Clearwater Half Iron Championships; Double whammy

In its second year running the Half Ironman World Championships held in Clearwater Floida was a fun/fast end of season race for me.  After racing IM Florida only seven days before, I wasn't sure if I could physically pull it off. However, after having had a great performance there I figured why not tri-it and enjoy it!

SWIM (28min)        This is the view from the 19th floor of our condo
                                     to the ocean....see the M-Dot in the sand?

-Starting in wave 12 I had my work cut out for me given that the entire field was ahead of me.  I would have to swim over the backs of lots of folks and the swim draft for this course would be difficult.
-I started off really slow, feeling sluggish in the water. 
-Clearing the first bouy and getting whacked in the head by a few arms I got my mojo back and got into race mode.
-On the return, lots of sun and people traffic in the water, no one to draft off.
-Out of the water feeling good and ready to bike.

BIKE (2hr 11min)
-Super fast transition.  Cant say I am proud of most of my transitions but this one was speedy
-First 15miles, no one around. Cruising a good pace with great conditions.
-HR is super high.  >165.... 
-Settling in just as the first packs of cyclists start to form.  Unfortunately given the course, strong riders and narrow lanes the bunching still caused massive peletons that were very dangerous.
-Mile 35 drop my water bottle and the next one at the aid station!  Not getting in a whole lot of water....
-Mile 45 water at the aid station. 
-Heart rate is still high but pace seems sustainable. 
RUN (1hr 31min)

-Lets run!  1mi out to the bridge.  I remember this from last year, you think this run is flat but running up the bridge 4 times is no joke.
-Seems warm but grabbing sponges and squeezing them on my head at each aid station helped keep me cool.
-Pass a few guys...  get passed by a few. 
-Not flying thats for sure but giving it a good go.
-I see my family and smile at them cracking a smile and making a few jokes.  (My #1 goal for this day was to have fun!)  My race photos from last week I was in suffer mode; today I would be in suffer mode but make it look fun!
-One loop down, one to go.  Pace is slowing a bit and I can feel myself getting heavy.  The fatigue is catching up to me...  
-Hang on only one mi to go! End of the season at the finish line!
-Lots of guys in my Age Group pass me, i say "no after you, I insist!" 
-Pull to the finish feeling happy and relieved to be done with racing for the season.  Also happy with two great end of season races.

Total Half Time (4hr 16min)

After racing hard this year and completing a full Iron followed by a half, I think this picture sums up how my body is feeling!  Time for some rest and relaxation.

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