As stated yesterday, I finished the entire 70.3 miles on Saturday. Now I’m here to give you the low down on the entire race. And above all else to tell you that if you are interested in completing a Half Ironman, that you should seriously consider this race. It’s a beautiful course, well run and a great value. Beautiful. I mean it.
I headed up to Tupper Lake on Friday afternoon for registration, packet pick up and the ever so awesome body marking. I think we pulled into the Wild Center around 5:30 or so. I have to say that it was all relatively uneventful. But it is super awesome to spend your entire evening adequately branded as racer number 207. By adequately branded I mean, both arms, both thighs and both calves. In case anyone was wondering, I was racer 207… I have the sunburn to prove it. Racer 207 lives on, on my left calf. The fact that I am 33 in triathlon “speak” on my right.
Pre-race Pasta Dinner – #207!!!
From registration we headed directly to the pre-race carbo dinner. Essentially it was a few different types of pasta, sauces, meats and salad. Nothing spectacular, but it hit the spot and meant that I didn’t need to figure out what to eat. After eating it was time to head out-of-town and find the campsite.
As I pulled the map to check out the bike course, I discovered that in fact, the bike course and the way to the campground were the same route. Sweet. I hadn’t planned on having time to drive the course, but as it turns out I was doing it anyway. I have to say that driving from Tupper Lake to the campground made me slightly nervous. The course was rolling the entire way. I just had to keep reminding myself that I had ridden the Lake Placid course several times and this would definitely be easier. No big climbs, just rolling… I got this. Once at camp, the evening was uneventful and I actually slept well. I’ve been lucky to not have the pre-race jitters in terms of my sleep allotment.
The alarms that were set did not go off, but fortunately I woke up at about 5:00 which had been the plan anyway. Bacon and egg sandwiches were prepped, I got ready and it was time to head to the race start. During that hour and a half I can safely say that I did a lot of staring into space. I did some freak out crying and I did a lot of self doubting. I was terrified. What if the neon sign in my head was right and I really couldn’t do it? Well, I’m not a quitter and I had to move on, so I’ll recap the rest of the race for you in good old-fashioned – the good, the not so good and the ugly.
Pre-race advice at a camp fire… “So do you have any other questions?” … “I don’t know, Like what?”… “Anything about the race?” …”I don’t think so.” … “Nothing about the swim?” … “I don’t know, like what?” … “Well, what to do on the swim.” … “Um, I’m guessing the answer is swim.”
Jess & I pre-race start
A beautiful sunny day that was just majestic in the Adirondacks. I’m telling you, this place never ceases to amaze me. It’s just beautiful.
A wonderful bike. I will openly admit that it has taken me a long time to come around to loving the bike ride of the triathlon. This ride was beautiful, rolling and just great. We were into a pretty strong headwind the entire way out. I definitely could have done without that, but once we turned around it was at our back and I quickly forgot about it for the last 28 miles.
Heading out for 56 miles
Really nice, volunteers! I spoke to almost all of the volunteers on the run course as I was run/walking. They were nice and all smiles.
All of the fantastic competitors. I know no other world quite like the world of triathlon. Everyone along the course is fantastic and supportive. They cheer you on as they’re heading in the other direction. I also have the opportunity to talk to several of the other competitors during the run portion of the race. We were all run/walking together so why not chat?! The big stand out of the day was a 60-year-old gentleman that I met from Connecticut. He was finishing Tinman, driving home to Connecticut. Getting up on Sunday morning to do another half Ironman. He’s also registered for Ironman Lake Placid and Ironman New York City. He spoke at length about a double Ironman that he’s doing in the fall. This guy was no joke. And he was smiling and so nice. He shook my hand and asked my name when I said it was my first Half Ironman. He congratulated me and made me promise that I would keep it up. He truly made my day.
And lastly, a little text I got from a sage friend. It said to enjoy the day and stay within myself. That I could do it if I just went out and ran my race. I thought of this throughout the day. Just stay within yourself Sarah. Think only about what you need to do, not what everyone else is doing. To you dear friend… I owe my turn around on the day. I was really beating myself up the first two or three miles of the run because I was walking so much. But once I stopped and reflected on what I was doing and that I was going to finish regardless of my time, I started smiling. I started joking with volunteers and I set out to just enjoy my last 10 miles of this beautiful day. Thanks for that advice, it truly turned my day around.
The Not So Good:
The chop. The water was choppy. I am not a huge fan of the swim as it is. I’m not a strong nor a fast swimmer. All of the other swimmers in a race freak me out. Then add some seriously choppy water to the mix and I’m immediately off my game. Again, cue the crying as I looked out at the VERY far away buoys that were bobbing up and down in the waves. Truly, this terrified me. I went out and I swam. Slowly. Very slowly. I would swim a bit, get hit in the face with a wave while sighting, swallow water, panic, breast stroke and repeat. I definitely need some help on the choppy swim front.
12 oz Dasani bottles of water on the bike course. Really? I have to say that I was less than impressed with this move. I was finding myself grabbing one to throw in my water cage, and one to hold in my had for a few miles. They also weren’t sport top so they were just open. This doesn’t bode well …
I was not ready for the run. I can openly say that I decided this before I even headed out on the run course. So at one mile in when I switched from running, to run walking, I knew it was going to be a long half marathon. And long it was. It was long and hot. Very little shade on that run course. I resorted to two waters at every aid station. One for my head and one to drink.
The only real bad on the day, beside the sporty new sunburn that I have were the bike crashes. Two friends crashed their bikes and were unable to finish the race. One is out of the running for Ironman Lake Placid as he’ll be recovering from a broken clavicle. It’s painful to see friends who have worked so hard have their dreams dashed in one quick minute. My heart breaks for them and I wish a speedy recovery.
Overall, Tinman was a truly fantastic experience. One that I will not soon forget. I did think many times along the course that I’m truly insane for having registered for an Ironman in 2013. I have no comprehension of how I’ll manage to double my distance. None. But I’ll figure that out. One day at a time. For today, I am still in awe of the fact that I covered 70.3 miles on Saturday. And that I didn’t hate them. When I was finishing that last mile of the run course, I was smiling from ear to ear. I cracked jokes across the finish and had the announcers laughing. And that my friends is how you’re supposed to finish a race.
Finished… And with a smile!
And the bling!