The morning started off with a chilly temp of 40 at race time. They had the race at the resort even though it was still under construction. Was in the first wave so I got to hit the water early. The water temp was 73-74, so it actually wasn't that bad for the handful of us without wetsuits. The first leg was straight into the sun. We spread out pretty good, so there wasn't much jostling for position. The long stretch parallel to the beach was nice except for the widely spaced small markers. Made it hard to sight, although somehow I managed to stay within 10 yards of them the whole way. Turn into the finish had the sun on your right which made it tough, but the shaded goggles (got a tip on the sun from a fellow BRTri guy who had done the race) made it bearable. Finished in around 39-40 min, which is just about right for me.
The first 20 miles on the bike through town and the national forest were nice. Hilly, but nice. The 5 mile chip seal portion just before the turnaround was bearable on the way out due to a slight tailwind. However, that made it terrible on the way back since it was now a moderate headwind which would continue for the remainder of the bike. Started to slow considerably around miles 32-35, which I thought was due to the hills, fatigue and the wind. However, I had been hydrating well and taking in enough fuel so I was kind of ticked. At about mile 40, I realized what the real problem was, a slow leaking rear tire that had finally made it to where I could feel the stem hitting the rim. I stopped and made the bad decision of just filling it up hoping it would hold for the last 16. 3 miles later I was stopped again changing the rear tube. Lost around 16 minutes to the 2 stops. Finished the bike around 3:20 I think, which had me really disappointed since I had been going so good until the flat.
The run starts off on the main road to the resort, but after mile 1 turns into a private neighborhood for the next 7 miles. It snaked through there with aid stations at every mile with some small rolling hills. Felt good for the first 8, until the run gets back on the highway for two miles. Those two miles had two nice sizable hills that just took it out of me. Ran the first 9 miles, but had to start the run/walk combo after that. Mile 12-12.5 was one last major hill. The final stretch into town (run was point to point) was flat, so I made myself run it in to finish on a high note. Finished the run in around 2:15. Went 6:18 overall. Would have loved to be sub 6 for my first half and felt like I could have easily made it without the rear tire issues. Let it get to me mentally some on the run once I realized there was no way I could make 6 with my pace.
The race was well run, lots of helpful volunteers, not too many people and a nice course. A little hillier then I would have liked for my first go at the distance, but it was a good experience. Can't wait for New Orleans. I know how hilly that will be...