This post could easily be titled the “Good, Bad & Ugly” but let’s be positive, right! So I will instead focus on what I did right, what could have gone better and what just went well…. WRONG!
First, remember that this Ironman 70.3 Muncie was shortened due to the excessive heat warning. It had been 108 static temp in Muncie the day before the race and health officials advised Ironman to shorten or cancel the race. So the 70.3 distance was reduced to 37.2 (1 mile swim, 30 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) and the start time was moved up by a half hour to 6:30 am.
I hit transition pre-race with none to much time to spare, got my bike racked and somehow managed to forget how my bike pump worked. The bike pump that I’ve owned for 7 years. The bike pump that was deflating rather than inflating my tires. Was I stressed? I didn’t think so but subconsciously, maybe a little. Thankfully, the lady in transition next to me was able to “remind me” how to inflate my tires. This was a sign. A big one. I should have heeded the warning.
Transition was big. There were 1700 registered participants and it looked like this in just about every direction.
Each race has a certain way to ensure that only athletes get into transition to keep the bikes and gear secure. Ironman gave us wristbands at check in and only athletes wearing the band could get inside the transition walls.
The race started promptly, ushering the pros into the water with the boom of a cannon. Then each wave thereafter left in 3 minute intervals on the sound of a horn. The waves were sorted according to age groups. The older age groups at the top with the younger ones following. This resulted in us oldies just getting plowed over, under and shoved/kicked/punched by our much younger friends. So not cool. I’m trying to remember how the waves in previous races were scheduled and I’m at a loss. However, I do not recall ever experiencing pandemonium in the water in any other TRI event in which I have ever participated. It was not fun.
WHAT I DID RIGHT
I showed up
I had a good attitude
WHAT COULD HAVE GONE BETTER
The Swim – I panicked. I started out good, I was toward the back of my wave like always. I let the fasties get out of the way but I was immediately trapped behind some ladies doing breast stroke and who were just not swimming. I stopped, let them get a bit ahead, I swam up on them again, stopped again because I didn’t have a clear shot around anywhere and then the real chaos began. The wave behind us came thundering thru. Holy crap. They didn’t really care that we were in the way, they didn’t care that there wasn’t a way thru, they just swam over us. Wow. That was fun, and then the wave just kept coming. I never had a chance to get in a grove, and just focus on swimming because from there on out I was panicked. At some point, somebody kicked me really hard in the ear and my head was ringing a bit. In fact, a lifeguard asked if I was okay. What to say? “Hell, no! These people are monsters!” But I laughed & said, “I think so, I’m almost there right?”. This was the longest and slowest mile I’ve ever swam. I could have dog paddled the mile faster if I had a straight shot or if I had just focused on dog paddling! This mile swim took longer than my 1.2 mile swim in my last half iron event and I think I’m a stronger swimmer now! I would free style a couple strokes, then stop to make sure I wasn’t about to be attacked, then free style a few more then recheck my surroundings. Swim – 1 mile – 45:09
Getting in and out of transition. The transition mat was long, possibly a 1/4 mile or more. It was rough on my hurt foot transversing the mat with all the gravel everywhere and my being concerned about re-tearing the tendon. I was very ginger and slow getting up the beach/mat into transition.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Goggle Malfunction – I was running a bit late the morning of the race but decided I had better put more Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo on my goggle lenses to avoid fogging during the race. In my hurried state, I apparently didn’t get all the shampoo rinsed off and well, the “no tears” slogan is a lie. That stuff BURNS the eyes! So during the awesome swim that I had, my right eye was BURNING, watering and distracting me. I stopped 2x to lift the goggles to let any water escape but since the water was so flipping hot too warm to be wetsuit legal, it was difficult to fiddle with my goggles and not drown since I was also treading water at the same time. Totally my fault. My eye was red and irritated for 12 hours after the race.
The bike went well. Nothing spectacular but good. I was pretty comfortable, the course which was advertised as “flat” had some small rolling hills so I was able to get some decent speed, which helped. It was two loops so very crowded in spots as the fasties from the earlier waves were crushing their second loop as I was just beginning my first.
The water stops were frequent due to the shortened course and the volunteers were brave and had steady hands holding out ice cold bottles of squeezable water for the bikers to grab on the way thru. Each time I connected with a bottle perfectly and was so proud of the volunteers. They had a very tough job and I’m sure the bike water stations had to be very stressful for them. I saw people dropping bottles, hitting bottles out of their hands and these were large 3/4 liter squeezable bottles. It was dangerous for the volunteers! At one station, the biker in front of me dropped his bottle. It was after I had already connected with mine. I was holding a water bottle, zooming along, then had to run over his bottle with one hand steering and somehow managed not to fall. This was definitely the highlight of my day and I was immediately thankful that I avoided the crash!
Although the bike course was packed, everyone was polite even when rolling past a full 10+ mph faster than me! Those people kick butt on the bike and the swim and the run. It was absolutely amazing. This is the point where I realized that I’m just not fast enough or aggressive enough for Ironman racing. I’m just not at a point in my life with the kids/family, fulltime job and fulltime commute where I can train hard enough to be even remotely competitive with these type of people. Although, I like to participate and perform at the best of MY ability, I am perfectly happy to do it on a smaller front at our local races. This is about fun and fitness to me, not about big name events, prize purses, racing with the pros or jostling for a position which really means very little in the end. Bike – 30 miles – 1:35:06 – 18.9 mph
Overall, I think Ironman did a great job with the race. I think they were smart and courteous to decrease the distance rather than canceling the race. I think they know triathlon racing in and out. They had plenty of on course support, post race drinks/food, massages. They also gave a great swag bag with a gender specific shirt, a backpack which I neglected to photograph previously (below) since I was using it and the finishers (I didn’t run and didn’t finish) received a hat and a nice medal to reward their achievement.
The venue was Prairie Creek Reservoir in Muncie. It was large enough to accommodate the people but not one of my favorites. The water was very turned up, dirty, weedy, and warm at 86 degrees. The grounds had a lot of rocks and tree debris which was difficult on bare feet. I would recommend a pair of throwaway flip flops for anyone racing here so that you don’t have to walk around barefoot at anytime.
Overall a great race, I just don’t think Ironman racing is for my more laid back style but it was fun to give it a TRI.
**Happy TRIing! ** Amanda – TooTallFritz ** firstname.lastname@example.org