(Writing this report before split times and AG data available.)
The swim was extremely cold. I was prepared for it mentally, and had swam in worse. My hands and feet didn't get numb, so I know it wasn't 52 degrees. I'm guessing on the 58 degrees. There was the initial shock to the system and the face, but I started breathing normally right away.
After rounding the first turn buoy, I couldn't see the next buoy for the glare from the sun. I followed everyone else and eventually came into the shade and could see the sun was exactly lined up with the buoy. On the second lap I just used the sun for navigation.
What would you do differently?:
Get to the swim start one or two minutes sooner.
I didn't push the transition because of the water temp and the long day I expected ahead. I was efficient but not speedy.
Leaving T1 and heading out, I was surprised to see dh (Davidtris) and my kids! I thought they would still be asleep or getting dressed, since all was quiet when I left a couple minutes before my swim start.
They did a great job cheering me on!
This was the most difficult bike, by far, that I have ever done. The hills were absolutely brutal.
I don't know how the Triple T competitors did it, because my mind had to be in the game 100 percent at all times to get the gearing right and the cornering right.
The first climb was long but not incredibly steep, with switchbacks that made it tolerable. Immediately after it was a screaming decent with two 180 turns on a road barely wide enough for two cars to pass. There were additional turns besides those two. My handling was good and I was proud of my turns. I always had my outside foot weighted and my inside foot raised. I never braked DURING a turn, although sometimes I was laying on the brakes until right before the turn in order not to DIE on the rocks.
The backside of the course was also hilly. I made one mistake and saw a hill coming but didn't get down into the smallest chainring until it was too late and I was already grinding it. I knew I couldn't shift down then. (I had practiced it beforehand and dropped the chain trying to shift into the small chainring while standing up and grinding.) I got to the top and tried to shift there so I could catch my breath and dropped the chain, but at the top of the hill, so that's not so bad. Glad I worked on all this beforehand. None of the hills ever got the best of me, and there was only one where I got that shot of adrenaline because I was worried I really might not be able to keep turning over the pedals, even standing up in the smallest gear.
I was proud of my preparation, but honestly nothing around here could prepare a person for that bike course.
Coming back around to the front of the course, there was one last brutal climb before a nice relaxing descent into the park.
I saw the ambulance out a couple times and saw people off to the side. I was glad everyone I was riding near was cornering responsibly, and that the race field was small enough that the course wasn't crowded.
I stopped at the turnaround to use the bathroom and get drink refills. I took my time.
On the second loop I was actually alone for several minutes at a time.
It was beautiful. It was very secluded, wooded, shady. Waterfalls and butterflies everywhere, and horses in the "town" we passed through. Law enforcement at the turns was wonderful.
After the second loop I saw dh and the kids in their regular spot. That was awesome!
What would you do differently?:
Just that one mistake in shifting. Other than that, ride hills more.
Took it really easy. Also, looked around and "borrowed" someone's sunscreen, as mine was wearing off and the sun was getting higher. It was turning out to be a scorcher.
Passed the family again on the way out. Gave everyone high fives. It was nice. The guy behind me looked at us and said, "That really feels great, doesn't it?" Yes, indeed.
What would you do differently?:
Nothing. I really needed to chill at this point.
I had a headache toward the end of the bike, which I thought was dehydration except that I had been drinking plenty (for me) including HEED and water. I was peeing a lot. I stopped between loops to pee, and I stopped once on loop 2 to pee in the woods. (My road bike shoes have cardboard insoles and I didn't want them to stink forevermore if I peed while riding.)
So it wasn't dehydration. Unfortunately I took me almost a full loop of the run to figure out I was too hot. I started putting ice in my hat and occasionally pouring a cup of water down my clothes, but it was too little too late.
I kept my wits about me. I felt that as long as I was mentally OK, and I wasn't sick, I was doing well.
I tried to totally not pay attention to my pace, which was creeping up toward 14/min mile because of all the walking. I prioritized how I was feeling, which I think will be a good lesson for IM.
Now I know what it feels like to be too hot. In the future, I will cope with it better!
Loop 1: First aid station, awesome. Second aid station - used the potty. The aid station had run out of cups, but the amazing volunteers were offering to pour drinks into people's mouths! I picked up a cup off the ground and used that, then folded it and stuck it in my pocket for future use. Turnaround aid station: awesome. I had just come down a LONG hill, and knew I'd be walking up it, so I grabbed a banana, a cookie, a pretzel and cup of HEED. Figured I could get that stuff digested before I started running again. I was mostly right. By the time I got back to the middle aid station, they had been resupplied with cups but were now out of water. I took some ice for my hat.
Came into the transition for the turnaround. Saw dh and the kids and JungleJenn! I told them it was REALLY HARD. I went in and got some more ice and tried a little cola (hot, blech) and a pretzel. Came back past dh and the kids and spied their sunscreen. I was really feeling hot on my skin so I asked them to spray me with it. I was willing to take the penalty if there was one. Set out on loop two. I didn't have any mental battle about going back out versus quitting, and I was proud of myself for that.
On the second loop I started figuring it out that I was overheating. My HR was normal to low when I was running (160), my hydration and nutrition were fine, my stomach was fine, so that left the heat to make me feel bad. I started pouring more water over me, but it was a tough decision because I was worried about wasting it when other might need it to drink.
Aid station one - volunteers had abandoned ship, but another guy I had seen at the campground doing race support had run out to take over by himself. He was doing a great job.
Aid station two - fully stocked at that point. But I still had my cup in my pocket just in case. Used the bathroom. As I ran past this big awesome snakeskin for the 3rd time, I decided to fold it up and put it in my pocket for my kids.
Turnaround aid station. There was someone in the bathroom and another lady waiting. She was standing there stretching and stuff, and then she took off when my back was turned. (I was standing around eating, lol.) One of the volunteers said, "There she goes!" and we all started yelling to her that she was going the wrong way, past the turnaround. One volunteer finally went after her after we all expressed our concern. The other one said, "I've never seen her run that far in my life." I was worried the volunteer wouldn't catch her because she took off at a good clip. After the race I told the RD and he said maybe she ran off to go to the bathroom in the woods. And he said the road ended in a half mile. That made me feel relieved. At least she would have figured it out.
Next aid station - used the bathroom again. Thanked the volunteers. This time I think they were out of water or something. There was this orange all-terrain cart thing that was shuttling supplies. THey just couldn't keep up because of the heat I guess, and the volunteers didn't have radios. Cell phones were worthless out there, too.
Last aid station - took some water.
I ran the downhills. There were hardly any flats. At the end I was starting to feel a little better and ran a few of the up inclines, but none of the real hills. Some of the hills were so steep, it was actually quite an effort to walk up them, after the other exertions of the day.
What would you do differently?:
Recognize signs of overheating sooner and take steps to deal with it.
Celebrated with family and Jenn.
Got some food.
Went over to the "ice bath" (freezing creek)
What limited your ability to perform faster:
Lack of hill training. Lack of aerobic fitness at this time of year.
My legs were surprisingly not the limiter.
Amazing event. Definitely planning on doing the full Triple-T next year!
Last updated: 2010-02-01 12:00 AM
85F / 29C
Overall Rank = 36/50
Age Group = women
Age Group Rank = 11/15
Dh drove us over to the race site early to get a good spot near transition.
Got out the bike, pumped the tires, got organized, made myself some instant oatmeal and tea.
Ate oatmeal, drank a little tea, sipped HEED, ate banana.
Set up transition. Talked to newbz (David) and my rackmate.
Went back to RV to use the bathroom, put on wetsuit, etc.
The Triple T folks had their swim start before ours, so as I was back at the vehicle, I could hear them sending people off. I was not worried. But I did head over again to the beach with 10 minutes to spare. But as I stepped foot on the beach, they called for the Little Smokies women, a full 10 minutes before our starting time! Well, glad I came over!
They said to just start whenever, but we insisted they say "Go!"