My sister had the crazy idea last year of us doing the half Iron Man race this summer (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run). I agreed, and thought it would be a fun thing to do with my sister and good way to force myself to keep in shape. The months quickly passed, and before we knew it, the race was coming at us like a spider monkey.
Before I started my training, I had this expectation that in order to complete the race, I would have to be doing really intense Rocky style workouts. I thought I would have to reach an intensity level I had never gone to before that probably involved puking. After all, traveling 70 miles in 8 hours is something that no average human should be able to accomplish.
Per usual, life happened and I would say my training style ended up being more of a “low and slow” approach. The race did force me to stick to a (stressful) training schedule. I ran…
A few weeks before the race, I made the trip over to Coeur D’Alene to do some training with Sara and to bike the course. Here we are before doing a practice ride on the entirely uphill bike course.
Then before we knew it, it was race time. I was feeling nervous but positive in the morning. They played music on the beach while we waited, we did some nervous dancing, and then it was time to enter the water. The swim was much more difficult than I was anticipating. I don’t know how one prepares to swim with so many people around you. I felt like Sara and I were trying to survive the Titanic, connecting panicked eyes every few sloppy strokes, simultaneously getting hit by other swimmers. If it wasn’t for Sara and I sticking together, I am not sure if I would have made it. Also the 6am swim cap look is one of my best yet.
But we made it! The race could have ended there and I would have felt good about myself. Why didn’t anyone tell us to practice the swim to bike transition?! It was brutal, even the costume change felt hard. 10 minutes into the bike, I thought I was going to have to quit. My body felt unprepared and disoriented. Then I finally adjusted and was able to push myself.
The Coeur D’Alene bike course is brutal. I made it to finish, just before the cut off time. Once I got off of the bike, I was feeling really confused and exhausted. Where is Sara? Is she going to make the cut off? Should I wait for her? Should I quit and just walk home? Where is my Mom to help me make these choices?
I started walking, and quickly realized how nauseous I was feeling. Once I reached the main stream of racers, I laughed because I realized most people were on their second and last lap. A spectator told me “Great job! Only 6 more miles!” We made that mistake last year as spectators, so I just laughed and kept walking. Luckily I ran into my sister’s boyfriend who told me that pretzels would help with the nausea. This was my favorite part of the race because I essentially snacked my way through my first (and last) 6 miles while everyone around me dug deep and really went for it. What can I say? I’m just a girl who loves pretzels.
I ended up getting cut off with one hour left in the race, and six miles left to go. I was not bummed or disappointed, I was actually pretty proud of myself and also relieved that I could finally stop moving my body.
I looked a little ridiculous running in my matching sister shirt without Sara by my side, but I smile knowing we never really considered that being a possibility before the race. What an experience! I am officially an Iron Man 64.0 (full race was 70.3) and am pretty proud of that.