Patriot Half Triathlon – June 17, 2017
Melaney’s Race Report:
I was fortunate enough to complete my first half iron in June 2017. I was definitely nervous signing up and committing in the fall of 2016 (since the race sells out early) but decided to take the leap after volunteering in 2016 and seeing others complete what I once thought was unaccomplishable. Gaining confidence through having three half marathons under my belt and being able to already swim a mile, I pushed myself to set a goal that I was not quite sure would be accomplished (always exciting but scary!). However, once I set a goal, in anything, I will figure out a way to best set myself up for success. This could be the scientist or stubborn in me. I set myself up to improve my bike over the winter with an indoor trainer and Computrainer classes at Fast Splits (thanks coach Karen!), I hired a coach (thanks Will @ TriHard!), swam through the winter with TE (thanks coach Becky!), and continued to run throughout the winter (thank you mother nature!). I’m sure it is obvious but goals are easier with support behind you. I followed my training plan as best I could and trusted that I had done what I could do to prepare for race day. There were definitely moments that were difficult in life and training and lessons were learned, such as ALWAYS practice race nutrition on a training day as pounding many many GUs may not agree with you : (
June 17: Race day came and I felt good and calm to just complete the race, not “race”, but finish respectably and enjoy it. I estimated my time around 6:15-6:30.
I arrived on race day with what I thought was plenty of time but quickly turned into a rush. Parking took FOREVER, so I had to rush to get marked and get my chip. Setting up transition was fast but I literally ran to get to the port-a- potty line and then had to sprint back to get my wetsuit on. I also wanted to make sure I at least got into the water for a second, so I ran to the entrance area and fought my wetsuit sleeves on, jumped in and out and had just enough time to get back to line up. I usually like a little more time than I had and felt a little like a hot mess, but maybe it helped to not fuss over things.
The weather was misty and gray, kind of cool, basically my perfect weather. My swim was calm and comfortable. I took my time and even felt like I had good form since I was out there for a bit to focus on it. In the end I was happy with my time of 39:14 since I took it easy to not tire out.
I was looking forward to T1 since they had wetsuit strippers, woohoo! and it was kind of comical when this drill-sergeant man was grabbing the remainder of my sleeve off and then shouted “SIT DOWN!” and got my legs off in a jiffy. I almost said “YES SIR!”, in summary wetsuit strippers are awesome. T1 I don’t remember too much, just got my bike gear on and off I went.
On the bike I remember I tried to push but not too much and not get caught up in the race. I took in my nutrition and watched the fast men with disc wheels whoosh by me (and Cathy too). By the second loop I was looking at my time and thought, wow! this is fast! I averaged 18.4 mph for my first loop and wondered if I should slow down or not but I didn’t feel fatigued so I kept at the same pace. My second loop was slower, 17.5 mph, but I also took a potty break where I had to wait for someone, but since I felt good so far, I wanted to incorporate the time loss into my bike rather than my run. While I had a lot of time on the bike, my mind calculated many things, like how fast maybe I could finish, considering I knew my bike time would be a little over 3 hours (in the end 3:09:57). My swim time was a mystery but I figured it couldn’t be over an hour, so this got my mind on a goal of under 6 hours, with a sub 2-hr half marathon, which was possibly achievable.
T2 was slower, but I wanted to make sure I had sun protection on and was comfortable with all my gear.
I set off running and my legs felt good. I paced myself well using my Garmin and was cruising easily between an 8:40-8:55 pace. Since I also knew my half marathon PR time, by the time I hit the 10K point, I also knew I could likely beat my PR and push under 2hrs easily. Overall the run was smooth, even when ending a little warm/humid in the day. I started to get some minor cramping on the last two mile inclines so I walked up two hills to prevent an actual cramp and then continued running. On the final turn I saw Z and a t-rex cheering on and before the final turn the feeling was incredible.
I’ve never had emotion come over me in a race and I had to break into a smile from just feeling joy. Just to finish was enough for me, to break under 6 hrs (5:52:48) was even more incredible and to set a half marathon PR (1:54:45) was icing on the cake for me. The day was almost suspiciously perfect for me, I would like to think that on Father’s Day, someone was looking out for me : )
In the end, it paid off to trust in my training, have fun and take in the entire day around me to remember such a great goal and moment.