We're back from Lubbock, and I'm still alive and kickin' (I say this because I seriously I had my doubts that I would cross the finish line alive on Sunday). I completed Buffalo Springs half-ironman in 6:22:55. This was about 16 minutes slower than my first half-ironman, but I'm okay with that because the course was much tougher. If I could do anything over, it would have been not to walk on the run...I ended up walking several times on the run, mostly up the hills - which I never do - but, my legs didn't want to cooperate with me at that point. I knew I was in trouble when I felt like I was going to die at mile .5 and still had 13 to go...argh...
Anyway, here's my recollection of the race:
1.2 Mile Swim: 49:31
Counter clockwise rectangle but you left from a beach in a little lagoon. You had to swim around a little land mass before you hit the main course. Although my time was much higher than in training I was very happy with the swim execution and I how felt in the water. I've read on a few triathlon forums about the swim and most folks thought it was a bit longer than 1.2. I'll keep telling myself that. Although I am super slow in the water, I never panicked and felt like I could have kept going further. My biggest problem is my in ability to swim in a straight line, so I tend to get off course several times in the swim.
56 Mile Bike: 3:28:27, 16.1 mph
Bike Course: BITCH.
Course: bitch A 9% ~ 460 yard uphill coming out of transition! That's just wrong man.
8 major hills with a few small ones mixed in. The hills were in and out of canyons. So you would go down as fast as you could, in some cases not very fast at all because of switch-backs or just very hard turns at the bottom. Plus it was wet in some parts. Then it would be flat for a half mile or so then backup the other side of the canyon. Now think about that. A "normal" hill you go up then go down and if you are lazy like me you use the downhill to rest. Not here, you go up then you hit the flats or even a false flat.
By mile 40, I really started to get uncomfortable on the bike. My butt hurt, my back hurt, and my neck hurt. I just wanted to get off the bike and tried to pedal my heart out to get back to transition.
Overall, I was pretty happy with my bike time. I pushed myself throughout, and felt averaging 16.1 mph on the hills + wind was good for me. I do need to bike a lot more. And bike more hills. Otherwise, I will not survive an 112 Ironman bike ride.
13.1 Mile Run: 1:59:27, 9:07 pace
Course: This was a good tough course that if just running, not combined with the other two before it, I would have really enjoyed. It's an out and back. The first three miles are pretty flat. You make a tight left turn just past the mile three aid station and you are looking up at a nasty climb out of the canyon. Once up it, you run to the park exit then dive right back into the canyon. Nice long downhill until you realize you have to run back up it later. Then the run gets a little cruel. You run back out of the canyon and hang a right onto what they call the Energy Lab II. It was a 3 mile out and back on the flattest road. Then you dive back in, then back up the other side, look up in the sky and thank the Good Lord for making that the last damn hill on the course.
I started hurting pretty early in on the run, and realized I probably went too hard on the bike. I never EVER walk a run but I knew going in I would allow myself to walk the aid stations. That worked well until the first hill. No way could I run that thing. I did get burst of energy at mile seven and actually had a decent pace for a bit. Went up the last big hill at mile 9 and thanked God several times.
Saw Dan at Mile 10. He was waving a beer in front on my face and cheering loudly. I was thankful for the cheers but silently cursed him for taunting me with the beer.
At ~12 miles I could begin to hear the finish line. That got me amped. This is also the point where the spectators really began cheering for us. I started to tear up.
Coming around the corner with about 200 to go was something special, something I will never forget. People were really yelling and going ballistic. It was awesome. Mike Reilly, "Voice of Ironman", brought me across the line which was cool. He even pronounced my name right.
Overall, the organization was great and the volunteers were amazing. Funny, Sunday night I hated that course. Now, two days later, I'm already thinking about how I'm going to attack it next time. I can't believe I just wrote that.