Well, another Half Ironman is on the books! My first ever Half ironman took place last summer and I had SO much fun, I let my fiance talk me into another one PLUS a full ironman.. we’ll see how that goes. This race was a great gauge on my current fitness/workout levels, to make sure I’m not slacking, and it was nice to be able to improve my time by a solid 30 minutes from last year, even though I’m not sure I’m working as hard as other fellow ironman athletes, I’m a tad casual about the workouts.
The weather could NOT have been better. I was nervous after reading how the weather differs every year down in Muncie. Going to college in Bloomington, IN, I know that the weather is about 10 degrees warmer down there than it is in Chicago, and a race in July was a bit scary. The weather randomly was PERFECT due to a slight coldfront, so it was 70’s in the morning and hit about 80 by the run, which wasn’t bad and could’ve been way worse.
It was sunny, sadly it was windy, which made the bike loop harder, but more on that in a minute. Since the weather has been so warm, the swim was also made wetsuit ILLEGAL, which I was not prepared for, but ended up working out fine. It was 77.4 in the water, which was too hot for a wetsuit. Being from Chicago, you can’t practice without one in open water because I can’t stop shivering, but I was a swimmer when I was younger, so I got over it.
- As stated above, it was wetsuit illegal, and seems like every other year this is the case – so be prepared if you do this race. The water was pretty calm compared to last year’s Steelhead in Lake Michigan or Chicago Triathlon situations.
- My age group was combined with Men & Women 18-24, so that was still less than 200 people. I was wave 4, so eventually had the 25-29 and 30-39 year old men start to surpass me halfway through and things got crowded and I just wanted OUT of the water.
- It was REAL sunny and the problem was, when you turned to hit the final 900 meters, you swam STRAIGHT into the sun, which made it literally impossible to see. So that sucked.
- The bike course, which I realized day of wasn’t JUST out and back, but also a loop was fine. The roads were actually just repaved last year, so that was a DREAM. It was a rolling hill situation, not too bad, BUT we quickly realized we were going about 12 miles downwind and then turning around to go right back 12 miles INTO the wind, which made the second loop back into the Transition a lot harder. My fiance passed me while we were riding into the wind and I was basically PISSED at that point screaming ‘what the hell is this!?’ as he just keeps riding by.
- The run was hillier than I guess I expected, Steelhead was rather flat with just one BEAST of a hill. There wasn’t a loop though, just an out and back which I like and appreciate. I honestly felt fine once I got about 4 miles in, then I just count down the miles in my head. I started running with a few chatty folks at mile 6 and 8 which was entertaining and the fact that I could respond I knew I wasn’t running my hardest, but my legs just wouldn’t move faster and the sun started to beat down.
- My TYR goggles randomly started ripping at the nose, panicking the night before, luckily we found a Dick’s Sporting goods that was open so I could buy a new pair – we bought polarized shaded versions, so that saved us since it was so sunny
- My Ballou Skies tri kit since I didn’t need a wetsuit
- Louis Garneau helmet
- Fiji bike that gets through it all
- Newton running shoes (got new Hoka’s really wanted to wear them but haven’t actually run in them yet #nonewfriends on race day)
- Forgot my Nuun/headsweat visor in transition – great
- Shamrock Shuffle sunglasses for the win
- Vanilla Gu is my running jam
- Honey stingers are my new favorite bike riding sustenance
- Nuun’s orange mango is my new favorite energy drink ( and lemonade and nuun plus)
- salt tabs are a must
- Division Rank: 31
- Gender Rank: 264
- Overall Rank: 1069 (out of like 1,800)
- Swim: 44:41
- Bike: 3:03:14
- Run: 2:19:15
- TOTAL: 6:16:47
Up next? Who knows, we may be doing the Steelhead Half Ironman again this past weekend was so fun!