I began writing this blog to give a little glimpse into training for the Ironman Kansas 70.3. So, dutifully I began and realized that:
A) The race was three weeks away so readers would get one week of training and two weeks of taper
B) A lot of my training was relatively boring. By boring, I mean for people to read. The long runs in which Angie, Jennifer and I were able to serenade our fellow running partners with the show tunes from musicals such as Wicked, Rent, and Les Miserables were absolutely riveting. Our repertoire did expand past Broadway into the oldies but goodies penned by Neil Diamond, Hall & Oates, and Queen. (wow, really long bullet point)
C) I get easily distrac …
The race was today, in good ol’ Lawrence Kansas. **trivia about Lawrence Kansas. The streets are named in the order they came into the Union, beginning with Delaware. Massachusetts Street was designated as the “Main” street as the cities founders were from Massachusetts.
It was an early morning start, by early morning I mean I woke up at 3:30 to get ready. The transition area was available for athletes beginning at 4:45 AM, which means there was a giant Field-of-Dreams-like line of vehicles at 5:30. I felt comfortable getting there at 5:30 because my friend Renda who has raced Ironman Kona (which is the Superbowl of all Ironman races and people try and try and try to qualify to get into it) got there the same time I did. However one friend, who hasn’t raced Kona, but is extremely fancy, was there chomping at the bit to get in at 4:45.
For the hour prior to the race you set up all your stuff. I really never know what to do, so I just look around and try to copy what other people are doing. I do play the part well by buying all the neat looking stuff from the Expo that says Ironman or has big logos everywhere that makes me look like a real triathlete, and I think I had at least two people convinced of it. Now when following other people, you end up doing a lot of weird stuff, such as:
A) Going on a warm up run. I don’t know why I bother when I’m about to run 13.1 miles … that is after swimming 1.2 miles and biking 56 miles …
B) Getting sprayed with Pam. Yes, this is the non-stick cooking spray. I have no clue why this practice is done. I’ve heard it is supposed to have something to do with the wetsuit. I didn’t ask questions, I just did it, and it definitely assisted in being a tan accelerator.
C) Airing up bike tires. OK, I know why this is done, but the beauty of it is, if you look all confused about it you can get someone else to do it.
The race was set to start at 6:45. They did set it up quite nicely by having the slower groups go out first, that way the faster groups of swimmers could catch up and swim over the top of everyone. As we all walked towards the water you could see everyone attempting to get their wetsuits on – it’s not an easy task. I have jeans from high school that are easier to put on than a wet suit, and probably more comfortable.
I was in my wave, ready to go out into the lake and was pretty pumped to see how I was going to do. I had been working kind of very hard kind of on my swimming (and tanning) and had put hour(s) in the pool trying to perfect my stroke. The horn went off and we all ran into the water an tried to swim over each other. Lots of kicking and hitting, usually not on purpose (sorry for that Renda, hope the eye gets better) as you try to get your “race on”. Luckily for me I was trying to stay calm and collected and decided that after I couldn’t swim or breathe that I would hang onto the life guard and his buoy thingy. As I was attempting to catch my breath I made some small talk asking if many people had to stop with him, he quickly said “NO, only TWO, most people can stand up this close to the beach” … hmmm, guess I’m that good. I attempted to try swimming again and was fortunate enough to make it to the next lifeguard. By this time the next wave of swimmers had all ready started so I thought it best to just wait that one out – good call on my part, it was the 40-45 year old males, they’re a little rigid. After they passed I started up again and was more successful. I was slow, but making traction, 7 more waves of swimmers passed me by. I swam 1.1 miles of an IMPECCABLE backstroke, and .1 mile of the doggie paddle. I did make my swimming goal, I was not the last one out of the water …
T1. Transitions are boring, so I won’t write about it.
The Bike was actually pretty fun. 56 miles, pretty easy. The first aide station was brilliantly placed 20 miles into the course right at the base of an uphill, which makes a lot of sense (I hope the sarcasm was felt in that last sentence, it’s very hard to do in a blog). I passed a lot of people along the way. Guys don’t like being passed. Especially when they have expensive bikes, wheels, water bottles etc.
T2. Transitions are boring, so I won’t write about it.
The run. Amusing. It was described as a “two loop running course” on the race guide. However, if you are familiar with the comic “Family Circus” the “two loop running course” looked more like the version of little Jeffy having to come home from school and manages to wander around all things in the neighborhood first. The course actually ran through the campgrounds of the state park. There were two different types campers on site today.
1) People camping out because they are in the race or have friends in the race. They set up cheering sections and had a good time.
2) People that just wanted a nice camping weekend and wondered why the h3ll 2,000 people were running through their campsite. They stared at us and didn’t have such a good time.
The weather had been quite a beautiful day. A little sun, not too hot. Then, in the spirit of all things Kansas weather, the clouds rolled in with the wind. The temperature dropped fairly quickly (which was welcomed) and a tad bit o’ lightening emerged. Due to the impending severe weather, the race was shortened by 2.2 miles. Now, they still had you finish, and called your name, and gave you a medal, so it’s kind of like you did an Ironman 70.3, except you didn’t. You actually did the Inagural Ironman Kansas 68.1!