JP and I woke up at 4:00am on race morning and were loaded up and on the way to the race site by 5:15am. This would be my first HIM, but I wasn't nervous and I really wasn't too excited. I knew I would more than likely finish, but my time wasn't going to put me in a good overall position at the finish.
I went to the bathroom about 5 times before the race, like usual and thought I was in the clear and might only have to go once after the swim, maybe twice at most.
JP and I lined up for the wave 6 start. BH had gone off in the wave before us and EG, AH and BS would be coming right behind us in wave 7. My goal was to not drown. The water temperature was over 78 degrees and going sans wetsuit was not the option I had hoped for. This was only my 5th swim this year and I had only swam one time with my wetsuit off all year for 25 minutes. JP and I wished each other luck and the horn sounded. I walked deeper into the water and just started stroking away, like I was out for a nice easy swim. Swimming is so intense. You always have to check to make sure your hips are up, your feet aren't dragging, your entering the water with your hand straight and not crossing over, your not dropping your shoulder, your head is in a neutral position and then you have to make sure you swim in a straight line and avoid as much body contact with other swimmers as possible. It is always something, much more technical than running. I tried to get into a rhythm and relax. I used the swimmers around me to sight and after finally checking my position to the far buoy discovered I had swam far on the inside. Damn!! It seemed so had a bunch of other people. Perhaps the buoy's initial position was an optical illusion. I wanted to get out of the water in under 45 minutes and I didn't want to put myself in oxygen debt, however, when I made it to the far buoy to swim the backside my watch said about 18:xx minutes (UGLY). It was going to be close. The backside was easy and I was on my way back a lot quicker than I had thought. I finally settled in, but my hip flexors and my back started aching from holding my legs and body up in the water. I was fatiguing already and I still had over 69 miles to go today. When I was almost out of the water, I stopped kicking to allow myself to pee one more time. I was happy to have gotten it out of the way so I wouldn't have to pee in T1 and could just go straight out on the bike course.
I hit the shore in 43:xx and hit T1 at 44:43. No wetsuit and no drowning, I'll take it.
T1 was slow for me, but uneventful in 2:10.
The bike started off on the greenway, which was sick fast. I could coast at 20mph easily. I spent the first 15-20 minutes spinning easy to get my heart rate down and figure out where the heck my body was at with all this. My lower back and my hip flexors were pretty tight from the swim and my neck and shoulders were a little achy. A little over 10 miles in I felt the urge to pee and by mile 15 it was unbearable. I debated trying to pee while cycling because there wasn't a porta-john anywhere. I couldn't do it, to uptight I guess. Indiana is all fields and no forests, so when I finally found a wooded spot I jumped off my bike and ran into the woods. I tried to hurry, but my bladder was full and I wanted to get it all out, so I wouldn't have to pee again, or so I thought. I jumped back onto my bike feeling so much better and started making up ground, but another 15 miles later and it happened again! Again, I jumped off and ran for cover. I wasn't too frustrated, just a little annoyed. I was trying to stay focused catching people that had passed me while I was peeing. I would check behind me pull out to the left and pass then check again to make sure I was a few bike lengths in front of the biker before pulling back to the right side. I was following my routine and as I pulled left and checked behind me I saw a guy coming so I made sure to pull back right as soon as possible to get out of his way. Now, when I pulled right, I pulled far right, just to give him extra clearance, but this asshole and I mean asshole pulled far right, right behind me. I veered back left thinking he was going to pass me on the right, but when I checked he had pulled back left on my wheel. I completely lost my cool and yelled "get the fuck off my wheel!!" The guy gave me a nasty look and yelled "I was just using your slipstream for a minute!" To which I replied "That's illegal!!" He mumbled something I couldn't quite hear and pulled away. I was so pissed. I hate cheaters. I tried to focus on my pedal stroke, but I had to pee again...damn!! I pulled over for the 3rd time and jumped off, but this time my foot slipped on the gravel and I went down on my right knee. I managed to rip the skin off and blood started trickling down my shin. I just kept running for the woods. As I was peeing I noticed some plants that perhaps could have been poison ivy and as I tried to move away I almost fell back in it. Thankfully, I grapped a tree and kept my balance. Jumped back on my bike and with about 12 miles to go, but one more mishap awaited me. I was less than 7 miles away and I heard a soft humming. People were flying by me. I looked down and my speed had gone from 20+mph to 14mph and I was working HARD. Great! My front brake was rubbing. I reached down and tried to pull on the calipers, but that didn't work. I began pumping the brakes trying to get them to open up a little bit. Finally, after about 2 miles I got my bike working again. I had had enough I wanted to get off the bike before I flatted or wrecked. My luck was running out. All the mishaps put me at 2:56:43 for the bike.
T2 was a blessing. I was so glad to be off the bike, but as I ran into the fenced area I felt the urge to pee again. Uuuuugggghhhh!!! I transitioned like the flash and ran to the porta-john, let loose like the Hoover Dam and got out in 2:01. Had I not had to pee, I would have been out in under a minute darn it!!!
The run started off fine for the first 2 miles. My legs felt really good, which surprised me because my longest work out had been just shy of 3.5 hours and I was beyond that by this point. I was not running hard and I was passing person after person from the get-go. They had aid stations every mile, which I thought was a bit much, but as I got to the first one I greatfully accepted ice and gatorade. The temperature had been fine for the bike but by mile 2 I was warmer than I would have like and there was no shade. I took more gatorade and water at mile 2 and by mile 3 I realized I was not going to make it the 13.1 miles unless, I could cool myself off. I was overheating so fast. I started to see more and more of the leaders coming back and some were running, some were hobbling and some were walking. This was a bad sign. I had to cool my core. I grabbed to cups of ice and jammed them down in my sports bra. Almost immediately, I felt a little better. I continued to stuff ice down my top, grab fluid and then added an ice water soaked towel to my neck. Every aid station became like a buffet table. Ice for the sports bra, get a new cold towel, or re-soak the one I had, grab some flat coke. I couldn't do all that on the run so I had to stop at the table for a few seconds. I hated to lose the time, but it was the smartest move I could make. After mile 4, runners were everywhere walking and hobbling. I was still passing a lot of people. I don't think one person passed me the entire race and I knew I was running the worst half marathon time I had run in 3 years! I made it to mile 10 and my body finally gave out on me. My legs became extremely heavy and it felt like my throat was the size of a straw. I was really glad my body had held up this long, but I knew with an average of 40 miles a week biking and 15 miles of week running I'd be lucky to finish. I started thinking about my grandma a lot at that moment and how she was the one who had died and I was the one who was still alive, about how this past year has been about doing a lot of things that I didn't think I could do. I started to get a little emotional and I did what I ALWAYS do... I just kept going.... one foot in front of the other, thinking about her and how I was doing this for her. About how even if this is my only half ironman ever, at least I did one.
I made the final turn at the church knowing I had a little less than 2.5 miles to go and I started to cry a little because I knew I wouldn't give up. I knew I was gonna finish and I was gonna finish in plenty of time to break 6 hours. The last 2 miles were all uphill and a few people were just too beaten to run, but I kept going. I could see the finish tents at the top of the last hill and people were on both sides of the streets clapping and cheering. I was almost done. I was smiling and tearing up at the same time as I ran up the last hill and as I crossed the finish line I threw up my fists in victory. I had done it. I had gotten in enough training to do swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 and run 10. My determination and my grandma had brought me the last 3.1 miles in 5:47:37.
It was a great day and I loved the race, the course, the volunteers, everything. If things work out I definitely want to go back next year and crush my time.