“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are REAL, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are REAL you can’t be ugly; except to people who don’t understand.” ~ The Velveteen Rabbit
This year for my birthday, I decided to sign up for a 70.3 Ironman that was being held in New Orleans. I started training in November and did the Desert International Triathlon in March in La Quinta to get a feel for what I was in for. Both races had their challenges, but the biggest one was the wind! Here is a little recap from my ½ Ironman on April 17th, 2016.
What a day! The wind never let up. The swim felt like I was swimming in the ocean, there was so much chop and the jet skiis were causing waves (and fumes) as they were rescuing swimmers and trying to reposition the buoys which were blowing off course. They said they only cancel the swim if there is lightening or a high fecal count (YIKES)… I guess I should not have been surprised since the swim was in a marina!! My mom and Syd told me that a woman was taken out of the water crying and she said this was the first time she never finished a race… heartbreaking.
The bike out to the 28 mile turnaround was a grind. The wind would toss you around like a rag doll and you had to make sure you had control of that front wheel if you were going to try to eat or drink anything. It was along a highway that went out past the Bayou Savage so there were some pretty wild road kill sightings (small alligator, turtle, snake). The road was a bit bumpy going over a few of the bridges and you had to maneuver around bottles, tires, gels and another bike accessories which had gotten jostled off people’s bikes. My chain popped off about 10 miles in as I was shifting over some big mounds in the road. One guy had a bad crash and was on the side of the road with medics and I passed about 5 other riders waiting for the support vehicle to pick them up. At the turnaround I took advantage of any bit of tailwind I could get. My upper body felt great and strong but my right knee started to feel sore and my left ankle. Pushing through the wind was tough on the legs.
The first 6 miles of the run we had the wind at our backs as we ran along Lake Pontchartrain and I was happy to be stretching my body and legs. That feeling didn’t last as long as I hoped. At mile 7 my right knee really started to give me some problems. And that wind!!!! At the turn around it was full on in your face the whole way back. It was brutal. The wind was making the water in Lake Pontchartrain spill over the wall in some areas. I walked every aid station and some hills. My right knee was hurting as I think I was pushing so hard on the bike as to keep moving forward through the wind. I felt like I was in a hurricane the whole race, but I finished…. and while my goal was to finish in 6 hours, I am happy with 6:15 and 12th out of 57 in my age group.