Recap

I completed the Muncie Ironman 70.3 this past weekend.  Sorry this recap is late.  It was sort of a crazy thing just for me to be doing it.  As you know, from my previous posts, I am in the process of a move.  Not exactly the smartest time to be heading out of town to do a HALF IRONMAN, but on account of the move, it made the one I really wanted to do not an option.  We made a last minute family decision that I would just go by myself to the race.  This freaked me out a little bit, especially since I had never really traveled for a race before (requiring a hotel), but it made the most sense.  I don't usually go with Ryan to his century rides either, for the same reason- what the heck do you do with 2 little kids for HOURS at the race site with only one car.  The hotel was far enough away that dropping me off wasn't really a viable option, and getting EVERYONE up at 4ish and keeping them up near the transition area was also not good.  It also allowed Ryan to get a bit more work on the house preparing for the move and kept the kids out of the car for hours.  We have been doing a lot of driving lately.  Needless to say, it was a bit of a bummer not to have anyone to go out to dinner with or know to watch for me to come out of the water to make sure I didn't drown!

I got into town on Friday evening without any event and found the convention center.  I was a bit bummed since I got there so late that I didn't get my official Ironman 70.3 string backpack, and got a Muncie Sprint shopping bag instead.  Oh well.  I will probably use the shopping bag more anyway.  I got my packet and stuff.  I got a couple shirts for the kids that say, "When I Grow Up I want to be an Ironman".  They haven't worn them yet, but will wear them to the upcoming Tree Farm Relay.  Hopefully this doesn't go against BDD's guidelines on shirt wearing, ie bringing a gun to a knife fight.  I went to the athlete meeting where I found the question, "how much weight have you lost in training for this event" funny.  I have gained weight since my triathlon training.  I have got some GUNS now!  Also, I was shocked at all the people who raised their hands saying that this race, the 70.3, was their FIRST tri EVER!  I guess I am too nervous of a person to comprehend this.  Heck, I did R4R just so that I could go into this little vaca weekend knowing that I CAN DO THIS, because I did one month ago already!
I found my way to Noodles and Co, and then made it to the hotel with no issues.  I had printed pages and pages of directions for myself.  Ryan usually does this, so this was a new thing to make sure I remembered everywhere I might want to go.  I don't have internet on my phone, so if I didn't map it now, I wouldn't get it.  While I was checking into the hotel, I encountered a couple who was part of that group that I think is crazy and doing their first tris.  The husband was doing his first tri EVER, the 70.3, in preparation for IM Louisville that is in a month and a half.  I think I really did tell him I thought he was nuts.  I can't remember exactly what I said to him, but I sadly was probably not as encouraging to him as I could have been because I think that is totally crazy.  I did tell him that I did R4R before this because of the statement above.  His wife was doing the sprint.  Must be nice to have $100 to drop on a sprint tri!  Not me. 

I got to my room and got all setteled in.  I laid my stuff out and got in bed.  They recommended being their as early as possible to get a good parking spot, like at 4:30 for the 8am start.  I didn't even start until 8:25.

I ended up waking up on my own at 2:15 and couldn't go back to sleep.  I laid in bed until 3:30, and then got up.  I made it to the race site by around 5am, thanks to some other folks from the hotel that led me there.  They didn't go the same way I would have gone, but they had bikes with their numbers on them so I followed them anyway and it seemed a lot cleaner.  I thanked them for showing me the way and headed off to get set up.  I mean, I still had 3.5 hours until my race started!  I got everything set up and ate my breakfast around 5:30, 3 hours before race start and then went to the water to watch the sprint start at 6am.

It was small, and the course looked SO much shorter than ours.  It looked long to me, but that is partially because it was just one big loop, and R4R was an out and back from the shore and the out and back along it, like a T on its side.  I also had Cristina's skin suit checked, and sure enough, it was not legal.  Oh well, swimming in it would have been a new thing, and I wasn't really sure that I wanted to do something like that anyway.  I had worn it last year when I thought about buying it from her, and now I am really glad I didn't.  I spent the rest of the time trying to find people I knew from Aquaphor, TIA, and others that I knew would be out there.  I found Mike from Aquaphor easily.  The uniforms are easy to spot, and he is tall too.

I also racked my bike close to Lindsay from KY.  She was at the VO2 ride where we got caught in the downpour, and recognized me.  I also saw a lot of Landsharks, but didn't really recognize them.  I found Chad, Amy, and Anthony from MI, as well as met Mindy and her husband Eric, who knew Amy. I had recognized her from a tri demo she did in Ann Arbor in the spring at Running Fit.  It was funny, there were a ton of us from MI who had registered last minute, and we were all racked together, but number.  I guess you got your number based on when you entered.  Makes sense.   She was in my wave for the swm start, and she is a very experienced triathlete, so it was fabulous of her to let me tag along until the swim start.   The 3 big close triangle buoys were for the sprint.

It was a beach start, and the water was 81 degrees.  It felt like a bath, AWESOME, and was super calm.  I loved that I didn't have that chilly feeling at all, since the water was a tad warmer than the air, I think.  It was so relaxing!  I had mentioned I felt tense before, I think partially due to being a bit chilly (even though it wasn't cold at all, I just felt a little chilled).  I was very excited that the buoys were on the right, we swam to the left of them, so I had no issues sighting at all.  The water was super calm, and here is the most amazing part:

I SWAM THE WHOLE WAY!  I did not flip over once.  I did break into the breast stroke a few times while making a turn and a few times when I felt like I was being swam over.  I got caught by several waves of swimmers behind me, so I did the breast stroke to just let them pass me quickly.  I just felt like I was in the pool and really in my groove.  I swam right up to the beach, practically.  I couldn't wait to look at my time, and I was bummed that when I touched the sand, my time was 52.  Really?  It felt better than that, especially since my R4R swim went HORRIBLE and was 53, but I had a wetsuit on.  We also had to run up a long hill from the beach to transition before hitting the mat, so that added time to everyone's swim.  Time- 53:32

Transition was big, but I felt like I did a good job running up the hill and to my bike.  I did a much better job getting on my bike than I did at the T-rex tri.

I felt awesome on the bike.  I guess really swimming really helps.  I tried to not worry about how fast or slow I was going, and just go as fast as I felt I could go.  It was great to be doing a big race and I actually welcomed the bike traffic.  It was great to have people to try to catch, as well as little bursts of energy from when I would get passed.  It was windy, and there were a few parts of the course that I just wanted to be done with the wind.  I still do not have the ability to grab a bottle from a person while moving and fill my aero drink, so I did stop 2x to do this.  I figured the short time I was totally stopped made up for the time that I would have been riding very slowly or crashing trying to do it while moving.  I could not believe how well I was doing!  I can't remember exactly how far in I was when I thought I could finish right around 3 hours, but once I realized that, I really pushed harder.  I didn't feel tired on the bike at all, but around mile 48 my bottom was just done on the bike.  I did not want to be on it anymore, and just tried to keep going as fast as I could to be done sooner.  I could not believe my bike time- 3:02:32  Talk about an improvement!  OVER 20 minutes better than my R4R time!  Heck Yeah!

T2 wasn't too bad, I think I did OK here too.

So, to say the run was hard would be an understatement.  It pretty much was the hardest run I have ever done.  I am not sure if it was due to the INSANE heat, the fact that I killed on the bike (for me), or that the course itself was just that hard or a combo of all three.  I had a great pace on the first half of the run.  I LOVED the volunteers and support on the course.  It was amazing what a sports bra full of ice could do for the spirit and the body.  Cold sponges were also amazing.  It was great to have water, sports drink, cola, ice, sponges, hoses, water on the head, ect at every mile, as well as lot of volunteers.  The first half of the run went amazingly well.  Perhaps too well.  I was well below an hour at the turn around. Sweet, I thought, I COULD BREAK 6 HOURS!  Whoo Hoo!  Well, once I turned around, I realized that we had a tailwind going out and a headwind coming back.  It was even hotter, and the ice was doing less and less to cool me off.  It was like I was imune to it.  I just got super tired and by mile 8, I was pretty well exhausted and wanted to be done.  I kept telling myself, just do a 10 min pace, and you can break 6, but I just had to keep walking more and more.  I thought, well, if I walk a bit, maybe I will be able to run faster when I am actually running.  Yeah, that didn't really happen.  I did finish the run with a time of 2:06:19, and it put me over the 6 hour mark.  Had I been able to hit my goal of under 2 hours for the run, it would have been really tight.  My total time was 6:06:50

I was still extremely pleased with this.  It was a tough TOUGH run with lots of hills.  It was rolling for the whole course, so either up or down constantly.  I feel very pleased with how I did overall.  Perhaps I went out a little too fast, I don't know.  I am at least glad I tried to go as fast I as I could.  I wished I could have run more, but really, I had a PR of almost 12 minutes, and that is HUGE, considering the tough run course.  The swim was really the only course that I felt was actually easier than R4R, the bike was not quite a flat, but the roads were in much better condition and I felt like I knew better what I could handle from a speed standpoint.  I didn't feel the need to hold back as much to save myself for the run.  Maybe I should have, but it wasn't really painful, it was just ugly.  I had no stomach issues except for a minute or so when I grabbed a sports drink by mistake and drank it anyway.  I didn't use as much gu on the run because it was so hot, and perhaps I should have used it a bit earlier.  I don't know.

What I do know is that I am almost glad I didn't get under 6, because it gives me a great new goal to work on.  I was feeling a bit burnt out from all the training, and feeling ready to get back to marathon training again.  I am so glad I did this race.  It was a blast, really well organized, and overall a great day!

Once I got my medal and hat, I was in search of food.  I ran into a lot of people.  I found Amy and some of her friends, as well as Mike and Anthony.  I seemed like a lot of the faster people were less than pleased with how they did, and were impressed by my PR.  I was a bit surprised at this, but my pleased.  The better you get the harder it is to improve, though.  Amy got second in her age.  She is such an amazing woman!  I got my printout of results, which was really cool.  I could not believe how well my bike was.  18.4mph!  WOW, a 2mph improvement.  I couldn't wait to get my phone and call Ryan.  I felt like I deserved my bike finally!  I was able to find Shelby at the end, after I had cooled down and enjoyed my Snickers ice cream bar (so good), pasta salad, Sierra Mist, and a few bites of pizza and bagel.  It was so hot we were both ready to head out, but got a quick picture.

Once I got back to the car, I realized that Mr and Mrs First Timers were parked behind me, loading their bikes.  I was feeling pretty good after my resting in the shade and my ice cream.  I was like, "hey, how did it go, ready for Louisville?"  I was not greeting with the same enthusiam.  I got an, "I know what I need to work on", grumble, and then left it at that.  My idea of doing a half IM in the middle of the move seems like a fabulous idea compared to signing up for an IM having never done a tri before ever, and doing my first a mere 7 weeks before.  I wish him the best of luck.  A lot can happen in 7 weeks, and I don't know what his background is at all.  I wish I got their names to check the results. 

Since I was out by myself, the only action shots I have can be found here.  I am #1679 if the link doesn't take you to my specific pics.


Christy said...

Awesome job!!! I am amazed at those people that are first time triathletes as well.....

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

Great job! I was so into your recap. I am so in awe of you!

Anonymous said...

Okay so people who did 70.3s for their first tri ARE nuts I totally agree!

And I am so glad the run was hard for you considering you are a MUCH better runner than me.

At least you did not pee your shorts on the run...woops ;)

Richelle said...

Awesome job! I hope the rest of your move goes smoothly!

Heather-O said...

Haha, I was the one racked next to you that you gave an Aquaphor sample to! Thanks! It's such a small blogging world!

Awesome job on your PR and on accomplishing it in the HOT conditions. Good luck in future races!

Anonymous said...

Fantastic job on the race and loved your report! Gets me really excited for Steelhead!!

Hope to see you at a race soon and glad the move went well :)

Matty O said...

Hey GREAT JOB!!!!!

Yes, that wind and heat were completely demoralizing haha. Heather and I were both shocked at how many people raised their hands that this 70.3 was their FIRST EVER triathlon. That is nuts!

Quick comment on the pacing you were eluding to in your post. I have been told by numerous people that during 70.3's and 140.6's they always pass people on the run. When they pass them they say hi or whatever and the people they are passing always say, I may be walking this whole run portion but MAN DID I HAVE A GREAT BIKE SPLIT!!! Moral of the story is to be a bit reserved on the bike.

This time around was the first time I felt great on a run haha. I can say that I had a GREAT bike split last year at Steelhead... but this year I had a "good" bike split and a GREAT run :)

I don't pretend to know anything about triathlons haha, I know what has been working for me based on failed results. 70.3 is my cut off for racing smart... The run always punishes me.

You looked good though after the race, so whatever you did on the course worked!

Wish we knew you ahead of time, would have loved to get dinner and have some company pre race as well.

Keep up the great work, sometimes the impulsive decisions are the most fun :)

Colleen said...

Great job Melissa! I heard that it was a brutal day and you kicked major butt! :) Congrats...

I love those Aquaphor uniforms! They are easy to spot and I am partial to the blue! :)

Big Daddy Diesel said...

CONGRATS!!!! You freaking rock!! So happy for you

I almost went to do the sprint as a very, very last minute decision, I couldnt bring myself to pay $100 for a sprint

PS The shirt for the kids are fine

Meredith said...

It was so hot that day here in Columbus and I kept thinking "thank goodness I'm not doing Muncie today!" Great job on handling the heat and on the new PR. Good luck with the rest of the season.

Life as a Convert (Khourt) said...

Congratulations on a nice finish!!!