Chisago 1/2 Iron was yesterday....there are some good things to report and some, well, not so good things:
First: everyone in my posse of friends who signed up for the event finished. That is good news! For Gary, Marc, Dave, and Joe it marked their first 1/2 iron distance event. I saw them all at one point or another along the course and, although they wouldn't agree, I thought they all looked strong and magnificent.
Marcia, Mary and Cheryl did the course as a relay team. They rocked the house. Again, I saw them all out there on the course and they all looked great.
Nat -- ah, Nat. She and I started the event in the same wave. Once the gun went off, so did she and I didn't see her again until I passed the finish line. By then, she had already had a snack, rested and PICKED UP HER TROPHY. Yes, that is right: she placed 3rd in our division. She PRed by over 35 minutes. GO NAT!
Other highlights: seeing Steve Stenzel, who was racing, along with his CVA Tri team...finally getting to meet his lovely bride, Pharmie...even if it was a "meet and great" as she was running back in on the 1/2 marathon course and I was walking out. (Yes -- walking. More about that later...)
So -- where does that leave moi? Well, here we go:
I actually had a very good swim. I came in at 43:26, which was almost 6 minutes faster than I did at Pigman last year. I felt totally comfortable in the water, just did my thing and enjoyed the swim. What a big difference from years past where the water freaked me out totally.
My T1 time was also better than Pigman -- about 2 1/2 minutes better. Zip in, zip out.
Bike -- okay, so the new bike is great and all, but for what ever reason, the position of the saddle did nothing but bug me for 40 miles.
When I bought the bike, I didn't have my bike shoes with me and, Bob -- the really wonderful guy at Now Sports, told me to bring the bike and shoes in before the race so I could get the saddle readjusted.
Did I listen? No. I thought "how much different could the positioning be"? Well, apparently it could be a LOT different.
The bike seat hit my seat in a very uncomfortable way -- especially where my left sitbone connected with it. I squirmed a lot trying to find some comfortable spot, but really couldn't get in to a comfortable position. I tried to overcompensate my position, which impacted my lower back and neck, and, well -- you get the picture.
The course is pretty flat, with a couple of exceptions The first exception is at mile 40, where there is a short, but steep incline. I started going up the hill and shifted down, but couldn't get my gear to drop from the big ring to the little ring. I lost my mo-jo, cadence and speed and had to get off the bike to walk it up the hill.
That is when the friendly bike support guy showed up. He pulled over and helped adjust my gears so they would slip easier. (Apparently they were a little too tight). I asked him if he could adjust my saddle and, voila! He did and the ride got a whole lot better.
I came in over 6 minutes faster than Pigman.
But, when I got in to T2, I was spent. I was fully convinced I was not going to do the run. At all. I was going to DNF and I was really okay with it.
Mary and Marcia were in T2 and when I told them I was done, they said "What? Huh?".
I had to give it a minute or two to work myself through the idea of at least getting out on to the run route. The only way I could do it was to say "I can turn back at any time".
So, I got on my shoes and walked out of T2. (Even with all of this, my T2 time was 45 seconds faster than Pigman).
So -- dear Reader, you must be saying: All of these great times! Much better than Pigman! She must have PRd!
Ah, not so much.
I walked out of T2 and pretty much walked the entire 1/2 marathon. I could not get it together to run much more than a minute or two at a time with very long stretches of time where I just walked.
I had a mental cut off point for dropping out. If I got to Mile 4, there was no turning back. (Logic: If you get to 4 out, you have to come 4 back, and that is 8, which is more than half the total distance...)
Let me tell you, I had plenty of conversations with myself at Mile 1; Mile 2 and Mile 3. But I kept my head down and my feet moving forward.
I got to 4 and figured I was in for the long haul. Fortunately, there were lots of people walking on the course. The big difference is that they were walking IN. I was still on my way OUT.
I just could not muster the will to run much at all. Walking felt okay, but running did not.
I had another dark spot between mile 6 and 7. The part of the course is a one mile loop around a residential area. I was the only person out on the course -- I thought: I'm done. I'm getting to mile 7 and I'm dropping.
I got to the water stop and asked the friendly volunteers "Am I last"?
"Really -- drat! Can't quit if I'm not last..."
Then I asked "What would happen if I wanted to drop? Would I have to walk back or would I get a ride"?
The head volunteer said she didn't know and proceeded to make a call to the Race Director.
The Race Director didn't pick up the phone, which I took as a sign and pressed on.
Marcia and Mary, who had parked themselves near the water stop at mile 5/10, were STILL there when I got back to 10....They had their own marathon, just sitting there waiting for me.
Marci volunteered to go to the finish line and to then walk back to meet me to walk me in -- a very kind, motivating gesture.
So, I trudged on until she found me and some how I got to the finish.
Here is the interesting part: All in all, my finish was less than 10 minutes slower than Pigman, so...not really as dreadful as I thought.
And, even though I was S L O W walking those 13.1 miles, there were actually people that covered the distance taking more time than I did. (They just happened to smoke me on the bike....)
I'm glad I toughed it out. I'm fine with finishing the way I did. I'm grateful for friends who stuck with me till the end and I can't wait to do it again NEXT YEAR -- although I'll probably need to do a few more bike-to-run bricks, you think?