Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Race Report

I finished my first half Ironman! What a day! I LOVED it! Our bodies can do incredible things! I saw so many amazing women out on the course. Way to be out there with so much grit and determination! I had the best day! Everyone needs to do a triathlon. They can’t be beat, and you feel so powerful after completing one. 🙂

For those who don’t know a half Ironman (HIM or Ironman 70.3) is a 1.2-mile swim, a 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile run.

PRE-RACE

Thankfully I slept very well on Thursday night because Friday night sucked. After helping a friend move all day and a lovely early bird pasta dinner, I aimed to be asleep by 10… At 11:30, I figured it’ll be what it’ll be… I woke up a couple times, the last being 2:55, 5 minutes before my alarm. Whatever. Got ready and met a couple friends to get to the 4:00 a.m. shuttle. We got lucky and were on the second shuttle, which was an awesome luxury coach. Winning! …Especially considering there were a few buses that broke down… Yikes! So glad that wasn’t us! We got our T1 set up with time to freak out (me) and hang out (my friends). It was a bit cold (air temp 46), but we were prepared with warm gear. I met some lovely gals around me and I was able to go to the bathroom twice, after cutting the line once. I didn’t even care; I had things to do! Pretty soon, it was time to get in the water!!

Pre-race obligatory selfie!
T1 in the dark!

SWIM

We had a rolling start, which seemed to work out pretty well and allowed us to see the first pros out of the water. Cool! It was awesome to see Holly Lawrence, who actually won the whole women’s racce. And I saw a glimpse of Andy Potts, who placed 4th in the men’s race! Love him!

I chatted with a friend I ran into (local race for me so I saw a bunch of familiar faces!). The anticipation was killing me! I just wanted to do the thing! Before we knew it, we were in the water, which was actually the perfect temperature, around 64 degrees. I always start out fine, no panic or anything, but about halfway, I got a little anxious and couldn’t catch my breath… So weird because I really wasn’t working too hard. I grabbed a buoy to hang out on and another super nice swimmer asked me if I was okay. So sweet! I was there for about 45 seconds and could continue. I made it 3/4 and then had to do that scenario again… Blah. OWS (open water swimming) for me this summer!! Also, I had a calf cramp… Which I never get EVER. Whatever…

The swim course had changed for safety–to be protected from the wind–and the the new route was fine, though I do have to say there weren’t enough race staff in the water, so it wasn’t the safest in my opinion… I finally got out of the water in 50:08… Not the best for me but an improvement and that was my exact goal. Then it was off to transition 1, or T1… UP A FREAKING MOUNTAIN of a boat ramp that was only halfway carpeted… Yeah, do you know how shitty it is to run in bare feet on asphalt and gravel?? Not fun. I didn’t stash shoes at the swim exit, so I was hosed… And I scraped my big toe so it was bleeding… I willed that to be the only bad thing of the day. Thankfully, that proved to be the only crappy thing that happened. Total distance from the swim to bike out was about a half mile… Sheesh. After the ridiculously long T1 (14:58!), it was on to the bike!

BIKE

I had a blast on the bike!! The weather was a tad chilly (in the 50s and windy), but it worked fine with my long-sleeved, fleece-lined Coeur Sports bike jersey. Loved the course! The course was basically rollers with a huge climb at the beginning, so after that climb was done, it was blazing fast! The rollers were fun, and I have trained a bit on the course, so there wasn’t anything surprising. I did see someone epically crash, though. I hope she’s okay. She took a left turn too fast and couldn’t keep control. I saw her lying prone with a cleat ripped off. A few police officers were nearby, so I didn’t stop but wish her the best.

On the bike at mile 16!

We had a tailwind for most of it, so I came in about 40 minutes faster than I anticipated! Not bad for about 2000 ft of climbing. My dear friend Sara caught me at mile 16 and bike in, so that was a huge boost. I ate and drank every single time I thought I should, so that worked amazingly well! I had a Snickers at mile 35, I think, which was delicious! I even peed on the bike…4 times. Just little ones to relieve the pressure, but still awesome. If you’re a triathlete, you understand how amazing that is! I really don’t know how I did it so easily, but I’ll count my blessings. Thank goodness for the fleece chamois in my tri shorts!

I was thrilled with my bike time: 3:19:34, or about 16.85 mph! Flying for this girl! I passed quite a few people on way fancier bikes than mine, so what they say is true: it’s not about the equipment but about the engine. I gotta keep training. I met some awesome people on the bike. Triathletes (most of them) are the best people!

Before I knew it, I was in T2, which was the longest T2, area-wise–a whole city block! But it was not nearly as bad as T1! I quickly changed and was ready to roll (T2 time: 6:13)! I saw Sara again (she’s awesome) on the way out. Hooray for that! Only 13.1 miles to go!

#Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Race Report! Great day! #triathlon #racereport Click To Tweet

RUN

I started out a little fast but calmed down after the first mile. I normally run standalone halfs a lot faster, but for this one, I kept it comfortable. I wanted to keep in the 10s, which I executed beautifully. I creeped up in the 11s for a couple miles, but hell, I was on the run in a HIM, I could do what I want!! I was also a lot slower because my feet were killing me because of my shoes! Yikes! I need to find something better. I would’ve run so much faster because my legs felt remarkably fine.

I think I’m yelling something along the lines of, “I killed the bike” to Sara right now…

This wonderful angel, Meredith, came along when I was struggling a bit and saved me!! She kept me going at our nice trotting pace. I’m so grateful for her…and her salt tabs. We just talked and talked! It was so fun! We walked the aid stations, which was my plan, and I had water and Coke at each one. That stuff is money! I’d never tried it in a race, but I figured the jolt would come fast, and it did! Good stuff. I ran with Meredith for probably 8-9 miles, so that was AWESOME!! I also ran with my friend Brandon for three miles. We ran across him at mile 10.

I ended up with a 2:20:15 half, which, all things considered, was pretty great! There were two loops with a couple hairy crowded spots, but overall the flat terrain was great. Perfect for a first HIM half marathon. There was great spectator support, especially when I revved them up. I figured everyone needed a boost, and it totally worked! There was a spot with a ton of spectators and no one was cheering! Geez! I did not like that, so I had to do something, so I raised my arms and shouted, “This is so hard! Let’s hear it!” I love my own enthusiasm. Haha. Basically it was so I could keep going.

Before I knew it, I was rounding the corner to my finish. I was finishing IM 70.3 Santa Rosa!! It was an awesome feeling!!

FINISH

I saw a couple friends as I made that turn… It was invigorating, as my friend Adriana ran with me along the side and caught me at the finish, and my friend Dominique high-fived me!! I picked up the pace then slowed way down to bask in the feeling. I saw Sara and my husband and I about lost it!! I put my hand over my mouth in not really disbelief because I knew I could do it but in awe with everything around me. WHAT A FEELING OF GRATITUDE AND STRENGTH! Then they called my name and I crossed that line! I was finished with my first and certainly not my last half Ironman!! I got my medal and a nice hug from Andy Potts, so that made my finish extra awesome! I chatted with my friends and husband and then got my picture taken. I couldn’t believe my months and months of training for this race were over–or is the training just beginning? Stay tuned!

Final official time: 6:51:08! (Which beats my stretch goal of 7 hours!!!) 💥💥

Gender Rank: 513 | Age Group Rank: 80 | Overall Rank: 1697 (very solidly in the middle)

It was an incredible day!! If I can do it and hit my goals, you certainly can. All you have to do is train!!

Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa Finisher!

2 Comments

  1. Lucy Edwards May 18, 2017 Reply
    • WhitneyAuthor May 19, 2017 Reply

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