I am suddenly awoken from my trance by the loud bang of the referee's race gun. As I came back to reality, my body had done what it has been always trained to do. The current was fairly strong. My last half I completed (I was also a bit slower then than I am now) was in about 48-49 minutes in the ocean, so you would get a little help on the way in, but none on the way out. This was all one way downstream. I did attempt to sight, and my sight line was in closer to shore as to stay away from other swimmers, and the fact that we were getting out on the same side as we got in on, so there was no point in swimming all the way out to the buoys. Swim was 1.2 miles or just over 2100 yards (6 in one, half dozen in the other). Kinda forgot to do some extra kicking the last couple hundred meters to get the blood flowing back into the legs. I want to say that my best form was during the middle third of the swim, when I got all my race jitters out from the first third and settled into the race. The last third I began getting fatigued and got back into my old swim (bad) habits which slowed my time.
Swim Time : 31:24.00
Swim Avg/100: 1:30
Legs felt like two stumps and I was tired. Remember that almost no training thing I did most of the year. Yeah it was coming back to me and I had not even gotten on the bike yet. Oh well, this was just about finishing the race. I told Mike while yes I would love to beat my time from 5 years ago, I just wanted to finish. I jogged through transition to my rack position. Of course (as is always the case) my rack position sucks, the tri-gods have cursed me with horrible rack position for the rest of my life for some reason. Took my time getting everything on (still lightly raining) and I was trying to dry anything off that was soaking wet. Ran with my bike past the porta-johns..... Nothing. Although I did pee in my wetsuit prior to the gun going off. Man it feels great, especially when the water is cold.
Transition 1 Time: 6:55
After getting a good look of the bike course the night before on YouTube (thanks to whomever loaded that!) The elevation profile was not as bas as advertised on the Augusta course part of the site. One thing I do distinctly remember is how crappy the roads got as soon as we hit South Carolina. See Augusta splits between GA and SC and 90 percent of the course (if not more) was in SC. Once we got off of the main roads that were heavily traveled, the roads got a bit better, but not much. It began raining again about halfway through the ride. I only got water at the 2nd aid station, as I already made sure I had everything I needed on the bike before the ride. I am gonna re-think that strategy this coming year, since the aid stations at most 1/2 iron distance events are evenly spread through the course and have everything I usually want, the exception being the brands that I consume. On the back half of the course, there were some pretty technical turns and some pretty steep downhills, so I made sure to keep my speed down just to be safe. I did not want to incur some horrible bike injury due to inclement weather. After looking back at Mike's speed as well, I am assuming that he did the same thing. My back was beginning to ache a bit as I got to the last 10K of the bike, so I was out of aero for the remainder of the ride. I was in and out of aero a lot on the second half of the ride, but I am used to that since I am in group rides and even some of the solo rides I do in Atlanta get pretty technical, so I find myself out of aero more than the average person. As I got close to the finish I had to pee again, which was good because I knew I hydrated well during the bike despite the wet weather.
Bike Time: 3:06:52
Bike Avg Speed: 17.98 mph
Light rain, but the clouds began to look like they were clearing up. Hmm... "I wonder if it is going to heat up and get really humid if the sun comes out...?" Once again because the bike to run transition was not the same as the swim to bike transition, my rack position still sucked. It is like they put me in the one corner out of 4 that has no entrance or exit. Changed into run gear and once again took my time, and it was wet, but there was nothing I could do about that. As I was heading out of T2 I went ahead and went pee at the porta-johns, but nothing. This was going to be the bane of my existence during the run.
Transition 2 Time: 6:00
The main problem I have in my longer races is that I have issues running off the bike. I am going to fix that this year, as I have a few things on my tri-list that I want to improve about my races. It is not that I am not going as fast as I wanna go, it is that I cramp up and my legs are too fatigued. This is from not doing enough brick training so I get used to the bike/run transition. I got about a mile down the road before I cramped up and had to walk. Someone in the crowd yelled for me to pick it up, it was just the first mile, and then he kinda calmed down he he saw me limping in pain from the cramps.
The run course is a two loop course with multiple back and forth areas, which is cool for spectators, so that they could stay on the same block area and just walk back and forth between streets to see their racers. Celine had gotten to the race site just in time for me for the run. I saw her as I was passing through the 2nd mile, trying to look my best even though I felt like crap and my legs hurt. Just before I saw her I was actually walking again (for the second time). After I had passed I was kind of in a groove and then it hit me...... Thank goodness mile marker 3 was coming up, and there are porta-johns at each mile marker. What had been eluding me all day since I woke up had finally come back to haunt me. There were two people in line in front of me and I thought I was gonna die. Also I was somewhat in the back third of the pack for the day in general, so there had been close to 2000 people that had passed by this way two times before I got there. I lost about 5 minutes waiting for my turn, then took another couple in the porta-john. Phew! I am sooo glad that was over.
Since I got about 7 minutes of rest out of that so my legs felt fresh enough to go another mile or so before I was going to have to walk. I was alternating between water and Gatorade at every aid station, I had my endurolytes in my tri jersey pocket, and I was taking in a gel about every 40 minutes. It started to get warm outside because of the sun, and this also began to make it humid as well. Began sweating even more. I got to mile 6 on the backside of the run course where we were about to do our second loop when... Oh no not again! Twice??? Well I did have quite a bit to eat over the weekend, but come on, I thought the first time was bad enough. There was only one person in front of me this time, so I only waited 2-3 minutes and then I was in there for another couple minutes before I emerged to begin the second loop of the course. Now we are up to a 11-12 minute delay in finishing because of bowel issues. Never fear! I pushed on (no pun intended)!
Going into the second loop I felt much lighter, however the fatigue and cramping had set into my legs. I was basically alternating between walking and jogging every quarter mile. The sun at this point had been out for a good 30-45 minutes, parts of the pavement were steaming. I was grabbing sponges at every water station and pouring some additional water down my backside to cool off and to wash off from the prior two visits. On the second loop I stopped not once, not twice, but three times more for the porta-johns (the third time was just to pee, I was two miles away from the finish and I could not hold it)!!!! I mean I must have been backed up for a couple days, because every time I went throughout the run was serious. I ended up wasting another 15 minutes in those three visits for a total of 26-27 minutes waiting and using the restroom on the run. I would normally never talk about bathroom breaks affecting my time during the race because I seldom go and when I do it is usually on myself, unless I have to go #2.
Run Time: 3:02:53
Run Pace: 13:58
I saw Celine a couple more times on the run and I believe that I did see Melissa once or twice on the run. The sun was out in full force when I was crossing the finish line and the weather was great! I was jogging the last mile of the course and i tried really hard not to walk. My jog while crossing the finish line was pitiful. I have not bought any pictures from the race, but when you look at them online, all of them are horrible, most of them are of me walking and the one at the finish line you can tell I am doing some kind of turkey trot because my stride is next to non-existent. Celine was there to greet me at the end of the race and a few minutes later I saw Mike and Melissa. Melissa had already checked them out of their hotel, so whenever Mike got cleaned up he would be ready to go. We both got some pizza, water, and beer, and then hung out for a few minutes before parting ways.
Final Time: 6:54:02
Time Spent in Porta-Johns: 26-27 minutes
PR in minutes from last HIM: 31:48
My PR would have been almost an hour if I had not had sooo many stops! Oh well, that is how the cookie crumbles. Post race report to come soon!