I decided to do a race called Toughman in Provo Utah on August 22nd. It fit perfectly into my training leading up to Ironman Chattanooga, which is September 26th. I wasn’t excited about the 6-hour drive by myself to Provo. Originally my boyfriend was going to go with me and we were going to make a weekend of it. He couldn’t go at the last minute so I decided to drive up Friday and drive back Saturday after the race. I even debated about going at all but figured I had paid for it so I might as well go.
It was supposed to be a fast course, which was exactly what I needed for training for IM Chattanooga. My bike and swim have been really good so I hoped for a strong bike and swim and didn’t know what to expect on the run. I have been running longer but my runs have been slow. Battling a few injuries I have not been running like I had hoped.
I was told the lake was pretty gross and very shallow. The water was brown and almost the entire way my hand touched the bottom on every stroke. A few times I kicked the bottom and lots of people were walking the swim. I was the last wave so I had to pass so many people, which made it hard to get into a good rhythm. I had a pretty good swim even under those circumstances and came out of the water in 28 minutes.
I was off to the bike and was hoping to finish in under 2:30 if I did that would be a PR by about 10 minutes. Although it was flat at the beginning there were a lot of turns for the first 10-15 miles. I can ride fast but I am not very good at cornering fast. This made the first part slower than I would have liked but I was only a few minutes off my anticipated time. Since my group started last I had to pass lots of people on the bike. For some reason so many people do not ride to the right of the road. They seem to think they are the only person on the road and ride in the middle. When you start in the back and have to pass a lot of people it starts to get annoying. I ended the bike in 2:33 a few minutes off of my anticipated time but a PR on the bike by 7 minutes.
By the time I got to the run I figured in my head if I could run a 1:55 I would be just under 5 hours for the race and that would be a PR by about 17 minutes. I felt great and was running good for the first 2 miles. I started to get a side cramp and I knew that it was because I was breathing too hard so I knew I had to slow down before it got worse. I slowed for the next two miles to a 10-minute pace and the cramp eased up. I was able to pick up my pace to about 9 to 9:30 and managed to average about a 9 minute pace for the run. When I finished I thought I was probably around a 5:07 time but I wasn’t sure. When I checked the results I finished 5:02 and I was really happy that I had such a great race but really pissed I missed a sub 5 hour half ironman by 2 minutes!
It was great to be able to do this race because Ironman Chattanooga will also be very flat and probably very similar to this course. It was a great training day and a great boost for my confidence leading up to IMCH. Overall my pacing on the bike was great, my swim felt fantastic, and I made it through the run without walking. My nutrition was great and I didn’t feel fatigued at all during the race. The one thing I would have done different is to not run as fast as I did off the bike. I need to learn to come off the bike a little slower and pick up my pace as I get further into the run.