Utah Half Report 4:30 am – text says “Bring your waterproof gear its def raining down here”. It wasn’t raining in Bountiful, but it was in Salt Lake. Driving down was downright dangerous. The rain was coming down in sheets and the road had a lot of standing water. Around the point of the mountain I hit a hidden patch of water and had that scary moment when the truck started to slide. Luckily I got traction and nothing happened but I saw two vehicles that didn’t have such good outcomes. I thought oh boy this is going to be epic.
We’ve trained too hard and long not to show up so we will be there, but mentally you have to gear up for the epic. I arrived at the lake and met Kelly Johnson directing traffic. It was coming down and she was wet. Everyone was parked with bikes still on top, this was kind of nice, I didn’t feel so rushed.
I got my kit together and chatted it up with other racers. The rain stopped and transition opened. . Kelly was missed. I got transition set up and felt pretty calm, the weather was turning perfect and the wind died down to nothing. A general feeling of cheer was showing on all the faces. Aaron Shamy gave his pre-race announcements and pep talk, which is always a blast. He totally busted that clipboard.
The elite athletes started and I walked into the water and it was actually really warm. It was pretty deep off the edge but then I was able to stand waiting for the gun. I always like chatting it up with folks. Talked to David Yang, a super nice guy who’s done a bunch of full distance races and is an animal on the bike. The gun went off (or horn or whatever) I ducked in and began swimming. I hadn’t really put myself in the best spot for not getting swam over, but I’ve done enough of these that getting knocked around a bit doesn’t bother me. As I swam I listening to the swish and gurgle of the churning arms and legs. I like to start slow on every event, but especially in the swim. I hate hyperventilating or getting my heart rate too high, so I try to take long strokes and push with an even flow. In the end this makes me slow, but comfortable.
I figure with a long swim I can push the second half of the swim. After the second turn I got a little disoriented and at one point started swimming in the wrong direction, crossing over the lanes – I thought to myself, it’s a little to lonely out here, too lonely. I popped up and saw that I was way off course and had to swim a ways to get back in line. (there goes my swim time). Rounding the last buoy and swimming the last leg to the swim out felt long and slow. I was putting some umph into it but the people on the shore were not getting closer. Then I reached the end and got out – always searching for that zipper pull. 44:28
I huffed into transition and fought the wetsuit. Socks, shoes, helmet, shirt, food, bike, go. I need to care more about transitions – my times were much worse than in years past. 4:36
I got on the bike and immediately felt that my saddle was a little low. I didn’t bring the tool, so it was what it was. This proved to be good and bad. I didn’t have any back spasm issues, but I didn’t feel like I was getting the push on the pedal either. I do like this course – flat and fast. After St. George and Vineman, a flat course was welcome change. I was going pretty strong at first but told myself to hold back a little, it’s a longish ride and I needed my legs for the run. I kept a steady pace and within a few miles I felt like I found a good pace that I could keep and have legs. I came ridding up on a fellow and we really had the same pace so after some chit chat we decided to ride together. Justin McPheters and I were both from Bountiful and we had a great time getting to know each other and pacing ourselves. It was his first half and fun to see him riding so well. Around mile 25 Justin got a little ahead but another rider was matching my pace. Introductions were made and Anna Cox and I rode together the rest of the ride. We had a great time, sharing stories, playing who do you know, and just enjoying the journey. I could have pushed it some more, but I was trying to hold back and push it on the run. 2:59:37
Dismount run into transition, park the bike and get off the shoes. I put on some longer socks – trying out compression socks, race belt, and sprayed more sunscreen. I almost ran off with my helmet still on – tried to put on the hat and said – oh the helmet is still on. I grabbed the hand bottle and ran out. I hate the hand bottle and like it at the same time. I like having the option of drinking when I want to instead of waiting for an aid station, but I hate having it my hand sloshing around. 3:04
Oh I wish I could run faster. It’s the thing I’m going to really work on. I have my pace and have a very hard time pushing it and feeling like I can keep going for a long time. I do not have the VO2max of the normal person, (Asthma issues as a kid) so air is often the deciding factor on how fast my legs can go. I plodded along, my legs were threatening to cramp and I wasn’t going to let them, I just had to move along at a slow pace and hope they loosened up. That first out and back is always hard, but at the same time its always great to see Rory Duckworth and BJ Christensen flying past me on their second loop, for some that may be depressing but for me I love seeing the super athletes working their magic.
Got the out and back finished and hit the long beautiful road with it’s tree cover. The weather was great, so it was a lot easier and I started feeling better. By the time I got to the path my legs were good and I began playing with running faster. Even though I was being passed by everyone, I felt ok. No stomach issues. My pace actually got better or I felt like I was running faster. I got to the last bit and pushed it as much as I could and crossed the finish line happy to be finished. I got my huge finisher medal and love the killer design. RaceTri always does an amazing job with their finisher medals, podium swag, and race shirts! 2:20:41
Total Time: 6:12:28
Post race My time was ok, I beat my previous Utah half by one minute. It was about what I expected, but not what I was hoping for. Run pace is the biggest thing I’ve got to work on. I needed to pick up the bike pace too, but I never know if I’m going to regret that. Need to get in the 9 min mile pace. I drank a lot of Winder Dairy chocolate milk and ate some peaches, my stomach wasn’t ready for anything else. I talked to my newly made friends and got my legs worked over by the very friendly DoTerra folks. I picked up my stuff and realized later that I didn’t have my Chacos with me. If anyone picked them up let me know. Great job to all the athletes who raced. A great day and an amazing event. I wish I could do a race like that every other weekend. I love RaceTri events, they are wonderfully organized, fun, and professional! I love the great people who put them on – a huge thanks especially to the volunteers!!!