Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Pigman 1/2 Race Report

This past weekend, I raced my first Half Iron Distance of the year. I love the challenge of new things and I was so excited to get out there and see what I could do. Although I haven’t been training specifically for the long stuff, I figured by dialing back the intensity I would be OK for the longer distance race. WHOA, I was mistaken! Each and every time I attempt a long distance race, my respect for the distance and for the athletes that repeatedly race it, ratchets up another notch.

We took off for Cedar Rapids around 1pm Saturday. It’s a long drive, but somehow the trip goes by much faster when Deputy ‘you know who’ is driving. She thinks I drive like a grandma, so she was behind the wheel the entire time. Nice deal for me! We pulled into packet pick up just in time to grab our stuff and meet up with our buddies for dinner. I think we had 10 people around the table at Biaggi’s which made for a great soirĂ©e.

We made it back to the hotel just in time to watch the finish of the women’s marathon and to see Phelps win his 8th medal of the games. Indeed, pretty special moments in sports history.
I am enjoying watching the Olympics even more that I thought, but it’s certainly taking is toll on my much needed sleep. 0500 Sunday morning came very quickly, and the 5 of us were packing up our stuff and heading out the door before the sun came up.

For the second week in a row, water temp was 77.999 and wetsuits were permitted. It was very warm, but my fear of getting hit (still very tender from last weeks fall) and my inability to sight made for a slower than expected swim. While heading into T1, I received the update from Kevin that I was 1:45 down from the first female, so I knew I had plenty of work to do.

It was a new bike course this year. Mostly rolling, which I typically enjoy, but the rough roads made for a rather uncomfortable ride. I caught the first female by mile 17, but I knew I was not riding as fast as I would have liked. I could not find any rhythm and I was a big wimp in the corners. I was expecting super rider Jule Hull to come flying by me, but I learned later that day that everyone felt the same way.

Needless to say, I was trilled to be off the bike and on the run. The run starts along the bike course, so I had the opportunity to see what was happening behind me. I saw 3 women pretty close, so I knew I had to stay on task and focused throughout the run. I was very careful to run very conservatively at the start. I was holding 7min/mile pace for the first 5 miles and felt very controlled and confident that I could easily hold that pace for the duration of the 13.1 miles…HUM…Well, I guess that’s where the lack of training came into play, because by the time I hit mile 8-9 I started to fade quickly. I can’t even explain what happened, but I was hurting. For those of you who’ve done Pigman, you know what I’m talking about when say how mentally and physically exhausting that run can be. I tried my hardest to hold it together, (thinking about the big winners check helped) and made it to the finish in 4:50. That’s a PR for this distance, but it was a very tough day for me. I learned a lot out there, and I know that the experience will prove valuable the next time I attempt the 70.3 distance.

Here are two thoughts that repeatedly creep through my mind…

- I LOVE Olympic distance races…
- Winging Kona may not be the smartest approach if I expect to finish

I am 5 weeks away from AG (oly distance) Nationals, and 8 weeks from the Ironman World Championship. It should be an interesting training block-Coach Jared is working hard on this one!

Best of luck to all the Ironman athletes getting ready to do their thing in Penticton and Louisville this weekend!! I’m so excited for you and can’t wait to hear all about it.