Day of the Race: 5 Things I Learned From My First Half Ironman Race

May 19, 2023
Woman Running Marathon Race

 It's one thing to train for marathon but another to prepare for the race day itself! I recently ran a Half Ironman and I learned so much from this race that I want to share with you guys! I always learn so much from hearing about other peoples fails and wins, so hopefully you can take something away from hearing my experience ☺️ My key takeaways were...

 1. Don't ride too close to people

2. More electrolytes leading up to the race! 

3. Use earplugs for the swim! 

4. Use visualization more in training and do more open water swims! 

5. Train without music! (and charge your watch) 

 But allow me to demonstrate how it all went down and what are some things that helped me keep my eyes on the prize. 

Austin and I got to Panama City Beach Friday morning to get eyes on the course. It's something that can really calm your anxiety to just go walk around a bit, familiarize yourself with the environment. So that was helpful. When we got there we immediately went to the water. Swimming in the ocean is my number one worst fear. Other than jumping out of an airplane. So open water swimming was something that I've been really mentally prepping for training for.

As I was standing there looking at the ocean, my nerves started to set in. All of these fun thoughts started swirling...The water does not look super calm. Am I prepared enough for this? Man, I wish I would've had more ocean swims under my belt. How am I going to manage this? I tried to harness those thoughts by focusing on things that would be helpful to focus on. I focused on the ocean and how it was such a beautiful blue, green, clear color and how the temperature was warm. I was focused on all the training I've done, my and how grateful I was that Austin was there to support me. ♡

When our brain focuses on the negative and when we're in that anxious space, it's SO helpful to focus on something that is going okay, something that's going right. What is working for me right now?

 A helpful tip for doing something that you've never done before is to do things that GROUND YOU. For me that was my meditation, eating the same things for my pre-race breakfast, and using the same gear/nutrition that I was used to training with. Try to limit the amount of surprises come race day!

Stick with a routine that works for you!

1)  Don't ride too close to people. 🚩

So many people crashed right in front of me and I barely dodged them. So I just wanted to be as far away from people and protect myself as much as possible. I tried to be super mindful and control as much as I could. I would pass people on my bike and then I'd get as far as I could to the right to create my own little bubble and create space.

2) More electrolytes leading up to the race! 💦

I'm pretty sure that's why I got such intense vertigo in the days after my race. So that was a BIG learning experience! Dehydration can cause vertigo, so I think I was just depleted of electrolytes.

3) Use earplugs for the swim! 👂🏼

So many people throw up after the swim. I got super lucky. I was glad that nothing happened to me, but  having Dramamine on hand and using earplugs will be two things I will have and use for next time! My friend Brandon told me that earplugs are non-negotiable for him and now i know why!

4) Use visualization more in training and do more open water swims! 🌊

As much as we can't control things like people swimming into you or getting stung by a jellyfish, it's important to train for mishaps! That way you're not totally rocked if/when those things happen because you've practiced breathing through unexpected pivots!

5) Train without music! (and charge your watch) 🎧

I learned the night before that I would have to do the whole race without music. So it was a big pivot and kind of soul crushing 😱So I will be reading the fine print for all races from now on!

I think training without music is just incredible and builds an insane amount of confidence and resilience for athletes. If you can endure long training sessions without music, you will be very impressed with yourself and what you are able to accomplish. my watch also died on mile 6 of my run which was  a big pivot I had to CHARGE your device people! to be fair, my watch was fully charged at 3am when I put it on, but it just did not have enough juice for he whole maybe I'll be trading in my apple watch for something with a better battery!

So those are my big takeaways from the race. I had so much fun doing this HALF IRONMAN. I'm hooked on this 70.3 distance. There's just a lot of mental training that you can do that comes with doing endurance races like this, which I am drawn to. You can take your brain and your body to a whole new level which I'm always striving to do because I think there's nothing cooler than pushing your body and your and your brain to to the limit. You just never know what you're capable of until you set new new goals for yourself and find your edge.

So make sure that you are continuing to push yourself in cool ways to expand your mental, physical, emotional and spiritual growth! And if you're someone that struggles with anxiety like I do and like I did prior to this race make sure to head over to YouTube to find some five minute meditations over there. Make sure to stay tuned for next weeks podcast episode for my SUPER exciting announcement!

Until next time, Be well & Stay Mindful 🌿