She Discusses How She Did It
What made you decide to do a half Iron Man?
The decision to do the race Initially came from a friend who had asked me if I wanted to do this race and after thinking about the training that would be required to get ready for It I decided that it would be a great way to get back into shape after having my second child July 1 st 2016. I have been biking for years both road and mountain but I didn’t start running until a few years ago. I found myself running short distances and then decided to do my first 5K with the encouragement of my husband. I decided to do my first half marathon after having my first son In 2013 to get back into shape. I chose to do the Diva half in St. Augustine because it was female focused and I was doing it by myself just to see if I could complete such a distance. I completed a couple more half marathons after that as well.
How long did you train for this?
I started training in January 2017. I split up my week to include at least two days a week training for each activity (swim, bike, run). It was a tough balance of training, working, and spending time with my family. But I remain focused and driven and got it done. I certainly missed spending time with my little boys but in the end it was all worth it. And if I continue to do such distances I hope that my boys will grow up to have a bit of interest in joining mom to workout and train.
Was this always a goal of yours?
I had done a few sprint triathlons before my first son 4 years ago and a few after he was born. And a few years ago I had a thought of maybe someday doing a half Iron man but I was always a little reluctant because of the length of the distances required for each sport. My initial thought was I would do the Augusta half Iron Man but when a friend of mine mentioned that there was an event in Florida it sounded like a really good idea especially because we had a number of people from the running community that were going to be doing all of the race or at least part of it. I knew I had other people in the community that would help with group training and encouragement.
What was your favorite sport out of the three?
That is a tough question. I would have said that the biking would’ve been my favorite before the race because I have more history biking but I actually really enjoyed the run. Although it was 13.1 miles and probably my weakest of the three sports, it was A 4.4 mile loop that was repeated 3 times and I couldn’t believe how quickly each loop seemed to go by. I also found it very helpful that the running course went through residential neighborhoods so there were people out in front of their houses and there were also a lot of refueling and re-hydrating stations in place where the volunteers were cheering you on and really made it that much more fun.
Did you change your diet?
Somewhat. I tried to reduce my intake of unhealthy foods and fluids and I really tried to stay focused on eating a balanced diet of protein carbohydrates and lots of fruits and vegetables. I really just tried to make healthier choices and limit junk food. I also encouraged myself to hydrate every single day.
Are you happy you did it?
I am. I am very happy I did it. And I thought for sure that I would have said I would never do another one again but I am already thinking about when is the next event that I could do. I will definitely do this one again next year. I am very proud of not only completing this race but also on the time that I was able to complete it in. My original goal was to just finish by the cutoff which was 8 hours and 30 minutes but silently I had a personal goal to finish in less than 7 hours and I actually finished with a time of 6 hours and 22 minutes. And the truth of the matter is I had a lot of fun during the race. towards the end of the bike segment I could not wait to get off of the bike and get my running shoes on because 56 miles in a saddle is a long time and the bottom half of my body was tired of sitting. It really was a good time. I just kept trying to push myself and keep myself entertained when there were no other athletes around. Are usually like to listen to music when I’m on my bike or when I’m running but for this event I was not able to do that because of the rules set forth by the Iron Man competition. But even without my music I was able to push through and really enjoyed the 6 1/2 hours of continuous exercise.
What advice do you have for others that want to try doing a triathlon?
My advice would be to make sure you put in time to train for each sport so that you feel comfortable and make sure that you train using whatever nutrition product that you plan on using race day. I did not spend very much time at all training with the nutrition I used on race day but I took recommendations from fellow athletes that have similar issues with eating and drinking while exercising and I feel like I made a really good choice with my nutrition because I had plenty of energy and felt really well hydrated during and even after the race.