Early Saturday morning Matt and I drove up to Cedar Point and checked-in to our hotel, Hotel Breakers. I had hoped to jump in the lake for a practice swim, but it was pretty rough and we had arrived a little later than planned, so we just walked down to the beach and checked out the area.
Pre-race day went pretty much as planned: packet pick-up, bike check-in, pre-race meeting, Grunt Girl photos, CTC photos, pasta dinner with the family, and early to bed. Rev3 did a GREAT job of making our pre-race day simple and calm.
Race Day - Sunday September 12, 2010
I planned to start my day at 5:30 am, but the person in the room above us was up by 4:40 am, so I was too. :-) I was glad I brought my own toaster, and I was able to have tea using the room coffee pot to get hot water.
By 6:15 Matt and I were headed out the door. We walked down the beach to the transition area so that I could get everything set up. At first I was stunned to find that the ladies on each side of me had already set up their gear on BOTH sides of my bike's front tire - leaving me NO room. None. I think I stood there for a few minutes, not sure what to do. Thankfully I spotted a USAT lady who told me I could slide the one set of towels, shoes and such over to make room for my stuff. Phew!
The Full Rev start had been delayed a few minutes, so Matt and I made it back down the beach in time to see the Pros and the age-groupers exit and re-enter the water in the middle of their 2.4 mile swim. I was so happy to see most of the CTC people that were in the full race!
A little after 8 am I pulled on my wetsuit, headed down the beach for some last minute photos with Matt and my parents, and then made my way over to the starting line.
Right on time, my wave started at 8:40 am. Thankfully, Lake Erie was much calmer than it had been the day before. It was still a little wavy, but not too bad. Personally, I enjoyed the shallow water at the beginning. While some around me were dolphin diving, I just walked, and still kept up with them. Once deep enough to actually swim, it took awhile to get in a rhythm. I really had to make myself calm down. The waves from my left (the north) made me breathe mostly on the right. When I finally reached the first RED buoy (1/2 mile out) I couldn't help but check my watch - I saw 16:xx. Quickly doing the math, I was pleased. I decided I wanted to get to the next red buoy in 8 minutes. That .2 mile stretch was much easier for me. I felt like the waves were pushing me along, and I could breathe on both sides now. So, I get there, check the watch, and see 25:xx. Not bad. I figured if I could get back to shore as quickly as I swam out, I'd be done with the 1.2 miles in 41 minutes (which would beat my goal!) Well, swimming back the waves again had me breathing on only one side - the left now. I was also surprised to feel the water getting colder on the way back. Strange. My feet were pretty numb, but otherwise I was okay. As soon as I could see others around me walking, I did the same. Started pulling my wetsuit off and again checked my watch - 44:02. Hmm, guess I was slow swimming in, but I still beat my goal of 45 minutes. I walked up the beach, accepted a cup of water from a volunteer, and then entered transition.
SWIM TIME: 44:31
Somehow I lucked out with a transition spot at the end near the bike in and out. I walked down there, and I carefully dried off and got rid of ALL the sand on my feet. I even sat down to get some Body Glide on my feet where I had had blisters the week before. With the cool air I decided to go with the arm warmers. They didn't like going on my wet arms, but I'm glad I wore them! (I kept them on until just before returning to transition.)
T1 TIME: 5:42
I must say again, I REALLY like this bike course. I'm so glad that I was able to ride the whole course 3 times before race day! I knew what to expect and it suited me well. Not too hilly, but enough rolling to keep it interesting. I made myself just take it easy, knowing I had to run a half marathon when I was done. Tons of people passed me, and I only passed a few, but I just stuck to my plan of taking it easy. I didn't want to risk riding too hard and then not being able to finish the run. Before the swim I took one GU (8:20 am), and on the bike I took 3 or 4 GUs (I've now lost count), plus half a PB&J bar, and 2 full gatorade bottles. I broke the top off my one water bottle while trying to open it. Oops. I managed to not lose any of the gatorade though. I was able to dump it all into my aero waterbottle - all while still riding! I was soooo happy that I NEVER got off my bike (or even clipped out) during the whole 56 mile ride! I honestly had FUN on the bike course. It was a beautiful day - the sun came out there were a few little clouds spotting the blue sky. I felt GOOD. No cramps, no pain. I was thinking, "This is just like any other triathlon, just a bit longer." :-) Plus, I beat my goal time by 5 minutes. Oh, what was really cool was that with about 15 miles left, the pros started to pass me. I loved seeing them fly by on their awesome bikes!
BIKE TIME: 3:25:15 Average Speed: 16.3 mph
At first I was scared to start walking as I dismounted my bike; not sure if the legs were going to work. I was fine though. I got all of my gear changed from biking to running, and was off.
T2 TIME: 4:44
I began by walking, while eating a few Sport Jelly Beans and drinking some water and then began a slow jog. Since we drove the run course the night before, I knew the only slight hill was on the road to and from Sandusky. I planned to start out slow, and then later try to pick up the pace a bit. (This worked well for me on the 6.2 mile run at GCT, so I figured that was a good plan.) I took water at every aid station. The first few I walked, but then realized that was using up too much time. Miles one through five: 11:02, 11:14, 11:32, 11:12, 11:17. Right at about mile 5 I saw my brother going the other way. I didn't expect to see him at all, so that was pretty neat. I gave him a big wave and guessed he was near mile 7. I wanted to pick up my pace, but got worried about my heart rate each time I tried. So, I just stuck with my slow even pace. I was so glad I had put my Garmin on for the run. All the time I was looking down to see what my overall average pace was. It was around 11:15 a lot of the time. In my head I kept doing the math, "How slow can I go and still finish this whole race in under 7 hours??" I didn't want to risk not meeting my goal, but I knew I couldn't speed up - just had to stay steady. Miles six through ten: 11:31, 11:30, 12:20?, 11:19, 11:21. I don't know what happened at mile 8? Oh, but around six I had my one aggravation of the day - a guy moving boats around with a huge tractor decided to block the WHOLE road while I was about to run past him. AHH! I was so mad at him; he could see me coming, and did nothing to hurry up. (or wait for me to pass??) I ran way off the road up and around him. Took me a minute to get over that. Ugh! Well, I continued plugging along, singing dumb songs, and taking a couple of GUs. On my last GU (It must have been about 2:30 pm) I told the guy passing me that I had better finish the race within the next hour because I didn't want another one of those for a YEAR. On the road leading back to Cedar Point I was ready to be done. What made me keep moving was my time goal, and the desire to SEE the finish line. Miles eleven, twelve, and thirteen: 11:45, 11:56, and 10:54.
RUN TIME: 2:29:06 11:23 pace
TOTAL 1/2 IRON TIME: 6:49:19
I beat my goal by 10 minutes. I did it!
Once done, I was scared to stop moving, so I walked for about 15 minutes. Finally sat down, but didn't feel right. After about 30 minutes of that, things seemed to return to normal, and I was able to eat a bit of the post race food. Within an hour Matt and I walked right though Cedar Point to the exit so that I could clean up transition and claim my gear.
I am SUPER happy with how the day went. I met my goals, I had fun, the weather cooperated, I didn't get any cramps or blisters, no knee pain, no stomach pain... It went about the best it could have. My first half iron race was a wonderful experience! I loved everything about it!
I have about 60 more photos posted on Facebook (from race day and the day before the race.) If you'd like to see them, they can be found here: