Nathan sent me the below account of his weekend experience:
I’ve survived my first Ironman 70.3 event!!! The course was VERY hilly for both the bike and the run.
Swim: (1.2 Miles)
I had a very good time on the swim. I am quite happy with my time here. The lake was a balmy 58 for the swim and I had second thoughts about swimming with a sleeveless wetsuit. Sleeveless was a good decision though. After getting acclimatized before the start I didn’t give the water temps much thought. They say hypothermia makes you delirious J !!
By bike time was pretty good as well. The course was a VERY hilly 56 miles with about 4500 ft of climb and a single stretch of 3.5 – 4 miles between 7 – 16% grade. Other climbs were long (one was longer) as well but ran below 7% and played to my strengths. I did have one problem on the bike that cost me some time, but I chalk it up to lesson learned. Over all I was satisfied here. I opted to ride my road bike with aero bar bolt-ons rather than my time-trial bike. I don’t have the legs for a full-size crank and 16% for that long. It ended up a great decision. I was glad to have brought both bikes along.
Run (13.1 Miles / ½ Marathon)
Not even sure what to say here…. My run training was sorely lacking and my longest run EVER before running this event was 6.4 miles, so the jump to 13.1 was a challenge to say the least. With about 2 months to go I made a conscious decision to go in blissfully ignorant of the ½ marathon. I will say that at about the 10 mile mark some very strange things started happening to my body that were unexpected. I was told this was likely to happen and right on schedule the pain arrived. It was aided by one place on the run course where the grade exceeded 20% and another where there was a steady mile at 8%. On a double loop course you get to visit them twice and those weren’t the only run hills (arghh!!!). My main objective was to survive here and that’s what I did. I didn’t ever feel that I was in danger of not finishing, but I had STRONG urges to walk on occasion and I am certain that my “run pace” often dropped to “walk pace”.
I was joined at the event by my brother (also a competitor) and two other family members who cheered us along the way. It was wonderful to have familiar faces in the crowd. My brother also had excellent times on the swim/bike portions, but he embraced the run early in the season and this paid off for him.
Low Points: Throwing up on the bike after trying to swallow a barely chewed piece of PB&J. I managed to do this at 35+MPH!!! (That almost makes this a high point! Haz ya vomitz got skilz!) We're not talking about your single-heave event here folks. Once the heaving started.... it kept at it for a while...
I guess this leaves me with two questions: "Will I do it again?" and "Will I try a full IronMan event?"
Yes I will do it again. I want to run better and I will focus on this between now and my next event. This was a GREAT first try. I WILL do better though.
Full Iron? Hmmm…. I don’t know. If I can accomplish another ½ with good time, I might consider it. I have an AMAZING appreciation for ANYONE who crosses that finish line on that distance event now. It takes doing this to really appreciate it I think.
For now I am going to sit back and enjoy my coffee out of my brand new IronMan coffee mug and smile while I relive crossing that finish line.