Sunday, June 17, 2012

Something Happened on Race Day (written by Cortney Jacobsen - my sis!)

*This is a post from Pixie Medley - a blog written by my sister -
about her experience in the competing in her first Half Iron Man! (7/18/11)* 

Something Happened on Race Day

I rocked a 70.3. That’s what happened on race day.

The short version…
I completed my first Half Iron triathlon this weekend in Lake Chelan, WA. And I accomplished my goal – I finished injury-free and strong, sprinting (well, at least in my mind it felt like a sprint) to the finish line. My race highlights:
  1. Seizing “my moment” by passing several competitors in the lake. This was accompanied by a silent thanks to Mom and Dad who forced me into swim class when I was 5 years old.
  2. Playing bike tag with Judy, a new friend I made on the course. I passed her on the climbs and she took over on the the downhill. It went this way from miles 4 through 33.
  3. Screaming “Hellooooooo Sunshine” at the top of my lungs, riding through a tunnel at 39.2 mi/hr. after leaving the rain behind.
  4. Seeing the bright smiles and hearing the cheers of my friends (Josh, Matthew, Stacey, Ramona, Joan, Aron) as I made my way onto the run course.
  5. The 8-yr-old boys at the running support stations, who were frantic to find me electrolyte pills after I politely declined their water. I simply needed something more powerful.
  6. The blanket of humility that covered me as each person who I passed on the swim caught up with me – and far exceeded in overtaking me – after, oh, about mile 5 on the run.
  7. Singing to myself the two lines in “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay” that I actually know the words to over and over and over and over and over and over and over…………
  8. Finishing. I know this is trite, but it is a tremendous feeling. And the cherry on top was my man hugging my sweat-drenched, rancid being, and reviving my numbness with a feast of Vitamin Water, Snickers, and Tom’s Jalepeno potato chips.


The longer version…

One year agoI completed my first Olympic distance triathlon (.9 mi. swim, 26 mi. bike, 6 mi. run) in Chelan, WA. I finished in a decent time and was pleased with the overall experience. I watched the Half Iron men and women cross the finish line and declared that anyone who did a 70.3 (1.2 mi. swim + 56 mi. bike + 13.2 mi. run = 70.3) was extreme. That is, more extreme than I imagined I could be. I was excited and inspired by triathlon, but content to focus on improving my Olympic time.

Five months agoit was time to register for the 2011 ChelanMan and I was antsy to put my hat in the ring for a second year. But when I went to the website to register, the “Half Iron” button was so darn close to the “Olympic” button, that I thought, “Olympic? Half Iron? What’s the difference? So the race is a little longer. It’s not a big deal. I can do it. Lots of people do it.” So there you have it, that’s how I got myself into this predicament.

Four months ago I started telling my friends and family that I was going to do a Half Iron race in July in Lake Chelan, WA. As soon as I say something out loud – especially to the people I love – there is no backing down. I was locked in. I started a fairly intense training program (a modified version of this one Most people thought I was over-training. I was. But looking back on it now, I am very glad that I did. I would not have changed a thing about those early training days. They set a strong base for, what I learned to be, an intense physical challenge. Come race day, I had few concerns about my physical abilities. All of my jitters were about my nutrition – my ability to remain hydrated and cramp-free for 6+ hours of swimming, biking, and running.

Yesterday 7:05am, I began my first Half Iron triathlon. About five minutes into it, I was reveling in my mad swim skills. I was basically kicking ass. Feeling strong, healthy, skilled, and motivated to take on the race course. I maintained this feeling through nearly the entire 56 mile bike ride. I made friends on the course, I sang to myself, I followed my strict “sipping scheduling” of four gulps of water/Accelerade every 15 minutes, I stayed true to my diet of Sports Beans, Clif Roks, and Luna bars. I actually was thinking that I was getting stronger every mile. I made it calmly through my T2 (transition from bike to run), passed my cheering posse on the way out to the course, and then proceeded to fall apart at the seams. Thanks to my fellow competitors, the race volunteers, my friends, and my own will, I managed to pull it together and finish respectably.

I just have one more thing to say about finishing this race. No matter what kind of shape you are in, how strong your legs are, or how much you love to run, I don’t care what anyone says – running 13.2 miles after completing a 56 mile bike course (with 3,300 feet of total climbing) is not a menial feat. This can only be accomplished with tenacity, strength, planning, and support from others.

Today … I am tempted to say that anyone who wants to do the course that I just did two times (i.e. an official Ironman race, 2.4 mi. swim + 112 mi. bike + 26.2 mi. run) is a masochist of the darkest kind. But I have learned what happens when I hang out in my cushy glass house, devilishly fingering a a handful of stones.

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