Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ironman 70.3 Muncie Recap - part 1

There's enough to talk about here that I'm going to split it into two parts. I know, how dare I keep you on the edge of your seat? Sorry, dear reader.

Friday - the day before the race
Friday Hubz and I packed up the car and headed to Muncie. I took Ghost out for a pre-trip ride to get a feel for the tune up. Glad I had her worked on; her gears shifted much nicer and the breaks were sound. Also I hadn't been on a bike in over a week and, well, I was a little bit nervous with race day being my first re-try on the bike.

After a quick stop at IHop we were on the road. It rained almost every single mile up to Muncie. I'm not kidding. We found our hotel pretty easily, got checked in, and headed to the race site. While the athlete guide suggested otherwise, many had said that the athlete briefing wasn't mandatory. Either way, I wanted to make sure I attended just to hear the rules and get a feel for everything. The expo was a little insane! I met up with Stef & Missy - two friends from the Landshark group who were also  first timers - then got myself all checked in.

After I got all my stuff Hubz and I checked out the water start. I loved the easy beach access and the water looked super calm. Also, water temp was at about 75 degrees - 3 degrees lower than the day before and wetsuit legal! With the rain expected later and the cooler temps it was almost assuredly wetsuit legal.

We got Ghost all checked in to transition and I walked the bike-in and bike-out. Then I said goodbye to her for the night and we headed to dinner. Honestly at this point nothing sounded good - I was nervous! I knew apples had some pasta options and it was on the way back so we stopped there. I had some alfredo thing that actually tasted pretty good. After dinner we went back to the hotel and relaxed (watching Despicable me!). I filled up my bottles for the morning, stuck them in the fridge and set my alarm. 
Pre- Race Carbo Load
Ironman Swag - I'm a sucker for the M-Dot

Race Morning
 I woke up a bit before my alarm went off in nervous anticipation. I immediately started drinking water and ate my BelVita Cookies. Those things travel great and taste perfect on a nervous stomach. Luckily I did one last pack of my tri bag the night before so everything was ready to go. It was surprisingly cool - only 57 degrees! - because of an overnight storm. I was glad I'd packed a throwaway sweatshirt to wear. I pulled on my coeur kit and we headed to Prairie Creek Reservoir.

It was much easier to find this time because there was essentially a caravan to the reservoir. Not a lot of traffic in Muncie at 5:00am on a Saturday morning! We parked in a second "lot" a little bit away from transition. I was really glad I'd checked Ghost early because it was muddy and slippery and the last thing I would've wanted to deal with was my bike. I ate a honey stinger waffle as we walked and tried to keep my nerves down. 

I got body marked quickly and easily and set up transition. The person next to me never showed up so I had plenty of space to lay out my stuff. I chatted with some of the girls on my rack and my friend Stef showed up a little bit after. I took time to set up everything but didn't want to obsess over it  - as long as I had two pairs of shoes, a helmet and a bike I could finish this race!

Stef & Missy had to lug their stuff back to their car so Hubz and I waited at the Landshark area. A lot of the tri clubs participating had tents and were set up pretty comfortably by the finish line. I used the port-a-potty and waited around for Stef and Missy to come back. They announced they were starting the race 15 minutes late because of traffic issues so my 7:40 start time was now 7:55. Ugh. I was really nervous at this point - more so than I thought I would be. I saw my friend Jessie who was a few  waves ahead of me and wished her good luck. Finally it was time to pull on my wet suit and get ready to swim.  I kissed Hubz goodbye and he wished me good luck. Then it was off to line up with my wave. 

Stef, Missy & I were all in the same wave which was nice. We talked and I took my last gel and threw away my flip flops. Pretty soon we were "on deck" and the announcer was saying our wave! As we waded into the water the DJ started playing "Single Ladies" and everyone started laughing. It really helped to break the tension. Before too long the clock hit 7:55 and the bullhorn rang out signaling our start - and off we went!

The Swim
       Goal: Under 50 minutes
       Actual: 38:04
Since my wave was pretty big the initial frenzy at the start was a little rough. I let the wetsuit hold me and just tried to find some space. I was really proud of myself for not panicking (something many had warned me about). I kept moving left and looking for an opening. The course is kind of a floppy rectangle with a longer out to Turn 1, then a short section, then Turn 2 and back to the beach. My goal was to really stretch and relax in the "out" or the first side. 
It was hard to find a groove at first because people were super aggressive. I'd never had that problem in a race so It was a little disarming. At one point some woman kept pushing me to the right, practically swimming on top of me. I finally sat up and let her go. Little did she know she was swimming completely off course and into the middle of the lake. I took some sick pleasure in knowing that she'd get payback for her rudeness. I Kept counting buoy's and was at Turn 1 in a breeze. The reservoir was calm and still with almost no wind - sighting was a breeze! The short side went by super fast and before long I made the turn to home. I knew there were about 6 buoy's on this side so I decided I'd build to the 4th one before really digging in to home. I nailed the plan there. I kicked it into high gear at # 4 just in time to see the "Swim Out" sign. I pushed my turnover and really gunned it, passing a couple of the speedy dudes from the wave behind us. Before I knew it my fingers touched sand and I stood up. I looked down at my watch, 

I was shocked. If you'll recall I thought I could do a 47min swim but wasn't sure. 37 minutes was a complete shock to me. What a great way to start! After I saw that the butterflies went away. As all of the speedsters zipped past me, racing into T1, I just strutted. I swam a 37 min 1.2, I can do whatever the hell I want from here on out. 

Transition 1 - Swim to Bike
    Goal - under 4 minutes
    Actual - 5:50
From the beach and swim out to my bike it was about a quarter of a mile. I walked every bit of it and couldn't have cared less. I felt good knowing I had 13 extra minutes to play with in transition and on the bike. Also my heart rate was still pretty high coming out of the water and I wanted to start as close to neutral on the bike as possible. 

It was super muddy and dusty getting up to my bike. Luckily i'd anticipated this so I left extra towel available to stand on and wipe my feet off. I put on my helmet and glasses, strapped on my shoes and tucked away my bonk breakers. I walked to the bike out sign and up to the mount line. I took a deep breath and clipped in, pushed off, and headed out for 56 miles!

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