If you missed Part 1, you can read my Pre-Race Report HERE.
Ok...here goes. I've had some time to gather my thoughts on Pac Crest "Long Course" (this race isn't part of the "Ironman" series and therefore Pac Crest is no longer called a Half Ironman, but rather "long course" now). Here is what you'll get out of me:
The good, the bad, and the regrets.
I guess I'll just take it leg by leg.
First...I better share my time:
I have raced this course twice before and this was my best race by far. I'll start with saying I PRd by 35 minutes. I will also say that although that makes me happy, I am pretty pissed that I didn't come in under 7 hours...but we'll get to that.
I headed into the swim with some concerns. My goggles had given me great problems on the fun swim the day before. They were leaking bad and fogging horribly. I could not sight. I mistakenly assumed someone would have defogger with them on race day and so I blew it off. No one had defogger on race day until I was in the water and ready for the gun to go off and Diane said she had some. Too late... this race is starting NOW! Fortunately I did not have to sight much at all as I was usually in between two people and could just stay with them without much effort. The leaking did prove to be troublesome once I got out of the water. My left eye was almost blind. This had happened weeks earlier at the Hagg Lake Swim so at least this time I knew I wasn't having a stroke...which is what I thought had happened at that swim. I think the water was just so cold that it froze my eye a bit. Within a couple minutes, it was fine, but it did make for some added fun at T1. However, I'm getting ahead of myself. I did have a few issues in the water in the form of calf cramps. I experienced my first cramp earlier in the morning when we trying to get a group shot and I stood on my tip toes. Then my right calf cramped again going around Buoy #2 and Buoy #3. This was a sign of things to come.
As I came out of the water, Coach Glen captured my first moment of disappointment...
...when I checked my time: 42:58. My slowest swim ever at Pac Crest and about 3 minutes slower than I had planned. I thought I had a great swim, so this was frustrating.
I had considered my previous transition times in other races and figured I would be out of this one in 2.5 minutes or less. However...I had some clothing difficulty. I put my shirt on backwards not once, not twice, BUT THREE times. By the time I got out of T1, over 5 minutes had passed. Grrrr. I have to share that although this clothing mishap was pretty funny to I'm sure everyone who was watching, at least I finally got it on correctly. My teammate Nic came into T2, put his shirt on and then tried to figure out why Laura was yelling at him that his "bike was on backwards". After struggling to figure out what she meant by that, he went on his merry way and did the entire 13.1 with his shirt on backwards :-) hehehe.
I was SO prepared for this bike ride. I thought for sure I would finish between 3:30:00 and 3:45:00, but really felt that 3:30 was going to happen. You can see here that I'm feeling pretty good about things...
What I can say about climbing the hill is that it was truly NOT that hard. I've done it twice before...the first year getting off to walk at one point and the second year staying on the bike but struggling. This time I passed a few people on the steepest part. I felt prepared physically. What I was not prepared for was the leg cramping that started at about mile 20 or 25. My calves in particular were cramped pretty good and my right hamstring was screaming at me. I also had a stitch in my side that proved detrimental once I hit the top and thought I would scream to the bottom. For the first couple miles down I could move pretty fast - close to and over 40mph sometimes, without much pedal effort but eventually I needed to really speed up my cadence and my side was causing me some concern. If I had known that the side ache would go away on the run (which it did) I would have probably pushed harder at the end, but I cruised in much slower than I wanted to.
On my way down the hill, however, I looked up to the right to find the most wonderful rainbowish thing in the sky. It was more like a rainbow cloud and it took my breath away (and made the news that night). I thought maybe Michael was watching from above and decided to brighten our race day with a sky painting. Whatever it was, it awed me.
I made it the 58 miles (rather than the normal 56) and pulled in to T2 with 3:48:23 in the saddle. Not thrilled, but glad to be off the bike.
I had planned on this being a long transition because I had brought my foam roller and planned to roll my back out. I knew it would be hurting, but I didn't realize how badly it would be hurting. I think I could have gotten away with a 3 minute transition here, but as I headed out, I realized I hadn't put on my chapstick, so I went back. Then I started out again and realized I forgot my music, so I went back. Stupid mistakes. T2 took an unnecessarily long 5:13.
My original plan had been that if my swim, bike and transitions went off as planned, I could run as slow as a 12:00m/m and still come in under 7hours. I still had hope at this point because I was able to run the first 5 miles pretty well...and by well, I mean I was moving forward but my breathing sounded like a freight train.
Highlights of the run were seeing Dad, Mom, and Mai out on the course. Eventually the altitude, hunger, and back cramping managed to get me down to a walk/jog and that got me to the finish line and this...
Love you all...thanks for reading and supporting and following along my journey.