For many people a half ironman (70.3) is the main event but for me, this was just another training tool. My goal was to prep as if it was my main event and see how well I did once everything was all said and done. The featured picture above is all the gear I would need for my race. I needed to fit all of that in/on my transition bag minus the roller and hook. Check this shit out…..
I fit everything in my except my wet suit. My hat and helmet are attached to the outside of it. I knew I was a good packer but that is efficiency for sure!
I left work early on Friday since Muncie is a 5 hour drive from St Louis and I didn’t want to get there super late since the race was on Saturday morning. Even leaving early, we hit traffic, lost an hour due to the time change and had to stop for dinner so we didn’t show up to the airbnb until after 10:30. I still had to shower and get ready for the next day. Thankfully the race started at 8am so I didn’t have to be super early, I could sleep in until 5am (cause that isn’t super early for triathletes- insert eyeroll here).
JD made me breakfast and tea while I stretched and got my stuff around. We didn’t need to be on the road until 6 to make it to the race around 6:30 to check in. That gave me plenty of time to get my gear into transition and still have time to walk around, stretch more and drink water before it started.
We got to the race and holy darkness batman. I wasn’t prepared for it to be pitch black still. A lot of people had headlamps (lesson learned for me) but I had to make due so I used my cell phone which worked but wasn’t ideal. It only gave me one hand to place everything and it wasn’t super bright so it was still hard to see. I met the people around me in transition. I love triathletes. They are super friendly and most of all helpful! I lost my swim cap and chip and the girl next to me helped me look for it. Of all places, I found it in my jacket pocket. Go fucking figure. I searched for a good 10 minutes for that shit.
After all my gear was set up and daylight was breaking, we walked down to the bathrooms which also happened to be where the swim portion would take place. I looked at the course which was close to water’s edge but no water could be seen through the fog. With that said, they delayed the race 30 minutes because of it. It was then delayed another 30 minutes. Already an hour delay they did the pre-race talk and let us know that if we couldn’t start by 10am then they would have to call the race.
At 9:30 the announcer advised that we were delayed until 10am but the tri would happen. They cut the swim course for everyone to a 400 m (.25 mile) swim. This was the distance for the sprint distance but it cut the olympic (.9 miles) and the half (1.2 miles) down by a lot. A guy we were talking with was super bummed because this was his main event, the first time he had ever done this distance. What he had been working up to all summer and he would still not have accomplished a true 70.3 today. Surprisingly I was calm all morning; barely any anxiety at all which is very strange for me.
See for me this race was all about preparation and not about the race itself. I had already done my 70.3 ironman so this was seriously another day of training for me. I was wearing my wet suit for the first time in a competition type situation, the water temp would be similar to what I would experience and this was the first time riding my new tri bike in this type of setting not to mention the weather wasn’t ideal so this was great training.
I got into my wet suit and got in line to start the race. Notice in the picture with the line of people, the white in the background is still fog at 10 am….
JD asked me if I even wanted to wear my wet suit since it was such a short swim. Absolutely I wanted to wear it. I needed the experience of both swimming in it and getting out of it in a race type situation.
While in line I started chatting with these two guys who were also doing the “half” distance. Their names were Brian and Steve. They said hey, look on the bright side, we will be the only people to have ever completed a 69.3ish distance race AND we would hit a PR for that distance. Yes, that is all true. They also unofficially renamed the race the BS Tri after their initials. I told them my last name is Moore so in good fashion a tri is 3 so named after the 3 of us, it turned into the Moore BS Triathlon. This name is pretty ironic for a couple of reasons to be explained a little later.
I enter the foggy murky water next to Brian (they had us go in by 2’s) and it was cold even in a wetsuit. I don’t like short distance swims because I never settle into the swim. I can’t get my breathing and stroke to be in a rhythm or pattern so all I feel is panic and drowning. Luckily it was only 6ish minutes of this feeling and it was over. I came out of the water and JD yelled at me to start taking my wetsuit off.
I ran up to the transition to change and get on my bike….56 miles to be exact. I was excited to see how my new bike felt and know how well I did in my nutrition planning for the ride. I get to my bike and strip the rest of my wetsuit off, wipe my feet off and put my shoes and socks on. I run with my bike to the bike out area and realized that I had to pee so I stopped at the porta potty when I realized that I didn’t grab my belt with my nutrition. I left my bike where it was and ran back to grab my belt and then ran back to my bike.
I get on my bike off I go. I get myself positioned on my aero bars (the position where it looks like I’m on my forearms on the handlebars) and settle in. I noticed that my left bar was turning so I pulled it back up. I kept doing this for the first 5ish or so miles when it happened. The bar was so loose that I couldn’t even put weight on it. It fell all the way to the side. I stopped to grab my allen wrench set when I realized that it is in my other bike gear. FUCK! I would have to deal with this for 50 some miles!?!?!?!
One of these things is not like the other….one of these things is kinda the same
Mind you I don’t have my phone on me when I’m competing so you get an after fact picture for reference. For those who don’t know much or anything about bikes, a triathlon bike is positioned so you spend most of the time in the “down” position. I spent maybe about 10 minutes of my 3 hours in this position so my ride was a little bit of a mind fuck for me. I had 4 loops of 14 miles to each to make the 56 miles and I so badly wanted to just pull into transition after each loop because of this but I kept going. This is all part of the process and a situation that could possibly happen in my Ironman so I embraced it and just thought through what I need to do different next time. I made it through my bike (sorry no pictures since JD didn’t capture me on my bike) and back to the transition.
I was exhausted and very sore. My back hurt from being in a position that meant to be in for that long. I saw Steve (remember BS- Brian and Steve from the swim) and he was packing up. I asked if he was finished and he said he was. He wasn’t going to do the run because he was tired and hot and just ready to be done. I told him about my handlebar situation and I said it was ironic because when it happened I thought to myself….Moore BS. He laughed and said well if you are going out for the run you are going to deal with Moore BS. I laughed and agreed. We said our goodbyes and I was on my way.
I started the run and the first thing I see is a guy hunched over. I run up to him and asked if he was ok. He said no, he was having major cramps and needed salt. I had salt sticks which I gave him and some of my water on my belt when another triathlete who was finished drove up and said he would talk care of him so I could continue on my run. I end up running next the guy I was talking to at the beginning of the race. His name is Jackson and I told him he was gonna be my running buddy today.
We spent the next 13.1 miles together- running, walking, talking, complaining, and discussing all the foods we planned on eating after this race was over. On the second loop of our run, every person we passed was nothing but encouraging. From us and from them. This is something that I love about the triathlon community. They have suffered along with you and know where you are and where you have been. The words of encouragement are pretty fucking awesome!
I told Jackson that we needed to run the last mile and over the finish line. There was a big ass hill but we rocked it.
We crossed the finish line together. We had been through a lot over the past 2 and a half hours of pounding the payment. But really, we went this through this journey together. We spent the hour before the race chatting, he showed up in the bike transition shortly after me and we then ran 13.1 miles together. It was a long day but a good one.
The first thing I asked for when we were done was a beer. Another competitor poured me a beer from the keg and it was all foam. Not exactly the victory drink I was hoping for but it beat drinking warm water which I had been drinking all damn day. I ate pizza and drank beer for dinner.
I need to remember a headlamp- Louisville will start earlier and it will probably be dark
My wetsuit is completely illegal and I need to rent on for my race
Make sure I have all the tools I need to fix my bike
I need to consider caloried drinks to supplement
I need to think about other foods to pack since I can’t live on gooz and blocks
Put on chami butter or vaseline as soon as I get to transition for biking. Chaffing is a fucking bitch!
There are always things to learn and take away from a race and I’m sure I will learn a whole lot from my next race…..the main event!