Yup, I finished the Providence Half Ironman! and YUP that's off the bucket list! This week has been crazy, the weather has been nuts which in turn flairs up the EDS. I thought going in I was going to be screwed. I decided I DIDN'T CARE, I was going to ignore any pain. I dedicated this race to Abby, my friend's 3 year old fighting brain cancer. The caption says "Courageous 3 year old fighting cancer. Today my pain is nothing.. 4 Abby" Any time I would have a hard time, I just started singing "I run for life " from Melissa Etherdge! It was also an experience like the PMC, so many people commenting and cheering "for Abby."
My family is here, mom, dad, brother and my mom's friend came up from Pittsburgh. I was SUPPOSED to have Fri/Mon/Tue off from work, but someone left the team and I had to pick up some work. To add insult to injury, not only did I have to do things DURING hours, but also after and again SATURDAY AM! UGH! So add that as stress #1.
I went to race pickup on Friday afternoon. I was hoping to get ahead of the game. Boy was I wrong! It took me forever to get everything then it was completely stressful packing for a point to point transition! You have to pack everything needed for the RUN in one bag, and everything needed for your bike in another. Once you place your run bag in transition you don't see it AGAIN until it's time to run. I had things in and out of that bag about 30x, as I went through the race in my head "oh I'll need that after swim..."
I woke up Sat, with intention on taking it easy. I packed and went to the dropoffs, man that was a LONG day!?! Everything is so far apart and annoying.
This is the run transition. It is "CLEAN" transition too, so NOTHING can be out of your bag unless you're standing next to it.
The rack spaces were SOO close together! They told you that you 'had' to rack by the seat, but my bike is so tiny and it dangles if I do that. I have to hang by handlebars or I will mess up my bike AND the ones on the side of me as it blows like a flag!
We loaded EVERYONE in the van at 3:30AM: my mom her friend, my dad, brother, John and TWO DOGS! I got to transition with my mom's "golden ticket" as we joked. Her handicapped sticker let us park 3 feet from transition. It was nice because they just went down to the water and had a GREAT front row bench seat for the race.
I went into transition to begin my day. I pumped my tires and then my whole plan was shot. This is what happened next:
John came to find me "I have to take your brother to the hospital." well, his pain was so intense we opted for the AMBULANCE. I spent the next 45 min standing there, making sure he's ok and of course taking pictures :). Turns out he had a kidney stone, but I wouldn't know anything for several hours as I was going out to race!
So with that, they were closing transition and I had to give John my phone and get my rear end to the beach. I hadn't done ANY of my pre-race things. I didn't recheck my bike, tape on my feet, nothing. Luckily I got down to the water and got in. Once there I realized my tape on my foot was loose. GREAT just GREAT! I ran back to see if anyone had any scissors to see if I could trim it. Then I hear the national anthem. UGH another thing I missed! I was quite disheveled at this point.
A few min to go and my wave was off! The water was SOO hot, I was actually sweating. No wetsuit, and no tempo trainer too. This made me slower, but the water was so thick and it really felt like it was a mile longer than it should have been. I don't mind swimming and can swim for days, but this ws just LOOOONNNG! A few men tried to climb into me and I swim on the OUTSIDE. No need my friends, no need. One dude was swimming next/on to me, and kept hitting me so I had a few wide strokes with my fingers extended and he went away. Other than that the swim was mostly uneventful.
About 1/4 mile in that tape on my foot was flapping with my kick! I knew I had to take it off or I'd get a blister later. I also knew I NEEDED the tape to keep my foot together for the run, ugh choices! I reached back and pulled the tape off, stuck it down my shirt so I didn't litter the pond. When I got out, I couldn't find it in my 'girl pocket' so I figured I just lost it. **note when taking a shower later Sunday I found the tape.. stuck to the outside of my chest!!!!**
Got out of the swim and onto the bike! I wasn't happy with my swim time but I was racing "my race" and that's what my body wanted to do yesterday!
The bike was from hell, but doable. I KNEW we had to climb for the first 45 miles. I drove the course AND part of it crosses roads I ride often. Long rolling hills and one MISERABLE hill at mile 28. Sun was in your face, no shade, and it was LONG! I was dripping sweat into my sunglasses and my eyeballs and there was nothing I could do about it as I needed to keep climbing. Once I got to the top of that, I didn't have a dry spot on me to clean the glasses so I had to take them off!
The last bit of the course was downhill but crappy roads. You had to zigzag all over the place and cross about 3 or 4 railroad tracks. I would have loved to FLY, but I just couldn't safely do that!
Overall I was pretty happy with my bike. I anticipated with those hills I would be between 4-4:30, I was expecting 4:30 actually. 4:10 is just fine! I felt good getting off the bike too, (does that mean I didn't work hard enough?) Actually I don't care, I ran "my race."
Then to the stupid run. Man I hate running, yet I can't understand why I have done now 4 half marathons this year! Although what I did wasn't "RUN" but it's not called the "WALK" portion.
I made the first loop with people still around. I was desperate to get to the first loop by 1:55 as this was the cutoff for removal from the course. I made it, but not much time to spare. That missing tape on my foot was a disaster. My ankle was collapsed by mile 1. Fun! Then I had a blister that looked like someone scalped my toe! The entire top of the toe was split off.. also FUN!
As I was coming around the corner to get to loop 1 finish, a cop stops me "are you Laura?" -- I of course think it's about my brother. He said "someone was looking for you." um ok? I kept going, next cop said the same thing. um ok? I finally get up around the corner and see John. He didn't call the police on me. Then I see my friend Pauline.. it was her LOL!
Loop 2 she decided to come with me, she brought a cowbell and chased me with it..... for six miles! Love her :). I also had a police escort!
My swim coach and friend Stacey joined us for the last 2 miles too. She tried to get me to run HAHAHA!
I'm not sure where this pic was taken but I'm guessing it's about the time that they took my chip and made me sign a waiver that I wouldn't get run over, but then another police officer said "you know they're waiting for you, they are holding the finish line until you get there."
I can't believe they held it for me. All the workers stopped what they were doing to come to the finish and cheer me on. Thanks to my coach Hollie, without your guidance this would not be possible. Thank you to everyone of my friends & family that stayed too! It makes a difference..
Also thanks to John I couldn't have done this with you!
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