Posts filed under ‘half ironman’

the augusta chronicles

i was ready. after a long drive to georgia on friday and a shorter one into augusta saturday morning.Β  between the time spent with the bunny and being together again with B3 i couldn’t have asked for more and the weekend was already proving to be perfect. we spent saturday night at dinner carb loading and catching up and the energy and excitement was amazing. i knew without a doubt that i was ready; physically and emotionally.

sunday morning i got to transition early and found B3 already setting up. turns out i was lucky i was running a little behind her. not 5 minutes before i got there, they had called the race not wetsuit legal. i instantly felt a wave of nausea but B3 quickly finished that they had reversed the call. i seriously would have come unglued had i been there. i was relying on the buoyancy of the suit to get me through the swim. i got set up and headed up river to the swim start.

i was swim wave 12. start time of 8:16 a.m. forty six minutes into the race. i was worried the wait would give me too much time to think. too much time to worry but i kept in check. i knew it was going to be essential. i had no energy to give fear. i was going to need every bit of it.

a final good luck hug

a final good luck hug from B3

they called my wave on deck and after a short wait we headed down to the water. i didn’t hesitate. slipped off the dock into the cold water and tried to keep myself far enough away from the other swimmers. the last thing i wanted to do was be caught up in chaos. i was ok to hold back. take it slow. i’d learned in the sprint tri that a few extra minutes on the swim were fine. necessary even to keep me from freaking out. but i simply focused on breathing and there was no panic. no adrenaline dump. the horn sounded and we were off.

i'm in there somewhere

i’m in there somewhere

the water was murky. my goggles fogged. not a minute in i was accosted by a clump of river grass. and i had to fight to keep my distance from the random foot in my face or arm in my side. but it was invigorating. smooth. i have a new love for wetsuits. i settled into a nice stroke coming up only a few times to make sure i was sighting straight. i found myself singing in my head. the same song i use sometimes when struggling through the last of a run. 99 bottles of beer on the wall. haha! not sure why i ever started but it settles me into a rhythm and before i knew it i saw the hill i knew indicated the nearing boat ramp we were to exit.

it was a short run into transition where the infamous wetsuit strippers were waiting. best thing ever. you get your wetsuit down to your waist then lie on your back. they grab, pull and strip. mere seconds and you’re free. i picked up my suit and ran to my bike and instantly realized stupid novice mistakes. my bike shoes were velcroed closed. my helmet wasn’t unhooked. dumb dumb dumb. and it made me start to rush. but i stopped myself. just like the swim, i had told myself ahead of time to take the extra minute or two in transition. breath. gear on. nutrition stocked. let’s ride.

as i ran out of transition the clock caught my eye. i tried to subtract 46 minutes off the time to see where i was but it seemed wrong. it is what it is i thought and took to the road. the first few miles were ugly. getting out of the city. trying to find a pace. i knew where i aimed to be but i seemed to be going faster without feeling like i was pushing. i pulled it back just a bit but decided to go with what i felt. carefully. we crossed over the state line into south carolina and the scenery ~ and topography ~ completely changed. here were the hills i’d never ridden. they started off small. constant rollers. but they grew. it was like nothing i’d ever tackled before and i started to worry that i was pushing too hard and wouldn’t last. but it was here where words a friend had written me on friday came to mind. words that changed everything.

remember to thank your body for allowing your soul this experience.

looking around at the gorgeous south carolina countryside it all became clear. this was not a physical battle i was being forced to fight. this was an emotional experience that i had chosen to give myself. i took in every sight. every sound. every smell. i encouraged and cheered on every rider i passed. and merely smiled as others flew by me. i kept a watchful eye on my bike computer. regardless of how giddy i felt i still had goals. but i was happy that ~ purposefully ~ i had only set the computer to show my pace and not my time. fifty six miles later, when i dismounted in transition, i had no idea what my time was and it felt oddly ok.

let's ride

a quick change of shoes and bike gear gone and i was off on the run. smiling. this was the only place i had allowed myself a watch. mostly just for pace control but i knew run time was going to be essential. i felt great! i was that happy chipper runner that every other runner wants to smack and for that i kept my mouth shut. i could hear complaining all around me. the most resonating one the conversation i heard between two guys who could say little more than “embrace the suck man. embrace the suck”. to me nothing about this sucked. yes it hurt. yes it was tough. but it was amazing!

on the run

it was around mile 5 where i knew i had a problem. sorry for the TMI i am about to give you but there’s no saying this nicely. i had to crap. serious stomach ready to explode crap. i argued with it. i’ve never never had to stop mid run. race or training. to go. it worked for awhile. off and on. but eventually i knew i was in trouble. to make matters worse, there seemed to be a lack of port-a-potties course side. and my fear, almost as bad as not making it, was that i’d find no toilet paper inside. the run was a two loop course and i knew that a couple of the water stations were handing out freezing wet sponges to cool your body temp. and those sponges were my goal! it was around mile 10 i found them. still running. still fighting. i grabbed two, tucked one in each strap of my sports bra and went in search of the elusive john. it got bad. real bad. i almost stopped to walk just to keep things together. but i kept pace and at mile 12 ~ yes mile 12! 1.1 miles to go ~ i saw the port-a-potty and had to make a decision. a sudden loud gurgle of my stomach made it for me and i ran for relief. it didn’t take long. and there was even tp to spare.

with a mile to go i suddenly felt lighter πŸ˜‰ and i picked up the pace and as i neared the finish i could hear the crowd cheering. i went to sprint the chute. or at least sprint in comparison to the run i was doing, but as soon as i sprung off the first step, my leg seized! i almost fell. here i was, the last yards of my first half ironman, having not walked a step except water stations, and i was sure i was going to have to walk or even crawl it in. but then i saw the clock. math, bec, do the math. i knew what it should have said. anything under 7:14:59 was my sub 6:30 goal. how was it then that the number on the clock started with 6? that couldn’t be right. subtraction never seemed so hard but all numbers seemed to say sub-6. i was distracted enough to forget my leg and somehow it carried me across the line.

it took a little while for me to find the bunny and i was still clueless on my time. she pulled out her phone. she’d been tracking me on ironman live all day. and showed me my splits.

swim ~ 29:09 ~ 1:30/100m holy crap!
bike ~ 3:10:48 ~ 17.61 mi/h
run ~ 2:07:43 ~ 9:44/mi

thank you body for allowing my soul the experience of finishing the 2012 augusta half ironman ~ 70.3 miles ~ in 5:57:50!

half ironman!

half ironman!


October 4, 2012 at 2:26 pm 6 comments

enough is enough

i can not believe that augusta is this sunday. in four days i will be a half ironman! i’ve trained for it. maybe not as much as i could have. or should have. or wanted to. but at this point i have no choice but to believe hope pray that it’s been enough!

i’ve struggled with the question of whether or not i want to share my goals on here. i’m not sure why. i think i’ve heard from so many that this is my first. just finishing will be the accomplishment. but screw that! i never aim to “just finish” and i’ve always been open and honest with what i want and somehow putting my goals to paper makes me more committed to them. so here goes. as always i’ve made three goals:

the acceptable ~ sub-7
the expected ~ sub-6:30
the kick ass dream ~ sub-6

i know those are huge margins! but i think that’s how it’ll play out. i either hit it right where i expect to or something major is going to push me over or under. let’s hope for under!

but there are some potential-to-be-over factors. the weather ~ temps an expected pretty perfect low 60/high 79 but with an indecisive come early or wait until evening band of storms. rain on the run i can handle. on the swim or on the bike … not so much. and my health ~ i’ve been riding the edge of a cold the last few days and though i finally feel like i’m winning the war, i’m hesitant to assume all is ok. zicam is my best friend this week! and one more negative … unfortunately i’m driving up alone on friday. red had to cancel for a very valid ~ new job ~ reason! it sucks. her vim and vigor would have been so contagious! and over-analytical me, myself and i aren’t necessarily the best company to have for six hours in the car.

but, onto the positives, i know i’ll have no lack of support from the bunny! i’m staying at her house friday night and then we’re driving over together saturday morning. she’s crazy and she makes everything fun and that’s the kind of vibe i need. and i can not wait to see B3! she’s had a few bumps and bruises along the training path. some figurative ~ her mom diagnosed with stage four cancer. some literal ~ a pretty major crash on her bike. and last month she came very close to backing out of the race. but she recommitted and nothing makes me happier than to know that she will be on course with me!

so positives or negatives. over or under. i know there are things i can’t control so i simply have to trust in the training and trust in myself. it won’t be easy. and it’s bound to hurt like hell. but i’m ready … i think!

September 26, 2012 at 10:14 am 2 comments

what goes up

i did my last long workout sunday. i had one thing left i wanted to conquer and i hoped the plan got me there. the euro picked me up early and we headed north. he may not be doing augusta anymore but he’s still tried to be there as a training partner now and then and i definitely wanted company on this one. i was underwhelmed at first. each mile of highway seemed flatter than the next and i feared we weren’t ever going to find the hills i was in search of but as we got closer to the northern end of the trail we began to see and feel the rollers. it was gorgeous out. a bright pink sunrise cutting across surprisingly green and open fields andΒ  i was eager to ride.

from the moment we were on the bikes we were climbing. not crazy but an uphill that led to an almost immediate burn in the quads and the coast down the other side was an invigorating way to start the morning. we had no idea what that upper end of the trail would bring us but elevation was exact what i wanted and i hoped for more. florida is flat. very flat. or so i thought. i was nicely surprised by the hills we found. rollers. steep ones. short ones. long ones. all said about ten miles worth of a rare florida find before it flattened out. but through it all there was no doubt we were heading south which meant the trip back north was going to be all uphill.

the hope had been for 50 but the euro’s parents had arrived in town the night before and he wanted to be home in time to take them to brunch. we’d gotten started a little later than expected plus he was a little worried he wouldn’t be able to hang on the way back up. so at a little past 21 we turned to head back. the first 12 or so back up were a breeze. a slight incline yes, but little more to tackle. but when we hit that upper end of the trail we hit the hills. now i admit these hills are likely minor compared to what many ride but given what i saw of the augusta course and what i’ve seen on youtube ~ the entire course start to finish watched while sitting in my office one day πŸ˜‰ ~ i really think some of what we found rivaled what i’ll be riding. and i hit them strong. head down. cadence up. i only had to come out of the saddle a few times.

i loved the hills. loved the challenge. and most of all loved what followed because what goes up … must come down!

September 18, 2012 at 9:13 am Leave a comment

how’s the weather up there?

it’s begun. my daily. no my MULTIPLE daily checks of the weather in augusta. it’s become a total obsession. back when i was running with the BRA ~ my old running group ~ coach eko always tried to hold us off until a week before race day and though it was hard, i readily agreed that given i’m not god ~ or any variation of said all powerful beings that may or may not exist ~ there truly is no point in obsessing over something i can’t change.

but that doesn’t matter now. i know i can’t change it but i want to see it. prepare for it. know it. i want every detail and expectation set and ready. i’m 18 days out … 18 days!!! HOLY. CRAP. the furthest the forecast goes is 10 days. friday sept. 21 expected high 81. low 63. precipitation chance 0%. oh my. it couldn’t get much better than that. maybe a degree or two cooler but i’d happily take 81. fall is in the air and i need it to stick around for 18 days. not just 10. please mother nature, don’t tease.

September 12, 2012 at 8:28 am 1 comment

wake me up when september comes

yes i suck at writing. again. august has come and gone with no goals set, so no goals met. but, that said, anything done last month was merely in preparation for what’s to come at the end of september and i started this month proving to myself that i am about as close to ready for augusta as i can be. well with the exception of the swim that i am still avoiding but still hoping will be as easy as everyone seems to say. this past saturday i did what some said i shouldn’t. what no training plan calls for. but what i knew i needed to do to feel secure. forty three miles on the bike. ten on the run. brick. and i rocked it. all right about race pace. and when all was said and done ~ almost four and a half hours later ~ i still felt like i had more to give. of course not long after i felt like i’d been run over by a mack truck but that was to be expected! so from here on out. for 25 more days. i’m officially in taper ~ sort of. i plan on one more long ride ~ hills hopefully ~ and one more decent length run but the rest will merely be maintaining where i am. it’s time to let the body recover to full strength! and maybe focus a little on the swim.

i also have a new-to-me ride to break in. totally cool and proof that fellow runners/triathletes are some of the best people you will ever meet. i love lola. my bike. she’s fared me so well in training but she’s old. 15 maybe. and with bull handles and gear shifters on the down tube i had begun to worry about riding her in augusta. so i emailed a girl i’ve met once through mutual runner friends. she recently started a new local tri group and i thought maybe she would know someone selling something a little better for a lot less. she posted on her group board asking. no sale but i was shocked when a total stranger offered up on loan her almost new, ridden only four times, bianchi. it’s her secondary bike and she’s sad it never gets ridden. i picked it up last night. i’ve got to get a few things tweaked before i ride. seat lowered. my pedals. maybe my seat. but the stranger gave me carte blanche to do whatever i need to do to make her my temporary ride so i can have the best race possible. and add to the coolness of this, the stranger and her husband are doing augusta too!

ain’t she purty πŸ™‚

i feel like the race stars are aligning. i feel strong; physically and mentally. i’ve put any and all other areas of potential life stress on the back burner. and yes, by that i mostly mean the hunter. discussions tabled. one day at a time faced. i’ve accepted the fact he’s not going with me and have lined up another support network. between red and the bunny there is bound to be no lack of support ~ prep help leading in, cheering throughout and tequila at the finish!

25 days until augusta. yes i’m freaked. but yes i’m ready.

September 4, 2012 at 1:18 pm 2 comments

brick wall

there is so much i could write about. the hunter and i are teetering on the edge. temporarily agreeing to disagree while we see if we are salvageable. my mind has gone to so many places. my heart to a million others. none have found an answer.

maybe it’s indicative of my direction but we are not what i want to focus on. i’ve let augusta take a back burner in so many ways. my training tracking has been nil. hell my training hasn’t been near what it should be. but yesterday i proved that i just might survive rock this thing!

life has been much easier since the ironman loaned me the bike trainer. though i’ve only used it a few times it’s been days i needed to salvage a workout. the best earlier last week when i took it for a two hour “ride” followed by a four mile run that i held surprisingly strong! i should have been impressed. convinced i am ok but it’s the trainer. i don’t know the mileage i hit. it was inside in a/c.

so yesterday i wanted reality. outside. heat and humidity. i figured 40ish on the bike and six on the run would give me a renewed self-confidence. thankfully it didn’t take me long to secure company ~ frank a guy i used to run with on occasion for the first half of the bike and the governor for the rest of the plan. though i know i’ve got to do augusta alone, i relish company on long workouts. frank and i started just as the sun was coming up and headed out for 18. the lead-in followed by two loops. loop one might have been a little slow ~ 16 mph maybe ~ and included two brief interludes. the first to watch the lanky coyote cross our path and the second to marvel at a lizard-chasing owl in the middle of the path. both were beautiful creatures and it reminded me why i love early mornings at the flats. on loop two we kicked it up a notch. 18-19 on the average and i was thrilled when we picked up a third rider. and i was pulling! how cool (yes, i am easily amused).

after the second loop we headed in to pick up the governor. frank left us for a short run and she and i headed back out to the flats for another 18 on the bike. both loops were good. a 17mph average. which exceeds my 16 mph goal for augusta.

after a quick break and change of shoes we headed out for the run. it was hot by then. pushing the low 90s with the sun beating down but i was thankful for it. i needed to know i can survive the potential race conditions. mile one was rough and i considered asking the governor to cut the plan to four. but i held firm to my no-faster-than-10-minute-miles plan for the race and by mile three i felt good so instead of asking for a cut back, i asked the governor if we could up the plan to eight.

thirty-six miles on the bike. eight miles on the run. all at race pace. well except the last mile where i kicked it to an 8:45 proving that there was still reserve in the tank πŸ™‚

i feel like i’ve scaled the brick wall. renewed my confidence that i am an athlete and i can and will kick some augusta ass!

August 20, 2012 at 8:09 am 4 comments

that time of the month

last night i was shocked to realize it’s been almost a month since my last post! i’m not even sure how to catch up on the last few weeks but i’m not sure anything happened that needs recapping. basically i’ve been working and training. day in. day out. oh, and there was a two-week vacation in there which i think i will write about but in a separate post. but here’s the basic, current life summary.

work has changed lately. the new big boss has settled in and things are going to be different. in a good way i think. he has expectations and goals where the mindset before was always “we do well enough so why do more”. hopefully this will alleviate some of my boredom and unrest with my job. regardless though i’m looking. tentatively. i’m tired of living paycheck to paycheck and as a state employee i’m certainly not in this gig for the money. but at least for the time being i may actually be challenged which is far what i prefer! except it truly is cutting into my blogging time ;).

training is going ok. not great. not bad. i’m up to a 53 mile long ride and i’m keeping the mileage ramped up in that range. the ironman loaned me a bike trainer and that is going to be a huge help. this past saturday i was able to get in 2.5 hours on it ~ approximately 40-45 miles ~ before sab had even woken up. by the way i’m changing sab’s name in this blog. i know it’s been years but i call her miniMe elsewhere and it’s driving me crazy having two different nicknames so get used to it. anyway since miniMe had a slumber party saturday night, i was also able to get in a long run sunday morning for a kick-ass weekend of workouts! the run i’ve taken back up to 11 mile longs. i was starting to feel like i was slacking on it. granted it’s my strongest of the three disciplines but that doesn’t mean i can just avoid it. that said … i REALLY shouldn’t be avoiding the swim which is by far my weakness. but that’s exactly what i’ve been doing. i must get back in the water. and preferably open water!

things with the hunter are ok. i think i’ll equate it to my training. not great. not bad. i never did vent my disappointment about his lack of wanting to go with me to the bunny’s party or augusta. i pretty much concluded that i’d rather go alone than with someone who didn’t want to go. the party is this weekend and actually i’m probably not even going to go now. i’m broke. i’m tired. i’m not loving the idea of six hours each way for one night. i feel like crap for it. i want to be there to celebrate my friend’s happiness but i’m already stretched so thin. she understands. i wish i did. augusta is another story. i want and need to tell the hunter i’m hurt by his lack of support. at this point i really don’t even want him to go. i want to be surrounded by nothing but positive energy! but i do want him to understand that i’m disappointed. everything else between us seems ok. i’m just feeling a little unsure of the future ~ mine, his and ours.

hopefully i won’t vanish for another month. i miss writing. i miss my (few) readers. and i definitely feel out of sorts not seeing my training in numbers.



August 8, 2012 at 10:18 am 3 comments

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the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39