We got up to NH Friday. Checked into the race and hung out got in an easy swim. I decided the water temp was low enough to go full sleeve wetsuit. Saturday was kind of a blur. Highlights included meeting and getting to talk to Andy Potts. I have always wanted to pick his brain about swimmers transitioning into triathlon and how much swim training he does. It was pretty awesome to get a little one on one time with a pro. He gave a fantastic speech about Hope overcoming Doubt on Race Day. I have to say he was one of those triathlete pros I have always wanted to meet. It was pretty awesome to get to pick his brain on swim stuff and hear him speak.
Saturday night dinner was the usual GF pasta with Mom's pasta sauce. Attempted to head to bed early and alarms were ringing at 3am! Up and at it! Parked early by 415 and set up transition. Everything was set and even got to say Hi to friends. Now nothing left to do but wait... well in the waiting is where my nerves kicked in. I hadn't been nervous really at all until this point. I started feeling like I was going to puke and I knew I couldn't stand to lose the calories I had eaten. Before I knew it it was time to head to the water. I tried to take deep breaths and when we saw my parents I think the look on my face said it all- they knew how nervous I had gotten.
I said my good luck to D and we headed to our waves. He was going to be doing this one with me the first 70.3 we both were racing in. His wave was right behind me. I figured I'd have him out of the water but somewhere in 56mi he would catch me on the bike. Unless I had a stellar day and he had a rough day. The goals were on my hand- time plans and last years' times and the simple overall goal: RUN
Swim- 33:29 (new 1.2mi PR by just under 2min)
Had a great swim. Felt great. I guess the Quassy time wasn't a fluke. Dropped 2 min from last year. Hopefully next season I can get down closer to 30. (That my friends to the right is a face of nerves)
Not great but it is what it is there. Transition is big there is a length of transition run from the swim. Getting faster just gotta move a little faster!
Bike- 3:07:34 (new bike PR by 12min) Avg 18mph
I know this course well. So I settled in fast. Grabbed a bonk breaker to get something solid in my stomach early. My watch didn't pick up so I was playing the math game. I am actually starting to like playing the math game. I knew I wanted to hit the turn around 1:30ish. The start out hills were okay- I hammered through the flats by the speedway (like last year). I stuck to the nutrition plan. Drank water from the aero bottle and topped it off at every water station. Tried to drink my bottles between my legs but one of them wasn't tasting right, decided to swap em up so I could at least get one full bottle of calories down. I tried to make sure I was eating every hour but mostly just listened to my body. If I was hungry I knew that was the best indicator to eat!
The first half of the ride (30mi split) was 1:29 avg pace 20.12mph. HOLY! I can't complain! The back half of Timberman always gets me. I guess I just think the hills won't suck too bad coming back? Not really sure what it is? I also really had to pee. I couldn't push and I couldn't get comfortable down in aero. I tried to get myself to relax and pee but I only managed to let a little out. Maybe this is what slowed me down? Trying to get myself to relax and get comfortable? But the 26mi split was 1:38 avg pace 16mph. Not horrible. Giving me a overall bike avg of 18mph. Solid gain on the bike after last year. Need to work on the back half speed. Took 12 min off.
My parents were staying at a hotel about a mile from transition. I saw them as I crested the last hill. I had to even yell to them for them to know it was me. I asked if D had passed me and I might have missed it. They said they hadn't seen him. I was so excited. That meant my ride was going well. But soon that excitement turned into CRAP! I am not having that good of a day. Something happen. Maybe he is just having an off day with fuel again.
No land speed record but faster than last year. Grab and go theory works. As I left transition I saw D coming in off the bike. Okay now I know where he is.
Run- 2:36:40 (almost EXACTLY last year's time)
I hit the first porta potty knowing I wasn't going to be able to run much with a full bladder. I felt so much better. As I saw my parents again- I asked and figured D had passed while I stopped to pee. They said he hadn't been by, now I started to get really nervous. "Ok focus on the run. He'll catch ya soon."
He did. As he came by he could only get out a few words before I saw the horrible road rash on his shoulder. "I crashed" "what? how?" "A **** (insert choice word here) woman cut my front wheel at 28mph." I wanted to stop dead in my tracks and fix it. But he motored off. I figured it must not have been too bad. And knowing his cycling handling skills he might have taken a fall well.
My head started turning. Okay- we'll go to the ER after we finish. Yes, I already knew there was no way he wasn't going to not finish. Mom and Dad can probably bring us some food. I can call and cancel the hotel for our vacation this week. Crap the race next weekend. Well I have a team depending on me, I can figure that part out. Plan set. Our friend Greg flew by and I told him to go get D he had crashed.
I stuck to my plan and ran. I took a couple (max 5 walking steps) at the aid station to get down my coke, dumped the water on my head. Grabbed ice for down my shirt when I could and kept running. I was feeling good. I hit the first 5k split on a 10:14- awesome I am going to KILL my run time. I hit the first hill coming back and took it easy but didn't walk. Then there is the shorter steeper one. I kept my head down and started doing the visor down and sing to yourself. I saw D up ahead walking up the hill. I knew he was hurting- I could see it. But before I got to the crest he had taken off again.
I guess he is okay. I kept focused on my run. Then I caught him. This time he was walking, this time on a flatter section. I knew the adrenaline was starting to wear off. He told me to go. I didn't listen. I AM STUBBORN. We saw my parents again I explained what happen. And we headed back into transition, I told everyone we knew as we went by. At this point D was running clinging to his jersey tight. The shoulder was getting deeper shades of purple. He couldn't take deep breaths. I couldn't leave him like this. He kept telling me to go. Saying he didn't want to ruin my great race day. Yes I was having a great race. Yes I was sticking with my goal of running the whole half marathon until I caught him and we started run/walking together. But as I told him- he didn't plan on crashing. He didn't plan for this to happen and sometimes there are more important things in life. He is more important to me than my goal was at that point. What was I going to do run to the finish and sit there waiting and worrying about him? I also realized that a lot of the aid station folks were asking to get him medical and he kept telling them politely no. I knew if one didn't believe him his day would be over- I figured I could intervene and say "I'm staying with him. He will be okay." So that is what I did against his wishes I stayed with him. I tried to play cheerleader but also knew the typical BS wouldn't be helpful for him. We just needed to finish. As we turned the last mile or so to head to the finish we came up with the plan. I was going to go ahead and get my finisher photo. He wanted a good finish photo after what happen with Syracuse. He wanted to have someone get pictures with our medals at the finish and a picture of his shoulders. Then we would head for medical. That was the deal I agreed to.
Finish time 6:23:38 (13min PR)
We crossed the finish line. I can't believe it but I have finisher photos with D behind me (this will NEVER again happen in a race that involves anything other than swimming). We crossed to find Andy Potts passing out medals. He put mine on my neck and I pushed a guy out of the way to have Andy put one on D. D talked to him for a minute. We grabbed some photos. And found our way to medical.
I had to be a little bit of a B**ch and push us into medical past the guy with his blisters on his feet. Medical for blisters? We got him looked at by a doctor. He had cracked and bruised his ribs. Really bad road rash. The doc sent us away with some bandages and sling.
Honestly, I don't know what else to say. D keeps telling me I should have left him. I should have run my race. As I told him while I was racing it was more important to me to be with him. It is one hell of a memory and it is what you do to support each other. I'd like to think if I was in that rough of shape he would stick by me- he said he would have. I don't know if I could have kept up my pace and run the whole half marathon. Who knows? It could have fallen apart and me by myself I could have crashed and burned and ended up walking and with a slower time than last year. With him I even ended up with a run time almost exactly what it was the year before. No one will ever know what could have happen that day on the run for me. I will just have to see if I have the run I want at the next one! Which is enough to drive me to train and race again! So it all works out!
And yes I did cancel the hotel and we went home for the week to recover. But he was doing better and I was able to be a part of my race team the following weekend in my first ever tri relay.
For D's take on the race and the pictures (not for those with a weak stomach) check out his blog: www.fueledbyiron.blogspot.com
The picture to the left is one of my favorites of the day- it was before the race we were laughing about something relaxed about to go race :)