WE DID IT. After months of training, the Rhode Island Half Ironman is behind me. A 2 k swim, a 90 k bike ride, and a 21 k run in that order. My goal was to crawl in as an official finisher (no later than 8 1/2 hours after starting) but my fervent hope was to do it in under eight. Jim was convinced I could. I wasnt so sure. But 7 hours and 53 minutes after I ran into the water I staggered across the finish line. Jim was an awesome coach. He did it in 6:40 and Sabrina did it in 7.
My eyes were already wide open when the alarm went off at 3:30 am. After quickly getting ready we drove off to the convention center downtown to catch our 4:15 shuttle to the race site. The walk to the T-zone felt surreal. High performance athletes were carrying their bikes while we carried a blanket and leftover pasta from supper the night before – like we were going on a picnic. It was still dark outside but as we walked up out of the tunnel we suddenly could hear the loadspeakers and saw the T-zone with the floodlights blazing down on all the bikes stabled there. My heart started to race.
Waiting by the water I was surprisingly calm. I had put in a lot of hours and all I could do was my best. But still, those buoys were a long way out. The gun fired and I jumped into the fray. (Sabrina was in my wave of “over 50 and below 29” but Jim’s wave started half an hour later). I felt ok pacing myself. By half way through the bike I couldnt feel my feet anymore and I also knew I had oozing welts on my sit bones. (I will know for next time that I need some kind of lube oil). There were no calamities. The worst that happened was I went into a guard rail trying to avoid broken glass and my chain came off. At one point I hit 60 k an hour going down a big hill and that was terrifying. All those bikes flying down the hill. If one person went down it was going to be a train wreck. When I started the run, all I could think of was: how was I going to do 21 kilometers. It was 31 degrees outside. Thank goodness for the great nutrition and water stations every mile. I used them all. Ahhh….its over.