Drive by post as I pack up and head home, but the race went better than expected, even with the crazy heat!
While I’m getting ready for my last triathlon of the season, I’ve got some great races on my calendar for this winter, including one of my favorites, the DONNA Half Marathon. This year, I’m on their social media team, and I’m happy to share with you my DONNA discount code – DSQUAD17MEGAN
You can read my race recaps for this race here:
Race Report: Donna 5K and Half
Clearly, I love this race. The atmosphere is so much fun. It’s just a generally friendly race. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fast runners here. But if you’re a slow runner, this race is very welcoming. It’s a great first half marathon – because the half and the full run together, you have 7 whole hours to finish the half! Trust me, you won’t need it. But for runners who are worried about making a 16 minute mile, it’s nice to have that sort of padding.
The course is fun, the spectators are awesome, and the post-race area is phenomenal. And it’s Florida in February. Sure, it might not be super warm, but it’s not snowing, and for me, that’s a win. So join me! And use code DSQUAD17MEGAN to save $5 on your entry!
I’m as ready as I can be in terms of training. Now it’s just figuring out what my race plan is. This is my first 70.3, so my only real goal is to finish in the time limit. IM 70.3 races give you 8:30 from when you start, not from when the last wave starts. If I want to be an official finisher, I have to finish in under 8:30. Otherwise, I’m officially a DNF.
I typically set 3 goals for a race. A, B, and C. My C goal, I suppose, is just to finish the race, even if I’m not an official finisher. But I will still be pretty upset if this happens. My B goal is 8:29:59. Official finisher. My A goal is anything faster than that.
If you want to track me on race day, just go to the IRONMAN website on Sunday. There should be a live events link at the top where you can click to hunt me down. Just remember, I’m planning for this race to take me a while. My wave starts at 8:20.
I’m trying to set my goals for each segment.
For the swim, I have no idea how long it will take. It’s a wetsuit legal swim with a crazy current. I’ve heard estimates that indicate I could be as fast as 35 minutes, but I’m making my goal 45.
I initially estimated each transition being 5 minutes, but based on what I’ve seen from previous year’s results, I think that might be a bit fast (likely a distance thing). So my transition goals are FAST, but I won’t worry if I’m closer to 7 or 8 minutes. That said, each minute I lose is a minute I have to pick up elsewhere.
On the bike, my minimum pace goal is 14mph. Hoping for faster. I’m also planning to stop at one of the water stops to refill bottles (because we all know I can’t do it on the fly) and take a bathroom break. I have issues with letting myself get too dehydrated, so I need to make sure I take in enough water on the bike. My coach says I will know I’m properly hydrated if I have to stop for a bathroom break, so that’s the goal.
Ultimately, I want to leave 3:30 for the run so that no matter what happens, I can finish. I’d like to at least run at least sub 15’s (note that my PR is around a 2:50, so I’m not a fast runner). That will put me in at around 3:17 for the run.
Given my training, I should be fine. I should have no issue making that 8:29:59, but anything can happen, and I want to be ready.
I think I’m the most nervous for the bike leg, not because I’m not able to cover the distance, not because I’m worried about the hills, but because I’m worried about properly pacing myself. I need to push hard enough, but not so hard that I can’t handle the run, or worse, that I struggle through the last hills on the course.
I’ve been training on hills all summer, and for that, I’m glad. There was rumor that the course would be changed, turning the initial 17 miles of flat into 10 miles of flat and 7 more miles of hills. I’m actually happy for this. Because I bike so much on hills, it’s flat where I don’t know what to do. For hills, I can just focus on getting up the hill in the strongest way possible, but I’ll have to figure out how best to pace myself for that first ten miles.
It’s going to be a long day. With an 8:20 wave start, I should be done before 5pm. That is a long, long day. But it means so much to me to have my family and friends cheering for me, both in person and from afar. It’s been awesome to have all this support through my training and I hope to make you proud on Sunday!
Taper week! Eeek!
Monday – Easy 45 minute ride.
Tuesday – 2000m swim. I mean, I guess this is taper, but it certainly doesn’t feel like it!
Wednesday – 4 mile run
Thursday – Structured swim workout. Weirdly, I like the longer swims more than sets of drills.
Friday – Rest
Saturday – 20 mile ride, 2 mile run
Sunday – 6 mile run
So that’s it. The miles are in the bank and the race is coming up fast. Here goes nothing!
Last weekend, I did the Civil War Century metric distance. Yes, it took me a full week to get this report up. It’s been a busy week. Anne suggested it to me, so it seemed like a good idea. I needed to get in at least 60, and 60 miles on your own is decidedly no fun. Doing it on a supported training ride is much better, and while I didn’t need more than 60, being trained for a longer ride never hurt anyone.
Here’s the description of the ride:
On this ride you get to look at the mountains, not climb them, as you meander along pleasant country roads through the lush rolling farmland of the Monocacy and Carroll Valleys to Gettysburg and back. As a bonus, you’ll cross or pass 4 covered bridges on this route while doing 2,625 feet of climbing.
That was pretty much all I knew. Except that I didn’t really read any of the description except for the feet of climbing. And the covered bridges. Covered bridges are pretty fancy after all. So as the ride went along, I was pretty surprised we went into Pennsylvania.
Then I was surprised we were in Gettysburg. I guess I was thinking Gettysburg the town, not that we would be riding through the actual park. These advertisements are never right, after all. I thought “We might go near Gettysburg (yes, I know this is in PA), but not actually into the park, right?” Wrong.
This was my last long ride before Augusta and I had goals that I didn’t quite hit. I was slower than I wanted, but it was an exceptionally hot day, and I finished feeling pretty okay, which is the most important part. Also, there was ice cream at the finish, which made me feel even better.
However, I did see something that nightmares are made of and you should stop reading right here if you don’t want to hear about it and skip this paragraph by scrolling down to the bolded text.
So as I was riding along, minding my own business, I smelled something familiar. Road kill. One of the joys of growing up in the country, I guess. Anyway, I started looking down, not wanting to ride over it. And as I looked to my right, there it was. The Nightmare Deer. Apparently, a deer either drowned or died and then got caught up in the massive flooding we had recently. And somehow, it managed to get wedged between the edge of a bridge and the guardrail. With its head up, staring at the road. Except that its eyes were long gone thanks to scavengers and there was some sort of… something… hanging out of its mouth. NIGHTMARES. It was horrifying. Do not recommend.
Nightmare is over.
This was an exceptionally well organized ride and one super awesome thing was the sag wagons that could be called. And on a hot day, they were needed. The team manning the station was incredible. We watched them take calls, radio out to drivers, and move their little magnets representing the drivers all over the course map. Very cool.
I will definitely keep the Civil War Century on my list for future training. Given the hills on the century, I think that’s out for good, but the metric was an absolutely fantastic ride.
And ice cream.