First of all, I am happy that I was able to finish the 70.3 Half Ironman in Napa yesterday. I thank God for having the strength to get through every mile. That being said, I re-learned a lesson I have learned before. To get your goal, you have to put in the work.
I did this same race in 2013 and finished in 7 hours 30 minutes. With the confidence of completing a full Ironman in 2014, I set an aggressive goal to complete the Half in 6 hours 30 minutes this year.
Then I unexpectedly started a new and challenging job within Cisco in November. That and other things made it difficult to fit in all the training I needed to accomplish my time goal. I got in roughly 70% of the miles needed, but I figured that mental fortitude could make up the other 30%.
I struggled a bit in the swim due to the cold water, but still beat my 2014 swim time by 5 minutes. I got on my bike feeling close to hypothermic, but charged ahead anyway. I passed 33 riders in the first half of the bike segment. That’s the game I used to motivate myself… catch the next rider!
This Napa Valley course is beautiful, but has very few flat spots. It’s almost entirely uphill or downhill and I was pushing myself to attack the hills. Just after the halfway point I felt it… a strain in my left calf. I knew it. You see, this is where conditioning makes a difference. I could “will” myself only so much, before my body said “Uh uh, no way!”
So I backed off and went into cruise control to make sure I would be able to finish. I remembered talking to my friend Steve Bertjes when I passed him earlier on the bike. (He was #26.) He said, “This is a beautiful day and I am grateful to be out here. I am just grateful.”
So I decided I would be grateful and have a magnificent day too. I mugged for the photographers, thanked all the volunteers for helping out, and took pictures during my walk breaks. I took a wrong turn on the bike course that added 12 minutes to my time and I just laughed at myself. I even had to outrun a swarm of bees, which I’m sure had formed a giant arrow pointed at my butt just like in the cartoons. I had a great day, and I finished in 8 hours 13 minutes.
Superman gets his powers from the yellow sun. The rest of us need to work at it. I’ll pick another Half Ironman in the future and renew my 6:30 challenge. And I know I will reach the goal… if I put in the miles.