Aug 5, 2013

Barb's Race 2013 - A Woman's only Half Iron Distance Triathlon in Sonoma, CA

Thursday.  7.25.2013
We arrived to the rental house and it was everything I imagined. The house was very inviting and comfortable. I immediately wanted to run around and jump on every bed! Yes that is how much I loved it. The house was less than a mile from the Russian River (the swim start), which was just perfect for us. Once Darcy, Coach Q, and I arrived we took a nice little walk down to the river. The water was so warm and inviting, I knew swimming in it was going to be amazing.

Friday. 7.26.2013

Time to pick up our race bib and set up our T2 gear. In English speak, T2 means Transition 2. This is gear you leave ready for yourself for when you 'transition' from the bike to the run. To be honest, I was pretty nervous about leaving my running shoes out by themselves. Most people don't think much about it. But if your running shoes are your most favorite and really I am going to relay on them to take me those last 13.1 miles, they better be there when I get to T2.
Here is a photo of the empty T2 area. Wish I had a picture of the area full of bikes, it really is a sight.
Here Darcy and I are pretending to go out at the run start. It was an ahha moment for me. The next day I would be running out of here. So...on to race day.

Saturday. 7.27.2013
The night before I made sure to leave everything ready. Water bottles, wet suit, tri gear, everything was ready!!
Everything 'was' ready. Looking at my bike at T1, and talking to Coach Brad, .... i realized..OH NO my water bottles! I forgot my water bottles. :( I'm ready to cry. Coach Brad say's It's OK, we will get you some. I'm standing there. Thinking. Can I run back to the house and make it back in time for the swim start? No. Then I think 'shit', not going to cry. not going to cry. 2 minutes later..Coach Brad comes back with 2 hydration bottles. 1 with water, 1 empty. I run to fill one up with Gatorade (thanks SAG). OK everything is fine. I'm good with 2 bottles. I can stop at SAG and fill up my bottles. It's going to be fine. Freak out moment didn't happen. I was fine. And really I was.

My swim start was at 8:33 am. Here I go. What was I feeling? Amazing. I loved it. The water was perfect. Like my teammates told me "Bucket go out there and swim the shit out of it." And I did just that. I'm not the fastest swimmer, so my time didn't matter. It mattered that I finished. I swam the 1.2 mile in 1:00.52. Considering all..I was happy. goes. T1. Transition from Bike to swim. I put my wet suit and towel and whatever else I have and get ready to... 'Bike the shit out of it.'
OK here I go. I know I can do this. 56 problem. See I'm smiling.
At the beginning of the bike course. Somewhere before mile 5. I'm pretending to be hardcore Triathlete here. LOL. Looking at this picture all I see is that my arm coolers aren't pulled up correctly. I left my necklace on. My arms are all wrong. That is why I see. What I felt? AMAZING I was excited. I knew what to expect and wasn't nervous. Can't believe I wasn't nervous, the whole week leading to the event I was nervous.
This is a picture my friend Lisa took of me as I was going up Chalk Hill. What is the big deal? I did not get off my bike. Yes I stopped. Took a breath. And then continued on my merry way. Chalk hill is best described as the largest hill on the course. You hear so much about it out  that you basically talk yourself out it and say..I can't do this I can't do this. I kept looking at my mileage and thinking oh I have a ways to go for Chalk Hill. I thought it was at mile 48. Not sure why, but I did. So when I hit it at mile 45 I didn't think much of it. Even though I had done it twice already on training rides, i admit on race day it felt much easier. To say the least I WAS VERY EXCITED!!
And here this picture was taken after Chalk Hill. As you can tell i was VERY happy.
I did have a few mishaps on the bike course. Yes that is blood you see on my knee. I fell at SAG stop 1. I went to grab a water bottle and clumsy me only unclipped from 1 pedal and not the other. So I fell. The poor people at the SAG stop asked me to stop and go to the medical tent, I was like No I'm fine. See. Throw some water on it and I'm fine. Around mile 42/43 my bike chain got stuck again! UGH!!  I stopped and did the gear thing of switching it back and forth trying to get it unstuck. Nope that didn't work. Then I pulled over and realized SHIT now what. That chain is in there good and I can't pull it out.  I calmly tried to get it unstuck. Nope nothing. Lucky for me a guy pulled over and yanked that chain out!!  Thank you stranger who was hot and doing a full Ironman and did the helmet bump with me and stopped to help you forever! :) Yes I was HAPPY. Must get my bike looked at again. This is getting old.

56 miles done. 5:03:50. I was hoping for a time between 4:15 - 4:30. It's OK though, I got it done. How did I feel? I felt good. I was ready to get my grove on and get to running.

And now off to do my 13.1 miles.
I was OK with my knee on the bike, but come to the run . . it was a no go. I had to walk, when I tried to run I could feel it. It was a bit swollen. So I figured I better just walk really fast. OK so I only ran when pictures were being taken.
This was my serious face. It was also my 'I want to get this shit over with' face.
Why am I posting this picture? This picture has a story. I was running/walking and I hear this huffing and puffing. This guy was hurting and pissed. So I 'slowed' down to talk to him. Me being me said 'do you need anything? Can I help you?' He was like no I'm OK I just want this day to be over with. I totally understood what he was talking about. He then continues to tell me about how his friend talked him into doing this race. His friend got a group discount so hey why not do an Ironman. He said he was so upset with his friend. Yikes. So here I am on mile 7/8. Here is he on mile 4ish, he only had another 22 miles to go. Yeah I felt bad for him. I wonder if he made it.

My highlight from the run. I was just starting to run, maybe around mile 1, I had to pee really bad. There was a group there from the Silcon Valley IronTeam cheering on participants. I said..Be right Back I gotta pee really bad. Yes I talk to complete strangers because I can and I don't care. So here I go to the porta-potty. I come out...Imagine this..Coming out of a porta potty and about 10 people yell  'GO TEAM' as I open the door. They Scared the shit out of me and we all start laughing. BEST CHEER SQUAD EVER!!!

OK...back to the race. At mile 8 I was OVER IT! I hit the wall. I was pissed that I couldn't move any faster. I started running a bit. It hurt but who cares. I had blisters and I could feel them. Stupid blisters. I am sprinting it in. You can't tell but I was crying.
I was telling my legs..MOVE IT!
Worst finisher photo ever. I should have put my head up. But I was crying. I wasn't crying because I was hurt or anything, I was crying because I had completed the race. I was so happy. My body was saying 'I never want to do this again.' my mind was saying 'OK when are we doing this again?'
This here is the finish line cheering squad ever! Hugs and kisses from them were the best.
I really was happy.

I still can't believe I did it. I would hear my friends talk about doing Ironman races and just sit in awe and wonder. Can I do it one day? A full Ironman, no way, but a half maybe. So I took on this personal challenge and did it. It has by far been one of the most amazing experiences ever. My coaches exceed my expectations. I was told it was going to be an amazing season, it really was that  and much more.

So what's next? Yes I am doing it again. Kona 70.3. Who is up on taking this challenge with me?