The morning started at 4am - well I woke up around 3 and tossed and turned. We got to the race start early since Bryan had the first start of the group at 6:45 am. My start was last of our group - 8:14 am. My wave was actually kind of small - or at least it felt smaller than some of the others looked. I had tons of time to even go back to the car to get tape to attach my gels to my bike with - and to stand around freezing in my wetsuit. It was cloudy and cold in the morning - even a little misty at times.
Bryan started while we were waiting in line for the porta potties, then Col, Marissa and Kyle started in the wave ahead of me. Finally it was my turn - they had to give some extra time because the inflated arch above the swim entrance deflated - blocking some girls from getting in the water... So I treaded water a couple extra minutes treading water and got a little cold even. Finally I was off. The water was a good temp, kind of mirky ( I could not see the bottom even though it was between 3-10 ft deep the entire way). I was able to get into a good rhythm right away and just cruised along. I stayed off to the right edge of the wave - had open water almost the entire swim. I had girls from my wave around me the entire swim and then a little before half way the guys from wave behind started to catch me (totally expected). At half way we got to swim with the current which felt awesome. So all and all a good swim - felt strong the whole way and did not swim to much extra.
I got out of the water and had a good transition. Went with out gloves or arm warmers even though it was chilly - I knew I would warm up in a couple miles and just tuff it out till then. I was happy because I came out of the water with a lot of other girls from my age group.
Got up on the road and headed out on the bike. Took it easy - just wanted to warm up and get going. I kept my heart rate low and my cadence high and as I expected I was warm with in a couple miles. There was a crazy right hand turn that was over 120 degrees which was not as bad as it looked but I still went very conservative. Fallowed by the steep little climb I was defiantly warm and started getting in to a rhythm. The course is full of pretty mellow rollers - almost flat compared to the rides around Seattle. I focused on keeping my cadence up around 80-95 rpm while still keeping my speed up above 19 to 20 mph. It was kind of hard to stay on track with my nutrition plan because it was so cool it did not make me very thirsty - but I forced myself to keep drinking and ate my 3 gels. The main climb was around mile 45 and I felt good the entire way - it reminded me a lot of the stair step hill that is part of the Beaver Lake Sprint. The sun finally started to come out and warm up and I made sure to eat.
It felt like it took forever to get though the town to get to T2 but eventually I did. I thought it was kind of funny that the part of the rack that I had my shoes was empty of bikes (the other end was full). So I got in and out of T2 with ease and was off and running. My toes were still cold and numb so it felt like I was running on stumps for the first mile or so.
I saw my Dad and Nadine on the way out, then saw and heard Bryan coming in to the finish. The course starts off deceptively flat - it is like you turn a corner around the 1st mile then the rest of it is all either up or down. I managed to keep my pace around a 9 min mile or so. It was getting hot so I made sure to get water and/or Gatorade at the aid stations. I would have LOVED to have a cup of ice or a cold sponge but noo they did not have either. So I just dumped water on my face/head to cool off a bit. I saw Col when I was around 3 miles, then saw Kyle around mile 4.5 or so. I was sooo relieved he looked way better than he had in hawaii. Somewhere I think around mile 6 when I was eating a gel Marissa passed me saying she had to make up for her swim time. I considered trying to stay with her but instead just kept her in sight.
I did not look at my overall time till I was past the turn around - at that point I knew I would make my goal of sub 6 hours and then wanted to make my run sub 2 hours. I still walked a few steps in the aid stations so I could liquids but other wise I kept running. My legs felt a tight and heavy but that is what always happens. I kept a closure eye on the time the rest of the way back just to be sure. Again the last mile was flat which was perfect so I picked up the pace as best I could. I knew I had made my goal and felt so happy running through the finish. Kyle, my Dad and the rest of the crew was all there cheering.
My final official times were:
I am extremely happy with my race, my times and how I placed in my age group. I stuck to my race plan and had fun the entire day. But the day got even better.. We went to the awards ceremony and in the end there were 6 women roll down slots for Clearwater and I was the fastest in my age group still there.. So I get to go to Ironman World Championship 70.3!! Then there were 3 slots for the men that rolled and Bryan and Kyle got 2 of them. It was a very good day :)