Fast forward from that day in Buffalo where this dream got put on my bucket list to two weeks ago when I was at packet pick up for the half Ironman, I cant explain the excitement, the bit of fear and the slight panic I felt. After pick up my packet and putting my bike into transition I got some pictures of the area and took it all in. I took a walk to to swim start and looked at how to move from swim to transition.
I checked into my hotel, unpacked and got everything ready for the race then became very anxious once things slowed down. I went into town and got some coffee and took a short walk along the river trying to calm my mind and emotions. I visited some of the local stores and just focused on nothing in particular just relaxed. This did the trick and after about an hour and a half I made my way back to the hotel to settle in and get some rest. I figured I would have a hard time sleeping, as I usually do before big events, but I didnt, I feel right to sleep and work up feeling really rested a 5 AM.
We could start getting in to transition at 6 am the actual race started at 7:30 am, So I wanted to get there right at 6 and thankfully I did, parking started filling up already. I laid everything out in the transition area and put my wet suit on and started walking over to the swim start area. I was a decent walk down a dirt road but we were issued "morning drop bags" so I wore my flip flops down to the swim start then put them and my long sleeve shirt in the bag. It was around 55 degrees but was to climb to 85. I was in wave 6 so I did go in the water to warm up as I waited for the waves to start.
Before long it was time for me to go. This was a deep water start but I did find a rock to stand on as to no waste energy staying a float. On the sound of the start gun we were off. We were to swim down river, around an island to a point in the lake then turn and come back finishing up stream of the river. I was surprisingly calm and was actually able to sight well enough to keep fairly straight. The swim was pretty uneventful until we were heading back up stream and I started catching up with other waves of folks (could tell by the color of swim cap) and by then some from the wave behind us were catching up, needless to say it was getting crowded. I found myself swimming into folks and getting swam over by others. It did get very annoying but we were close to done.
At the end of the swim we had to climb some stairs then we could have the "strippers" help get us out of the wet suits. We then had a good 1/4 mile run to our transition area. I had a pretty slow transition as I wanted to ensure I remembered everything I needed. At the line we could mount the bike and were greeted with a hill climb right off. This course had a lot of hill climbs and my coach told me to keep the ride at about 80% effort to leave something for the run. As I rode I was taking in gels (6 for the entire ride) from a flask. I made sure to keep drinking due to the temperature rising pretty quickly. the first 15 miles went by pretty quick and I was able to pass a lot folks but then around mile 20 or so we were climbing a huge hill. I went left to go around someone but as I was passing someone decided to go around me to the left. Due to the leaders coming back on the course any cars would have to go right down the middle of the road to do so. As the person was passing me and I in turn was passing someone else a car was coming down the hill. The person passing me got nervous and cut into me even though he was not clear of me. He clipped my front tire and I went down hard.
As I stood up trying to figure out what just happened I noticed my water bottles fell off the bike and were rolling away, I got them but then realized how many riders were coming up the hill. At the same time the guy who crashed me came back and kept saying he was so sorry and how he got nervous etc. I picked the bike up and moved to the side of the road. I checked myself for injury then the bike. A few scratches and popped the chain off but seemed ok. I put the chain back on and had to start moving again, UP HILL from a dead stop. I was so mad at this point I started working harder than I should have but I was able to pass everyone again including the person I was trying to pass when I crashed. She looked over and said you again, I thought you would be done after that.. I laughed and passed her. I made the turn around and the rest of the ride was uneventful. I did work harder than I should have but thats the way it goes sometimes. I had a fairly quick transition 2 and was off on the run.
I felt pretty good, pace and turnover were nice and fluid but it was getting very hot. I did carry a handheld for hydration as to drink as much as I needed and not have to wait for a water stop. The first 4 miles flew by but around mile 5 we ran down a long hill, thats not a bad thing but this was an out and back so we had to run back up this hill shortly. I reached the turn around and it felt like I hit a wall. I slowed down and even walked a fair part of that huge hill. I started stopping at the water stops every mile for ice to try and cool off. Though I had passed a ton of people in the first half of the race, I didnt pass many the 2nd half but thankfully most people were feeling the same way I was and I didnt get passed by many either. I finally made it to the town and on the road was marked 2k so we didnt have much left. a right hand turn then a left and the final left I could hear the crowd and then into the the finish and even broke the ribbon to the announcer saying my name. What an amazing feeling!!!!! I was handed a hat, finish medal and shirt. Took a finish photo and sat under a canopy with a water mister in it.
I had engaged in some conversation with other folks in the tent for a few minutes, I told them how I could barely swim 1 year ago then just finished a 6 hour half Ironman!!!! After some food and checking results I found that I was 81st our of 152 in my age group and 652 out of about 1500. I wanted to do better in age group but I will take it on a tough day with a crash! I went to my car and used to wipes to clean up and change then hit the road back to the US and much needed rest. I am proud of what I did at this event and enjoyed every miserable minute of it. Now though.... on to the next.
Suunto 9 watch
ETC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Shimano bike Shoes
Saucony Guide ISO running shoes
Amphipod hand held for the run
Hammer Whey Protein Bar - pre race breakfast
Hammer Sustained Energy - during race on bike and run
Hammer Race PR Kit - pre race
Hammer Recoverite - recovery ( 2 servings on drive home)
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator - recovery (lots of them)
Hammer CBD Balm - recovery
Hammer Gel - during race ( 6 )
Hammer Endurolyte - during race ( 7 during bike and run segments )