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Ocala HITS Half IM 2012

So, I know I have been bad, bad, bad about blogging. Case in point, I raced a half IM last weekend - one I was really looking forward to and the only one I will be doing this year - and I have yet to blog about it. This is not due in fact to my unexcitement about training, but rather the busyness of the year. 

I had set forth my goals this year to train for IMCDA whilst ALSO keeping up with my business and the kiddos. I am happy to report that I have been doing all these... but blogging has then taken its toll (ie, have not been), unless it is this blog.

So, here's a quick recap of my race last weekend.
This is my first (and only) half IM I am going to be doing in training for Coer d'Alene, so I wanted it to be good.
My mental goal: I was going to go out, do my best and see what it brought me.
My time goal: I really hoped to beat my time from Harvest Moon - a half IM I raced last September (although I didn't really have a strategy in how I was going to do it).

A quick break down about Ocala HITS Half IM:
Beautiful venue!
Going to pre-race meeting the day before.
Despite the prettiness, I feel I need to mention it is in the middle of NOWHERE. Seriously. My parents have a home 40 minutes away, so that is why it was feasible for me, but unless you live around there, logistically this race seems very hard to manage (the host hotel is also 35 minutes away) and somewhat costly to get to.

HITS is in their first year of planning events, so don't expect a lot of hype, goodies, volunteers, etc. They are not there.

The best thing about racing in Florida.
My parents
Swim start. Obvi.

THE SWIM: Nice out and back. Not confusing. I concentrated on swimming straight (a weakness) and keeping my stroke even (another weakness). I had trouble getting my heart rate up and I wasn't sure if that was due to (a) the (lack of) altitude or (b) that I still didn't know how to properly "race" a swim. I guessed it was a little of both. Came out of the water to see my parents and was happy as could be that they were there.

THE BIKE: Now, the course was described as a rolling course and, for Florida, it is. I guess there are parts of the state that are flat, flat, flat - but this was not one of them. We went through Ocklawaha (a town) and then out onto the country roads. I was looking forward to the fact that it was one giant loop (no double-backing), but then I was unprepared as far as what to expect later in the ride. One of the first things I noticed was that it was windy! And I was ok with that, thinking I would get a tailwind on the way back (never happened). I don't really like time goals on the bike, so I had set my goal as to maintain 85 rpms in as hard of a gear as I could. I guess it worked, because I cut some time off the bike.

THE RUN: I got off the bike and was on the run. Unfortunately, as soon as I started my legs hurt. I mean they HURT. Now, I have done a lot of running on sore, tired, aching legs, but none on legs that were just screaming at me from step 1. Much to my dismay, there was no racing this run. This was "put one foot in front of the other and see how long it takes me to transverse 13.1 miles". The first 3+ miles were on trails and I thought "wonderful!", but it was a sandy trail and was harder than I thought to run on. Coming out of the trails, I saw my parents at an aid station and then knew I was on the road for the rest of the run. My parents lifted my spirits and the road lifted my legs.
Drinking on the run. It was HOT!!!
As I made my way, mile after mile, it was simply a countdown to the end. Mile 8.5 was the turnaround and I was happy for it. I do like out and back courses, as you know what to expect on your way back. This being a rolling course with a downhill at the end, I was just looking forward to the downhill. And, before I knew it, I was at the end!!!
So, there you have it. My race in a nutshell. And how did I do? Well, turns out I meet both my mental and time goals, so that made me happy.
In addition, I was proud of my performance while also tabulating a number of things to work on - which is precisely what a 'training race' is for - so: SUCCESS!
Us, recovering at Gator Joe's, a biker bar on the beach.
Nothing like some yummy seafood after a race to refuel.
On top of that, I  got to spend time with my parents and involve them in my life and my goals. It means the world to me that my parents continually support me in all my endeavors - whatever they are.
More relaxin' with daddio in the pool!