FIRM man – 1/2 Ironman

(1.2 mile ocean swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run)
The Results:
9th woman overall
3rd in 40-44 age group
641 competitors
118 overall
5 hours, 9 min and 51 seconds
35:31 – swim – 2:49:30 bike (20 mph avg), 1:41:10 run
The Place: Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
The Plan:
An amazing back drop and setting for this great race, we arrived on Saturday for the number pick up and race meeting. Fred the humorous race coordinator was just getting into his last talk of the day going over the course and things to watch out for – like 2-3 foot waves and 15 mile head wind on the bike. He warned of swimming off to Block Island and sunken barges, and encouraged looking for those big orange buoys and head for the sea wall. The rest of the talk was noting where to watch out in order to keep things safe. I noted where the biggest hills would be coming in the course on the bike (33 miles) and the run (11 miles), but my main focus was to survive the water, tuck in my aero bars in the bike and hammer, and kick it in on the run if I have enough left to rally to the finish. Then really, the plan is always JUST to finish isn’t it? I haven’t done this distance since 1993 – so I will be happy with whatever this body decides it can muster..
The Start:
The day started in darkness as I prepared my gear for the transition area while letting Schuyler sleep in as much as possible…. The people on my transition rack were all very friendly, reminded me of when I competed 10 years ago and how great this group of dedicated athletes are in supporting eachother, a social network, a culture of its own…. My new full long sleeve Xterra wetsuit fit me like a glove and after applying my Bodyglide on my body to ensure it goes on with out much work… I walked the 3/4 mi down to the start with others and chatted with a few newbies to the 1/2 distance, encouraging and smiling faces, looking at the water with the sunrise promising some incredible weather. I tested the water (about 67 degrees) to be crashed on by some waves as I dove into the ocean for a little warm up before the start… Bagpipes played the national anthem barely audible over the crashing waves, and last minute instructions were given to all the racers. I was in the 3rd wave – Dick and Ricky Hoyt were the first wave – this father who has been featured on TV – doing the Hawaii Ironman and many other high profile races – swimming his son in a raft, pedaling the course with a custom made bike to carry Ricky and then running with the jogger – this is an amazing duo!
The swim:
The swim was made a challenge with the waves and the currents – taking me in and out – once I was really close to the buoy and the next moment I was very far away from the next…. I think I swam an “S” for Schuyler! Maybe 2 miles by the time I was done, I made the turn at the double buoys and kept thinking, when is this going to be done! The waves made the last section pretty tough and I stood up as soon as I could see the sandy floor! Off peels the wetsuit – which rubbed my neck (missed that area with glide) and created this nasty rash that stung when later I poured water over my head to cool down…
The bike:
In transition and off on the bike – looking at my times, I can probably cut at least 30 seconds here, but I thought I was pretty fast. The bike was a rolling course out on this highway with 15 mph headwinds. Racers I met were very encouraging and sometimes quite chatty. This girl “Jess” I met kept me motivated throughout the course, I thought I lost her at the end and she then passed me with 2 miles to go (said she had to make a pit stop!). : ) I passed her on the early sections of the run and she was planning on a DNF because of injury. Near the end of the bike, I was definitely tight in the back and hoping for some fuel to get me through the run, the winds were crazy hard as I stuck into the aero bars as much as my back would allow…. (note: Need to train in aero bars more…). My stomach was killing in me – I had to go the
The run:
I got to T2 (transition to run) and quickly changed to running shoes and shorts. Also a place I could cut time…. but I grabbed some GU and headed to the port a pottie, which I had to run through the thorn bushes and jump the fence to get to it… (whew!). My stomach felt much better as I tried to run off and get my legs back from that bike ride. I love the run – my sport of emphasis this summer, so I had high expectations, but not knowing how much I had left in me, nutrition was small for the day – – so I headed out, my feet blistering from the bike and now pavement pain… I passed probably about 6 women – some maybe on teams, but knowing my swim is so weak in the scheme of things, I needed to push it here. I ran with this one guy for about 5 miles (in the military) – pushing for a 5:09 – I set my goal for 5;15 and kept the pace with him until the hill where he fell behind. There was a turn around section at mile 9.5 and I was able to count the women finishing and knew I was top 12 by the time I made it to mile 10 (but not clear who was on a team and who was individual). The last section of the run after the 11 mile hill was all downhill and I felt like I was truly cruising to the finish. I reached the pavillion area to find that they put the finish on 1/2 mile of beach sand. It was really tough to run on the sand with blistered feet after running 13 miles…. so focus on the ground – look to the finish and a slight uphill around the corner and it was over! Yippee! Proud of my results as you see above, better than I had hoped, with that 5;15 goal – I hit that 5:09 and was a happy camper!
One side note: My age group is always very competitive, but in this race, the first and second place females were both in my age group (Donna Kaye and Amy Rice) – 2 amazing female athletes that have raced pro. Great feeling to be at the top of my game and to be in the ranks competing with these elite women!
The diet:
Breakfast – Cold pizza Pria bar & Shaklee Performance (10oz) & Water
Bike: Performance – 32 oz & 16 oz water & 2 GU & one Hammergel
Run – 1 GU – 32 oz water – 2 Hammergel
Post: Starbucks – Latte – McD’s fries, and at home – Peju cabernet, steak and veggies for dinner. : )
“Pure Madness”.

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Nancy Cook 2021

About Nancy

Nancy Peck Cook is a trainer and speaker who has presented in front of large and small audiences for the past 25 years.  Her work as an executive and volunteer trainer for the American Cancer Society during the growth of the signature activity Relay For Life trained professionals to be more confident and successful in their roles. 

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