What a blast!!
The road to Show Low is Highway 77. On a map, this looks like any highway - a line on paper. But wow!! The scenery was absolutely stunning!!
We crossed a gorge known as Salt River Canyon. We could have just as well been in the Grand Canyon it was so huge and overwhelmingly beautiful (I posted pics, but they don't do it justice).
The last 45 min. of the drive is basically a climb into the mountain plain in which Show Low was located. This area had the vegetation of the Muskoka's and the high end housing/cottages to match. The lake we were to swim in could have easily been any lake in central Ontario -- and it was nice to feel at home.
The race venue was gorgeous, but the water was freezing!! Race day water temp. 61 degrees. ouch.
Race morning, we woke up at 430 to cold air temps. high 50's., and winds of 16 mph. I made a decision to race in a one piece tri suit instead of my splish bathing suit (was a bad choice!).
It was a 3 mile ride to the transition from the parking lot, and we froze our assess off. I was scared.
The men's race was to start at 630, and once the sun was completely overhead, the air temp started to climb. Too late to change, lesson 1.
The women's race started 4 minutes after the men and I was thankful for the extra room it gave us. I got in the water just before we were to leave and it was soooo cold it literally took my breath away! All the pee in the world couldn't have kept this girl warm!!
The gun went off, and I thought that if I went hard, I would stay warmer. Kinda' forgot we were at 7000 ft. and it might be a little hard to get the oxygen I needed to hold that blistering pace, and instantly went into o2 dept. Coupled with the slight hypothermia I was facing, I began to have a small panic attack. I definately didn't enjoy swimming in cold water, but I needed to get a grip. By half way, I had regained mental control, found some woman's feet and pushed. We started to catch the men, which just adds fuel to my fire.
I got out of the water beside this gal for 1st and 2nd, in 29:55. Under 30. yes!! Goal one accomplished. Maybe could have gone faster if I was more comfortably, but who knows.
Onto the bike. Thanks to my new Blackwell Rearch carbon aerobars (thanks David!), I was feeling light and fast!! The course was hilly right off the top. The first half reminded me of Wisconsin IM, or the Peterborough half IM. Lots of rollers and some speedy downhills. At points, I was all alone (couldn't see anyone in front!) and was kinda' lonely. Some gents caught me and I decided that I needed to push a little harder to hit goal 2, so I tried to stick to them the rest of the way.
About 20 km from home, we turned into the wind and started to climb. Not having driven the course for a preview, I was unaware that this climb would continue for somewhere around 10 - 15 km. Tough, yes. But that's what I wanted/expected. Very Lake Placid.
The time was ticking by, and I was becoming more and more disheartened.
As it turns out, the bike was 4 km too long (they changed the course this year because of local construction).
Total bike time: 2:47 -- Considering the course and added kms, I'm actually okay with this time and most importantly, the effort.
I headed onto the run course at about the same time as some elite cyclist that caught me on the last climb. I passed her within the first 500 meters and had the goal of running an even pace -- hopefully one that I could hold for the full 26.2 in kona.
I felt the altitude a few times on the run. There were quite a few hills that would quickly put you into O2 debt. and I'd catch myself breathing pretty hard. The majority of the run was on paved trails, but there were large sections on gravel roads or dirt trail along the lake, and for most of the way, I couldn't see anyone (including volunteers) and was just hoping I was heading the right way.
I finished the run comfortably and actually had a half IM running PB too!! (10 sec., but that doesnt' matter!) -- 1:39:39.
Total time: 5:00:16, 1st Female, 11th Overall.
Ryan (BF extraordinarie) finished 3rd OA and had a great race -- he's my inspiration!!
This race was amazing -- recommend it to all. Great course, great raffle (I however, didn't win anything) and great plaques/finishers medals, shirts - you name it!! Certainly out did the 70.3 races I've done.
Today, Ryan and I woke up early to help volunteer for the xterra race. This looks like sooo much fun! Think I might have to invest in a mountain bike and learn how to play dirty!