Muncie, Indiana Half-Ironman
My wave left the beach at 7:39am for the 1.2 mile lake swim. I was nervous but confident. Swimming is my main weakness but it has been improving. I tried to stay relaxed and get into a rythym, but I quickly was doing breaststroke as I sighted the buoys. I continued this rotation of freestyle/breaststroke for the first 2/3 of the swim. After the last turn buoy, stubbornness kicked in and I maintained a steady freestyle with sighting strokes just like I practiced. Would have been nice to start that way but better late than never. I was happy that this was my first triathlon swim where I did not have the thoughts of quitting because I was in over my head. So that was a PR. My official swim time was 57:37 for the 1.2 miles. Water temps were 77.4 so no wetsuits were allowed and I had planned my training not to depend on a wetsuit.
Out of the water and up the hill to T1 and my strength, the bike. My transition times proved to be strong, only 2:47 from swim to bike.
The bike is were I felt I could make up a lot of time. My brother, Michael, said your legs are going to feel like garbage after the bike anyway, you might as well go hard if you can. My goal was 20mph average if I was feeling good, apparently I felt really good. I averaged just over 21mph for the duration of 56 miles. The course was realitively flat, only 1,140 ft. of elevation gained. We did encounter a noteworthy headwind on our northbound legs. Overall, I felt like I smoked the bike. Official time of 2:39:41.
T2 was another good transition for me, 2:58. I made sure to add sunscreen to the top of my head and shoulders before leaving.
My goal for the 13.1 mile run was for 10 minute mile pace. My quads are tight and slightly cramping at first but I knew that slow and steady was my key. Aid stations were about every mile and I would walk through them as I drank water and/or Gatorade. I did choose to skip the 3rd and 4th stations as I was feeling strong. I was maintaining 9:35 pace for the first 6.6 miles which I was very happy about, but knew my legs were feeling fatigued. I maintained my mantra of 'a slow trot is always faster than a walk'. This powered me through, mile to mile, aid station to aid station. The final 5 miles were the toughest but I kept the trot going. Looking at my watch, I knew I had the time to finish under 6 hour but I didn't have any time to give either, staying smooth was the only way it was going to happen. The hills were becoming a challenge but I maintained. It was very encouraging to hear the crowds at the end. Soon I entered the final finishing shoot, it was gravel and uneven, so I focused on my footing instead of looking around too much. I crossed the line and looked down at my watch, 5:58:02. My official time was 5:58:06. Half marathon time was 2:15:03.
I made it under my goal time of 6 hours. Super excited and to think of going twice that distance for a full ironman is crazy, but it was our first conversation. Michael finished in 5:43:58, a huge PR for him as well, he'd never gone under 6-hours before in 3 previous attempts.
After some finish line photos we went back down to the lake to soak of tired legs. At a much slower pace, we retrieved our bikes and transition gear before heading back to the hotel for some much needed food and rest. Do we plan to go the full distance, absolutely. We are looking at the 2017 Ironman Boulder. Let the training continue.