Tucson to St. George Utah: 527 miles - 10 hours in the car.
My friend Kristin agreed to come with me for my Ironman St.George 70.3 race. We left on Friday morning. It was a fun road trip with a drive by at the Hoover Dam.
|Quick stop at the Hoover Dam|
Forgetting that Utah is Mountain Time, we missed the pre-race festivities and were too late to see Triple Threat teammate Collin Swenson before the race.
After registering and dropping off the bike at Sand Hollow Res there was just enough time to eat and chill out before sleeping.
I’ve been doing this long enough that I’m not as nervous the day before, and on race morning. I was looking forward to the course since I didn’t train on it.
|On Race Morning - Kristin & Kristen|
Sometimes I like to go into a race and experience it firsthand that day. It’s not a way to race well but it makes triathlon an adventure and that is what I wanted today.
Since my wave started at 7:45 I was able to watch Andy Potts come out of the water. He was a full minute ahead of the next athlete. He was quick in transition and out on the bike before anyone else was close.
It was hard to get started in the just under 60 degree water. Athletes are not allowed in the water until 2 minutes before the start. A huge disadvantages to Arizona triathletes who can’t practice cold water open water swimming.
It took a solid 10 minutes to find my groove. I was kicked in the eye which stunned me for a few seconds. Towards the end as I sighted and inhaled I swallowed water leaving me gasping for air for a minute. However, I love open water swimming, really I do. The water was spectacular and loved looking left to see the mound of rock– so pretty.
Out of the water and onto the bike. It was hard to get motivated the first few miles; I was feeling sorry for myself about a crappy swim. The course is gorgeous and I loved the hills, at first.
I took off my bike computer before leaving Tucson and I wasn’t wearing a watch or Garmin. I’m not sure if this was a benefit or detriment. I just wanted to enjoy this race. Once we started climbing in Snow Canyon the Ironman motivational signs kept my mind off the climb. I kept thinking I should have biked Mount Lemmon. I’m not sure why I didn’t train on Mount Lemmon but I won’t make that mistake again. I was able to watch the end of the men’s run because the bike course parallels the run in one section. Boy, are they fast and in that heat, I couldn’t believe how great they looked.
I felt good on the bike and when I was just a few miles from transition I flatted.
I’ve never had a flat in a race. I amazed myself that I didn’t lose it. In any other race I might have but this race I had a different attitude. I wasn’t in “racing” mode and I’m not sure why. So when I flatted I was calm. I took of the BACK wheel (lol) when a relay racer who was finished with the race asked me for help (participants can assist other participants). I took the help. I knew I could replace the tube but he did it faster than I ever could have. Turns out, he was the Iron Cowboy.
Finished the bike and headed out on the run and saw Kristin on the sideline. I was happy to see her. The run was tough and I walked a lot.
I was happy to finish strong. I want to race that course again. I want to train for the hills and “race” the course next year. It was such a great course and I loved the scenery.
On the way home Kristin and I drove to Zion National Park.
|In Zion National Park|
We didn’t have enough time to take the bus farther into the park but I want to make time next year to spend an entire day hiking. Next year I will drive home via the Grand Canyon and stay there for a full day.
|St George loves their Ironman Visitors|
Next year I will also come for the full day before the race. I want to see the pros and listen to their pre-race panel and walk around the town.
What I Learned:
I need goggles that don’t fog. I’ve raced and trained in them and I know I just need to get new ones; (sigh).
Train on terrain harder than the course; if possible.
|I will race it again next year - for sure!|
Here is a video recap of the race. I'm in it at 9:26 minutes, walking, ugh! It was hot and hilly.