This past weekend’s race, Ironman 70.3 Muncie, was a huge success for me.
It was the first half Ironman race that I really tried to race and not just finish.
My goal was to finish under six hours, which was going to be a huge personal record.
I knew when my day started out that if everything went as planned (in other words, no bike wrecks, flat tires, etc.), I should be able to pretty easily beat my previous record.
The swim is in the Prairie Creek Reservoir, which is calm with minimal waves.
Muncie is known to be a flat, fast bike course, and the run course is rolling hills, so that does make it a bit more difficult. But overall, it’s a great race.
My brother and I got to the race around 5:45 a.m. with plenty of time to spare. We got all of our gear and bikes set up, waited in line (forever) to go to the bathroom, and finally headed to the swim course.
I put on my wetsuit, got in the water to adjust my goggles and waited for my swim wave to take off.
As I waited in the water with the other women in my age group, I took a look around. I usually feel intimidated and nervous. But this year was totally different; I felt that I was looking at my competition and that I actually belonged there.
When the gun went off, I ran into the water and took off. I just kept my head down, tried to breathe every third stroke, and keep the pace to where I was pushing it only slightly.
I thought that I was having a pretty good swim and was anxious to see what my time was when I got out of the water. When I had finished the swim, I checked my watch and realized that I swam it in 39 minutes, which was a minute under my goal pace.
I ran to transition, threw on my bike helmet and cycling shoes, grabbed my nutrition, cycling gloves and sunglasses, and took off on my bike.
The first six miles were pretty bumpy, but I knew it opened up to great, flat roads after that.
Once I hit that long stretch of flat roads, I started cruising on my bike. I rode for probably about 15 miles and realized that I was pretty out of breath.
I glanced at my heart rate monitor and noticed that my heart rate was much higher than my coach and I had discussed.
I tried to slow down a bit to get it under control and to nail my nutrition. I took an energy gel every 10 miles and drank my hydration drink every 15 minutes. Before I knew it, it was time to head back onto the last six miles of bumpy roads into transition.
Because of a watch malfunction, I didn’t have the total time of my bike, but I knew that I had averaged somewhere in the 20 mph range, which is really fast for me.
I’d never averaged that before.
When I got back into transition, I racked my bike, threw on my running shoes, grabbed my nutrition, handheld water bottle, visor, and race belt and headed off. Immediately, my legs tightened up with leg cramps.
I was so mad but took an energy gel and just kept on running, determined not to walk.
At the first aid station, I drank some water and a hydration drink, and took two Hammer Enduralyte tablets (pills comprised of sodium and electrolytes). I was hoping that they would help my leg cramps.
I continued running and decided to take two more. My legs were still tight, so I had to hold back on the run.
I also kept taking small bites of energy gels to try to combat my leg cramps. My stomach got so upset because of all of the sweet things, but if I threw up, I didn’t care. I wanted to do anything to get those leg cramps to go away.
I finally ran into a good friend, Rob Mager, around Mile 8. He gave me some Base Salt, which is a combination of sodium and electrolytes in a powdered form that are absorbed quickly.
I started using this and my leg cramps got better. Before I knew it, it was Mile 11 and I decided to pick up the pace.
There were quite a few people that were struggling up the rolling hills or having to stop and walk.
I didn’t really know what my total race time was at that point, but I wanted to keep pushing it to beat six hours.
I raced up the finishing chute to the finish line.
I was so excited! My husband told me that I did it!
My official race time was 5:45:28. I swam 1.2 miles in 39 minutes, rode 56 miles in two hours, 44 minutes (average of 20.48 mph), and ran 13.1 miles in 2:13 (average of 10:11/mile).
This race was a huge confidence boost for me.
I finished 30th out of 136 women in my age group. I definitely belonged out there to compete.
I’ve spent the past couple of days basking in the glory of Ironman 70.3 Muncie. But now it’s buckle down time for Ironman Louisville.
Less than 90 days away to complete double the race at Muncie.
Stacey Parisi is a Seymour native and resident. Her columns will appear regularly in The Tribune as she trains to compete in Ironman Louisville 2015. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.