But by July I felt amazing! I was probably in the best shape of my life and I was getting closer to my 140 mile challenge. But before I could get there I needed to hit up another start line. I was back for more, at the Racine Half Ironman. The week leading up to the race I tappered a tad physically but most of it was convincing myself that this race was going to be epic! The year before I had a blast, and fell in love with triathlon probably around mile 10 of the run, as I was peeing myself and pushing towards the finish line. I had it in my mind that I would drop my time by at least an hour, PR or BUST!
Unlike my last race I actually put some prep into my step. I packed everything the day before and had a check list. But per the coach's advice, I always unpack everything the night before in case I need to hit up the expo for something left behind. Saturday morning in Racine was gorgeous! I am that over-achiever that likes to get to the expo early, list to the race prep talk and then just lounge around the rest of the day. And lucky I did, the place was swarming with athletes by 11am! I got through registration, picked up a few knick-knacks, listed to the race director chat about this and that and then went out on the hunt to feed my always hungry stomach. The rest of the evening was spent carbo loading and veggin out with a few triathlete friends at dinner, talking about the events from last years race.
Race morning I was hitting up the coffee and oatmeal, listening to my pre-race workout and walking around the hotel bare foot, in my tri shorts and french braids. Pretty bad ass, I know. The race set up for Racine has us dropping things into transition and then walking a mile down to the beach start. By the time I got there the sun was up and I was waiting anxiously for the cannon to go and the pros to break the waves. Last year at this time I was 20 minutes out from my wave start when my goggles snapped. It was AWFUL! This year that wouldn't happen, I had 3 pairs of goggles with me, but luckily my new shiny white ones did the trick.
So there I was, lined up with the 25-29 age group, dancing to some pop song, ready to race. The water was extra choppy but I didn't think twice about it. My game plan was to just keep swimming, but to haul ass doing it. As I ran into the water I remembered how terrified I was the year before and I embraced that fear as I passed into two age groups ahead. There were a lot of people that needed to stop because of how choppy the water was so there were a few times I almost had a few head on collisions or feet to the face as they decided breast stroke would do the trick. Just keep swimming. Getting out of the water and running on to the beach I checked my watch, finished in 35 minutes, two minutes faster than last year, get it girl!
T1 I fumbled a bit, trying to get my jersey on and this year, remember to put my bib number on! But even more, I was so excited to try out my new aero helmet....oh yea, I became one of THOSE triathletes ;) The ride was flat and fast. I played tag with a guy and we joked back and forth as we passed one another. But in the beginning of the ride, I didn't see many females. Now granted, biking is my worst discipline, and I didn't let a lot of people pass me but it definitely happened like once, or twice, or eight times. BUT! I chicked a few guys so I was ok with that.
The run went well......well as well as it could have. It got hot. Go figure, in July. But I pushed, ran the miles, walked the aid stations. And I got an extra little push seeing my boyfriend Tim at the turn around point. And of course as soon as I saw him I sat up a little straighter and pretended not to be in any pain as I pushed on. Mile 10 was the turn around to head back toward the finish line, I was jogging slower at this point and almost walking because I had a side cramp. But I told myself I could jog. One of my friends saw me at mile 6 and tried to convince me run it out. I laughed and told him I'd catch him later.
Mile 12. Ok one more, now is the time to PUSH! I picked up my pace and blew past two aid stations. this race was mine, this time was MINE! I looked down at my watch, I was definitely coming in under 6 hours but I was damned determined, and as soon as the finish line was in sit I sprinted it out! Crossing that finish line was epic! I felt great, well tired, but a great sense of accomplishment because I had given it my all and finished with an overall time of 5:54. Excellent. I walked over to Tim and despite my insisting I smelled awful, he hugged me anyways. What a guy :)