So, I'm going to start my race report from wednesday on. I brought my bike into Fitwerx to change over my cassette over to an 11x28 and to get it race ready, on Thursday Mike called and told me they found a hole in the rear fork of the frame. Marty didn't want to make the call he felt so bad considering what I went through 4 years ago with my GURU ( it flew off the back of my car and smashed into a million pieces right before Providence 70.3). I was almost in tears, I knew I had to race in 4 days, what was I going to do. Marty knew I was going to be upset, Fitwerx has always gone out of their way for their customers and Marty was desperately trying to figure out how we could get me a bike for my race, even if it was borrowing one from the floor of the store. I told them I would call my good friend Nan who was my coach 4 years ago when I had my first bike fiasco and I borrowed her Cervelo P1, aluminum bike, 9 speed. I had a great bike ride on that bike in providence 4 years ago, I only rode it that one time and I really liked the bike. Riding her bike made me change my bike choice when it came to buying a new one when my guru was destroyed. Nan has become a great friend and she didn't even hesitate to let me borrow her bike.
I called Marty on Friday morning and told them I would bring her bike by so that Dean could try to use my fitting numbers to her bike, they did the best they could, she has non-adjustable aero bars, she needed new cables and housings, her shifters were off but they didnt have any 9 speed shifters in the store so I just needed to finagle them on the course, and otherwise the bike was in fair condition. I was concerned that she didn't have a compact on her bike, given the elevation profile and difficulty of the course I knew my legs would be crying but it was what it was. I picked up the bike friday night and I was good to go.
Saturday morning we went to 3 of my childrens piano recitals which were awesome and then I headed straight home with my mom and we packed up the car. Unfotunately, ( incident #2) I backed into my mother-in laws car and dented her right front fender, that sucked, what was next, I needed #3 to happen because things happen in 3's don't they?
Anyhoo, off we went to Hunter, NY, my mom and me. The drive was uneventful, it took about 4 hours in total to get there. We had to get to the campground to register by 4 and to be at the athlete information session. All I can say is that as we headed into the campground all I noticed was how drastically hilly the surrounding town was as well as the street we took to get into the park, I was starting to get a bit nervous.
Registration was easy, I found out only 140 people registered for the 1/2 ironman and 27 for the ironman. Wow, that was small. All 167 of us would start at the same time in the morning in one wave. The lake looked beautiful, the temp was perfect, 64 degrees and the air temperature was predicted to be low 60's in the morning building to 80 by the afternoon with good cloud cover, so not so bad.
I had a lousy meal at night ( awful lasagna) however I knew I had eaten very well over the last week and had a great breakfast that I wasn't too concerned about my carb intake. My overall hydration was good so all I needed was a good night sleep. Well, my mother who snores terribly a/w the party upstairs kept me up for a bit during the night but otherwise I slept fine. My nerves were ok, I'm not nervous anymore about completing 1/2 ironmans or the amount of people in the race or whose in the race I was concerned about the course, it looked so hilly that I was just concerned about my performance. I spoke to Pat before heading to bed and he gave me a great pep talk, he knew I had trained well and gave me all my zones and watts and paces, I held my breath with some of them but knew I needed to believe in them. My concern again was the course and whether I could do these numbers with this course I wasn't so sure.
Swim: Ok, beautiful lake, very shallow, course was counter clockwise, water start, shallow with lots of big, sharp rocks, you really needed to be careful or you would cut yourself. I started on the front with all the guys and 1 women, I don't really care anymore who I start with I just don't want to be in the back. The swim to me seemed a bit long, not by much but maybe 200yds or so maybe a little more. There wasn't a ton of people to swim with, I was in the front group but there were a few who got away from me and then I was alone. I came out of the water in 31:09 on my watch and I crossed the timing mat at 32 ( long run up hill from beach to t1).
Swim: 31:09 my watch, 32:00 HITS, 2nd female, 12th swimmer overall
T1- quick, uneventful, 1:20 something
Bike: What to say about the bike, don't really know but it was probably the most challenging 1/2 ironman bike i've done. You had to bike immediately up hill 3-6% inclince for 1.5 miles then head into a downhill then immediately up a quick steep hill ( 9%) then down, etc.. the first half of the bike there were a lot of rollers, 1 really long climb that I think probably was the killer on the course, some fair descents with some flats that you could get into aero for awhile but not a ton. The course was 1 loop but the back half of the course was a ton of climbing, riding at 5mph in my lowest gear forever was just demoralizing, seeing people walking up the hills with their bikes was so hard to see, no woman passed me and only 4 men passed me and a lot commented on my climbing skills, I was just trying to survive. I was trying not to peak my watts out over 250 on the hills but it was really hard to do that and everytime I saw numbers higher than that I kept hearing Pat in my head saying, " that's just more time off your bike, keep the numbers, keep the watts", it was a mind game. My nutrition was good, I definitely burped quite a bit at the beginning, I probably took in some lake water and I needed to digest and get it situated. I drank all my 3 bottles and tried to get aid on the course but they didn't have heed when I needed it and I got a water bottle full of water. That was fine, so I took 2 sodium tablets just in case.
I did stop for about 3 minutes to help a poor guy with a flat, I didn't change it for him but I got my bag out and gave him my tube and an extra Co2 cartridge. I kept thinking of Karma and that this wasn't my job and I would hope someone would stop for me if I needed it. I think it was the right thing, in the end I never would of caught the lead women so it made no difference, I would do it all over again.
The bike ended and I was still 2nd women overall, I was so psyched but nervous because I had seen the run course and knew it was going to be super hard. It was time to dig deep.
Bike: 3:15, 17.1mph, I haven't adjusted my watts on my powertap yet, 3rd fastest female bike split
Run: The run, what can I say, well, immediately my legs felt good, my turnover, my HR, no issues, I still new we had tons of hills and lots of challenges but it was starting well. We immediately had a 1+ mile climb to start getting out of the park, then we had a great descent which I love ( 2 miles) I was clocking a 7:50 mile at this point, feeling good, men commenting on how strong I looked, it was very encouraging, I kept on running. Then we hit the next steep hill and then onto Rte 23A. It was 2 1/2 miles from there to the turn around and all rollers, up and down, up and down, all I knew was that when I hit the turnaround at 6.65 miles you looked back and saw all the hills you had to climb back and then you knew you had a 4+ mile climb of significant grades back into the campground left to go, it was so hard to imagine, you knew this was going to be no PR day, you just stopped looking at your watch, you kept your HR up, kept up with the hydration and nutrition, you kept your cadence up, you just kept running. As I was climbing back into the campground I never once said I wanted it to be over because I was dead, I just wanted it to be over because I was going so slow, it was so hard to see 10minute miles, 9 1/2 min miles, 11 min miles, etc... but the incline was just stupid, it was survival.
2:04 run time: 9:23 pace
2nd overall Female.
AFter the race I talked with a lot of the athletes there that had lots of experience at other races, ( i.e., St. Croix, Lake Placid, Rev Quassy, Mooseman, Timberman, St. George, Zufingen, Triple T), some said it was the hardest half they ever did and some ranked it as the hardest run they have ever done after a tough bike. Another QT2 athlete that was there said it was probably a 20-30 minute difference with this course over average difficulty courses, that was comforting seeing as he placed second overall and was significantly talented.
I've had some difficulty after this race because I'm so concerned about the IMMT course, I no more wanted to or would of wanted to do 2 loops of the HITS course, i would of cried, I'm hoping that IMMT course is easier both for me physically and mentally, I had to go to places in my mind that I never did before and I still struggled. I believe I performed to the best of my ability on this day and could of gone no faster, I just hope I can go faster on the day that matters in August.
I would recommend HITS Hunter, Mountain half if you want a significant challenge, it you want to get an amazing workout regarding strength and power before heading up to lake placid or any other hilly course. I can't imagine what that course would be like if it was extremely hot, I just can't imagine. But the staff and volunteers were great, the scenery of the Catskills is amazing with the waterfalls and greenery, so I guess I would consider doing it again if I had friends with me.