Monday, May 4, 2015

2015 St. George Ironman 70.3

First I just want to say, competing in an Ironman 70.3 on a relay team ROCKS!!!! We had so much fun. I've always said I would not compete at St. George because it's just too dang hard. This was a perfect way to be a part of the excitement. Even though I know there have been issues with the swim (wind, temperature, etc.), I said yes when my friend, Kim, asked me to be on her team. Another friend, Candice, is doing Boise 70.3 next month so we asked her to be our cyclist to get some race and distance experience.

Kim and I headed down to St. George Thursday afternoon with plans to meet Candice on Friday to pick up our packets. As always during this race, my house of full of athletes and spectators ready to go for the weekend. The more the merrier! As a side note, another purpose of the weekend was to get Candice and another friend, Janae, who is also doing Boise, some open water/wetsuit experience but more on that in a bit. After a little practice swim, we met the others at the Ironman Village and picked up our packet and went to the lake to drop of the bike.
creative sand sculpture

We ate dinner in Hurricane at Sonny's BBQ - I highly recommend this place if you like BBQ. Then it was back to the house to do our final race planning and finish up the preparations.

4:45 am comes really fast on race morning! Breakfast and packing up only took about half hour and we were off to catch the shuttle to swim start. With 2500 athletes and all the volunteers and spectators, the place was buzzing even at that early hour.

We finished getting T1 set up and settled in for the long wait. The relay teams swim in the very last swim wave so we had an hour to talk to friends, potty and get psyched up.

I was having second thoughts on my ability to do well in the swim. I could feel my shoulder being a little angry from my first wetsuit swim the day before since my surgery and just hoped I could hang in there and make the cutoff time. Just when I was doubting myself, I ran into my BAM momma/coach, Jen! She was just the boost that I needed.
The weather was great and the water was picture perfect and it was time to get in the water. Said farewell to my mates and I would see them in an hour. It was nice to not have to swim way out to swim start like last year - basically we got in the water and were ready to go. I started to get up in the front but then backed myself out a little so I wouldn't have to struggle with anyone. The gun went off and we were on our way. Although I had a couple of guys that were zigzagging in front of me the entire way, I was able to get into a rhythm and using the buoys for siting, stayed fairly consistent. As always, I never look at my watch for the time so I had no idea where I was. After making the last turn and heading to the ramp, I was still feeling pretty good. According to my Garmin, I swam 1.3 miles in 51 minutes. This was my best "ironman" swim ever.
I ran past the wetsuit strippers to save some time and got Candice out on her bike in just a couple of minutes (then I worried about my wetsuit!).
transferring the timing strap

We went back to house so I could clean up and then were off to town to watch and cheer. It was starting to get hot so we took advantage of the shade when we could. IronTrac wasn't updating but that is sort of normal so we were guessing when she would be back to T2. Kim was ready when she got there and in just about a minute was off on the run course. While Candice rested a bit, Janae and I walked up to the mile 1 party station.
There were 3 tents set up together - Southern Utah Tri Club, Salt Lake Tri Club and BAM Endurance Club. Between the three teams, there was a huge contingency of racers. It was great fun to be in the energy of cheering the runners as they ran out and back in to the finish. It really was a party and I'm so blessed to be friends with all of these fellow triathletes!

We got to the finish line and watched Kim come through! So exciting to be done!

When you do a race solo, you only have to worry about yourself - when on a relay team, it's always in the back of your mind that you don't want to let the other team members down, so maybe that small voice that says "quit" gets shoved aside. I would do a relay again and we are planning our next one!

We didn't even clean up before going to dinner and I'm sure the restaurant really didn't want these stinky athletes in their place but we were going to eat, no matter what! Back at the house everyone took turn donning the recovery boots and we chilled the rest of the night.

I am running a half marathon in two weeks so no rest for me - I was up at 6:30 and out the door for a two hour run. Janae joined me for the first hour then I finished up before it got too terribly hot.

The final agenda item for the weekend was getting Candice and Janae some open water swim practice in wetsuits. There were a few people at the lake with the same idea. All the others got into their wetsuits but I jumped in the water in just a tri kit - it was cold at first but then actually felt good on my sore, running legs. The swim was good practice for their Boise race and showed where some work needed to be done and gave confidence that it can be done.

Next triathlon up for me is Escape from Alcatraz. It scares the crap out of me but my swim on Saturday might have just given me the confidence I need to jump off that boat!