Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Buffalo Springs Lake 70.3 RR (my 1st half-ironman)

I am alive people! But it was really a close call.
And now I know that I am never (NEVER) going to do a full Ironman because it must be at least twice as
horrible as a half-ironman.

To sum it up: It was hard! I did not really enjoy it that much and I am scared to do another one. But I get to do it all over again in September…. I hope that by then I will forget about the misery I went through on Sunday and it will be all good.

So the race. We (my cousin and I) drove 7h to Tulsa on Thursday, spent the night and then drove 7h to Lubbock. It was pretty good, we did not fight too much and he almost convinced me to buy a Camaro.
Got to the hotel, registered, jogged for 7min around the parking lot and went to sleep.

Saturday was supposed to be shake out bike and swim but we had a pretty big storm with lightning and everything so I did not swim and I biked for around 15min just to check that my new wheel actually turn.
I also went to a store and bough Vittoria Pit Stop that I forgot in a car where it exploded once it got 100+
degrees in a car and went through the plastic that cover a door and got stuck there.

Sunday I woke up at 3:30, ate two blueberry bagels and one caramel Milka chocolate and drank some
I set up my transition, kept it very simple, jogged for a bit, put on my wetsuit (Amanda Stevens was right to me putting her wetsuit on. Good omen.), said bye to my cousin, swam for around 200m. Then I got quite nervous and started wondering how in the world a few months ago could I have thought that doing a HIM was a good idea.

And soon we were off. It was a beach start so I sprinted, then did 2 dolphin dives (or something like
that since I have never practices it) and start swimming. I think that I had a pretty good start. I decided to gamble and did not wear contacts which pretty much means that there was a possibility that I might not be able to see the buoys very well. But I did see them and I was following people so no issue. I found some feet to draft off but then lost them soon and then I spend most of the swim trying to catch those feet. So swim went by quite fast. I was working pretty hard because I was panting. And although water was 74degrees I was not overheated. I slowed down towards the end though because I was getting tired.

I got out water, checked my watch (30:06 official time – means swim was short), got my bike, put on socks, shoes, helmet and biked out.

Bike was very windy, but mostly flat with 7 hills, the first one being right from the transition. I took the
hills very easy, just spinning because I was terrified by the run to come and did not want to kill my poor legs. I yelled once at one guy to get off my wheel, other than that it was good. Bunch of men passed me, plus
2 women but I was mostly passing people. I did not wear a bike computer or powermeter so I just went
by feel trying to go strong. I think that I went quite hard but my time was only 2:43 so I am blaming a challenging course for that slow time. I ate 3 gels and drank 1.5 bottles of Gatorade (or Powerade, dang it, I never know which one I buy, they are the same), took water at each aid station, drank some and poured some over me. I knew that I was at the pointy end of the race because I did not see a lot of women on the out and back sections (but that might have been because I did not have contacts or glasses so I could not really see that much) but I did not know which position I was. There were some rougher roads at miles 30ish to 45ish and I did not enjoy that at all and wanted to get off that stupid bike. But then I remembered that I have to run 13.1 miles so I changed my mind and did not want to get off the bike anymore.

Run….my longest run since November 7 2009! If you can call it a run. But woo-hoo anyway! Course is
pretty much flat with 3 quite long and steep hills. And I walked every single one of those hills. I also
walked every single aid station. And I am not exaggerating. I walked every single hill, seriously! My poor
legs were not in shape to run 13 miles and there are no hills around here. It was a shuffle from the beginning. I did not wear Garmin so I do not know my exact paces but I ran 7:30ish pace for the first 3 (flat) miles (including walking through the aid stations), then the hills started and with all that walking my pace for middle 6 miles was 8:30, and then 7:40ish for the last 3 miles. It
was horrible. Two women passed me but they were not in my age group and I passed a few. I saw some
women behind me at the turn around but I was confident enough that if they try to pass me I am not going to let them. I just had zero mental power to try to catch someone in front of me. The last 2 miles were struggle. I was still passing some people but I was dying. I passed one guy at aid station 12, but then I walked the aid station, so he re-passed me and it took me half a mile to pass him again. And as I passed him he told me that that in front of us is a girl and I should go get her. I know it is mean to pass a person with 200m to go in a 70.3 mile race but well….I passed her.
 I drank some water, coke, Gatorade at aid stations (it was hot and they had ice in everything and I hate ice in drinks, even when it is 100 degrees out so I did not enjoy it that much), dump ice down my shorts and my bra to stay cool. I did not eat any gels because I did not feel like I was bonking, I had all the energy I needed, I just did not have leg power to keep moving. I was just going from one aid station to another looking forward to being able to walk and I did take my sweet time there. I finished in 1:46:41, which is embarrassingly slow but well, I should not have walked up those hills and aid stations.

Total time 5:04:32. (Oh well, that challenging bike and my dillydallying on a run killed my hopes to go under 5h. Even that short swim did not help).

As soon as I met with my cousin (who by the way took 1 (ONE!) picture of me racing (at the beginning of a bike) but we have dozens of pictures of cacti and different rocks because as he told me I was too slow and he got bored waiting for me and went hiking in a canyon.
What a supportive friend he is.) the first thing I told him was that I was not doing this again because it was awful!

But I somehow won my age group, which is really what I went there for. So I decided to suck it up and took the Vegas slot. Good thing I won because there was only one for my AG.

5:04:32, 1AG, 19th women (incl pros)

Final thoughts:

I am never doing an Ironman.

I need to run more. Especially longer runs. But cannot. So I guess HIM will always be a misery.

My ITB started to hurt at around mile 10 and I started praying. It hurt afterwards, but I taped it, rolled it and did my best not to bend that knee for the rest of the day. I felt it during the night a few times, not it was ok on Monday and it is ok now so I hope it has calmed down. But I am not going to run at least until Thursday to make sure it is ok.

I need to find a hill and do my runs up and down that sucker to get ready for Vegas.

I am never doing a full ironman.


  1. GREAT race! Yep, that 1/2 IM distance is hard! Congrats on 1st!

  2. I said it al in my email but... congrats again. Sounds like it felt like it was supposed to! Take care of that itb.

  3. Congratulations Monika! Can't wait to watch Vegas!!!

  4. Congratulations! GREAT job! You are going to LOVE Vegas (well maybe some of it ;) ) ... better start on training in some serious heat!

  5. OMG. The absurdity is killing me! Mmmonyka- WHY are you doing Las Vegas if you felt doing a half ironman was so horrible?? Why are you disappointed despite taking first ?? OK- seriously, you crack me up. Sometimes I wonder if the readers of your blog give you enough credit for your sense of humor. Anyway- CONGRATS. You rocked it and you know it and that championship spot is your and you deserve it and we are all SO EXCITED FOR YOU!!!!

  6. Since my only goal going into Texas was to qualify for Vegas, how silly would it be not to take the spot no matter how horrible it is going to be? :)

  7. And...I am not disappointed. It is just that it was not what I imagined it to be. And now I am very very scared.

  8. Just catching up on your blog - Congrats!!!! You should be VERY proud!!!! This is so hard core!