Folks, race day as come and gone.
It has been 5 days since the race and I am still processing the race experience. Writing the race recap, has been good closure to the race.
Race day looked something like this…
When I woke up at 3:50am on Sunday to torrential down pour my heart sank. I was not very happy. This was not the race day I had imagined.
I drank coffee, and forced a bagel and banana down my throat.
It rained through transition set up, and swim corral placement and my swim wave start.
The gun went off and I no longer cared that it was raining and all nervousness left my body. I was finally able to completely and utterly trust my training and started to enjoy the race day experience.
I easily fell into a nice swim groove. Comfortable, rhythmic and smooth. To my own surprise I even swam in some what of a straight line. I distinctly remember swimming back to shore, and realizing I was smiling so big that I was swallowing lake water. I was so happy.
Upon getting out of the water, being stripped of my wetsuit (thank you awesome volunteer), I ran to transition, and managed to gear up for the bike. The rain had stopped, and clouds remained.
I quickly ran out of transition and got comfy on the bike. It was going to be at least 2:45:00 spent on the bike. Hydrating, and eating were a priority. Stuffing my face with GU Chomps, Skittles and Nuun kept my mind off the effort and soon the chaffing of a super wet bike seat and race kit kept my mind off the effort. The course was continuous rolling hills and sections of flat farm land. It is safe to say that even with the open course, only about 6 cars passed me in the 56 mile out and back route. As I approached the last 6 miles on the bike course, I stopped eating and drinking. Having a really full stomach going into the run, was not something that I wanted to experience. With 1 mile to go on the bike, I attempted to take off my cycling shoes and failed miserable. Another thing to work on in the coming weeks before the next tri.
Running in to transition I hear “ALLISON”, “HERE SHE IS” being screamed from what I would like to call Allison’s Support Crew. There to my right were at least 10 of my closest family and friends ringing cow bells and screaming for me to keep moving fast! As I took of my cycling shoes and reached for my socks I realized that my socks and shoes were already sopping wet from the morning rain. I decided to put the socks on any way and hope for the best. Grabbing my hat, race belt and water bottle, I was out of the transition area.
Why yes, I am starting to cry when I see familiar faces.
I sprinted out of the transition area not sure where all my leg energy was coming from. I was inflated by seeing familiar faces and knew that I had approximately 02:23:00 to run the half marathon and still finish in under 6 hours.
My crew cheering, taking my water bottle for me and believing in me.
With in the first 1/2 mile, my quads and shins started cramping. I tried my darndest to push through without walking, but it was becoming impossible. I knew it was going to be a long 13.1 miles if I did not get a grip and compose myself soon. At mile 2 I stopped running completely, stood in a driveway stretched, drank some Nuun and began running again. I felt recharged and ready to go. My new game plan was to run to every aid station (about 1.5 miles apart), walk through the aid stations and then run again. This plan worked…till the hills came. There were a few larger hills on the course, that I was not in the mood to run up, so I walked and smiled. Even with the cramping and unplanned walking I knew I was going to finish all 70.3 miles and the excitement I felt was not going to leave me any time soon. I soon was approaching my second loop of the run course and saw my family and friends once more. Seeing them always re-energizes me for a few miles, and reminds me just how blessed I am. At mile 12 my stomach would not stop growling. I had been eating ice chips, drinking water and eating GU, but my body was hungry for real food! I decided to start eating another GU at mile 12.5, just too keep busy. As I approached the finish line I could hear the screaming. Then I saw the race clock- 06:13:00.
Race Time: 05:58:43
70.3 miles completed! I LOVED every minute of this race!
I unfortunately lost all the time I had gained on the bike, in the run but a 02:20:00 13.1 is not too shabby. I could not believe I did it! After hugging family and friends and talking a mile a minute, I processed to the finish line food and ate three cookies at a record rate.
My goals for Grand Rapids Tri;
1) Finish- Check
2)Have fun! – Check
3)Sub 6 hour finish time Check
The race overall was well-organized, had amazing volunteers and fun! I would do the Grand Rapids Tri again in a heart beat!
Thank you to Michigan Awesome for allowing me to represent your company, your mission and Michigan!
Back to training I go, as USAT Olympic Nationals is only 9 weeks away!
Green Fellow Flower- Courage. To persevere with humility. To breakthrough. To take the leap; to chase the dream. The burning desire to grow. Falling in love-with who you were meant to be. I was born to do this.