Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Hot Dam!

Post by Chase Ingraham -- official results at http://www.run-far.com/ Age group 25-29 Male.

Hey Team!!

Well had my first Half Ironman this weekend and I will give you a little recap on my whole experience... I say little but who are we kidding, its a long ass race as we all saw what I wrote for the Rockwall Sprint!

There is a saying we have all heard of, "Ignorance is Bliss", and that is exactly what drove me to sign up for this race two weeks after the Rockwall Sprint to join my teammate and good friend Trey Austin. The Rockwall Sprint was the first athletic endeavor I had done since the Camp Pendelton Sprint 2 weeks prior so I had my work cut out for me for Prairie Man.

Race Morning:
Ehhh Ehhh Ehhh.... my alarm goes off at 4:15am in the morning... I say a 4 letter swear word and get up with mind already turning a million miles an hour. I stayed with Trey since our fearless leader and teammate Billy Self wanted to drive us out to the race and support us, that way I don't have to wake up and 3:30am to meet up with them. So we pack up the bikes have out little breakfast and head on out to Grand Prairie. The ride out there nothing was really on my mind, just thinking about how wrong I was about where Grand Prairie actually was and if my ass is going to make it 56 miles on the bike today, but other than that nothing really bothering me... ignorance is bliss.

The Swim:
As our wave waded into the water I was trying to decide what I wanted to do, get first out of the water or conserve my energy cause I have 6 hours of work ahead of me. I decided to swim relaxed. I was also going through play lists in my head, trying to get "With You" by some RnB artist out of my head that Billy so graciously got in my head KNOWING full well that I hated that song. Luckily I finally landed on "Ave Maria" by Christina England, thank goodness. So I swam my way from start to finish trying to conserve energy for the rest of my race but not too slow and wanted to get some time on the rest of the field. I came out of the water with a time of 28 minutes and I believe 5th out of the water.... though I did NOT see anyone else ahead of me save for 1 person but whatever.

I jog slowly up the ramp and get to my bike and sat down to get the rocks off my feet before I put my shoes on, and pull on that Tri~ProSoap jersey! Got some words of encouragement from Billy, said a little "Please don't let me get a flat" prayer, and I was on my way.

The Bike:
I have never in my life biked 56 miles before, Ever..... nor have I biked 56 miles after a 1.2 mile swim before, so I was very nervous about this. I get all my stuff together, Billy is there cheering me on. (Thanks again Billy!) I get on my bike and I decide to treat it like a Saturday morning ride with the greatest group ever assembled at Rockwall Cycling. All in all it was a really nice ride, the weather was cool there was a little bit of wind but nothing too discouraging. I really liked that it was a looped course because then I could get a feel for the course and figure out where I can push it a little and where I should just stay relaxed and smooth. As I got to the last lap of the ride all I could think about was the run, nothing else mattered to me, I could have been passed by a 60 year old lady and I wouldn't have cared so as I pulled into the final transition... the hard part was about to start.

Billy had a sweet set up to watch the race, a beach umbrella, lots of snack food and beer to go around, and a cheering partner. Wait.... cheering partner, what cheering partner?! As I saw the other guy that was cheering me on by name I realize that it was Trey, and then it hit me, Trey was out of the race. Earlier in the morning Trey was having problems with his front tire and had to change tubes at the last minute. On the first lap of his race his front tire blew along with his hopes to tackle THE DAM one more time. I felt awful cause I knew how much Trey wanted to race and how much work he had put into it, the guy took an ice bath the night before for crying out loud!!! So I rack my bike and take a minute to gather my thoughts, wipe all those stupid little rocks off my socks (or so I thought) and put my shoes on.

The Run:
I have never run 13.1 miles in my life, Ever... nor have I run 13.1 miles after I biked 56 miles and swam 1.2 miles. Well to be honest with great fear and apprehensiveness I departed on my run. Just for a little back story: Since I have known Billy and Trey and of this Prairie Man, all I have heard or been told of was about THE DAM. The infamous Dam to wear there is a solid 8 mile stretch of running 4 miles down and back. The true 8 Mile the Eminem never heard of, route of pure hell that have brought the very best to walking because of the heat. That's all I know of this race, The Dam, and as I turn up the small incline I see the beast ahead of me and approach with a slow steady stride and a determination that I will not break here. Around mile 4 I started to notice that my left foot started feeling funny.. a feeling I have felt all to often when I run long distance. I always have issues with my left foot on long run where after about 4 miles my foot begins to go numb and travels up my leg until I stop running. So at the 4 mile marker I loosen up my shoe and ankle strap and go on way, it didn't help much. The heat began to turn up and I could feel my shoulders heating up and my body temp rise, which really scared me so I began to walk take the time to hydrate and get a ice water towel every water station, this also gave me time to shake out my foot to get the feeling back in it. Eventually around mile 6 the feeling started to come back to my foot and I felt great, now I can just focus on running my race and not worry about if I can even run at all. I hit the half way turn around and make my journey back to the finish line. Every mile in marked, which I didn't think I would like but I ended up enjoying how much I have left on the back half. My only problem was how the signs were made, the mile markers were made with colors of red, orange, and yellow. A big red number, and behind that number, a huge flame design behind it. WHAT the F***, yes I said it. I cant begin to tell you how much that affects your mind while you are running in 90 degree heat seeing your mile marker engulfed in flames. I really felt like I got hotter looking at those markers, I would suggest to Jack that he makes them blue with a cooling and calming design on them cause it honestly has a huge mental affect on people. Of course I don't want to get murdered so I will just hope that someone else suggests that to him. Okay I digress... as I approach mile 10 I know I only have 5k left, which I have done many times before and all I really wanted to do was just skip to the end but was still relieved cause I knew I could make it :)

The Final Mile:
As I ran into the final mile I passed my Billy again, this time there were many more people cheering for me, one of my best friends and teammates in college was there (Justin), Katy Austin, and my beautiful girlfriend Summer was there screaming my name lifting my spirits with only a mile to go. As I get through the final turn I see the finish, this smile comes over me as I am running towards it... its over, finally. Or so I thought.... I see the yellow tape cut off my path to the finish line and realize that I still have some more to run, my course took a quick left. (I have a knack for missing quick left's in Jack races and being stopped before the finish with yellow tape haha) So I run all the way around for another quarter mile behind the finish line... I really have to say, that last .1 miles after the 13 mile marker felt like another 13 miles!! But I come across the finish line with a "Congratulations, you are a Prairie Man" call from the race announcer and stubble my way over to my friends and loved ones.

Yes, its over... and I am a Prairie Man :)

Again thanks to Billy for taking care of transportation and beverage supply, I am sorry I didnt take part in eating and drinking after the race, I know you put together a great post race snack feast!! Trey I cant begin to say how bad I feel that you couldnt race man, that sucks. Thank you to all that supported me on my first half ironman, it was quite the experience!!

As Billy says; " It never gets easier, just faster" .... that's for damn sure haha


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