Two weeks ago on Sunday, I raced one of my favorite local races, the Musselman. It is a half distance and was actually the first half I ever raced. I went into this race feeling super strong and prepared and just KNEW I was going to finally go under 6 hours at this distance. Last year my time was 6:01, so I knew I had it in me to do it.
I felt super strong in the very calm waters of the swim. Kel was racing too, so I had a good luck kiss before I went out and knew he was in the wave behind me. My hope was to hold him off until I got quite a few miles into the bike. My goal during the swim was to swim an 8 out of 10 in terms of intensity for the duration. I did just that, with really good sighting, and was very pleased overall with my effort. My time (which I can't find right now because the results page is not loading) was right around where it usually is for this distance which is about 36 minutes. It seems like no matter what I do, this is about my limit. That's all good...I loved this swim and was very happy with it.
My goal on the bike was to push and push HARD. I had some pretty specific HR zones I was shooting for and once I got settled in I realized that due to the intense heat and humidity of the day (naturally) I was going to be way over those. Oh well...I went for it. I knew there was a risk, but I am at a place in this distance where I am ready to start taking some chances. I was super happy with this ride. I averaged a little over 18 mph, and the whole time I thought it was a PR for this distance but later I realized I was just a bit shy of what I rode last year. However, I'm pretty sure I rode this as hard as I could on the day (the very, very hot and humid day...).
The goal for the run was the same as for the bike, don't be afraid to go hard and take chances. The run is always my weakness (and something I am resolved to work on over the off-season), but even though I might not be super fast, I can run for a long time! I went hard. I actually negative split this course, and of that I am supremely proud. I passed a LOT of people that were walking, I put a LOT of ice down my bra, I made a LOT of jokes on the course (I might have offered some walking guys ice out of my bra if they started running), and I ran hard, hard, hard the whole way. I am supremely proud of my effort and truly felt that I left everything on the course that day. I am also proud of my positive attitude and mindfulness of how lucky I am to be able to do what I do. The last few miles I started to get a little freaked out because I was actually getting a little chilled even though it was in the 90s. I knew I was very close to being past the point of no return in terms of body heat, but I felt okay otherwise, so I just went for it and decided to enjoy feeling cooler than I expected.
As I went into the last mile, I knew I would be really close to 6 hours. Through the chute I went with Ryan at my side and I can honestly say I was shocked to see 6:03 on the clock. I really thought I had done it and had to squash down the wave of disappointment that ran through me. (This was helped greatly by the wave of nausea that overcame me as I sat down on a chair at the finish line...). I actually contemplated heading over to the med tent because I was still feeling really cold, but after a 5 minute rest at the finish line I decided I was probably okay.
The rest of the afternoon was kind of a blur because Kel, who had finished a little before me (yep, he passed me around mile 14 of the bike), was really cramping and ended up in the med tent for 2 IVs! I ended up having to get all of our stuff into the car while wrangling our kids (our babysitter had to leave right after we finished). Once we were all in the car, I was back to not feeling so great and was just really relieved to be home.
After really reviewing my HR data and my effort over this course on this day, I have decided that this is probably my gutsiest race ever. I am beyond proud of what I did out there two weeks ago. Surprisingly, I was faster in the swim and run this year, but the bike was what kept me from going under 6! I don't know the exact numbers but overall and in my age group I ranked much higher than last year, so if I take into account the hot and humid conditions (did I mention it was really hot?), my performance was right where it should have been. I call this race a HUGE success!! And that goes to show AGAIN that there is a lot more to the story of each race than the numbers!!
I cannot write this race report without speaking to the fact that during the Musselman weekend, two athletes were fatally injured while racing. My heart goes out to the families of these fellow triathletes. I think we were all affected by the events because even if we didn't know them, they were one of us. Once again it reminded me that I am so blessed to be alive, so blessed to be doing something I love, and it renewed my commitment to live each day to its fullest.
Next up for me is the flat and fast HalfRev at Cedar Point! I can't wait!!