What a great day at Welland. The water was beautiful, the temperature was perfect, and the course was fast for the Half Ironman. Jodie and I are old hats at this but for Brooke, David, and Charles this was their first Half Iron experience. Here's how it went down:
My race went well if not perfectly (At this distance there are always ups and downs during the day). The swim was great and the water clear. I found a fast group, tucked in and swam totally relaxed for the whole two kilometres, popped out in just over thirty minutes, headed for transition and then out onto the bike. The bike was flat which is good for speed but not for the lower back as it forces you into the aero position for the entire ride. I also learned that sweet potatoes are good to eat on the bike at race speed and pierogies are not. They're too hard to chew when you're riding hard.
It's difficult to keep the watts high on such a long solo ride and I found the 70-80km section of the 90km course the hardest mentally. The mind wonders on the long, flat, straight stretches of road. However, the ride went well and I averaged 38.1 km/h, my fastest half-iron ride yet.
I started the run feeling a bit bloated (apparently pierogies don't digest that fast either) but generally ran a decent pace for the first 15k. The last six were torture as all the water and Heed that I drank wasn't digesting and continued to slosh around in my stomach. Seeing Brooke on the course was a highlight and got me running a decent pace into the finish but with two kilometres left an excruciating cramp nearly stopped me in my tracks. I got going again but soon afterwards got passed by another competitor who was running a fast pace. I dug in and decided that I wasn't going to lose a place because of stomach issues so I hit the gas and got on his shoulder. I thought that if I could just hold on to him for the last kilometer I could leave it up to the sprint. We both kept raising the speed in the final metres and ended up in an all out sprint after an four and a half hours of racing. The good news: I got him by one second. The bad news: all those pierogies, sweet potatoes, Heed, Perpetuem and water made a reappearance right after the finish. Two minutes later, after I finished puking, I found out that my run took 1:36, not bad but definitely hindered by gastro issues. Final time, a quite satisfying 4:33.
I spent the next little while worrying about Brooke's knees out on the run course and hoping her IT bands held up. As it turned out, Brooke only had knee pain for the last ten kilometres (!) of the run, but still ran in smiling, having employed a 4 minutes running, 1 minute walking technique in her half marathon. Amazingly she also averaged 31.1km/h on the bike for the 90k ride (which included a 2 minute stop at an aid station). I'm not sure, but I also think that she managed to set the record for the longest transitions ever in any race in Ontario, a whopping 21 minutes in the run up from the swim and the two transitions. She definitely earned her Half Iron medal on the day.
Jodie had an amazing race with an impressive 4:51 time and a speedy 1:38 run. The Ironman training is showing results. David and Charles also raced well in their first Half Iron experience and finished with impressive results. All in all, a great day was had by everyone from the BCC. This race is highly recommended.