Updated: May 27, 2021
August 26th, 2018
Old Orchard Beach, Maine
Finish Time: 5:52:47
Maine has always held a special place in my heart and is one of my favorite vacation spots. So when Ironman opened up this race I knew I had to do it. I missed out last year due to a wedding but this year I was able to get in!
My mom and I flew into Boston because Portland flights were astronomical. So were the rental car prices. Boston is about a 2-hour drive to Portland where we stay for the weekend. On Friday we stopped in Kennebunkport for lunch, went to Allisons and got a deliciously big lobster roll. Afterwards, we checked into the hotel and went for a sailboat ride with some friends of mine. Dinner was at Flatbread, a pizza place that makes a vegan option for me. Now here is where the weekend changed. At 1:45 am we awoke to the sounds of the fire alarm going off in the hotel. NO JOKE. Proof ->
I put on some clothes, grabbed my bike (yes I was not taking any chances) and walked down 8 flights of stairs. We waited outside for about 30 minutes before the fire department let us back in. Turns out some drunk idiot pulled the alarm. His ass got arrested and thank god for it. But because of that wakeup call, our sleep was completely off. I felt drunk all day and could not get normalized, even with a nap.
Later that day we went to the athlete check-in and expo to drop off my bike. I had two yummy tuna sandwiches on bagels at Beach Bagels and met up with coach Tony. Mom and I planned out our plan of attack for parking and leaving the beach area the next day so that I could make it back to the hotel for a shower before check out. We then went back to the hotel, ate dinner at Sapporo and went to bed.
4 am wake up call to drive to transition. It’s about a 20-minute drive from Portland to Old Orchard. I set up my bike and got everything organized at transition. The announcer let us know the water temp was a chilly 65 degrees. Once I finished, we walked to the swim start where we had enough time to wait around. The swim was self-seeded by time which meant we started with the men.
The swim began at 6:20 and I made it into the water by 6:45. It was low tide so I had to run about 100 yards before I could actually “swim.” After the initial shock of the water hit my chest and I got my breathing under control I had a steady swim to the first turn buoy. Somewhere after the turn, I got elbowed in the mouth by a gentleman. It could have been worse but I think the cold water help ice it down to prevent from bruising and swelling a lot. I did get a nice mark though. I felt I was swimming really well and wondered what my time was going to be. Well I kicked butt (thanks coach anne!) and finished in UNDER 40 MINUTES! I usually do that when there’s a current. Once I exited the water I started the long run to transition.
I washed off the saltwater a little, put on my socks since we were running on asphalt in a parking lot and made my way out of transition. I had some issues with the shoes on my bike but once I got moving I was ok.
This course was advertised as flat and fast with some rollers. Well more like some hills. Note to self for next time because there were some challenging hills. Two of my gears were having some issues but I figured out how to make it work by mile 10. I don’t know what happened but maybe it got knocked around by the other bikes in transition. I will say the police did an excellent job directing traffic however, I did not like that the course was open to traffic. There were multiple times when it felt like I was riding the roads of Montgomery County because there were cars weaving in an out of the cyclists. I’m sorry but if you have 3000+ athletes at $300 bucks a pop or more, you can close down the lanes. The course was beautiful and I got to see some parts of Maine I’ve never seen before. I finished around the time I expected to even with the random hills.
I dismounted, made my run in, found my spot that was taken over a bit by the person next to me and made my way out. I thought the run would go well, it wasn’t too hot out, but I was wrong.
By far my worst half ironman run. I had a plan to stick to 8:30 minute miles and was doing so for the first 4/5 miles. However, I felt off and noticed the sweat on my forehead did not have any salt on it. By the time I hit mile 5, I had slowed down, felt like I was going to pass out and focused on taking in salt, Gatorade and my gels to get my energy up. I had a bathroom break at mile 6 and just focused on completing the next lap. I started to feel better at mile 8 but still it was a struggle for me. It felt super hot out and I was just not able to adjust. Mile 12 came around and I focused on my finish line moment. I decided to try and go for the cartwheel and well, mission accomplished!
After completion of the race, I greeted coach T and mom who said: “what the hell happened to your face?” I guess she could see the mark from getting elbowed on the swim. Anywhoo I grabbed my pre-purchased lobster bake (FYI YOU GET TWO LOBSTERS!) and we quickly went back to the car, grabbed my bike and stuff from transition and headed back to the hotel. Overall, Maine was beautiful, disappointed a little on the bike because you know, the wrong expectation, but I definitely want to try and come back next year for redemption!