Ever thought about completing a Half Ironman for the personal challenge alone? Coolibar athlete, runner, mother, and nurse practitioner Sarah Gay finally reached her goal of finishing her first Half Ironman. Her vivacious recap may get you thinking about trying one too.
My first half Ironman, 70.3, 1.2/56/13.1, however you slice it, I did it! It was an absolutely beautiful day for a race. After about a week of rain the sun finally came out and put on a show. Overall, I completed the race just about where I was expecting 6:45. My swim went well. When I got out of the water I was off to a great start. I had already planned in my head to take my time in the first transition, and to put on well padded bike shorts because for 56 miles of biking, comfort was high on my list of priorities. As usual, I got stuck in my wetsuit (those things are hard to get off!). About four minutes later, off I went on my bike. I am very proud to say I biked much faster than I was expecting! All my training really worked!
I loved seeing my family on the sidelines cheering me on, and it gave me that extra push I needed to get into transition two — the run. Again, comfort for a long run was key, and I took the time to put on my Coolibar Swim Skort (yes, it’s super comfy for running too) and Super Sport Hat. After a quick pit stop, I was on my way and feeling strong. A few miles in, someone approached me and commented on how I had excellent form and a great stride! That was a first! I had to laugh, because then she just carried right on past me! No worries, I have 13 miles. I was just getting warmed up. I was frustrated, though, by the fact that during the run I needed to make two more pit stops, which had me walking for a bit. After all those miles, once I started walking, it was hard to get running again. I did, though! The end result was a run a split second slower than I was hoping, but I finished strong, crossing the finish line running. Most importantly, I was able to give my finisher’s medal to my daughter who thinks the only reason I do these triathlons is to give her the “triathlon necklaces” afterwards!
As I write it is 6 am Sunday morning (the day after), I am wide awake at 5 am without a workout planned — a very strange feeling! As I take stock of things now, I’m still feeling very proud of myself for reaching this goal. Not only did I finish but I felt good doing so. Yes, I was TIRED yesterday. But a good tired, not a sick tired. Going over the race in my head, I have to admit I’m still a little frustrated by the run, but that is one of the things that I love so much about triathlon. There is always something to improve upon. It’s an addicting game I play in my head: What’s next? Okay, goal one: finish. Goal two: I’m already thinking I need to do this distance again next year to achieve a better run time! Goal three: well, today is Father’s Day, so I think I better go out and get my husband a card. I just didn’t have the chance yesterday!