Back in June I completed the Liberty 70.3 in Rockford, Minnesota. It was positively dreamy. The weather was a practical non-factor, the water was calm, the sun never came out (!) and I absolutely loved every minute of it.
For me, this close race is ideal. No overnight stay. No traffic stress. Very few logistics at all to tackle. And the added bonus was that Jesse and I made the last-minute decision for him to take the boys up to our cabin instead of coming to the race. The weather forecast was not great for watching & waiting – especially with 3 active boys in tow.
The swim course:
Great sandy bottom lake for a 1.2 mile swim. They started us off in age group bundles. It was interesting for me to notice how the males aged 30-39 was a gigantic 50+ group and the females 30-39 was maybe 25 athletes. It started to lightly rain while we were in the water but I can’t say I noticed it. I fought the urge to just relax into the swim and tried to push my pace instead. I’m too comfortable swimming and tend to forget that I’m at a race and not a yoga class. Swim time: 43:32
The bike course:
My overall impression was that it was slightly hilly but mostly flat. If one were to be in the lead, there might be issues with turns but that certainly wasn’t my issue! I was riding my Trek Lexa road bike so I wasn’t ever in aero position and didn’t get uncomfortable once. All of the long bike rides I did leading up to the race helped me get used to being in the saddle. Go figure. My training plan actually prepared me for the race!
The only bit of drama to report was that when I went to rack my bike I had a tiny surprise that I’m sure no male athlete has ever had to contend with at a race. If you want to know what it was then you’ll have to ask me in person 😉 Bike time: 3:16:16
The run course:
Last winter, if I had closed my eyes and imagined my PERFECT run course I would have said: few hills – none too steep, tree-lined course providing shade and a simple out and back. That’s what we had at Liberty 70.3!
My buddy Rosanna (& her two kids who braved the cool rain to swim in the lake while waiting for me to run) and my co-worker/friend/tri-bud Carole cheered me on and I took off gleefully. I had a moment when I thought to myself, it’s almost over! I’m going to be so sad to be finished!
In fact, as I checked my watch during the 1st mile I realized that I needed to temper my excitement and slow down a bit. I planned to run this first 70.3 conservatively to be sure that my unreliable knee joints would make it. In the end I could have run faster but I didn’t know that until I was already finished. The greatest feeling ever was to run into the finishing line and see my friends (plus a HUGE surprise visit from Becky & Josh!) and let it sink in that I had actually finished a half ironman. I still have a lot to learn but that is the good news because I want to race a lot more of these. Run time: 2:15:39
One of the reasons why it has taken me so long to write this recap is that the race was just fantastic. And who wants to read a gushing race report anyways? Now I just need to plan out a summer where I can race more than 1 half-ironman race in 3 months!
Race time: 6:23:19