When I tell people about this race I almost always find myself using the word “tough”. So, I though I’d look up some synonyms to help spice things up. Here are some that accurately describe the my race experience –
Cruel, hard, harsh, merciless, ruthless, savage, severe, terrible, and unforgiving.
Yeah, those seem about right. Wait, I did forget one… “Proud”. I finished my first Half-Ironman distance race in Branson, MO this past Sunday in 6:55:58 and I couldn’t be more proud.
Swim 1.2 miles- 39:40
My race started at 7:21 AM with the 35-39 year old age groupers – about 200 of my new closest friends. The swim venue at Moonshine Beach was perfect. Couldn’t have been nicer. The water temp was 76, so it was a wetsuit legal swim and I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoy swimming in a wetsuit. It is SO much fun and almost a different sport than swimming without one. As crazy and hectic as a triathlon swim is, I really enjoy these longer swims in a wetsuit.
Transition 1 – 5:49
Not exactly world class speed here in T1, but considering the short hike up from the beach and the fact that the transition area was about a mile long (not much of an exaggeration) I did ok getting out of the wetsuit, testing my BG, getting ready to ride and then trotting out nearly the entire length of T1 in my bike shoes.
My comment for the day was that everybody deserved a medal just for completing the bike course. It was “tough”. The bike course started with 6 miles of rolls hills in the fog up to highway 465, also known as the Highroad. The Highroad is a 4 lane highway that was completely closed for the race. Very cool. It was a mixture of long climbs and hold-on-tight downhills. My top speed for the day was 46 MPH, but that was little consolation for enduring the big climbs. I certainly wouldn’t describe these as “hills” – small mountains maybe. The idea was to try and save as much as possible for the run, but I’m not sure I could’ve done much less and still actually made it up the climbs. It was very interesting to see guys wearing aero-helmets walking and pushing there bikes.
Transition 2 – 2:26
After a nice downhill ride from the Highroad to the Branson Landing area, I hit T2 and had a much better time in and out. Again, not a great time, but not bad for me.
Run 13.1 miles – 2:40:26
I felt pretty good coming out of T2 and then for the first mile into the run and then BOOM! Let the death march begin. My BG in T2 was 96, but soon fell to 77. At this point I realized I needed to take it easy, get my BG under control and make sure I could finish this thing. I was milliseconds from cramping up with every single step. I ran when I could and walked when I had to. I’m pretty sure that everybody, I mean EVERYBODY, that would be considered an age grouper spent a good portion of the run walking. The…. let’s see… “merciless” bike ride coupled now with the heat and humidity of the run made for a very long day at the office. I managed to get things together and hit the water, Gatorade, and ice hard. My favorite thing to do was to hold ice cubes in my hands to try and stay cool. I was able to run a decent portion of the last loop and made it through the finish chute without turning into one giant cramp. Made it under 7 hours. Woohoo!
This was the first year for the Ironman 70.3 in Branson and I couldn’t imagine a better organized race. The race had 2 separate transition areas about 10 miles apart, which added to already challenging logistics of a triathlon, but it all went off without a hitch. The aid stations were well stocked and maintained and the volunteers were wonderful. “Ice down your shirt?” Of course!!! Hats off to the race organizers. Job well done. Also, hats off to the 2 different houses out on the run course that were out there the entire time offering to hose down each athlete as they went by. Very nice!
In the End
As I said in the beginning, I couldn’t be more proud of my accomplishment. 70.3 is a big number and I’m honestly not sure that I will ever do 140.6 (the full Ironman distance). I may, but right now it’s not even on the map.
I had a good day managing my diabetes despite going a bit high – 250 – early on the bike and then hitting 77 during the run. I was 106 before the race and around 126 before getting on the bike. I was 96 in T2 and tested around 120 late into the run. All in all, I would say that Type 1 Diabetes was not a major factor in my race. I’d call that a victory.
This marks the end of triathlon season for me. Now the focus turns to marathon training. I have the St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon coming up on Dec 4th and then I’m very excited to also do the Carlsbad Marathon with all of my Glucmotive/Insulindependence friends on January 23rd. 2 marathons in 2 months. I like the sound of that!