i always say you can never really know a race just by looking at the finishing time, there is always a story behind it. if you looked at the splits of this one, you might guess there was definitely a story to go with it.
my husband chris decided he wanted to train and race a half ironman and he registered for this race on november 30th, 2010… it’s been a long time coming. after being plagued with injuries since becoming a runner, he picked up cycling and swimming about a year ago and decided to throw them all together. he registered for this race before having ever completed a triathlon. he did 3 along the way during training… a super sprint, a sprint and an olympic and learned lessons and altered his training after each one.
finally the big weekend arrived!
after dropping the pups off and sitting in traffic we finally made our way to the expo around 1pm where the race would be finishing. he picked up his stuff, dropped off his run gear at transition, then we stopped at the store and were finally back to the hotel around 3 to relax and eat. we ordered in for dinner and he relaxed and i could tell he was ready and excited.
he was up before the alarm went off at 5am and he woke me up soon after. i could tell he was excited. this race is notorious for being hot, but the weather said it was currently cloudy which we were both happy to see. he got dressed and ate some breakfast and we picked up a friend and headed to the start line. this triathlon was going to be different for him since in all the others he has done, he has been in the wave behind the pros. this race he was going to be in the very last wave.
we got there when the pros were already in the water and he took his time getting his stuff together, warming up, and eating some more food. we went down to the water to watch a couple waves start and then before we knew it, he was putting on his wetsuit. it was still foggy out but it had already started to burn off… i was hoping it would stick around for a while.
he warmed up a bit and then the countdown started… and they were off!
i made my way over to the swim exit and found tara, kristin and stephen who were there spectating too. i knew right around where chris wanted to be on the swim and he came in exactly where i thought he would be.
swim – 1.2 miles/32:14
i got to run along the transition and follow him over to his bike. it took him a second to find it and then he was changed and out of there. the fog had already burned off and i could tell it was getting warmer.
T1 – 3:31
i ran to the car, then followed my friend on some back roads over to where the run course would start. i knew he had been working hard on the bike and had some strong goals for today and was hoping things were going as planned. i made it to the school early and got to cheer some teammates on and jogged around a bit, then found my spectating crew to cheer with. we pretty much turned into volunteers during this time directing traffic after MANY cyclists went the wrong direction. it was pretty frustrating to watch, but we did what we could to get everything in order. i checked chris’s bike split and saw he was right on pace at half way. i was so excited for him!
bike split 1 – 27 miles/1:20:23/20.15 mph
i checked the clock and made a mental note of when i should be looking for him. in the meantime we continued to cheer everyone on and direct traffic.
my mental note time came and went, and then it kept getting later and later. i was starting to get pretty nervous actually and was hoping it was just something as simple as a flat tire and not a crash. i had no way to get a hold of him and just was praying that it wasn’t anything serious. time continued to go on and i just continued to have faith that we would see him soon.
sure enough he came riding by and said his bike had broken and he didn’t know what to do. in unison all of us yelled “finish!” and he rode on. i was SO RELIEVED to see him, but so sad knowing that his bike had messed up. it was 1pm by this point and VERY WARM out. i seriously couldn’t fathom running a half marathon at that point, after all he had been through, but i knew he could do it.
bike split 2 – 29 miles/2:22:14/12.23 mph
total bike – 56 miles/3:42:37/15.09 mph
T2 – 3:08
we waited there since it was also on the run course and pretty soon he came by and stopped to talk. he was telling me what happened, and i knew he was frustrated… i mean seriously – TODAY of all days? i asked if he wanted to run. he said ok so we started running and sure enough the ironman police came and stopped us. he was getting a penalty for me running with him. i knew better and he begged explaining the day, but she was a stickler! it was only 45 seconds so in the long run not that much, but still kind of sucked. i really just wanted to talk to him!! but i knew better, bad me. i sent him on his way, ran back to my friends and we walked up the road to the mile one marker where there was some shade.
tara, kristin and me trying to stay in the shade
the story on the bike: he was riding along feeling really great and felt something weird in his back tire. he thought it was a flat, so he stopped to check, but the tire was full. he spun the tire and a spoke flew off and then he saw the rim was bent and it was rubbing against the frame. he tried to straighten it out and got back on but was going like 15mph as hard as he could from the resistance. after a few minutes of this, the tire eventually popped and he had to stop and started walking. the course mechanic came by 5-10 minutes later and tried to fix his back rim and gave him a new tire…. all the while chris was standing there waiting losing momentum. finally he fixed it and didn’t really recommend riding it at all. he told chris he had to keep it in the smallest ring and go slow. so chris rode the next 20 miles really slow and said it was so so so boring. he really debated whether or not he should be riding, but he continued on since he really wanted to finish!
we set up camp at mile one/mile 12 and had a blast cheering for all the athletes coming in. they were all smiling and pumping their fists and we could tell they really were glad to have us out there. i don’t think there were much of any spectators out on the run.
it was SO HOT out now and we were all toasted, i knew those athletes must be cooking and you could tell they were spent. eventually we saw chris coming from a ways away and got up and cheered really loud for him!
we took a shortcut through a park and literally ran into him as he was running along. i started running and followed him the whole way into the finish and got to see him cross which i was afraid i wouldn’t. i was so so so proud of him!
run: 13.1 miles/2:09:17/9:52 avg
total time: 70.3 miles in 6:30:47
i could tell he was spent and i ran over to find him. he was so happy to be done and he said he was just toast on the run. his legs never were so heavy, after the bike incident his fueling had gotten all messed up, and it was HOT! after all of that, he STILL did it and finished strong.
we celebrated after with some food then sat in traffic for 3 hours making the 100 mile trip home. that was fun. we got to recap the whole day though which is always nice to do.
he went into this race with some really ambitious goals, and i know he could have reached them and will someday soon, and i would have been/will be SO proud. but honestly, i think i am more proud of him for dealing with everything he did today and still making it to the finish line. it would have been so easy to quit, to catch a ride back with the bike mechanic and to just give in. he could have never gone out on the run and just stopped since he had already lost over an hour. i was thinking how much the run was going to hurt and how hot it was going to be, but he did it. he made it to the finish and had such a great attitude after… i really couldn’t be prouder.