What a day. I competed in the Utah Half, a half Ironman distance triathlon and it was quite the adventure.It is supposed to be 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a half marathon, 13.2 miles, for a total of 70.3 miles.
I woke up around 2:00 and then 3:00 and then 4:00. They say the day before a big race like this you are supposed to hydrate. I excelled at it because I was going to the bathroom all day long and into the night. Finally at 4:00 when I had to go again, I decided I might as well get up. Things went smoothly until we lined up for the swim. All the weather reports said it was going to be a calm morning but right at 6:45 a wind Storm blew in. The race directors couldn’t get one of their buoys to stay in place as the wind kept blowing it across the lake. We waited, and waited and waited. Finally after about 45 minutes they decided to start the swim but we were only going to do one lap which would cut the swim short by .5-.6 miles. We took off in a mass start instead of waves because they wanted to get us out of the water sooner than later, due to an impending storm. It made for a crowded swim. The swim went well except for the large waves. When I would turn my head to breathe a wave would hit just right and I would swallow a ton of Utah Lake water (which is some pretty nasty stuff.) It was hard to spot the exit from the water due to the sun shinning right in our eyes, but I finally made it, problem was I couldn’t get out of the water. The boat ramp is covered in lake scum so as I stood up to start running out, I slid 8 feet backwards. Everyone was acting like seals trying to slide up the ramp on their belly’s. The race director was pulling people out. It had to be a hilarious sight.
Transition one went well except I forgot my race number so I had to turn around and head back and get it.
The bike started off great. I was averaging 22.9 miles per hour. At one point we were supposed to turn and go through a trailer park, but someone had closed the gate. We were clueless as what to do so we kept going straight. A cop came tearing up and got us all heade back on the right course but it probably added an additional half mile so I guess I did do the whole 70.3. The turn mistake created quite the peleton as about 20 bikes all met up at the same place. It was awesome for about a mile until it spread out enough so that people wouldn’t have to draft. We then headed west and realized that there was some brutal wind. We had to ride at a 45 degree angle sometimes just to stay on the bike and when we headed North it was like going into a brick wall. I saw my bike pace continually drop by the minute. I have never ridden a bike in that kind of wind, it wasn’t very fun. On the way back you could look off to the north and see massive black clouds heading our way. I would watch the faces of other bikers and you could see the look of concern, we were going to get hammered. The last 10 miles we were back in town so buildings would shelter us from the wind a little, but that is when the storm hit us. It started with hail. Riding 20 mph in a tri jersey doens’t give much protection. It hurt. I could feel chuncks of hail go into my helmet and slowly melt. We got pelted pretty good and then the rain came. This made it difficult to brake around corners as my hands would slip. My shoes were also filling up with water. Then I had to dodge two people as they decided to make wrong turns in front of me, and another biker who broke out into a litany of cuss words as something on his bike broke. I rode the last 5 miles at a great pace but still ended up with a 19.3 mph pace. Without the wind I am sure I would have been over 20.
Transition two was OK except everything was covered in mud from the rain storm.
As I started the run I met up with my neighbor who was going to do the run to train for a future marathon. It helped to have him there. He was talking and asking me questions but I didn’t answer. It’s not because I didn’t want to, it’s because I couldn’t. I was spent and had to conserve talking energy to try and finish the dang thing. It was great to have him there because at one point I noticed some nipple chafeing. He had some Body Glide and gave my a chunck. I strategically placed it where I needed it and the hurting sensation went away. This assuredly prevented some massive bleeding and a raw nipple for me. Now, a few hours later, there is only some uncomfortable pain. The run was hard and it kept raining off and on. I was pretty consistent until around mile 9.5. Then at every aid station I would walk and catch my breath for about a minute. It helped but it also pushed me past the 2-hour goal for the run portion.
Overall it was brutally awesome.
So now the question is…can I do a full Ironman? I don’t know. I would defianately have to train better and do the race smarter. Ask me in a couple of weeks and I may have an answer.
BTW – you may notice in the picture my freshly shaven legs. Emily seems to be really bothered by it. It may be because she is jealous that they are so sexy and smooth.