How to start? From the beginning I suppose.
For those of you who have actually read my blog (about 2 people, just kidding ;), you know that this year has not been my best year. Why? Because life happens. It happens to all of us. How does it concern this race report? Well, let's just say I was a bit worried going into this race. I have trained much more the second half of this season than the first half, but still short of what I set out to do (for the South Carolina Half I wanted to enter). Taper was a bit extreme, I think I completed 5 workouts in the two weeks prior to this race.
I was planning to drive down straight after work on Saturday, pick up my race packet, and scope out the entire course the night before. Needless to say this did not work out as planned, and so James (Badass duathlete and triathlete that is my boss at Wolfgang) and I left at 5pm after he got off of work to head down to LaGrange. We checked in at the hotel (Days Inn), and there was a glitch with the reservation. I find this really amusing since I booked the hotel online directly through Days Inn and not some 3rd party travel website. It was no problem though, and James and I hurriedly put our gear up in the room and headed down to the race site to check out the swim and the bike (we would not have time for the run since it had gotten so dark...).
The swim course had drastically changed due to the extreme low lake level instead of going around the peninsula, it went out and back like a V-shape. Also the last bouy (turn bouy) seemed way too far out, as if getting to the turn bouy in itself was 1500M. We later found out the next morning that it had drifted due to the current. We were very happy with transition, for it satisfied three things I like; small, flat, and direct in and out (there was only one main lane in transition and racks were on either side).
We scoped the bike, and loved it. There were two sections where it was somewhere between 2-3 miles of downhill = BIG GEARS!!! The rest of the course was nothing but rollers, and manageable ones at that. We then headed to some country buffett restaurant and loaded up on nutrition for the next morning.
James and I got back and immediately packed our transition bags and tweaked our bikes a bit (nothing major I swear). Wes called and said that he and his wife Dee Dee were on their way down but would not be there until late. He jokingly told me not to mess with my bike, that I was breaking one of the cardinal rules of racing in triathlons.... he he he:) After that we finally got settled down and went to bed just before 11pm.
Alarm went off at 4:30am. I cannot tell you how good it felt not to have to get up 1-2 hours earlier to drive to an event. I might just do this more often. James and I got our gear together, downed our morning fuel (for me it was two Nature Nalley bars, a handful of gummi bears, 1 GU gel, and lots of water), packed our gear back into the cars, and checked out of the hotel. I think that is the second shortest time I have been in a hotel. We took the freeway (which I had to research the directions, they wanted us to take the back roads through LaGrange on GA Multisport's website) and it took about 20 minutes to get to the race site. We walked in the dark just over half a mile to the transition and check in. James already had his packet, so he went in and I went to number pick up to get my stuff. Sometimes I hate how procedural things are. Think about it. Your hands are already almost full when you get your race number and goodie bag (if you do it the morning of the race), and then you go back to get "numbered." Then with your hands full they tell you that your number needs to be on your helmet, and your bike number needs to be on your bike before you enter transition. Needless to say, my helmet number fell off within half a mile of starting, and my bike number folded up so you could not see it when I was riding my bike.
After setting up in transition, I helped James with his tubulars on his bike (Xentis Mark 1 wheels), and then it was chill out time before the race. More water and what? No bathroom break! C'mon body! Be cooperative with me! Wes got there around 6:30am (I think) and told us that the lady at the hotel gave good directions except for one road she told them to veer off too early! He was kind of in a hurry setting up the bike, however, it seemed that he got everything set up ok. I introduced Wes to James and we talked for a few moments before heading over to the swim start. Got bit by a fire ant on the way over. Great, so this is how my race is going to be. I did a 200 M warmup, and I drafted, off a girl who ended up getting 3rd place (I think in female overall), just for practice. Got out of the water and Wes, James and I talked and waited until the race began.
James was in the group behind us, and Wes started right in front of me. Staggered starts, two at a time, every two seconds. This was probably the best feeling swim I had next to Gulf Coast last year. No breast stroking, no stopping, no running out of breath, etc... It was a good feeling all around. Near the turn bouy I saw James pass me in the water, and I could tell by his facial expression that he knew he was passing me. I am ok with that. James' worst day is better than my best day ;) Oh No!!! Now I have to go!!! No problem, I just sped up in the lake for about 24-26 strokes and took care of business. I did not feel guilty since I started towards the back of the race and I was swimming wide to avoid people. My apologies to anyone out there who ended up behind me. Wes, James, and Renee were all ok since they either started before me or passed me. Towards the end of the swim I kicked like I was supposed to and felt good running into T1
Sub 1 minute !!!! Yeah!!! The cooler part is that I wimped out, usually I don't secure my shoes on my feet until I am on the bike, but this time I did it while i was in T1. Dee Dee was there to cheer me on as I was leaving T1 onto the bike course.
I felt really ready for this portion, since I knew ahead of time what I was getting myself into. It felt kind of lonely on the bike for this race, due to the number of entrants and the fact I was one of the latter people out of the water. I wasted about 30 seconds (going slower) getting my Garmin on my wrist on the bike. Due to going uphill and not being in the proper gear I was not going to risk falling over for my watch. I paced myself for the first mile or so, and then went to town. The only thing I regret is not pushing harder. My max HR on the bike was only 177bpm and that includes the two small hills on ther ride. I can say for the positive though, I kept my cadence fairly steady and pushed when I needed to push. I think after what has happened in the last couple of races, I wanted to make sure I had some left in me for the run. Between miles 6.5 and 9 there was a nice downhill, and after making the turn from an area where we doubled back there was also another nice downhill. I did not pass too many people on the bike since I started from the rear of the race, however, everyone I passed was going uphill except for three people I passed going downhill. WTF is up with that??? I do admit I got passed once going downhill, but the guy was flying and probably averaged 23mph or more during the bike. Aid station was great, and with the aero bottle that James let me borrow, it was perfect. There were two men on the bike whom I played cat and mouse with and finally beat both of them with about 4 miles to go, only to have one of them pass me on the run. I was out of my shoes with about 100M to go and ready to get off. They were really big on wanting us to slow down before the dismount line (I mean like slow enough to fall off your bike). They also wanted me to dismount off my bike 50 feet before the dismount line, and I was not having any of it. They could try to penalize me for all I care I was staying on until I had to get off. I had a few GI issues with my Accelerade and GU on the ride (I could not finish all my Accelerade because of it). I also waited about an extra 10 minutes to take down my last GU. I really wish I would have finished the rest of my Accelerade, since I had some cramping issues on the latter half of the run.
Just a hair over 1 minute in T2. Was due to having problems getting shoes on damp feet and getting race belt, etc, everything else on. NO SOCKS!!!! More to come on this later...
After the adjustments I had made to my bike in the weeks preceeding the race and the results I had on brick workouts, I was exicited. No more cramping up within the first half mile of the run, no problems with heavy legs. The great thing about the run course is there was only a small amount of elevation and it was at the very beginning/end of the run (since it was a loop). I think there were 7/8 aid stations over the 10K distance. I averaged 8:45 for the first mile or two, and then I began slowing down. I knew I would not be able to keep up that pace for the entire run, but I had to try. Just after mile 2 I had to give a big shout out to a Tri DAWGS girl. I saw Wes about half a mile from the turn around, and he told me that I better pass him. That was motivation until I got to the turn, where I stopped to walk so I could take in some Gatorade Endurance. I did not take in my GU because of my GI issues earlier on the bike, and that was probably a mistake, since all I had in my bottle I was carrying during the run was 2 tables of NUUN. While good for electrolytes, bad for no calories!!! I began to cramp up in both my quads all the way back in, and I knew I would not be able to dial it up enough to get up and meet with Wes for the finish. I now had to work on finishing myself. There was a second area where I walked for about 60 quick steps and that was up a very short hill that just kicked up in elevation. I knew that I would not be actually running any faster if I jogged up the hill, so I opted to powerwalk instead. For the last two miles there was a female wearing an All3Sports jersey, and I decided that she was running just fast enough to be my "rabbit" for the rest of the race. I really need to thank her, or else I might have not finished as fast (and might not have finished in under three hours either). I finally passed her with about six tenths of a mile to go, and at the finish line she caught back up to me. Wes was walking back to watch me come down the final stretch and told me he had come in about 4-5 minutes before I did. Dee Dee was there to congratulate me at the finish!!! James had gotten done so long ago (finished in around 2 hours 22 min) that he went ahead and took his stuff back to the car and then came back. Wes, Dee Dee and I chatted about the race for a few minutes, got some food/drink, and chatted a few more minutes about their son's soccer tournament that was going on. James met back up with me in transition to help me carry my stuff out and back to the car. After packing the car, we walked back to catch prelimiary results and I was excited to see that I broke 3 hours, and that James finished in the top ten of his AG (7th in 40-44).
My hat is also off to Team Sport Factory (and Jen Adley, I think she finished 3rd in her AG) for a strong showing, as well as my Tri DAWGS!!! If they would have been around when I was in college, I would have soo been on the team! Also a shout out goes to Renee, who finished 5th in her AG!!! Congrats to you all! Thanks for the pics Dee Dee! Wes you were awsome! And congratuations to James, although he is not on the blogging scene, he did great!
Only two small blisters on the bottom of my feet when wearing no socks. I will have to admit though, I was still wearing my old shoes, and not my new ones. This was because I had not put my yankz on my new shoes yet.
13th/18 in AG, 215/335(people who actually raced)
11 days until Tri - PTC!!! Sprint race that was my very first race I ever completed. This will be my third year competing in the event. I think I am going to focus on threshold and speed workouts for the next two weeks since the distances are so short, and I also need to work on maintaining my speed during a race this short.
With respect to completion of my first Olympic Distance Triathlon, I really liked this format a lot. I feel that this gives you a very good gauge of 1/2 and full iron distance races, and you only need to train just a bit more than for a sprint distance event. I think I might change my format to include more of those next year, and be very selective if I do any sprint races at all next year. I loved this course as well!
I am ready to read all the posts from all the races that happened this weekend! I have already read a few, and I am waiting on some peeps that finished IM Louisville.