70.3 Miami: Race Report

As many of you know, I completed my FIRST 70.3 on Sunday, October 30th in Ironman 70.3 Miami.

The time limit to be an official half-Ironman was eight hours.  My goal: finish in under 8 hours, and alive.

My official time was 7:15:24, and I couldn’t be happier.

Especially considering that my run was so terrible that it really wasn’t a run at all. But more of a cursing, painful limp.

The Expert crossed the line shortly thereafter.  (A proud moment for a 10th anniversary, for sure.)

Pre-Race
I was plagued with a headcold which started on the drive down to Miami on Thursday. The night before the race, I even downed a ton of NyQuil…. Regardless, I sniffled, coughed, tossed and turned like crazy all night.

Our alarm went off at 4:15 and I looked over at the other bed housing the Expert (yes, we are like the Cleavers. On races, we sleep in separate beds. It’s the best. Sorry, but it is..).

I said, “Oh no.”  He opened one eye and said, “I know.”

I was so tired. He was tired. I was so sniffly. I was so PUFFY. (The salt intake, oh, the salt.) And I hadn’t done a workout in almost 10 days, due to my hamstring.

At 4:20 on race morning, I found myself just plain dumbstruck.
I knew what was about to happen. I suspected what was about to happen.

I had no idea what was coming.

Set-up and Waterlogged
We arrived at the venue about 5:15am, and it was pouring down rain.  Pouring.  Pouring.  We parked about 12,000 miles from transition. (“Five dollar parking! Goody!”).

In the parking garage, the dichotomy was awesome: triathletes were rolling in, and a nightclub was letting the drunken Halloweeners (no pun intended) out.  Crazy drunk kitty cats and witches.  Crazy drunk nurses and ghosts. Crazy sober tired people with helmets (oh wait, that was us). The Expert and I watched as a Chippendale tried to go home with a Naughty Devil.  He succeeded and we cheered from inside the Pilot.

We walked to transition in the pouring rain.  Coach M called me on the phone.  I knew who it was without looking at the caller ID.  Only one other person would be calling me at that hour.

I answered, and Coach M was in process of giving me “the” awesome pep talk, when I slid on the wet pavement and cracked my toe on the curb.  (I know flipflops are the name of the game on race morning, but I am way too clumsy for that).  *(&@#.

At 5:25, the rain was dripping down my face, I was staring at all the bikes, and I couldn’t figure out where my transition space was.  I thought it was under my back wheel. But all the fit fancy people were using the front of their bikes.

I literally stood, holding my bag and staring into the rain for fifteen minutes. In fact, I stood there flabbergasted for so long, the Expert had time to pump his tires and set up his entire transition area.

He came over, “You ready?” I blinked and stared at him. He looked at me, unpacked and doe-eyed.

“Do I look like I am ready?”  I wailed. “Oh mah gawdddddd.”

Swim Start
Somehow I unpacked, the Expert pumped my tires (love) and transition was ready.

We wandered to the swim start about 5:50am. The rain continued to mercilessly come down, and we started to get cold.  In Miami.  Cold.  Ridiculous.

We found a place under a tree to sit, but the tree just poured fat, sloppy rain on us.  There was nowhere to hide from the rain.  Finally, I put on my swim cap just to keep my head warm.  That worked a little.

“What have you gotten us into?” the Expert asked.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” I said.

The object formerly known as the Sun appeared to come up (although there was no actual sighting of it).  About 7:30ish, the first starting gun went off, and the Pro Men took off.  The swim was set up like a demented triangle, which started with a jump off a dock, a swim out and wait until the gun start.

I was in Wave 9.  I kissed the Expert and waddled off in the rain to find my people.  But not before slipping one more time on the pavement, cursing, and then dodging a falling age grouper as he hit the pavement.

This race is already sheer carnage, I thought.

I was pretty impressed with the wave organization.  I followed a person waving a sign that said “Female 30-34″ and had a silver swim cap attached to it.  That was me.

I looked around at my fellow silver caps.  Unlike local races, where I could race Athena, there were no Athenas in sight.  In fact, there were no women who were within 15 pounds of Athena.


Where are the other fat girls? I thought to myself.  Where are ANY fat people, for that matter?  In that moment, I felt a little sick.  Not nervous.  But sick.  I thought I had bit off more than I could chew. Was I overconfident?  Was I just clinically insane?

The silver caps inched our way down to the dock.  I pulled my goggles down. I could see the Expert from the shore.  At most races, we have a hard time distinguishing each other from the other swim capped people.  I waved.  He immediately waved. Oh. He could easily distinguish me.  I was a sore thumb in my group. Like the one who had just attacked Krispy Kreme a few moments before.  Sigh.  I felt sick again.

Another starting gun and the pink caps took off.  We all walked to the edge of the dock, and jumped in the water.  I swam out.  One minute to start, the announcer said.  I felt calm at this point, repeating to myself: this is just a workout. Just a workout. 


Thirty seconds to start.


The starting gun went off, and I went after it.  Once my face hit the water, I was calm.  I felt in control.  I felt so strong.

Then I realized this was the longest, saltiest swim in the history of the world.  I had never seen so many buoys in my life.  Yellow, red, orange. Hundreds of them. (Okay, maybe 10).   I saw some pink swim caps…meaning I caught up to the previous wave.  That felt nice.  I was making some forward progress.

The sea grass attacked me.  And so did the men in the green and purple cap wave behind me.   One guy swam over me.  Literally.  I felt a hand on my butt, then I felt an entire body go over me. And not in a sexy way.  In an OMG, I’m being killed kind of way.  I was knocked around and kicked in the head.  I was elbowed.

Somehow, I rounded the last bouy and swam in.


Swim Time:  00:46:08

I walked my jelly legs up the stairs, and went through the fresh water rinse off.  As I “ran” to transition, I felt like the crowd of people was judging me.  I might as well have been naked.  I felt huge and seriously out of place.

In that moment, I had a decision to make.

Was I going to spend the rest of the race looking down?  Thinking I didn’t belong?  And why?  Because (to quote Bridget Jones) I can’t ski, I can’t ride, I can’t speak Latin, my legs only come up to here and yes…. I will always be just a little bit fat”? 


No.  I wasn’t going to do it.  I held my salty head up, and made it alive into transition.


T1
Good T1, considering the distance to travel.  Uneventful. Thank God. Coach M mentioned how imprecise the fine motor skills can be in transition.  Seeing as how this was the longest race swim I had done, I noticed how correct he was.

I couldn’t bear the thought of putting on socks or gloves. I was just so soggy, and had been soggy for almost four hours at this point. I didn’t want wet socks or wet gloves.  I put on my wet helmet. I put on my dry shoes (which had been in a Ziploc), and I tucked my wet sunglasses in my trisuit.

I exited T1 at about 00:52:20.


Bike
This bike leg was ridiculous. Ri-dic-ulous.  Headwinds, side winds, rain, bumpy pavement, traffic, railroad crossings. Carnage on the road.  When I saw a pile-up of six super-fit athletes on the side of the road, I was shaken to my core.  Word on the street: there were several crashes at the railroad crossings.

SBM friend Leslie was one of the athletes in a pile-up I passed, although I didn’t see her at the time.  Despite being thrown off her bike, suffering a concussion and a sprained finger, she still caught me.  ”Hey Swim Bike Mom,” she shouted.  [I loved seeing her on the course.  Despite crashing, she still finished in under 7 hours.  Way to go, L!]

The bike was mostly this:
“On your left” ”On your left” ”On your left”
“On your left” ”On your left” ”On your left”
“On your left” ”On your left” ”On your left”
“On your left” ”On your left” ”On your left”
“On your left” ”On your left” ”On your left”

Despite the headwind, I had a good time on the bike, averaging about 16.5mph.  My first half was much better – the wind caught me pretty badly after the turn-around.   I think I was probably about 17.5mph on the first half of the bike.

I found alot of time to be grateful, to thank God for the day, and spend some time in the moment.

There were aid stations on the bike course – two of them – and I avoided them at all costs.  I had four bottles on my bike, and that was that.  Which was a good idea, because apparently no one can operate a bike and grab food/water simultaneously.  I stayed far away from the hand-offs, and I still almost fell victim to other cyclists clambering for water.

The ride was on a major roadway, and although the entire left lane was blocked off with orange cones for the race, the traffic was sketchy and scary.  Coupled with the horrendous wind, I think this was a downright stupid bike course.

On the “LEFT”, experienced cyclists blew by.  On the RIGHT, eighteen wheeler trucks blew by.  Sometimes it was scary.  Of course, an argument can be made to get rid of the sissies like me, and the course would have been roomy.

I hit the bike wall about Mile 44.

Nutrition taken in during bike:
4 bottles of G2
3 salt tabs
1 pack of Shot Bloks
4 GUs
(In hindsight = not enough)

Bike Time: 03:23:38

T2
I have never been so glad to see a sign in my life.  ”Bike In.” Yay.

After an uneventful dismount (thank you sweet Lord), I trotted walked limped to my transition spot. And I had to pee so bad.  I couldn’t for the life of me see the porta-potties.  Even though I swore I had scoped them out the day before.  Where is the potty? Where?  Finally, I knew it was hopeless.  I sat on the grass, put on my compression socks, shoes, and Fuel Belt…. and just peed in the grass, right under Antonia. Yes, through my trisuit. No, not near anyone else’s transition stuff.  Plus, they were long gone.

It ain’t sexy, but it was the best idea ever. And it was drizzling, so it felt sanitary. Sorry, Mom.

Run

I ran out of transition, feeling pretty good. Run and done, run and done, I repeated to myself.

This was two-loop course.  I like two-loop courses almost as much as I like childbirth.  Passing the Finish Line en route to a second lap (while people are finishing!)?  Demoralizing.

I started off pacing about 12:00 minute mile, which according to my training and all sources, would have been reasonable.  Strategically, I was thinking, I could finish with about a 12:30 pace  (insert mild laughter here…for reasons shown below).

At the Mile 1 sign, I almost cursed out loud. One???? One?!?!?  12.1 to go?

My legs stopped working shortly thereafter.  They were moving forward, but they weren’t… what’s the word?  Firing?  Like I couldn’t turn them over to a run pace.  By Mile 2, I knew I was in for a 70.3 special treat.

The run went over a causeway, which on fresh legs would have been a fun, challenging climb.  After 4 hours of swimming and biking… “fun” is not particularly the word I would use.  Perhaps alien autopsy, or anal probe.  That’s more like it.

I jogged the first 3 miles of the run. I looked at my Garmin at one point, and I was going a 4.4 pace.  I can walk faster than this, I thought. At the top of the bridge, I had to walk.  I walked because I knew I had 9.5 miles to go.   I trotted downhill, thinking that the turn-around was close.  Uh.  No.

Positives? The aid stations were awesome.  Gatorade (or the Ironman brand of it) flowed freely. Gels, water, ICE (ice, baby), bananas, oranges.  I never thought I would want fruit.  But I devoured oranges at every turn.  The texture was divine.  After hours of baby food (GUs), real fruit was heaven.

The first loop was bad.  The second loop was hell.

Going up this bridge on the second time, I was so wrecked. One lane was blocked for the runners, and traffic was coming in the opposite direction.  A little disorienting.  At one point, I lost my whereabouts. I stumbled.  A Mazda honked at me.  I was over the cones.  And I had no idea. [Race pointer for next year's race?  Ummmm. How about no major highway? Thanks.]

On and on I ran.  I walked.  I had ZERO grateful moments. Not because I wasn’t grateful, but because I was lost.  I was wandering.  I had no idea where I was.

Somewhere, I saw the Expert.  I saw him coming for about 100 yards.  The closer he got, the more I cried. Until he was passing me, saying“Are you okay??” and I said, “Yes. I am just glad to see you.”

Bridge up, bridge down, bridge up, bridge down.

At Mile 7, I stopped to pee.  It was a porta-potty.  I opened the door, and there was a giant poop on the seat.  A real, live steamy poo.  On the seat.  ON. THE. SEAT. I was tired.  I closed my eyes. And I hovered over it.  I thought… this is it.  I am in this to finish.  Because otherwise… I can’t justify this moment, hovering over poo. Over strange poo.  I am going to finish.

I kept moving.  Then I saw a sign that said Mile 9, and I cramped, and wept.  4. More. Miles. No. No. No.

Nutrition taken in the run:
2 bananas
2 oranges
2 GUs
2 packs of Shot Bloks
6 nuun tablets
1 G2
7 cups of water
2 handfuls of ice
1 cup of cola
(In hindsight= not enough???)

Really, I don’t remember much about the run after Mile 9.  But I do remember this:
I had about 1.5 miles to go.  And I saw this “volunteer,” a snotty long-haired kid.  And as I shuffled by him, only a short distance from my ultimate quest, he snickered, snorted and then laughed at me.  I thought I was mistaken.  But then he looked at me and snorted again.  I stopped.  For just a second.  I looked at him, and I said, “Did you @#%*ing just laugh at me?”  His little baby eyes got big, and he turned away.  I knew I wasn’t imagining it, when a crowd member said, “YEAH!  What she said! Go girl!!”

And I kept going. Oh boy.  A mean teenager laughed at me.   What was I?  A five-year old?  Yes.

Before I knew it, I was running down the chute.  People clapped…. surprised faces, encouragement, laughter, smiles and “go girl”.  I heard it all.  At one point, I put my hand on my heart, then my head, and I said, “Thank you, God.  Thank you.”  And I meant it.

As I crossed the finish, I threw out some thumbs up, and I did a fist pump…and I jumped. I was foolish.

It. Was. Done.  I am half an Ironman.
Run Time:  02:54:40 


…And really “done”
The Expert and I celebrated our big day at the hotel bar, after the most needed shower of the century.

I smelled like the dirtiest, smelliest billy goat in all the planet.  Salt was crystallized on every surface of my skin. I was sunburned.  I looked beaten.  We planned a big night out. I brought a fancy dress to wear.  But we couldn’t walk.  We didn’t want to walk.  I couldn’t hold my arms up to dry my hair.

We decided the hotel restaurant was perfect. I toasted our race with a Stella Artois.  We downed chicken wings, spring rolls, pizza, hamburger, and cake.  3 glasses of wine, 3 beers, and a mojito.  In an hour.

And I was still hungry. By 8:30…. dead asleep.

But not before I realized that I only had one bike shoe… and no flip-flops.  And no helmet.  I abandoned an entire bag in transition, including the Expert’s race shirt.  Ooops.   Then, the next day driving home, the Expert and I realized we left all of our Ironman 70.3 goodies and shirts and magnets in the hotel.  I called the manager, and he is shipping them to me (allegedly).  When/if they arrive, I will do a plug for the fabulous hotel. But not until then!


….What I Learned:
I finished 67 out of 75 in my division, number 340 out of 367 women.  I finished 51 in the swim.  57 on the bike. The run obliterated me, obviously. What I learned?

1) I need to run more. I need to perfect my run.  My run suffered. I suffered.  I cursed the running gods.  I must run more.

2) That I may be fat, but people on the sidelines are often fat a-holes. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all the supportive crowd-goers – you guys were awesome.  As I rounded the finish, one lady yelled, “Hey you!” and I looked to her.  She was about my size, about my age, and she said, “YOU ARE AWESOME!”  And the best part?  I could tell…she meant it.  And I finished, and I said, “Yeah! I feel awesome!” (despite my inability to walk).

So. To those of you who scoffed, mocked and laughed at me along the way?  Screw you. [My mother reads this. Or I would have used this chance for an inaugural F-bomb.]

But on Mile 12. To have someone laugh at me.  To have someone scoff.  At my 7+ hour effort?  It was bizarre. I wanted to scream:  ”Oh yeah? You laugh? You are fatter than me!  And you are attempting to shame me? For what? For running a HALF IRONMAN?”

That’s what I wanted to say. But I didn’t.  Because to focus on that, would have made the day about them.  So instead, I held my fat head up.  Moved forward. And ran/walked/shuffled my way to 70.3.


4) I. Am. Worthy. I. Worked. For. This.  (And no one can take that away. Ever.)

5) No one cares.  I have done an epic thing (in my head).  But guess what?  No one cares.  People outside of triathlon think I am weird.  People at work wonder why I’m not in my office. People don’t care.  The lesson? When you do something “epic”—- you better care.  Because you’re all you’ve got.  You better tuck away your victories.  You better know.  Because no one else does….. and if they do…they don’t care.

6) I am proud of the Expert.  Very proud.

7) This may be the longest race report in the history of the land.
But THE lesson? Really?  Yes. You. Can. Go do it.  Move slowly. But move.  It doesn’t matter. Just go. Just Keep Moving Forward.

I love you all. Thanks for keeping me moving.  Thanks to Staci and my parents for watching our babies while we were gone. When we walked in from the trip, Stella, our three year old baby girl said, “Oh, you run? You ride your tricycle? You swim, momma?”

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that yes, Momma felt like she was riding a tricycle….

Until the next adventure… just keep moving forward.

 

SWIM BIKE RUN OVERALL RANK DIV.POS.
46:08 3:23:38 2:54:40 7:15:24 1912 68
LEG DISTANCE PACE RANK DIV.POS.
TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (46:08) 2:25/100m 1515 51
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (3:23:38) 16.50 mph 1822 57
RUN SPLIT 1: 3.6 mi 3.6 mi (43:05) 11:58/mi
RUN SPLIT 2: 6.8 mi 3.2 mi (44:06) 13:46/mi
RUN SPLIT 3: 10 mi 3.2 mi (47:40) 14:53/mi
RUN SPLIT 4: 13.1 mi 3.1 mi (39:49) 12:50/mi
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi (2:54:40) 13:20/mi 1912 68
TRANSITION TIME
T1: SWIM-TO-BIKE 5:29
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 5:29
 

Comments

  1. quicklikeabunny says

    I have tears in my eyes reading this. I've only braved the sprint tri but at each that I've done (3 so far) I look around and have that feeling deep inside… the feeling that I don't belong. That I'm not in good enough shape. It's the digging deep to push past those feelings that make your accomplishment so damn admirable. Congratulations!! Savor those sore muscles – it's the feeling of victory!

  2. Theresa @ActiveEggplant says

    I honestly think this is the most inspiring race recap I've ever read. "Yes. You. Can. Go do it. Move slowly. But move. It doesn't matter. Just go." <—Seriously wise.

    I completed my first international distance triathlon a couple of weeks ago and finished 2nd from LAST overall. I was the last woman across that finish line. I cried as I started the run (I use the term "run" loosely…I walked the entire thing) because there were already people LEAVING the race as I was entering transition. I felt like a joke, like I didn't belong, like I wasn't a "real" triathlete. It took me two weeks (and a last minute sprint tri this weekend) to get myself out of the funk I was in after that international.

    I can't begin to tell you how much I admire you for getting out there and conquering 70.3 (and for confronting that a-hole teenager…I would have cried.) I had grand plans of working up to 70.3 but after my horrible international I immediately started guessing myself. YOU (and this recap) made me realize that it's not about what other people think – it's about what I think I can do…and then getting out there and doing it.

    Congratulations – hold your head high – you are nothing short of amazing!

  3. Karen @ working it out... says

    You are making me cry at work, that is not right! (or maybe it isn't right that I am reading blogs at work… anyhow) YOU ARE SO AWESOME! I was tracking you guys as I was driving home from Wilmington. I kept hitting refresh when you were getting to the end. So very excited for you (and the expert of course…). You guys have some of the best race pictures ever. LOVE all the smiles. Don't sweat the idiot on the last mile. He probably couldn't run more than a mile if he wanted to – you are awesome and that is all that needs to be said about that… YOU DID IT!!!!!!!!! Aren't you glad you didn't throw in the towel a few weeks back? BE PROUD GIRL!

  4. Jen says

    You are amazing! I love the last part about no one caring and you have to do it for you. There is nothing truer in the world. I can't believe you peed over poo. I was howling laughing in my office reading that and someone had to come check on me. Congratulations. You are awesome. Literally awesome in the truest sense of the word. Rock on sister.

  5. Dawn Kurtz says

    What an awesome report. Thanks so much for sharing! You are an inspiration to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Brooke G says

    Reading through triumphant tears! So very proud of you! Best race recap EVER!

    And to that jackass who laughed at you…well, he must feel very smug on his couch at the end of the day after being forced to volunteer. While YOU, you fabulous wonderful person, have become a half Ironman.

    OMG I'm so proud of you! Tears of joy! Yay!

  7. Kristin says

    Oh.My.Gosh… This Race Report had it all… I laughed, I teared up, and most importantly, I was incredibly inspired… And then I got angry because of that crappy kid… I experienced the full spectrum of emotions all the while sitting at my desk at work, with my colleagues wondering what the hell I was doing! Thank you for it all… The race report, the blog entries during the months of training, the inspiration… And remember, for every rude-ass, snotty teenager laughing at you, there are a ten-fold the number of people everywhere cheering you on and sending you only the best of thoughts! Congratulations.

  8. Andrea says

    Apparently I wasn't the only one reading your race report at work! hehe

    I love your honesty. It takes so much courage to tell it like it is. You are amazing. Everyone is fighting their own mental demons during these races. These types of race reports will encouraging more people to try a tri, well, except maybe the steaming poo on the seat. Isn't it funny that it is more sanitary to sit on the grass & pee in your shorts than go in one of those nasty porti-potties?

    That little jerk made me mad when I read that but in the grand scheme of things who gives a flip what that little jerk said. You finished what you set out to do. You are a great example of what you can do when you just put your mind to it!

    CONGRATULATIONS to you & the Expert!! I have enjoyed reading your journey to 70.3!

  9. Monica Johnson-Null says

    My inspiration! 70.3 here I come! You truly are my hero! Tears, laughter and joy come from reading this post! So proud of you!

  10. Denise says

    I stand in awe of you and Jason, and your HUGE accomplishment. Thanks for a wonderful report, I laughed and cried, and felt inspired too! You have a wonderful gift of writing, and I am thankful you share it:)
    Because of your inspiration I will be doing a 5K on Thanksgiving day, and I will probably walk most of it! But I will "keep moving".

  11. Becca says

    You are my hero. I am o impressed with this and totally inspired that you can do something like this — you rock! :-) congrats for finishing and finishing well!!

  12. Swim Bike Mom says

    Thank you guys, for all your kind words. You kept me moving during the race. And thanks most of all to the Stanley Family and baby boy Caden. I could never give up with the family in my heart! :)

  13. TravelDiva says

    Congratulations! YOU DID IT!!! I'm proud of you and am inspired.

    …P.S. I would have slapped the snot out of that kid. FRACK HIM and those like him.

  14. Kathleen says

    As I've said before, you are so inspiring! And AWESOME. Thanks for sharing the good and the difficult. At my last race I came in last and had a police escort while on the bike. I realized that the race I was doing was for a more advanced athlete, but you know what… I have that medal on my wall because I finished it. If I were you, I wouldn't take that medal off for weeks. It will be quite the accessory to flash in the office.

  15. Tri Becca says

    CONGRATS!! I am SO very proud of you!Thanks for sharing the pretty and the ugly. We have to keep sharing like this, so others will know how difficult this is and if anyone sets their minds to doing a Triathlon or anything else in life, they can, if they want to! CONGRATS again! :)

  16. The Novice says

    I find race reports boring… until I read this one. In addtion to being a Half-Iron Man (Person), you are also a good writer. This was such a compelling story and I'm sorry you didn't experience 100% support… but you know your readers were behind you, right?

    Congratulations SBM!

  17. Anonymous says

    I am a triathlete who happens to live in Southern Florida. I came accross your blog a while back and just loved your humor and attitude. I was there for the race to support my training buddy and was thrilled to see you out on the run. I yelled your name and rang my cowbell at you as you came around the fountain. You seemed surprised and looked at me with that"I have no idea who you are" look. Now, reading how you were feeling, I am just amazed at any lack of support. You are awesome, brave,and really inspirational. You should feel nothing if not incredibley proud.
    Kim from fl.

  18. Swim Bike Mom says

    You guys are making me cry now.

    And Kim… I totally remember you!!!! I was so surprised to hear my name – but totes remember you… that was awesome. For the most part – there was a TON of support at this race… just a few bad eggs (and alot of self-esteem issues in my own head!!) Thanks for shaking that cowbell at me and shouting encouragement! YOU rock.

  19. Oaktownmom says

    Great race report. You rock, you inspire and you are strong and beautiful at exactly the size you are right now! Can't wait to do my first half-ironman next year to celebrate my 40th birthday.

  20. Donna says

    Now come on… doesn't it feel awesome to have not only raced, but written your first 70.3 race report? I'm so proud of you! Being a bit more "Athenaesque" than you, I pondered the same question at my first 70.3, "Where are the other fluffy athletes?" More power to you girl, and for those that gave you the attagirl during your race, you're probably living their dream. For those that f'ing scoffed (sorry SBM's Mom) it's their fear speaking. You are nothing short of strong and determined. I see nothing but a future of improvement! As for your walking more than running? Check out the nutrition and effort on the bike — it has EVERYTHING to do with what you have left for the run. I had to live it to believe it. Congrats again. Enjoy your accomplishment!

  21. CautiouslyAudacious says

    Way to power through! That is too funny about the Halloweeners! Sounds like a tough race between the head cold and the rain but you did it!!

  22. kim says

    SOOOOO proud of you girl!!! You inspire me! I wish I could have been there to cheer you on and kick that kid's a$$. As a middle school teacher, I would not have hesitated!! :) You are awesome and thank you for sharing your experience! It brought back feelings from my first (and only) 70.3 and you were so right on. I peed on the bike while riding. I also HATED the run and walked/ran it at a very slow pace :) Please don't listen to the jealous haters out there- YOU ROCK!!!

  23. Marianne says

    Absolutely loved the race report! You're a fabulous writer and a great athlete. You give me the inspiration to sign up for my first half:) Hope I can finish too! You ROCK!!

  24. Jennifer says

    This was an amazing post! I got so much out of it! You rock, you are awesome, and you should be so proud! YOU INSPIRE ME!!!! Thank you for this!

  25. Erincsg says

    I am thrilled for you! I watched your progress through the day, cheered from my kitchen, and am so glad you pushed through!! I love it that you want to run More. You have more to accomplish! I want to move from sprints to Olys next season; you inspire me!

  26. Sara says

    This is VERY epic!! Congrats to you!! I felt everything you were feeling during my triathlon and it was only a sprint!! As I was reading through your race report, I was thinking "My god, if I ever do a half ironman, this is so me!"

    You showed so much more restraint with that little twerp. I'd have clotheslined him. Showed him who's boss.

  27. Amanda Joy says

    YOU ARE AWESOME!!! I think I would've smacked that kid. I mean really, I wanna see him do it. I'm sorry I've been a bit MIA lately, even on my own blog. I've been on a hiatus from triathlons and marathons and every other form of exercise. It's time to get back with it. I'm so happy for you. Next year is my half iron year.

  28. Christine @ Oatmeal in my Bowl says

    That is a really awesome recap! I'm sorry you slipped on wet pavement twice, peed in your suit like a surfer, had to crouch over… well we can leave that out, that you have awesome taste in beer, that you needed to verbally smack a teenager over the head, and that you received some awesome cheer from someone who really meant it. Definitely walk proud with your head up. Very, very cool to you and Expert.

    BTW, glad to have found your blog. Look forward to reading more.

  29. Jennifer says

    Wow!! You are a ROCK STAR. Seriously. You finished in a faster time than my first (only) 70.3 in June and in really crappy conditions. I was supposed to be in this race, but I injured my shoulder and had to bail. Hindsight I'm glad I didn't have to deal with the wind and the rain!

    That kid… you just can't let stupid a-holes get to you. Walk proud. That kid doesn't have the cahones to train for 5 months and do what you just accomplished. I hope you keep going on this journey. Congratulations.

  30. Carly D. @ CarlyBananas says

    Congrats!
    I loved this recap and think you should have punched that kid. 70.3 is a crazy awesome accomplishment and I'd be so proud! :)

  31. Luke says

    I wonder if Anonymous=boneless? Certainly doesn't = brave…

    If you wanted to see proof that SOMEONE cares you can refer to every other comment on this post.

  32. Luke says

    Still boneless. And apparently bored. Why don't you have your mom make you some warm milk and go to bed little boy.

  33. Swim Bike Mom says

    If you hate me/this blog, why are you reading? What kind of idiot reads something he hates?? Click off, and go read Dilbert, or something. Sounds more like your style.

  34. Ara says

    Way to go!!! You. Are. AWESOME!!! You inspire me. Based on your pictures, you & I are about the same body type. I'm probably a little heavier than you. But, because you were able to complete a 1/2 Ironman with your head held high, so can I! Maybe not in 2012, but for sure in 2013!!!

  35. JonDot says

    Mer, Haters gonna hate, who cares what they think? Screw em' all!! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! You and the Expert are my inspiration!

  36. C says

    Ok, so you have me laughing and crying as I read this. You are such an awesome person and an inspiration. I am so glad to have found your blog and I follow you on twitter. Keep up the good work and I someday hope to be like you.

  37. Sara says

    How did I miss this report until now? I mean, I knew you did the race, but somehow missed the write up. Anyway, awesome report. You had me tearing up at the end. I would have kicked that snot nosed kid right in the head (along with "Justin T. Anonymous above), good job not letting him get to you. You are amazing and you earned that medal, and that t-shirt, and those sore muscles, and everything that goes with it.

  38. Michele K. says

    Hello SwimBikeMom! I found your blog because I am currently in my first trimester and hoping to do Ironman Miami as one of my first races back after the baby. I loved your race report. And by the way… You are absolutely NOT FAT! You need to quit telling yourself that. I did twelve triathlons this season, including two 70.3s, and saw triathletes in all shapes and sizes. Don't let anything detract from what you did. You set a goal to finish an Ironman 70.3 in under 8 hours and you smashed that! Good job!

  39. Jeannie says

    Congrats to you! I haven't even finished my first 70.3 yet but aspire to in 2012. Iwas singed up for 2010 but then blew out my ACL playing soccer. I am trying to get back in the game now but haven't done any tris yet, just runs. I love your honesty but yet still see the humor in most of it. It's great to find other moms of young children who make the effort to get out their and challenge themselves!

  40. Dawn says

    I have shivers from reading this…and not just because of the cold/wind/rain. YOU ROCK GIRL! I wish I could have been there to High 5 you and scream to cheer you on! You have done it!! A 70.3!!! And I'm still a chicken holding my hand over the submit key to register. You are awesome!!!!

  41. Stef says

    WOW — congratulations!! It took me TWO years to make it to the start (and finish) of my first half iron distance race in 2008.

    Epic race, epic report. All of it.

    Glad I found your blog through FitFluential.

  42. Katy (The Singing Runner) says

    Hi! I just stumbled upon your blog looking for race reports for Miami 70.3 and my goodness, this is so incredibly inspiring! Wow!

    I started running a few years ago but after a series of stress fractures last year (forcing me to sit out of my first marathon), I have decided to transition (haha) into triathlons for awhile.

    On Monday I will begin training for my first sprint triathlon (in March) and I am super excited! However. unknown to everyone but my parents, my BIG goal for the year is to complete a half-ironman.

    Anyway, I just wanted to pop by, introduce myself, and say how inspiring this report was! :D

  43. sugarmagnolia70 says

    just found your blog. I am the slowest triathlete in the world and just signed up for my first 70.3. Reading this made me smile, cry and have hope that I, too, can do what you've accomplished. You're awesome!

  44. Helen says

    HI, I just found your page and happened on this race report. I did it also… and it was just brutal weather. I think my race report mirrors mine in many parts!! I think that was a hateful thing for someone to laugh at you and being that I live down here I would like apologize for the idiot!! I think spectators just yell stupid things. I had someone during a marathon ask me if I was practicing for Boston?! Also had some recently in a 50K run laugh and ask my friend if he was "like the last person?!… people are stupid!

    GREAT job finishing and looks like your foot is on the mend. You will come back much quicker than you did initially starting out and as other said you have a ton more experience now! Good luck!

  45. CCWestmont says

    I came across your website while suffering swim-anxiety insomnia last night!! What a treat it has been to read through your posts and particularly your half iron report. Thanks for your candor and brevity – I am sure it has helped 100 times the amount of people who have actually posted here.

  46. Genevieve Riker says

    you are my hero for even TRYING! I have my first HIM on 7/15 in NY .. the Mussleman HIM.. I am nervous.. My swim time is gonna kill me.. IDK if i’m just fighting the wet suit or what.. the bike and run will definately be my makeup areas… really enjoyed reading your blogs.. keep up the awesome work.. and hell to the yeah for chewing that sideliner out for LAUGHING.. i’d like to see them TRY!… Any pointers for swimming in open water or advice in general???

    • Heather - A newbie of sorts says

      Thank you for your blog, I just found it and spent my daughters nap time getting inspired and recharged by your journey. I have a similar story and have been down on myself lately just feeling out of the groove and doubting that I will ever feel confident to do another triathalon. It has been so nice to read that other people feel the way I do! I completed Kemah Sprint distance triathalon after a month of intense training, I finished strong and felt strong but it’s been hard to get my motivation back to train again…thanks for saying things so honest, I appreciate it! I will keep moving!

  47. Tess Cohen says

    Finally having time to read some of your blogs! That was AWESOME!!!!
    I am going to catch up on more..Thanks for your inspiration!

  48. says

    I am training for my very first 70.3 and just came across your blog. Thank you for making me laugh and cry and feel more determined than ever. You did amazing on this race, and clearly, you continue to succeed. I think my favorite part is the part about hovering over strange poo. You are so very brave and so very funny. Thank you so much!

  49. says

    I am so glad I found your website! I am training for my first 70.3 in September and I feel better now reading your race report! I am just going to keep moving! Love this entry!

  50. Cindy Smith says

    I LOVED this story! You are such an inspiration to me. I am hoping to do my first 70.3 next summer; either Vineman (which falls on my 38th birthday) or Boulder (which is close to home but not my first choice). I am going to e-mail you for some time management tips as I am training for an olympic distance in a few weeks and I feel extremely undertrained (not my first olympic, but as my BFF said the other day that with each newborn baby, we start our training and racing anew). I will definitely be slogging it on the run! Congrats again on Miami and GOOD LUCK in your upcoming race in Georgia. You are going to kick so much butt!!!!

  51. BJ says

    After just finishing my 2nd half ironman in september your blog was so entertaining and so real to how it really feels to do one of these. My race this year also had me wondering God’s sense of humor regarding the absurd weather. Rain, wind and of course blazing heat for the run with an occasional gust of wind blowing down trees along side of me. I appreciate God truly knows my competitive side and through 16 years of triathlons and now a young 55 female he allows me to stay in the middle of the pack so as to see those in front and acknowledge I have people behind me all to prevent me from seriously injuring myself to push more than my body is capable or designed to do. You are correct in how the world outside of athletes view our abusive way we treat our bodies and question our sanity at every opportunity given them, and as to understanding why we allow others to swim over us, yell at us to get out of the way or limp our way across the finish line as something that makes us feel victorious is their idea of insanity. However our club of finishers is a prestigious group of people covering all walks of life and experiencing truly survivor like conditions and we do hold our heads up proudly and know that the mockers would be lucky to survive even a moment in our life experiences. We are the true winners and God choose us to show the mortals how it is done! Keep your eyes looking forward and remember 2nd Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”.

  52. says

    awesome. was googling RR’s the nite before the 2012 edition to get a lay of the land and came across this. really enjoyed reading it. very inspiring. I’ll be thinking of you on that run.

  53. Heather says

    I am not a mom but I found your website through a fellow tri gril. I’m just getting started in a tri (after a couple shorter races and two painfully slow half marathons). This post made me tear up, I am proud of the way you handled that little $%^ and for finishing this race. Amazing!

  54. Elaine says

    Thank you for this blog!!!! I am having pre-race jitters since I’m certain I will be the fattest, slowest athlete at Raleigh 70.3. But who cares? I’ll just keep moving! Love from an Athena who’s about to crash the HIM party :-)

  55. Kerry says

    Wow, I am so inspired and impressed. Thank you so much for this. I am a 23 year old who wants to get into triathlon. I saw your book on the Ramblin’ Rose giveaway and thought I’d check you out. You are hilarious, awesome, and just inspired me to actually say out loud that I want to compete in an Ironman 70.3. Excuse me while I go read your other race recaps :)

  56. Matt says

    Awesome!! Great race report!! Just wanted you to know that you’re achievement is still helping others. Miami 70.3 will be my first half this fall…It is coming quickly! I’m sure that I’ll read your report a few more times for inspiration before the race! Thank you – Matt

  57. Rebecca says

    I’m just starting to train for a triatholon next year and I’m totally intimidated. Your blog, and this post in particular, are awesome. You’ve made me more excited and determined to follow through. When I first started thinking about trying to do a triatholon I googled “mom triathlete” because I wanted to know if there were other women, who happened to be moms, who were able to train and get through a triatholon. I found your blog and its been wonderful to read. Thank you!

  58. Sil says

    Congrats!!! Really!!!
    I just love the way you write! I have tears in my eyes from laughing so loud…!!!
    You’re an example of determination, congratulations!

  59. Kate Bertram says

    I just wanted to thank you for sharing all that you do. I just finished the race report from your first half, and it has encouraged me more than I can find the words to express. I am about the tackle my first half at Anderson in two weeks, and I am in pure panic mode. I have 8 hours and 30 minutes to be an official finisher, so much like you seemed to be, I am just hoping to get through safely and healthy. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation.

  60. Bekah says

    I *needed* to read this.
    I have my first half Ironman in 3 wks and I’m freaking out. I keep thinking that I need to train more – that I didn’t do enough so far and I just need to get over it. My goal is just to finish. Please God let me finish. You made me laugh during this post and it’s inspiring. Thank you.

  61. Jane says

    I did my first sprint last summer. I was teased by a “relative” every time I saw him. I was laughed at by an old man on the 4 mile beach run while he pointed and scoffed. I finished 5th from the bottom. I finished. I felt great. My family was so supportive and proud and my very fit brother in law (who finished an hour before me) was supportive and proud and yet what rang in my head was the teasing “relative” that had the nerve to laugh when he was reading our times off. I am doing 2 more this summer. I hope to do better. Finding your site and reading your book is an inspiration. I have been crying, relating and laughing since I started reading your stuff. Thank you.

  62. Donna S says

    I am inspired to do Raleigh in 25 days. Rough past weekend doing anDu in NJ. I am 63 and this is on the Bucket List.

  63. Carol H says

    I found you by accident and I am so very glad I did. I can see myself in this race report, every single part. I said and thought exactly the same things during my first half-iron race last year. It took me over 8 hours to complete. I just couldn’t get anything together. It was hot, and WINDY and awful. I wasn’t proud of the accomplishment then but I am now.

    In four weeks I’ll be doing my second half-iron with high hopes, better training and (hopefully) a lot less swears.

    Thank you.

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