So, I feel like I can't walk away without a good story to tell! It's a little more difficult to write this recap, but I will say that my wrist feels better than it did yesterday which almost makes me think that it is not in fact broken, but I'm going to figure out today!
Recaps are always long so let's get started.
Beach2Battleship aint called a battleship for nothin ;) Really though, it's so organized, the volunteers are absolutely amazing, and I've heard nothing but amazing things about this race. The temperature was wonderful with a high of 70 (which made for a chilly morning but a great afternoon).
We swam in a channel so there was a current which is nice. We took a bus from the bike start to the swim start at about 7:45am but my wave didn't start until 9am. I think those are the worst moments to be honest because I had to leave Tanner and just stand in the cold for an hour until we get in the cold water. I was like dreading the cold water but it turned out to be warmer than standing outside. Wet suits are cool. It's like the water activates them kinda then it like suctions to your skin and keeps you warm. This was my first time in a wetsuit so I was a little concerned about range of motion is my shoulders and I felt very claustrophobic but I got over it.
Before the swim started everyone kept commenting that there were white caps and choppiness like crazy. THEY WERENT LYING! It didn't make me panic but like when we would come up for a breath, you get hit in the face with a salt water wave. I swallowed more salt than I ever want to again. We all started treading water and actually said a few times "What do we do?" because forward motion seemed difficult. I started doing back stroke. This was able to move me pretty quickly until a wave would hit my back and I'd swallow more. Once we got to a certain point (probably 1200m) in, the waves subsided which was nice. I swam by my watch 2300m when 1.2mile is only 1970m so I don't even know if my time actively reflects my speed but nevertheless, race day they don't care your route, it's when you touch the dock.
Transition 1 (7:32)
I always love T1! You're not tired. You're feeling awesome knowing you got the swim done (which is really the easiest in my opinion-not that I'm the fastest but it's just not that hard) and you know you have a long day ahead. When you get on the dock, the volunteers are great. They unzip your wet suit and then you move to the wetsuit strippers (I wore my tri suit under), and so they help you get it off fast. If not, it would probably take a lot longer. We had to run a pretty good distance to our bikes, and I took my time making sure everything was good to go. I was able to give my swim stuff to Tanner as he waited for me on the perimeter. I put on a long sleeved shirt because riding has the wind and I get cold. SO SO THANKFUL I did this. I ate a sandwich really fast (I struggle to eat on the bike) and drank some water.
The bike time is so clearly not accurate of what I can actually do. I expected around 3:40 as I know I can hold about a 15mph easily.
I started out way too strong going like 20mph. The bike is my weakness and I was embarrassed seeing everybody fly by me on their crazy expensive bikes looking all professional. I had too much of an ego and my legs were immediately on fire and by mile 5, my upper traps were already hurting (I am going to figure this out because its not normal). They say this bike is 100% flat. I'm going to tell you thats a lie. Haha! It's not that it's hard at all but unless I hallucinated, we seriously did an uphill for 10 miles. It was not steep at all so I guess like a flat hill, but honestly I'd rather do a hill and get it over with. By mile 10, I knew it was going to be a long day with my traps. They were already cramping (UH).
Mile 15ish, I decide to stretch them. I hold with one arm and stretch behind my back. I do the next. I decide to stretch my neck down, so I look down at my tire while stretching my upper back area. I look up. A cone is left of the ones in center. I'm literally RIGHT on it. I know I can't go right or left, so in my head I almost envisioned myself in a car and thought "hopefully I can just run right over it" (don't judge my split second thoughts HA!). Because I hit it dead center, my bike and I went flying into the air. I just remember being so high and thinking how I've never broke anything and was so scared about how bad it was going to hurt to break all these bones. I actively made the decision (which tells how high I was) to aim the side of my arm. I can't really figure out how I landed but my elbow hit first, ripping my shirt (which I'm convinced saved me from much more road rash) and then I rolled. I immediately started screaming, and literally within 2 seconds people were carrying me to the side of the road out of the bike lane. I remember thinking "WHY ARE YOU MOVING ME? WHAT IF MY NECK IS BROKEN?" hahah!!
Things got crazy. They were shouting CALL 911 and I was like NO PLEASE CALL MY HUSBAND FIRST! So, they did. My volume must have been down, so they couldn't hear him. They hand the phone to me. I'm like almost yelling/crying frantically that I think I've broken my elbow and wrist (couldn't move either one that moment). I couldn't hear him. The lady says "Paramedics will come and then we will call you back." On the other end, from Tanner's side, he was upset because he didn't understand why we couldn't hear him and then "she hung up on me while my wife just had an awful crash and I can't get to her."
Sooooo, anyway..... at that point, things started getting fuzzy. I went out for about 2 seconds and came right back to consciousness, and then got really nauseous so I turned on my side and threw up a little (didn't have anything on my stomach really). We waited a long while there until paramedics arrived. Those bikers (2 women and one man) were angels. They sacrificed their time to stay with me because they saw the entire crash. I'm forever grateful.
When they got there, I sat up because the other people didn't want me to in fear I'd hurt something. I was feeling a lot better by that point. I still hadn't moved my arm, and he asked if I had range of motion. I moved my arm, and it went out just fine (HA). I was like "Oh wow!" Then he says "So are you going to finish?" HAHAHA!! I was like Uhhh I didn't know that was an option. Let me call my husband and ask.
I called Tanner. He immediately said "You're gonna finish right? You'll be so upset later. Is your legs okay? Is your bike okay?" So, I was like "Well I GUESS IM FINISHING!!!"
I sent Tanner this picture and said "I'm a badass and not stopping without a fight" #ImCrazyIKnow They made me sign paperwork, and then the bike crew came. My handlebars were really screwed up so they bent them back right, checked all my gears and said it was good if I was.
I picked up a cliff bar that had flown out of the packaging, been run over and ate it off the interstate. I had lost all of my food in the crash and it was delicious.
The first few miles were scary. The orange cones were still there and haunting me. I was shook up. I wanted to make it to the next aid station before I stopped to tell Tanner I was okay after riding but after 20 miles it didn't come. My wrist had started throbbing, I had road rash on my right hand so I was relying entirely on my upper hands which puts pressure into my traps again. The bike hates me. I'm determined to figure this out. I stopped to stretch and eat something. I called Tanner, and told him I'd made it 20 more miles and was fine.
These were fine. I was really hungry so I was trying to eat but I knew I just needed to tough it out until the next station. That was mile 46. I stopped (again uh I hate stopping) to eat and pee. I ate two bananas and a cliff bar. I couldn't get my tri suit off with my bloody elbow and wrist so I had to get a girl to help me to even be able to go to the bathroom. I didn't really care about my bike time at this point. I just wanted to make it before the cutoff because I had been down so long.
Oh, I was so happy. Everything was hurting so bad. When I would try to move anything, everything hurt so I just didn't move. But, I knew I was going to finish at this point because obviously I could run.
They have it set up so well. They take your bike for you. They have your bag set up for your running needs, and a changing area. You hand off your bag and are out the door.
I have never ran post long rides. I knew what it felt like but not like this. Holy moly. My whole body was like ALERT ALERT! hahah! But, I knew it would go away. There was one of the top guys who had just finished his full bike ride and was so sweet and started chatting with me. He was like "You're such a strong runner. Why are you this late?" That made me feel really good, and I kept up with him for the first mile. Bike must have been his specialty because I was feeling strong and told him I was going to pull ahead after my legs got worked into running.
The run went by in a flash. They have aid stations on every mile. I would just grab like 6 grapes at every stop and one time a pretzel stick. You do 6.5 miles out in this BEAUTIFUL park with over hanging willow trees and then 6.5 miles back. I wasn't trying to make up time because I knew I was so far behind, but just wanted to do what I loved most. I sank into the run going at a pace that was SO easy for me to maintain. I felt awesome! So many people kept yelling "You look so strong!" "You don't even look tired!!" "You run like a champ" and of course all of those people made it even better. This is a prime example of people having no idea how much of an impact they have on someone. Encouraging words are so amazing during something of this length.
The final 4 miles, I thought "I've been doing this all day for 7 hours and I only have 30 minutes left. This is awesome!! So, I sped up. Then at 3 miles, I was like "Woah Katie. That was too much" and felt like death so I slowed back down. Haha! At 0.5 miles out, I knew I was finished. I started sprinting for some weird reason. I was done. I started crying then of course. Tanner got an awesome spot and came to pick me up for a hug. I was like NO NO NO, I hurt so bad and medical relief heard that and of course whisked me away. Blah. LOL!
Fun fact: I was 3rd in my age group for the run! HOLLA! (and last on the bike because #duh)
Post Race Clean Up
None of my wounds had been cleaned at this point. My elbow was caked dried blood from hours ago that needed to be cleaned. That was one of the most painful things. I ended up vomiting from pain. My legs were awesome. I hardly felt fatigued but my wrist and elbow was swelling so they gave me ice.
From there, they had pizza and coke and oreos and goodies. I can't ever eat post race. I always feel nauseous so we just walked back to get my bike at this point.
I was on cloud 9! I didn't care about any pain because I was so proud of myself. I was proud of myself for completing a half ironman but also for pushing through my crash. I know a lot probably think that I'm crazy but finding the depths and capacity of your spirit is like nothing I can explain. Every single time, it leaves you wanting more. Every training moment, every pain in my body was made worth it in those moments.
For awhile after, I sadly thought "Maybe I'm just simply not good on the bike and need to give it up :(" I tried all the advice about positioning my body and posture and nothing helped. I'm thinking maybe I need to have some adjustments made to the bike fit (I was fitted but its not bullet proof). I told Tanner "I want to do a full so bad, but maybe I'm not cut out for it." He admitted that I'm going to HAVE to figure this out to be able to do one.
The next morning, I had a change back to my normal spirits (aka I can do anything I set my mind to). I want to do a full next year. I will train appropriately. I WILL figure out the bike. I will spend hours upon hours on this bike to figure out proper posture and fit so I don't have this unnecessary pain. I want to do another half (thinking Raleigh 70.3 in June) before the full which I'm looking at Ironman Oct 9, 2016. They do sell out, but I don't want to sign up just yet. I'm going to focus on my marathon that's November 14 (4 weeks) in Charlotte. I don't expect to PR this race but I wanted to do it. I plan on doing the Charleston Marathon Jan 16 as well which is a more flat race (which I like of course lol)
Hope you enjoyed my dramatic half ironman!! Never underestimate the power of your mind!!!