Came out of the water 1st female - won the swim prime - and 2nd overall, and based on the results my swim time was 27:08, about 18 seconds slower than last year. I know it could (and should) have been faster by at least 30 secs. I am happy with how my swim has gone this year, based on the amount of swimming I have done - compared to last year I have definitely done less. [Most of my workouts have been around 2000-2200m, and none longer than 2500m.]
Overall, the bike leg was tough! I rode pretty hard and felt strong, for the most part. I found the winds to be challenging. Led the women's race until somewhere close to 10km, then tried to keep Kristina S. in my sights, and was able to accomplish this for only a slight while, but a slight while nonetheless! Ended up being passed by about 5 women on the bike, and didn't try to go with anyone, repeatedly telling myself to "stick to your own race and don't worry about anyone else". I managed to pass ONE person on the bike, and that was the lead male swimmer! That is the trouble with finishing at or near the front in the swim - you don't get to pass too many people, if anyone!
My hips, legs, upper back and neck got really sore after about 50km and I worried that maybe I was going too hard? I put that thought out of my mind and kept pressing on. Then just after about 50km as I was going down a hill, my race belt suddenly broke and my number blew away! It was a crappy, old race belt that I'm sure was bound to break sometime, but in the middle of a race? I was concerned as we did not get body marked and there was really no # on our bikes, other than a teeny sticker on the stem. Fortunately there were no issues with this and I just had to call out my number to all the volunteers on the run course who were recording runners at the turn around points.
The next incident occurred at around 55km as I was powering along on a flat section, when all of a sudden my chain fell off! I had to come to a stop, get off my bike, and while I was getting off, my right hamstring/glute cramped up! Deja Vu of the Chinook race! WTF! It's apparently time to get a new chain! Anyway, I was able to fix the chain quickly and get back on the bike and continue on.
My bike split, including transitions, was 2:32. I think it was around 2:29 without the transitions. I was about 3.5 minutes faster on the bike portion this year, and it was windier, so I am very happy with that.
Onto the run, I started out at a fairly comfortable pace, and made sure to ask myself, "is this a pace that I can hold for 21km or even build on?". The run was NOT GOOD. Unfortunately, my stomach was not feeling good at all, and my legs felt very fatigued. Despite my hopes, these things did not improve over the course of the run, and in fact deteriorated! I had stomach cramps and upset, and I couldn't believe how sore my legs got! I made it to the turn around without having to walk, then the next aid station I walked through, and the next, and the next... Surprisingly I was not passed by any women until about 14 or 15km. At that point, it didn't bother me who passed me or how many went by as I was in too much pain to care. I ended up having to walk when not at an aid station several times in the remaining 6km. Mike K. went by me around 15km and I was unable to stay with him (he ended up only about 40 secs in front of me at the finish :)
When I hit the 20km mark, I told myself "you CANNOT walk, you only have 1km left!" and I did not walk again! And finally I was running up the last little section of road before you turn right and have less than 100m to the finish line:
Ouch! I was pretty hurtin' in this picture below. Soon after I finished, I was close to fainting and had to sit down for a while.
My BFF Stephen had a solid race overall, despite some setbacks leading up (stress fracture early 2010, bike crash several weeks ago), and was able to complete the race using a borrowed bike! Way to go Squeeven! And big congrats to Alice, who took 14 minutes off her time from last year! There were many of my swimmers out there doing their first half iron ever, and everyone did amazing and had a fantastic time. I think most of them are definitely going to sign up again next year!
I had a lot of fun out there despite feeling like crap (again) on the run, it really helps to see so many people you know on the race course (racing and spectating), and the volunteers were absolutely wonderful, as usual.