It was somewhere around mile 11 on the run, the final leg of the Ironman 70.3 in Syracuse yesterday, that I thought I might want to do this again. For weeks ahead of the race I wanted to get to the finish line only to say “never again.” But despite the 90-degree heat, menacing hills, and two mechanicals, I was eager for more.
I determined early in the year that I’d complete my first half Ironman, and joined Jack and two friends in the pursuit. The training started in February, increasing to 14-18 hours a week beginning in April. It was complicated by a crash in late April which banged up my leg, and two minor surgeries in March. Each was a setback, but didn’t prevent an eventual return to a modified plan. Long hours at work and lots of travel added obstacles to the plan, and meant we did little other than train, eat and sleep.
I was very happy with the swim, finishing ahead of my goal time and feeling strong. I blew my rear tube on mile 11 of the ride, and repaired it quickly despite a noticeable hole in the tire. That fix held until mile 51. Choosing not to wait for race support, I limped along with two or three refills from the remaining CO2 in my cartridge. The run was brutal, as the heat had climbed north of 92 with no breeze or clouds. I took it easy up the hills and on the flats, choosing to enjoy it as much as I could instead of pushing it straight into a ditch.
That finish was very sweet.