I probably was one of the first online registrants the morning the Half Ironman opened up for registration. I was several days out from major surgery and had no idea what I was really getting into. Part of it may be that I thought I could do about anything being on Percocet post-op, or it may have been that I have run a couple of marathons back in my 20’s. Whatever the reason, I plunked down a cool couple hundred or more (I can’t remember) and signed myself up for some torture.
I was bike on the bike on Christmas. I decided to spend my bike training mountain biking because I don’t care much for getting hit by a 2 ton vehicle or objects hurled at me on the road. I also don’t care much for rednecks yelling at me. I also know the general consensus of how people in vehicles feel about cyclists in Chattanooga. Enough dislike there to initiate some ticket writing and correction though it would take a hundred years to reverse the hatred in some.
Swimming was a new thing for me. I grew up in a pool, but I never took actual swimming lessons which by the way is nothing like diving off of a board over and over and treading water and swimming underwater. What happened was what I continually titled “controlled drowning.” I just learned that the freestyle wasn’t at all free, and I definitely had no style. I felt like I was aspirating every time I attempted. Jumping into the Tennessee River for the first time with a group was terrifying. I did a lot of self-talk and self-soothing and praying. I was hoping earnestly that I wouldn’t die. I only did that two or three times before the real deal, but I did swim at Chicamauga Dam a few times.
Running. Heck, I ran two marathons in 2002. What the heck? I don’t need to practice that!
So, I mountain biked.
I ran a few times. Maybe about 25-30 runs total. Not nearly enough. Who needs to train for that. It’s running.
I was full of nerves the day of the race. I had everything ready and didn’t forget anything, except apparently how to drink water.
I felt very nervous in the water. There was a lady as I was standing in line with my husband who said some words to me that really helped me. There is quite a flow and rhythm to the freestyle in the river, but with thousands around and my goggles casting this deathly grey color to all people, I felt like I was in some sick episode of the Walking Dead Does the Half Ironman. I saw Robert Starnes in the water who was encouraging me. This guy is amazing, by the way. He has lost a ton of weight and has this incredible journey that he shares on social media. I swam onward and downstream (luckily).
I was so happy to be out of the water. I was happier there were “peelers” there to remove my wetsuit. It was time for the bike, but it was lightly raining. I wish that I had thought to just forgo what people thought and wore a camelback or Ospry; but I caved to what people thought and went with bottles. I drank a whole bottle of 6 scoops of Infinit which needed three more bottles of plain water behind it that never happened.
I snowballed into dehydration coupled with flying on the bike. I loved that speed I had at the end. Transition came, and I ate a PB&J (mistake) and hit the port-a-john then ran on. I started having massive stomach cramps that I compare to my colon dry heaving. It wasn’t pretty. I couldn’t drink, and I couldn’t run consistently due to the pain which I can compare to labor pains. I struggled through and made it to the end.
Run: 2:25:24 (dismal)
My husband beat me by 32 mins and 20 seconds.
I signed up for it again next year. I’m going to nail down nutrition and run more. And use my road bike more. And get a coach.