Monday, May 5, 2008
In case you didn't know, a half-ironman race is hard. White Lake was a yummy little reminder of this.
A half-ironman race is also a great learning experience - every single time. What did I learn this time? Let's see....
1. As much as I would like to draft during the swim, I am much better off starting slowly...in the back...breathing calmly. I tried to start mid-pack in the hopes of catching a draft, and it simply freaked me out. In Brazil, I'm starting in the back. Plain & simple.
2. I still have a lot to learn about cycling. Luckily, I was able to ride with Sharon, Molly, Charlotte and Jill for the majority of the 56-miler. It sure was nice to know my buddies were always near me (but not too near - we didn't draft). I am just beginning to "get" how to ride in the aero position AND engage my legs and core properly. I figure this is going to be a long learning process, so I'll just keep plugging away.
For the first time in a race, I had to contend with stomach cramps for about 20 miles. I was tempted not to drink my water or perpetuem, but I forced it down. I figured it probably couldn't make me feel worse. And, lo and behold, the cramps eventually went away.
3. Despite the first run in hot weather, I managed to hold it together pretty well. The mile markers were a little unpredictable, so I wasn't sure if my pace was accurate. I drank water or heed at every stop - and even ate a few of the Hammer bars. I will definitely be ordering some of the Hammer bars to eat on the bike in Brazil.
4. I love my teammates. As Deanna B mentioned in her blog, they were everywhere. It was awesome. Big thanks to Shelly and Derek D for meeting me at the finish line - ready to catch me. Hugs to both of you!
5. After the race, I was relaxing in the RTC tent (stocked with all kinds of treats - courtesy of Fave) with Rick, Greg-roach and Fave. Fave summed it up best when she said, "It's really the training that I love." I completely agree. I enter races to keep me honest with my training. While it's very satisfying to finish a tough race, I draw more satisfaction from training with such cool people.
6. You really can do more than you think you can. Rick and I realized in the span of 13 days, we ran the Boston marathon, completed a century ride and finished a half-ironman. No wonder I've been so hungry lately....
I think I'm ready for the Brazil taper...