Friday, July 15, 2011

RR: Wife's First Half-Iron

PETERBOROUGH HALF-IRON (70.3)  Spectator Report!
Mrs.Lord of the Chainrings (Fran's) first Half-Iron EVAR!

Husband-Wife High-Five!
Sorry but you can't be 'Tough' and
use a snuggy at the same time.
The morning started off like the others, and that is not a good thing. The alarm goes off, I wake up and quickly throw my clothes on, brush teeth etc. and sure enough everyone else is STILL in bed. If there is one thing that makes me absolutely cringe with anger it is when people slow me down in the mornings.

When I get up, I am on a mission! I already have my clothes laid out, vehicle packed and an efficient plan on how to get myself out the door as quickly as possible. This includes a checklist of the things I need to get from the fridge/etc that couldnt be packed the night before. This gives me the chance to sleep in to the last possible minute, which I value.

So anyways, this is not MY race day so  I didn't get upset. OK, well I did get grumpy but I didn't say anything. If she wants to risk being late for her first Half-Iron that is her decision, I didn't bother nagging her to go faster or get ready. I waited not-so-patiently for everyone to get ready. It was pretty obvious that I wasn't happy that she is taking risks with gettting to the starting line but whatever.

OK, get over it. :)

Her ride home...
I'll admit - I'm pretty darn nervous. I want this for her. This is my wife's first Half-Ironman. This is HUGE for her. It was a big deal when I did mine, but for Fran to step up and take on something this BIG is a testament to her stubborn toughness. Triathlon is contagious. She seen me do my first Half-Iron last year at Muskoka and sure enough she caught the bug and wanted to try this out too. This is totally her race though. I coached her when asked, but for the most part her Training Plan and it's execution has been all her doing. If there is one thing I learned after getting married it is that - you cannot teach the wife ANYTHING. Seriously, if I try to help/guide/instruct/motivate her she will quickly lash out with the 'Dont tell me what to do', 'Stop trying to control me', ' I am already doing it right', 'I already tried that'. Yup. Teaching her anything is futile. We learned this while trying to follow self-guided Ballroom dancing videos ages ago. It just does not work. It's worth paying a coach/instructor as she simply will not listen to me. :)  So the same applies to triathlon too. I let her figure things out on her own and put my input in when asked, but ultimately she has completely done this on her own. Even down to planning the race, well except the directions. Never. Give. The Wife. A. Map.  A man invented the GPS to save marraiges.
Pre Race Strategizing
Sabrina's first Tri! Fran's First Half-Iron!
That's my Son still waking up...

So we got to the race with a reasonable enough time to get registered and setup but no time for a warm-up. I think that was her plan though, she doesnt normally do warm-up of any kind. Our two youngest boys went with her to registration while I went and helped a friend of ours setup for the sprint triathlon. It was her first triathlon ever and she was at the event alone so I made sure to help guide her through what needs to be done and looked over her transition. She did her homework ahead of time, and was doing just fine.

Fran has done enough tri's now that she knows what she is doing. She had her transition setup in no time and then we walked through the transition motions together. She seemed pretty confident and calm. I could hardly tell she was nervous until we started heading over to the beach. I lost her in the crowds at the beach and with 2 minutes until race starts she was still out in the water warming up!! Uh oh, I made that mistake at my first tri this year and I was worried for her. Rushing to get back to the start line because you didn't start your warm up in time! That sucks. Luckily for her though the disabled-athlete wave started first so that bought her some extra time. She didn't look concerned so maybe she knew this. Either way I think I was more nervous than she was.
So 60 seconds until start and I'm an emotional wreck. I want this for her. I want my wife to finish. She deserves this. I want her to be happy. So why am I so nervous? Her IT Band. I think her swim will be fine, her bike will be fine but the run I dont know what will happen. She's tough, she can do this but will her injury screw everything up? There is cause for concern as this race is more strict than an official Ironman sanctioned event. Namely the cut-offs are much shorter. I'm guessing they dont have enough competitors or couldn't get the permits to close the road for that long, either way this is going to be a close one. She's tough though and no matter what her injury does - she will grind through it. She's like that, she will get the job done no matter what the cost.

Mass Start
So she took my advice and went wide and to the right. Looking good she has clear water in front of her and a perfect line to the first buoy. It didn't take long to lose her in the sea of condom heads.
Her cap was a unique colour though so it made it easy to pick her out of the swimmers coming in on the first lap. A 2 loop course was fun to cheer people on - especially the blind athletes. Yup, blind athletes, tethered together to an able bodies swimmer that guided them through the course. I think there were 7 of them in total. Amazing.

Fran come out of the water strong, good pace for her and didn't look winded or worried. I shouted at her to shake her arms out and she actually listened! :)
Her second lap was hard to watch, I didn't know where she was. By the time she exited she was exactly where she wanted to be. A great swim, she did it!!

Notice the hair dryer and curling on on the ground
She took her time in T1. She did her hair and makeup and ironed her clothes before putting them on. Or at least she had time to. I waited what felt like forever but eventually she came out. I am guessing she was applying sunscreen or something, but she made it out eventually.


Now I'm getting worried. We've been on the sidelines for ages and she is well past her predicted time. Even with a flat tire it shouldn't take this long. We waited and waited and now I'm counting down the minutes to the cut-off. Fran is good on the bike, but not strong on hills. She is comfortable on the hills but not quick. This course is known for A LOT of hills, but they are rollers. Unfortunately this wasn't the case for her, and for alot of people this day. She wasn't strong enough to 'roll' the hills so every single one of them was a grind. That sucks, namely because she has a bad husband. Yup, I thought for sure she could roll them so I didn't pay much attention to her gearing. 39-23 is waaay too steep for a non-climber. Great for training, not-so-great for racing. She got beat down by those hills - she looked tired coming in but she made it!!

I didn't watch, I ran ahead to get in position with our cheer squad!

This was a spectator friendly course if you felt like working at it. It was a single loop with an out and back near the start/finish so we ran from spot to spot to cheer Fran on a total of 6 times! We are always the loudest bunch at the races with our clappers and cowbells and Big-Blue inflatable High Five hand! This time we added Chalk to our arsenal and drew inspirational messages on the race course ala' TdF style. :)  I love cheering people on!
So Fran looked GREAT coming out of T2. She looked strong, her form looked good and her pace was perfect! Around the 5km mark would be the last time we see her and as she passed by I did the math. Assuming she holds this pace she will make the cut-off no problem. However given her IT Band issues it's probably going to be a close one. It all depends on how much she has to walk. Her bike took a big chunk out of her allotted time for the 'run' which we expected to be a walk. She had less than 3hrs to do the half marathon. That means, she didn't have much time for walking.
I waited for a bit and then decided I couldn't just stand here and do nothing. I started walking along the run course. I made it almost 5km out from the finish and waited for her to come. I was in a position that if it came down to being 'minutes' from the cutoff that I could smack her ass and drill instructor her way to beat the clock. Only if necessary though. The volunteers at the station were great - they even offered to drive me along the course to find Fran but as much I would have loved that, I didn't want to interrupt Fran's race. She is doing this on her own, she doesn't need me shadowing her. I am only in place 5km from the finish incase it comes down to the wire and she needs some 'help' making the cutoff. Otherwise she's on her own. After what felt like an eternity she came over the top of a hill with a big group of people. I seen her smile as she approached the feed station, I don't think she expected to see me at the part of the course. I didn't run up and hug her or anything, I wanted her to stay 'in the zone' as much as possible. She was moving pretty good actually, so I just read off the pace she needs to do and the landmarks up ahead where she could walk but ultimately she is within 10 minutes of the cut-off so as long as she only walks the last 2 uphills she will make it! I smacked her ass and sent her on her way.
I let her run ahead 200 feet so I could hang back and not risk disqualifying her by 'pacing her'. I just jogged on my own off to the side. By this time many people on bicycles were pacing their loved ones to help get them to the finish, I was surprised to see that but equally as surprised that the race officials weren't around DQ'ing people. I'm glad they weren't it is not like these people are going to win or anything! It was alot of fun, I met alot of people while waiting for Fran.
Fran finished strong and ran the final 3km's down to the finish chute. I didn't want to miss her crossing the line and there was no clear path to the exit of the finishers chute so I just cut across the 'stage' as people were getting there awards. I held the big blue hand up to my face as I cut across while they were taking photos. I wonder if they got me in a photo lol :)

So now I'm married to a Half-Iron Babe! How cool is that? Yeh I'm lucky, between raising 3 kids and putting up with me - this chick deserves a medal!

You can read her race report here: Mrs Lord of the Chainrings
More man than I'll ever be....

My youngest

5am. comes with sleepy cheers


  1. Love this! I know firsthand what a great cheering squad you have! So proud of Fran and know you are her biggest fan/supporter.

  2. She did such an awesome job! I only hope I can do as well at my first. I enjoyed both her story and yours!

  3. YAY Fran!!! She rocked it!! I am heading to check her RR now.

    PS, you are a GREAT sherpa!

    Oh. PPS 6 days.



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