Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Half Ironman

Sunday I participated in the annual Soma half ironman: 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and 13.1 mile run. I got up at 4:30am, grabbed my stuff and headed out the door for a chill in the air. My wave started at 6:52am and the swim went fantastic. I stayed nice and relaxed, kicking off other swimmers and trying to stay directly on course. I managed a time of 41.40 for the 2000m swim, which is okay. I always want to be faster on the swim, but it's relatively short compared to the rest of the race. The wave behind me were all men and all caught up to me, which is always scary. Women aren't nearly as aggressive swimmers or bikers.

I quickly headed on to my bike and didn't bike fast at all. I was trying to stay in my low heart rate zones and got passed by almost all the bikers. There was an accident in which a biker was carted off to an ambulance with a broken leg. Fortunately, no accidents or flat tires for me. But just a slow time. I had to change around my nutrition plan at 2:15 into the bike. My stomach started to feel heavy, so switched from electrolyte blocks to just gels and gatorade. I usually eat 100 calories every 20 minutes on the bike, but by the end, I switched to 25-30 minutes just to have a better stomach on the run. I got a very poor time on the bike, but biking just isn't my strength, which is unfortunate because it is the longest portion of the triathlon. I am not a good bike handler and get nervous on turns and tight u-turns, so slow down, which is part of the reason I am slow.

However, the run came and I rocked it. I started my run at just over 4 hours into the race and managed to pull off a 2 hour half marathon. I even ran the same time as some of the faster runners in my group. However, because they are much better bikers than I am, they finished with much faster times. My coach told me I would pass a lot of people on the run and she was right. Guys who I saw on the bike course who were a good 25 minutes ahead of me, I caught up with and passed. I slowed down a bit at mile 8 and 9, but by mile 10.5, I started running 8 minute miles and didn't slow down. I got my second wind and finished very strong.

Just need to work on my bike technique. If I can stay that relaxed in the swim, I think I'll be fine. Just need to work on swim speed now. I think in my wetsuit, my form is actually better than it is without it. The wetsuit forces me to keep my arms apart and not cross them over my body. But biking is my nemesis. I don't know how to get better. I can see how people can become better swimmers and runners. It's mainly about genetics, background and experience, technique and speed work. However, I don't see what you can do to become a faster biker? Is there some magic secret I don't know of? Perhaps my positioning could be better; I could stay in aero longer, work out with leg weights more...not sure.

But overall, it was a nice race and glad I did it. Gave me some confidence going into next month when I will be an even slower biker. I am going to have to really slow down my biking during my next race...frustrating. The weather was a warm 90 degrees by the time I finished the run and luckily, ice was available on the run. Every aid station I ran by, I grabbed cups of ice and threw them down my shirt. Felt soooo good.