Half Ironman In Memory of Leslie

18-Jul-2016 | Jennifer Fletcher

My day started at 4:30 a.m. rushing around the house trying not to forget anything that was necessary for my race. The only necessity I forgot was gum; I like to swim with gum so I get less dry mouth. Maybe I need to hydrate more! Although this race I was thankful, I had less of the Fight or Flight symptoms than usual (hence less dry mouth). Most importantly I remembered the crucial things like wet suit, swim pack, goggles, bike shoes, helmet, running shoes, bike!!, nutrition, and the list goes on. My backpack looked like I was going on a week long camping trip. I had less nervousness than typically when I race. Which surprised me, as this is the longest distance race that I have done. Much less out-house pre-race squirts which was awesome.

Once I had my transition spot all set up, perfectly organized (which is tough for me as I am not the most organized person), I headed to the beach for the swim start at Independent Point. The beach was packed with all colors of swim caps indicating which age group you were in. But you start according to your calculated swim. The water was a little chilly but nothing unmanageable. The weather was absolutely perfect that day. I had minimal issues with waves and other swimmers. I had a twitch of a spasm in my left calf that was easily forgettable. I came out of the 1.2-mile swim in 38 min. My main accomplishment with the swim was that I wanted to stay aerobic and not get out of breath. I think I swam slower than usual but I believe this helped me to be able to run the entire transition area to my bike.

So, I was off on my bike. Kudos to my bike shop (2 Wheeler Dealer) for keeping my bike in tiptop condition, I had no technical issues. Most importantly NO FLAT tires, thank God. So that twitch in the left calf decided to develop into a full cramp/spasm on the bike portion. Half way through the bike I wasn’t sure if I would be able to continue. On the down-hill portions I started to stretch it out which helped a lot. Where did this cramp come from??? I have never had this issue biking ever! I thought about it the whole second half of the bike, prayed about it, and mind over matter I guess I was able to just ride through it. My husband passed me on the second half of the bike. We started the race together, so I was pretty pleased to hold him off for the first half. Testosterone won! No he didn’t train more than me if anyone is wondering. I trained for 6 months, and he trained for 6 weeks, LOL! I finished up the 56-mile bike in 3 hours-6 min, which I was very pleased with.

Running sucks after riding that long! Your legs and feet feel like they are dragging through cement. The fans on the run coarse were amazing though. What an awesome experience running through the streets of CDA with so many fans yelling, singing, playing guitars, pianos, flashing signs, drinking beers, offering me beers :), which makes the whole deal FUN. My 13.1 mile run time was 2 hours-17 min.

So my finisher time was 6 hours-12 min. which isn’t too bad for a 43-year-old :). I have done a lot of races and I would highly recommend this race. It is a beautiful race with great volunteer support.

Special thanks to my patients and staff that have cheered me on this year during my training. I want to thank my bike shop, 2 Wheeler Dealer, for always keeping me rolling along smoothly. Thanks to Fleet Feet for the new Zoot running shoes 3 days before the race (NO blisters either!). I couldn’t have done any of this without my loving and supportive family and my training pals (Molly, Andrea, Nicolette, and Kristina). Last of all thanks to my great friend Leslie, who passed from Lupus last year. She was a fighter from when she was a point guard in High School until Lupus was in full gear. She was a great athlete and I know that she would have loved to do that race with me, and she would have kicked my butt. I thought about her often during the race and I know she was shining down on me with that glorious sunlight on June 26th.

I encourage you to sign up for a race, whether it be a 5K race or an Ironman, and start your training for a healthier you.



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