The Completion of My First Half Ironman in Muncie, IN!


I am still in a state of disbelief that I completed an Ironman 70.3.  I exercised for 7 hours straight!  (that’s crazy!).  I am very happy with my bike and swim but not as happy with my run.  Since I already signed up for my next 70.3 (in Puerto Rico!) I will be focusing on getting my run rate up.  I (of course) will work on improving my bike speed in hopes of reaching 17-18 mphs averages.  Upgrading from my 2004 road bike could also help this! Ha!

My nutrition needs some tweaks – my body isn’t used to that many gels.  While I trained with them, I still hanker for “real food”.  I’ll have to research this and find a different solution.

The real hero of the event was my husband, Dennis, who also pulled in a 12 hr shift that day and then drove us back to Cincinnati (2.5 hrs).  He kept the boys entertained, fed and kept track of me to encourage me and support me.  He was incredible, amazing – and I am SO grateful!  God must think I’m ok, if he sent me such an awesome, amazing partner.


The week of the race I ensured that I stayed very hydrated and my coach had me stop training on the bike because of my glute injury (to allow it time to heal- which ended up being a smart move!).

I read that the sleep 2 nights before is as important as the night before (since I never get enough sleep the night before anyhow).  I tried to get good sleep the week of.


I woke up at 3:30am and  ate my usual breakfast of oatmeal, brown sugar, almonds and coffee.  The coffee had its intended “cleansing” properties so I was happy that my system was ready to go.  After eating, I focused on drinking water and stretching.  I re-read my race plan.

The family and I go to the race start at 5:20am and we parked in the grass of a house who (so smartly) sold spots on their lawn for $20 a piece (we estimate they must have raked in like $3000 that day).  This was a great move, because the nearest parking available when we arrived was already really far.

I racked my bike, and although having >13 triathlons under my belt, ended up doing it incorrectly (you have to alternate sides of the rack and then put your stuff under your wheel -since the seat is holding the bike to the rack).  Another woman who was racking next to me asked me semi-sweetly “is this your first Half Ironman?” and proceeded to tell me my bike was racked incorrectly.  While her approach irked me at first, I was still appreciative for her help and we ended chatting for a while.

After a quick practice swim in the reservoir, I waited around for my wave to start.  I had a banana and decided to skip the Chomps I planned on taking, given my already heightened energy.

SWIM (1:53/100yd per Garmin,  2:03/100 yd official pace, total 41 mins) – (4 minutes over my goal)

The swim was really great.  I placed myself towards the front because I rather be passed than deal with the kicking feet of people I’m trying to pass.  I kept my head and nicely avoided any freaking-out moments.  My pace and heart rate were right on track but my sighting was off (which cost me about 5-6 minutes).  The last couple of minutes, when I could see the black finish chute, felt like it took an eternity!

T1 (4:10)

After getting out of the water I went to a wetsuit stripper but in my disoriented state I garbled that I had to take my watch and chip off – and I had a chance to do so but by the time I sat down so she could take the bottom of my wetsuit off, my watch fell right on a mud pile.  I didn’t realize it until I was halfway up so I lost some time running back.

I ran to my bike – put on my sockless bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses and ran out.

BIKE (3:26, 16.3 mph average) -10 minutes under my goal

The bike was fantastic.  I felt strong and my injury, while tight the first hour or so, eventually let up and I was able to enjoy the ride.  I took a lot of water with Nuun as soon as I could and my first Huma gel.  After that I took a ton of water with Nuun and Huma gels every 30 minutes.  I also took 3 Fig Newtons at the 2 mile mark to soften the effect of taking that many gels.   A big highlights was watching this huge black horse running around his enclosure from side to side – beautiful muscles rippling, hair in the wind.  It was such an unexpected and beautiful sight – it made me smile.  I thanked God for everything (a lot) and took in the sights.  I was passed by a million people but I was pleased by my own pace and every time my mind would stray to “ugh, another person passing me”, I would force it back to “you are amazing! You are going to be an Ironman!”.  I stretched my legs by standing on the bike and soft pedaled when I could to rest them.  Overall, I felt like I kept my legs fresh and didn’t push too hard.

T2  (this could get gross, so skip ahead to the run if you’re not used to gross triathlon details, 3:35)

I really, really had to pee while on the bike (since I drank tons of water) but didn’t want to stop and then have my legs seize up.  So, I waited until I was on transition and then did the deed on the grass.  I considered peeing on the bike, like so many people do, but I couldn’t get myself to do it.  At T2, I put on socks, shoes, hand bottle with Nuun and picked up my hat, race belt (with Huma gels).  I passed the volunteers applying sunblock and declined their help – something I would come to regret later.

RUN (2:47, 12:47 min/mile)- 19 mins more than expected (11:15 pace)

The run was really tough.  I was never able to get to my desired pace (11:15min/mile).  My overall energy was good but my legs were dead.  I still kept to my nutrition (Huma gels every 30 minutes, 3 Fig Newtons at mile 6, Nuun with every 16 oz of water).   I ended walk/shuffling a lot.  Miles 1-4 were actually good, my legs were tired but my mind was ok.  Once I got to mile 5-6 my mind was tired too.  Thankfully, God sent me a running partner!  Ths guy (Jake) had knee pain and I had overall tiredness and we kept each other from walking.  It was at the absolute perfect timing.  The volunteers were also AMAZING!  There were so many!  The aid stations were perfectly stocked and had not run out of anything!  I kept pouring ice down my sports bra and stuffing cold sponges in my back to keep from over heating (the sun was really bearing down and the run isn’t well covered).

I even tried some Cola at mile 9 to see if it would give me the extra push (it didn’t).  At that point I was still wearily taking Huma gels every 30 minutes but my stomach would cramp in protest as soon as they hit my mouth.  I figured that I would rather deal with some cramping rather than bonk – so I stuffed it down –  but next time I might bring more Fig Newtons or something like that for the run.  I think I had 10-11 Huma gels overall, it was too much for my belly.

Overall, I feel like I worked my hardest and gave it my all.  I kept my head focused on being thankful instead of competitive.  I finished like I couldn’t give one more step and that’s what I wanted.  Once I cooled off by walking around, I had a piece of bread and it was like my energy came back.  That was one miracoulous piece of bread!

I didn’t bonk on the drive home either.  I kept my legs elevated, drank lots of water, ate when I stepped feeling queasy.  I was able to identify where I want to get stronger (run!) and signed myself off for a next Half Ironman in March!  I can’t wait to do a triathlon in my home!

Update- about a week after my triathlon, I received an email that I had qualified for the Age Group Triathlon National Championships in Milwaukee!!  I felt incredibly honored to have qualified and to be able to be around the best of the best in the sport.  It was humbling, fun and incredibly tiring! Ha!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Dennis on September 28, 2015 at 11:18 am

    Te amo!


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