Overall, I have to admit that I was quite happy with the day. This is not something I say often, so you may want to take note; ) As there always are with a race this long, there were a few mistakes , but I also managed to check off a few goals, namely cracking the 10 hour barrier and having my best ever Ironman run.
My mantra for this race, as provided by Coach Paul was "keep your shit together". I realize this isn't your typical inspirational message, but in many ways it was rather reassuring because it emphasized that I had done the training I needed to do and that if I avoided mistakes, I would have a good day.
As it turned out, I didn't need to wait long on race day to put my mantra to use. A few hundred yards into the swim, I looked up and realized I was waa-aay off course. In fact, the alternate title for this post was IM France 140.8; ) In my defense, I was in pretty good company. As I found out later, about half of the field had followed a kayak that led us towards the wrong buoy. Which is no excuse, but what can I say, sense of direction has never been my strong suit.
I typically love the mass start because with 2,400 other friends or so, it is virtually guaranteed that even I will have someone to swim with. Halfway through this swim, however, I was re-evaluating our relationship and cursing my "friends" who were still absolutely pummeling me with every stroke. It felt like a bar fight.
(Sorry for the pirated photos, but,well. . .I'm cheap; )
The bike ride was spectacularly beautiful and pleasingly uneventful. Not easy,mind you, just no surprises. This was my third time at this race, so things that might have otherwise shocked me--like the 16% wall at 20 km and the climb that seems to last the entire first half of the ride--were now routine. I enjoyed the spectators' cheers of "allez, allez, allez" and entertained myself by checking out the names on the rider's race numbers and trying to guess their nationality as I passed. Franz, Jean-Claude, and Jesus were all in attendance.
The run was fairly challenging from the get-go. I've felt better starting runs, but I have been working a lot on shortening my stride and increasing my turnover for a more economical running style. I don't want to jinx myself, but I think it may be working. In spite of not feeling spectacular, I managed to hang on for a sub 3:20 marathon, and a 9:58 overall time, which is a new PR.
Next up is a week of R& R, before ramping back up for Ironman Canada in August!