It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, or even a blog post for that matter.
Here we go…
Raleigh was kind of a beast, but I loved it.
A few things about Raleigh
- It’s hot
- It’s humid as f*ck
- Point-to -point race
- The people are really nice
- The city is really clean
- It’s SO GREEN everywhere, and so lush. Now I think I know why they call it the “city of oaks” ?
- It’s a tough race
- Rolling hills for dayssss..but not as bad as the course profile makes it out to be
- No shade on the run – think Kona-like conditions
- Pizza at the finish line!
Our adventure down to Raleigh started with a long road trip the Thursday before race day. You know things are good with your significant other when you are still laughing after 11+ hours in the car… that’s all:)
Thursday night, after driving 7+ hours, we stayed in Fairfax VA . I got to see one of my best college gal pals in the AM on Friday, then we were on our way to Raleigh. Four hours later, we made it to Raleigh, did all the check in stuff, registration, spent more than we needed to at the athlete expo. I talked to the head referee, who was way cool, and got my wrist brace officially approved. I had been emailing him to make sure it was OK to race with a wrist brace on my arm.
Friday was all the typical pre-race stuff, including a carb load dinner , which I think we both got food poisoning from (awesome). If it wasn’t the food, it was something we contracted during our travels, because we both spent all of Friday night and Saturday feel ill (I’ll spare the details). Grrrreat. Because getting sick is great for staying hydrated before a hot race, not.
Saturday morning started with a pretty shake out bike ride on the Greenway and a short run… then is was off to carb load! The only thing was, we didn’t feel like carb loading. In fact, we could barely eat our pancakes. I was so nauseous… way worse than my typical pre-race jitters nausea. The pancakes were a struggle, and to be honest, I wasn’t even that full for a carb load. I spent the rest of the day hydrating like a champ and relaxing as much as I could. My carb loading faves are non-fiber and low fat foods such as: pretzels, fig newtons, sports drink, bread.. and more bread… basically nothing that’s healthy for you, but is great for loading up for race day.
Later that afternoon we drove out to Jordan Lake (40 min drive) to drop off our bikes at T1. We weren’t allowed to swim in the water at the lake, but I touched it with my hands and it was WARM. Kind of like sitting in a warm bath tub feels like… this mean’t no wet suit! A “small” detail I didn’t know about Raleigh until after I signed up: It’s a point-to-point race. It makes for more details to tie up before the race and a little more confusion. There were two transition areas, T1 at Jordan Lake and T2 in downtown Raleigh.
The transition area in T1 was gorgeous! I got a money spot thanks to my AWA standings (thanks Ironman!)
After sweating our butts off during transition set up, we drove on the bike course for about 30 miles (highly recommend this with any race) and it was cool to see what to expect the next day! Then is was back to the hotel for vegging out and trying not to be on our feet as much as possible.
Race Morning – it was here before we knew it
Our alarm clocks went off at 3:40 AM, we downed our pre-race breakfast, and headed for T2 in downtown Raleigh, to drop off our run stuff and get the bus to the swim start. Both of us still felt ill, and we couldn’t really keep food down (again, I’ll spare the details). But picture this, not feeling well and then getting on a bus for 45 minutes to the race start. Luckily, the buses were “luxury” buses with bathrooms, woo hoo.
We finally got to Jordan Lake after what seemed like the longest bus ride of all time. We had about 30 mins to get our stuff situated in transition, then it was time for a practice swim. Brian’s wave started almost an hour before mine, so we hugged each other good luck and he was on his way to warm up and get to the race start. Seeing him start before me was fun, as I got to cheer him on. During the time I was waiting for my wave start, I tried to relax as much as possible, focusing on my breathing. I took a moment to even sit on a rock at the shoreline, to get in the zone. I think really grounding yourself before a race can make a HUGE difference.
At 8:16 AM, my AG was off!
Probably my proudest swim to date, as far as MENTAL toughness goes.
- I sighted well, I drafted like a champ, I didn’t freak out, I swam through waves and choppy waters like a boss, I didn’t flinch when I got kicked or punched.
- I have been doing a lot of mindfulness training (and meditation) and I think it really helped me during the swim. I have NEVER been so calm during an open water swim, who knew a triathlon swim could be almost “zen like.”
- Visibility… not the greatest
- We got a bonus 400 yards, according to my garmin and many other athlete’s garmins… I guess the buoys had shifted overnight due to the storm?
- My time was 38 minutes, when it should have been 31-21 minutes… and it was long! I kept thinking, where the hell is the shoreline?!
- Did I mention I swam with a brace on my arm? This made it extra interesting, but I survived just fine
Finally the shore line.. and up the boat ramp to T1. I had some difficulty getting my swim skin off (thanks volunteers), and also thanks to the brace, it made things a little slower… but then off I went!
- Beautiful course!
- Rolling hills like woah.
- Point to point. For the entire 56 miles, everything was different, which I liked. It was a surprise at every turn
- The local people were out cheering- that was awesome and a great mood boost
- Dodging cars on my bike on the small side roads made things… well… interesting
- I chicked a bunch of dudes , who started their day way before me.. #sorrynotsorry
- I wish it had been even hillier… gentle rolling hills, but nothing crazy.. hills are my cup of tea
- I descended those hills like a boss , finally I feel comfortable descending! Loved passing people not only on the UP’s but the DOWN’s
- I felt nauseous for most of the bike ride, but focused on fueling with gels, sports drink and water. I also dumped water on my body at every aid station, which is key for staying cool.
final time: 2:41:49 (avg speed 20.76 mph)
- Hot hot hot
- No shade
- Passing four girls in my AG like they were standing still
- Feeling weightless
- Negative split like a boss
- Hills were a b*tch, but it was downhill towards the finish
- Wow this is short! After one loop only 6.5 to go, I can do this.
- Seeing Brian on the other side of the road not once, but twice !!
- Water and ice everywhere
- College kids cheering
- Black pavement
- Nice breeze on the way back to finish line
- For once, feeling fast and not asthmatic during a half ironman – progress!!
- Winning the mental game
- Did I mention.. pizza at the finish line?
If you aren’t feeling the burn by the end, you aren’t digging deep enough.
final time: 1:45:04 (8:01 pace). I wanted faster, but I was proud of my negative split run on a hot day!
And the finish!! My lungs were burning and I sprinted my face off.
Brian met me at the finish line, with ice (true love right there)
I fell into the volunteers arms… get me to the med tent please
After a 20 min or so stay in the med tent, I was free to go… I was just so overheated!!
So fun to share my love of triathlon and racing with this guy:)
The mission of this trip was to earn a spot to IM 70.3 Worlds in Australia. With Brian already qualified, and our plane tickets already booked, I really wanted the chance to race too! We stuck around for awards and roll downs and I patiently waited for my AG to get called.
When they got to 30-34 Female AG, finishers 1-3 didn’t show up, so the announcer said anyone in that AG could come up and they would take the fastest times. I walked up there, as well as three other women (eek!). It turns out myself and the 5th place finisher were both there and we got the two slots!
Australia 70.3 Worlds here we come baby!