When scheduling out this season and training races and such for IMMOO, I did have trouble figuring out what to do, what would be the best path, AND what would excite me. I'm not gonna lie... the thought of returning to Kansas didn't really excite me. BUT, when Kansas 70.3 sold their rights to Legend and then added the option of doing a 100, a new distance did excite me!
2 mile swim + 80 mile bike + 18 mile run = 100... YIKES!, I mean YAY!
We arrived in Kansas on Friday night and the first thing I thought was, "OMG... I can't breathe!" That's right, humidity was at it's finest and I had been away from it for way too long. We checked in to the race on Saturday and it was HOT! but again, I signed up for this, right?
Race morning hit and a 4:30 a.m. wake-up call for the kids (their first). You want to know that magic word to get kids moving at that time?
Got into transition, got set up, and I felt like I had everything covered. There wasn't too much time before the race to get nervous, and I was racked by Matt and Molly, so it was good to see familiar faces. And it was off to the start.
|Trying to get in for a warm-up swim... No dice. Too late. Had to get right back out.|
|Me and Molly at the start. Man it was good to have her there!|
|Off we go!|
|Coming out at the 1/2 way mark before heading in again for lap #2.|
|Coming out of the swim on time target - yay!|
|Coming through transition|
|Hunter (left) riding with me out of transition for the first ten feet.|
The first thing that threw me was my back started cramping up right away. I am not sure why or what happened, but it was something that wouldn't go away through the whole ride. I had never had that happen before, so I didn't really know what to do about it, so I just kept riding through the pain. On some of the smaller hills I would stand up on my bike and power over them trying to loosen up my back. It helped a bit, but not much. As the ride got longer (we WERE doing 80 miles after all), I did stop and stretch my back and hips twice. I knew that would add to my time, but it was either that or give up and giving up... well, THAT wasn't an option.
Overall, the ride was hilly and windy and I was going slower than anticipated, but I kept a positive attitude because (1) the course conditions were harder than anticipated and (2) nobody was passing me. Usually, if I am bonking or slowing down, there are people passing me and that wasn't happening so all I could think was "yay me!"
|Ross and kids were there as I entered back into the park!|
The run is essentially 3 6-mile loops, so I thought it best to break it down mentally by loop. From transition, you had a short out and back in the woods (shade!) and then up a looooong hard hill - that we would have to run 3 times that day, oy! Once up the hill, you hit a campground where you run the majority of the 6-mile loop. Entering the campground was Pete with a tent and the majority of people I knew at the race (Michelle, Bill, Andrew, Kim, Mike and more!) who had done different distances and already finished racing. Having them there was motivation enough to run into the campground. Then around the campground were plenty of campers there to cheer everyone on - many with sprinklers and hoses, for which I was forever grateful for! (About halfway through, the campsite, an aid station was within Pete's tent's eyesight and there I would hear cheers, too! Boy, tri-friends know the right level of embarrassment/encouragement to keep you going. Thanks, guys!)
Ross and the kids found me about 1/2 way through my first loop and would ride ahead, stop and wait for me to catch up for bits and pieces of the course. This helped and it was fun to have someone to run "to."
|You can see Hunter behind me and Linc ahead of me in this pict.|
I ain't gonna lie, it was a lot of run, run, run, walk, walk, walk, run, run, run, but it was all I had in me to keep going. And keep going I did. It was at an aid station in the campground where my watched had clicked over to 16 miles and I thought 2 MORE MILES (it seemed like a loooong way), but then I thought "hey! I am 98% done, I can do this!"
And do this, I did. When it came time to finish... I was more than ready!
|"Official" finish line photo|
This day was LONG, HOT, and HARD, but I am so glad I did it. By no means, was this race a fast race, but it was just what I needed for a fantastic training day. Since the end goal is a great day at Ironman Wisconsin, this race prepared me for it physically and mentally. If I get a hot and humid day in Wisconsin, I'm ready. A windy day? I've done that. If it happens to be nice weather, I will be able to think to myself, "I've done this in worse." So, Kansas, thank you for giving me your worst -- I beat it!
And, while it was Kansas, there was one thing Legend promised (and delivered) that made it worth traveling for:
|World's largest race medal!|
- Special thank you as always to my friends and family, for which I couldn't do this without. It was a pleasure racing with everyone on the course, to Matt for coaching me, to Pete for bringing the tent and being on the course for both me and my family. Ross was SUPERMAN this trip, not only did the conditions test me, but they tested him, the kid's patience, moods, and just about everything else. He pulled through and went above and beyond, even retrieving all of my gear (including bike) from transition and toting it all 1 mile uphill to the finish line, where I was recovering...not to mention making that drive with me. And to everyone who listened to me in the weeks leading up... you know who you are. It takes a village people and I am so lucky and proud to have you in my village. I hope I am part of yours. :)