Sunday, August 25, 2013

Utah Half Ironman Race Report

Yesterday marked my last race for the 2013 season.  It's been a slower season schedule wise due to the move and new job.  The good news is I'm already signed up for 3 big races in 2014.  My hope is that Andrea and I get to do at least one of these races together. 

This particular race is called the Utah Half.  The swim takes place at the Utah Lake Marina.  The bike takes you through some of the farming country around the south part of the lake.  The run is a gorgeous route along the running trails of Utah Lake Marina.  The transition area is in the same area for both the bike and the run which is great! 

I've always heard that Utah Lake is shallow and can be a little murky at times but I wasn't 100% prepared for what it would be like.  It was a non wetsuit swim because the water temps were above 80.  There were around 350 athletes participating in the race.  Throughout the swim it was crazy to see athletes standing in waste high water right next to you when they wanted to take a break.  I sometimes wondered if I might be faster just walking the swim.  Maybe that's my trick to a faster swim time!  The final 200 yards you actually did just that.  The water was thigh high so we all just started trudging towards the finish.  It was kind of funny because you couldn't run because the water was too high on your legs but you didn't want to just walk either.  After all this was a race!  So you see a long line of athletes slugging along in the water. 

When I got on the bike all systems were check and it was time to go.  This course was flat and fast!  The biggest climb was going over the freeway ramp.  I loved the bike!  I could see that I was kicking out some good splits and my legs felt great so I just kept pushing it.  I averaged 251 watts on the bike and 22.5 MPH.  I finished in 2:22:34.  A new personal best for me. 

The run felt great out of the gates then I slowly started to slow my pace.  I knew I wasn't going to have a stellar run because I haven't got the miles in that I normally would like to have the last few months of training.  There are no shortcuts to trying to put together a good race.  You just have to grind out the training and if you do you will almost always reap the benefits. 

One thing that is amazing to me in each of these races is what goes through your mind during the run.  Every single time about half way through the run you hit a wall.  There's different stages of "the wall" but in every case you have to mentally tell yourself to just keep going.  Logically it seems to make sense to stop and walk for a while.  Your legs hurt.  You can't breath.  It's too hot.  You're thirsty.  You're feet ache.  Your jersey is rubbing your arms raw.  You don't know why you do this to yourself.  You can feel a blister starting.  You think you're going to throw up.  And on and on the list goes.  Here's the thing though.  These are the defining moments of a triathlete.  These are the defining moments in life.  How we mentally push through these temporary setbacks are what defines the very person who we are.  So we push forward.  One step at a time.  One mile at a time and just as it always does....the finish line appears! 

Many times along the way when things seem like they will never get better we receive help from others.  This comes in many forms.  Yesterday I had some special help just when I needed it.  I was at mile 9.  This is when you're so far into the race that you are dying but you still have to run another 4 miles which seems like an eternity.  It's the death zone really.  I was running down the trail and I see a person walking towards me.  Even at that distance I instantly could tell this was a person who had Down syndrome.  As I approached him I could see that he was in his early 30's just out for a morning stroll along the walking path.  He probably didn't even know there was a race planned that morning or just how much of a boost he would give me.  As I passed him our eyes met and we exchanged smiles.  This was all I needed to put things into perspective.  Why I do these races and just how blessed I am to have a son who has Down syndrome.  It was a great moment.  Highlight of the race really. 

At the end of the race I was pushing hard trying to finish strong and had something funny happen to me.  The run course is setup with two loops.  I looked at my watch and could see that I had hit the 13.1 mile mark.  I looked around for the finish line and wouldn't you know it, I had passed the turn for the finish line and was going back for a "3rd loop".  I could see the finish line but I was going the wrong way if I wanted to finish this race.  So I stopped, turned around and started backtracking to get there.

I thought to myself, "so I ran a little extra, no big deal."  It wasn't until I looked at my final race time that I realized that it was a big deal!  I missed my all-time Personal Record for a Half Ironman distance by 23 seconds!  Ouch!  Final race time was 4:53.53.  I guess I will just have to do another one to try and beat it!

I finished up coming in 23rd overall out of 350 racers.  I finished 6th in my age group of 67.  Can't wait for the end of March when I take on Oceanside!

1 comment:

Miss Kitty said...

Way to go Brady! What a great race experience! Too bad on the finish line. I feel for you. I did a similar thing on my last race where my bib didn't get scanned when I crossed the finish line and unfortunately I continued to run for a bit so they had to chase me down and scan my bib. It made me feel like that sprint at the end was all wasted, but oh well, it was a blast anyway. You're awesome! Thanks for starting this great organization. I have loved being a part of it!