I’m standing on an island before sunrise and next to Lance Armstrong thinking, “Holy Crap- I’m really hear and this is really about to happen.” I’m going to race a half-ironman
Last December I was at an e4e Holiday Party www.e4ecommunity.com and talking with my friend Mason Duchatschek @buildtribes or www.buildatribe.com about a trip that I was going to take to do a short triathlon down in St. Croix. You see, at the time, I was only considering the short “Sprint” race where you Swim 3/4 of a mile, bike 8 mile, and then run 4miles. I told Mason I would love to be able to do the full 70.3 course or 1.2 miles swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile run, but that I was in no shape to do so. I think that was all Mason needed to hear, because as soon as he heard that he said, “Oh sure you can! It’s not that hard and you have plenty of time to train. All you need is a good bike and I’ll LOAN you one if you need!” I graciously said thank you for the offer and we talked some more about it, but ultimately left not taking him up on the offer.
That night all that kept going through my head was, “what if”? What if I did it? What would if feel like? Could I train in time? After a few days, I called Mason and took him up on his offer. Then the work began. I started working out 6 days per week, sometimes doing 3.5 hour bike rides with my mom (thanks mom :)~ ). I would get up and go swim, run outside, or bike on a trainer in my basement every morning at 5am. I stayed pretty true to my training schedule, only missing days when I worked late or didn’t feel all that hot.
On the day of the race I was pretty much all nerves. After getting up at 3:30am, to get to the race, set up my gear, jump in the ocean, and swim to an island to start the race, all I could think about was that I would be working out for the next 6-7 hours straight- I had never done anything like this before. I wasn’t sure if my body would hold up, my knees would be able to make it, or what if my mind started playing tricks on me- was I mentally strong enough to overcome them?
The gun went off and I ran into the water. I started swimming fast and was running into a ton of guys. After about the first Quarter mile everyone spread out- until the next 3 waves of people swam by me from heats that started after me. I was doing great and then all of a sudden it started to rain- I had never swam in the ocean before while it was raining. I kept swimming straight- keeping the buoys to my right and all the way to the platform where 2 big guys lifted me out of the water. Hitting the dock- I ran for my bike.
I quickly put on my shoes, helmet, shirt, etc. and grabbed my bike running for the start. I hopped on and just started peddling. About 5 miles into the pouring rain I noticed a speck fly across my field of view then a shark pain under my helmet- a wasp had flown into me and gotten stuck between my helmet and head! I started smacking my head trying to get the wasp out while keeping control of the bike and ultimately got it own, but not without a nice sting. The next 10 miles where pretty painful for my head. At mile 20 I ran into what is known as the “Beast” a 20-27% grade hill climb that lasts .7 miles. I geared down and shot right up (thanks mom for the hill climbing training!), no sweat.
After the bike (3 hours 16 min) I came in and swapped my gear for my running shoes and was off. On the run my legs felt awesome- thank you Dr. Larkin www.spbj.com and most importantly Erin Frazier www.prorehab.com for all your help getting my knees ready. However; I had overdone it on some of my nutrition and my stomach wasn’t so hot. I would run about half a mile and then have to walk and burp- it was pretty funny and gave everyone a good laugh as I was constantly walking to let it all out. I finished the race with a total time of 6:31, 24 minutes faster than what I thought my time most likely was going to be.
I learned that we are capable of so much more than we think we are. We can push our bodies far past their “perceived” limits. I found we can push our minds beyond the doubts and accomplish something that others can’t.
My win is a big THANK YOU to everyone who helped me prepared for this awesome journey. Mason for the bug and bike (don’t worry I’ll be returning it soon), Adriene for working out with me every morning, Anne Fischer (my mom) for going on the long bike rides with me, Clare (my aunt) for taking me to the race, the go!team especially Derek and Lisa for their support, and so many others.