The RECAP IS HERE and WARNING is might be long so if you stick with it and read it all god bless you and thank you so much for caring about my journey to the ironman!!! I also want to say that throughout reading this recap you must note that doing this race would be almost NEXT TO IMPOSSIBLE without my mom. She was my rock and made the race 100% easier for me through every aspect – So I want to thank her and then to remind you that even though your family may not be doing the ironman they are such an integral part to your success in completing your journey! ❤
We arrived to Muncie at the race expo on July 8th around 2PM from traveling from Arizona to Indiana. We made a few stops along the way but the weather was very rainy and stormy going east so I was nervous for race day. The expo was very well organized you went through a line picked up your number then waited in line for your waivers to ensure everything was correct and signed then you moved to the packet pickup and timing chip pickup and BAM done. After you attended a generalized athlete meeting where they went through the ins and outs of the course and what to do and not do throughout the day. After I went shopping – there were a few booths at the expo nothing fancy but enough to spend some money! I got 3 tri tops for $60 (like what?) and some Base Salts since they are hard to find in stores. Then I headed over to the ironman tent and got some commomative items – coffee mug, ironman long sleeve, and water bottle. After shopping I bike checked my bike in transition and ensured it was safe and covered for the night and headed to out hotel. Out hotel was about 50 min away from the Ironman – Muncie is a REALLY SMALL TOWN. Lucky for us unknowingly our hotel was the oppositie direction to which most were traveling to the race so basically ZERO traffic on the way in or waiting in the long line of the road to park plus it gave me time to drink coffee and digest breakfast prior to the pre race pooty stop.
Night Before Race
Since I was traveling across the country I had some stuff with me but not enough to get me through race day. So once we got to our hotel we unloaded my entire life into the hotel and reorganized for race morning and then repacked the care to avoid any stress in the morning prior to the race. Then we went out to dinner since I wanted to eat early to avoid digestive issues. There was not very many options but we found a local mom and pop itialian restaurant and had some yummy prerace pizza and then headed to Walmart. At Walmart I got myself a bucket for transition as well as english muffins and cream cheese for pre-race morning breakfast, powerades and waters. After we got everything set up for the ironman race I stored my water bottles in the hotel fridge and hit the hay.
Traithlons require ALOT of stuff – it is insane the checklist of items you need in order to everything to run smoothly. I used a ZOOT Triathlon Bag to carry all my gear.
Swim: Goggles (Aquasphere), Wetsuit (2xU entry level – I packed b/c they were on the fence of wetsuit legal or not), Speedsuit (Zoot – incase it was not wetsuit legal and it was not). Swim Top (Zoot). Swim Cap (Roka – Purple – Provided by Ironman)
Bike: Helmet (Bontanger Entry Level), Bike (Cannondale CAAD 10), Bike Pump, Bike Shoes (Entry Level Bontranger), Socks (Procompression Aqua Lows), Tri Top (Zoot), Sunglasses, Water bottles (4x) + Aero Rocked Bottle. Fuel for Bike – Honey Stinger Chews, Base Salts, Honey Stinger Waffle (cut up into pieces for easy access), Picky Bar (cut up into pieces for easy access), 2 Gels (Honey Stinger and Huma), and I had GenUCAN in one of the bottles.
Run: Ballcap (Lululemon Baller Hat), Bib Belt (FuelBelt), Handheld Water Bottle (Nathan), Running Shoes (Hoka One One Clifton), Extra pair of Socks (Procompression Aqua Lows), 2 Gels (Honey Stinger and Huma) for the Run.
Race Day morning I woke up at 3:15AM in order to leave by 4AM to get to the race/transition area by 5 – 5:15 AM. We ended up leaving the hotel around 4AM and going to McDondalds for Coffee and finally getting on the road around 4:20AM. We arrived at the race site around 5:20AM and I grabbed all my gear and headed to transition after parking. Your space laid out for all your stuff is pretty tight so you have to stay organized and compact in laying all the stuff out and making sure you are not forgetting any steps. Once everything was laid out I continued drinking my pre-workout drink of VegaOne Energizer, Powerade, and BCAAs and waited in line for the porta potty. After that it was about a 30 min wait before lining up for the start so I went and rechecked my bike tires before they closed transition then waited by a park bench and stretched. About 20 minutes prior to the race I ate about 2/3 of a Honey Stinger waffle and finished my drink and handed all my stuff to my mom to hold (she is the best) and headed to the line up to wait my turn to enter the water.
I would say I am always abnormally nervous about the swim – I am not really sure why because I know I am 100% capabale of completing the distance. I attribute alot of the nerves to hating to cold and the idea of getting into cold water when its already cool to me outside is like UGH NO!
Our wave was Females 18-24, 25-29 and Males 18-24 and we started at 7:19. It was a pretty big corral and we started at about knee deep but a gun signal and then it was pretty much a free for all. I hate the beginning on swims because its basically an unintentional kick, slam, bang fest until you break away in the water. I try to position myself towards the front as I am usually top 20% out of the water but it was hard to get out too far because there were alot of elites in the group. Once out I felt I was holding a pretty steady comfortable pace and holding my own among the purple caps and staying pretty straight along the bouys for the open water swim. It is hard when you are in the front of your wave because you come up on the other backpackers of the previous waves which causes some congestion so you are constantly trying to wiggle around here and there to pass which is much harder in the water than biking or running. The hard part of the swim came on the turn inward towards land – you were faced with a solid wind across the water as well as the sun was directly facing your sight of vision so spotting was almost completely impossible. I tried to spot side to side and stay as straight as possible but it definitely made the swim feel never ending. But I made it and felt pretty confident in my swim even though it was not perfect. Additionally, my mom was right there at the swim exit which was AMAZING and gave me that added push to run strong into T1.
To be honest with you I was definitely hoping for a faster swim time. However for my first half ironman and given the conditions I am still really pleased with my time and placing amongst some very talented athletes in my age group!
Transition One (Swim – Bike):
The T1 transition starts immediately upon exiting the water and involves a run up some rocky terrain covered by a mat into the transition area to find your bicycle. I am not really sure how far the run was but it defintiely was not extremely short. Once I got to transition I removed my speedsuit and put on my tri top. Then I dried off the water and dirt from my feet with a shammy towel and put on my socks and bike shoes. Then finally my I snapped close my helmet and put on my sunglassses and headed out for the bike. My mom made it to the bike exit to wave me off and it definitely lit up my world to know she was there cheering me on and made me really want to kick butt on the bike.
My number one fear/goal was to not get a flat and I was 100% pleased that did not happen. To be honest I had no clue how the bike would go – for one I have never ridden in the MidWest and wow is it windy and additionally biking is most definitely not my strong disipline so I basicallly leave it up to chance every time I get on the machine! lol. Overall, I was shocked and pleased with the bike – everything went smoothly. I was scared of the bike aid stations and how to use them so I just packed everything I might need on my bike. I ended up drinking about 2.5 bottles of liquid one with Generation UCan and Half a Picky Bar, 1 Honey Stinger Waffle, and 1 Pack of Honey Stinger Pink Lemonade Chews. Additionally I used BASE Salts for the first time and I used it about every 7 miles or so on the bike and I am thankful I did and wish I would have continued using it on my run – live and learn.
I felt strong throughout the entire bike and never bonked. Mainly I just focused on staying steady pushing the speed when it was favorable (downhill and tailwind) and grinding it out on the hard parts (uphill and headwind). The course was an out and back with 2 loops which I liked because you got a good idea of what you had ahead of you after the first loop and all the twists, turns, and aid stations. Honestly all the athletes for the most part were very considerate with passing so I had no real issues. I kept thinking the last 10 miles something was going to horribly wrong but it didn’t thank goodness. The worst thing was the last 30 miles I had to go pee so bad but I am still not keen on peeing all over my bike (I know all triathletes do it) so I held it until T2 and man all I could think about when I got there was PORTA POTTY PLEASE! lol!
Transition Two (T2)
Right when I got to T2 I racked my bike and removed my helmet and sunglasses and then run to the porta potty! AsI mentioned I cannot bring myself to pee on the bike yet so therefore it was straight to the portapotty for me! After I quickly removed my bike shoes and put on my run shoes. I wore my Hoka Cliftons and the night before the race I tried putting my lock laces in and they wouldn’t go through the holes so I had to go the regular way and just tie my laces – Oh Well. Once I grabbed my run gels I ran towards the run exit and well forgot my bib so back to my station and then back on the road I went. First Timer Problems – Have I ever mentioned how much stuff goes into a triathlon – SO MANY PARTS!
Lucky for me the transition from bike to run usually goes pretty smoothly. My legs seem to somehow adapt pretty well and I don’t get all dead legs – everyone asks me how and why and honestly I have no clue – I am a total newbie haha! However, with how well my bike went I was a little scared going into the run. For one I had gone way faster on the bike than I usually go in training about 2.5 mph per mile faster to be exact and the run course for Muncie was a series of rolling hills with the elevation gain on the back 6.5 miles. Additionally, I had not fueled as great as I probably should have on the bike and I had no clue how my GI tract was going to handle all this exercise I had never exercised this long before. So honestly I was all up in uncharted territory. I felt really good the first half of the run and just told myself to just keep running and keep your heart rate and breathing steady. Probably around mile 8-10 is when things started to kind of decline. For one the back half of the course was still rolling hills but was an elevation gain versus a loss on the first half and also my stomach was starting to act up. I tried taking a gel around mile 6 and kind of nursed it until mile 7.5 and then attempted coke (thank you for the advice Heather @TriandRunGirl 😉 ) which seemed to help. So I had some walking breaks during the second half but I told my mom that I was aiming for around 1:50:00 however honestly I told her I really didn’t know what to expect – once again uncharted territory!
I have to comment on the Ironman Aid Stations – let me tell you they blow every other race I have ever done out of the water. They were every single mile and stocked with sponges, ice, ice water, ice with waterdowned redbull or coke, pretzels, gels, chews, clif bars, gatorade – you name it they had it! And the volunteers OMG THEY WERE AMAZING. Ironman is expensive but let me tell you they spare no expense in making your race experience absolutely perfect and memorable!
Well Let me tell you there is nothing quite like an IronMan Finish with the Red Carpet Treatment – MAN I FELT ON TOP OF THE WORLD! I wanted Sub-6 and all thoughout the run I kept calculating what I had to run to get there counting down every mile and when I turned and knew I had it – I WAS SO EXCITED! No better high than endurance high.
I cannot believe I went Sub-6 on my first half ironman. I swear my mom and I talked about my pacing all week and I told her I wanted Sub6 but also knew I didn’t think it was possible and if it was it was going to be close. So when I knew I had it in my reach and the crossed the finish line – there is no greater high. I had alot of moment especially once I crossed the 5 hour mark into the race that I was like OMG I HAVE BEEN EXERCISING FOR 5 FREAKING HOURS – LIKE WHAT?! and then the next thought was OMG I HAVE TO DOUBLE THIS IN 3 MONTHS – EEEEEKKKK!!!! I am crazy excited but also crazy nervous for my Ironman in now just 11 weeks – where has the time gone! I have no clue what that day will hold but I do know it will be one hell of an adventure so stay tuned!
With Love, First Time Experiences, and #RoadToIronman
❤ Kindal (RunningWithStrength)