Utah Lake can indeed look pretty
What does it take to get a girl (that hates nothing more than sitting in the car) to road trip (by herself) for 18 hours over a long weekend?
part of the swim course
A combination of the following:
1. A great race! Have I mentioned how much I love racing in Utah with all of my friends? Although we have been in Flagstaff, AZ for 3 years now, any race in Utah still feels like a hometown race to me! Being friends with the race directors, volunteers, and most of the other racers just makes everything so much more fun!
2. Prize money! We all know that this is a ridiculously expensive sport and little by little my gear is starting to fall apart, so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to maybe earn enough to cover (more than just) gas for this little extravaganza. Unless, of course, the super speedy girls show up... But it was a win-win situation. Either I would take some cash home with me or I would truly be challenged on my home turf. Either one was fine with me!
Provo River Trail - one of my favorite places to run
3. A possible half-iron PR. I don't keep track of these things very well, so I am not sure what my PR over this distance is or when it was set. Considering that this course is almost completely flat for the bike and the run, I was really hoping to go around or maybe even under 4:40. I can't remember the last time I raced on a fast course, so this was going to be a nice change!
4. Family and friends! I stopped in St. George on my way there and back and got to spend some time (and two nights) with the Rue family (and even Coachie) which is always a treat. While in Provo, I stayed at my in-laws' and there is not many places I'd rather be. You'd think after just having spent all of summer with them, I could care less, but that is not the case. They are the best!
best bike mechanic + best bike shop
5. A visit to the best bike repair shop! Neither Karl nor Coachie could figure out my bike's shifting problems, so my first stop in Provo was Racer's Cycle Service. I really miss not having this place less than a mile from my house. More than an hour (and a nice long chat) later all issues were fixed. Thank you, Racer, for taking care of me and my bike!
6. A super awesome husband who was fine taking care of the kids from Thursday morning to Monday afternoon. Fortunately, they are both in school now, which makes this less difficult but still far from easy. I am a lucky woman!
our little elite wave
The gun went off late because race director, Aaron, gave quite the speech on his little ladder before falling off, being chased, and diving fully-dressed into the lake. It was great entertainment. The women's elite field was a bit disappointing. By this I don't mean that no fast girls showed up. There were plenty of speedy ladies about to race hard. But I was the only female that actually signed up as an elite and started in the appropriate wave. Two other girls (and friends) toed the line with me and the boys but signed up in their respective age group. I am not sure why not more ladies came to play. But you can only race who shows up and some of my favorite girls did!
The swim was awesome. Well, as long as you don't care about super gross, super low water and you like non-wetsuit swims. I actually, for once, found some feet to draft behind and felt like we were moving along rather well. I accidentally touched the feet a couple of times and felt terrible. So when the guy stopped at one of the buoys to clear his goggles and tapped me on the shoulder, I was certain he was going to yell at me. Turns out it was my friend, Rory, and he kindly invited me to stick with him for the second loop. How nice is that???
So when we finally got out of the water after (what seemed like) an eternity of dolphin diving and running through mud, I
decided to pay the kindness forward and not get frustrated with my friend C who had been tapping my feet regularly throughout the entire swim let C know that if she drafted behind me again she'd better give me a little bit of room to breathe and kick. I didn't mind pulling her through the swim (and I am sure some day she will easily return the favor) but the field was small enough that there was no reason to be that close. Then I felt bad. Sort of. I do believe in basic racing etiquette and try my best to follow it and hope others do the same.*
*Since publishing this post, I have learned that C had no idea that repeatedly tapping someone's feet might be bothersome to the other person. Sorry for calling you out on this and I hope we are still friends!
Turns out the swim was way long. Like more than 300 meters long. So what I thought might have been a decently fast time, turned out to be a 36:11. But I had no watch and thus no idea...
right out of T1
The bike was fun. I had a (for me) great set up thanks to a bunch of very kind people. My Guru bike frame is still being fixed, so I not only borrowed Coachie's racing wheels (as usual) but the entire bike! Thank you, Sean Warren! And in case you are wondering if that could possibly be an aero helmet on my head, the answer is: Yes. I still think they look ridiculously stupid but I got over myself and finally, after 16 years, tried my friend Dave's out for a day. How could I possibly go anything but (pretty) fast? I was having so much fun that I almost missed one of the gravel-covered corners and had to unclip in order not to go down...
The only bummer about the bike course (besides the gravel) was that it was 3 miles short. Unlike in the swim, I was very aware that the course was that much short and I was less than pleased! But the Utah Half is not necessarily known for its accurate distances, so I tried to get over it.
heading out of T2
The run was painful. I still have the same hip/glute/hamstring issues that I have been struggling with for a while now except that they are now affecting both legs. Craptastic! I knew the long drive would be anything but helpful and I was right. I could feel it during the warm-up already but the run is definitely the worst. So I wasn't having too much fun at that point.
I was pretty done with it all toward the end (in case you can't tell by my facial expression). It was great to see many familiar faces out on the course and I am always inspired by my fellow competitors, no matter how fast or slow. I just kept telling myself: The faster you run, the sooner you're done. It wasn't working as well as I had hoped but eventually...
... I made it to the finish line. I was hoping to run close to a 1:30 but in the end all I could manage was a 1:33. Not bad but I am once again motivated to finally figure out what's causing my leg pain.
A huge thank you to all the awesome volunteers!
Congrats to everyone who raced and finished! I have been competing with some of these guys for a decade now but it never gets old!
I love sharing the podium with Jeanette (on my right) who is one of my favorite girls in this sport! I wish I would've taken the time to get to know the 3rd place girl better but there were just too many people to talk to. My favorite part! I also met a few young triathletes from Barcelona, Spain who were traveling the US and happened upon this race. Loved talking to them!
Yay for sparkly foamy stuff! I love spraying it all over. Makes me feel like some sort of celebrity.
(Apparently I am the only one who hadn't had a chance to change out of my gross racing outfit. Sorry, ladies!)
That makes 2 half-iron triathlons in 2 weeks (Mountain Man report is here) and next up is Vegas 70.3 in 8 days! Yikes! Not sure how this whole 3 halfs in 4 weeks experiment will go but I we will find out soon enough and I will keep you posted!
Another huge thank you to
and to my Coaches, Heath and Mahogani.
Couldn't do it without you!