The Beast of the East Half Iron Distance Triathlon - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Hiawassee, Georgia
United States
Great Smoky Mountains Triathlon Club
75F / 24C
Total Time = 5h 16m 22s
Overall Rank = 8/41
Age Group = 30-35
Age Group Rank = 1/
Pre-race routine:

I am glad I took off Friday to sleep in. Alarm was set for 5:15 AM, and I woke up around 3:00 AM, and my heart pounded until 5:15. I was ready to go. Popped up and in the shower, then started with my pre-race calories.
Event warmup:

This is Half-Iron, who needs a warm up? You have 70.3 mile to warm up.

More-or-less, I got my rack set up, and started talking to the racers around. One guy started telling me about where he stayed, and how he had to drive through a creek to get to and from the house. We laughed about it, then started talking about the race. I told him that I was going to let him swim and I was going to hold on and let him drag me. Motorboat style. As we talked, he looked at me and asked Coldfire? It was James (jamesehatcher) from BT!!! What a small world to run into one another without knowing! We laughed about it, had Steph take a picture of James, Derek, and myself, and we continued to talk.

Suited up in the wetsuit, had the pre-race meeting, and down to the water.
  • 38m 32s
  • 1980 meters
  • 01m 57s / 100 meters

The gun goes off, and BANG we are on our way. The first 200-300 meters to the island or first bouy went well. I could tell I was flying in the water. I spoted off the people around me, the island, and attacked the bouy. After passing the first bouy I spotted the concert pumping station. I attacked it, I swam right at it. I was dead on for half the distance, then I started drifting left. Not sure what my issue was, but everytime I spotted, my mark was drifting to my right. WTF?!?!? Who is moving the pumping station around? I kept telling myself, attack it, right at it. Well, I got to it, and had to make a right hand turn to go around it. Oh well for the attack plan. Made the turn, then right back to the island until I saw the next bouy. I was dead on the island, but when I started swimming at the bouy, I started drifting left again. Passed the bouy, and on to the next one. The last bouy I was pretty much dead on, drafting off this guy, and spotting. Well, after the final bouy, I started spotting the playground at the finish. The bright yellow tops were easy to spot. Then, I started drifting to my right again. DAMN IT, quite moving the playground.
What would you do differently?:

Swim straight. Seriously, I must have swim around 1.5-1.7 miles by the end of it. Yes, course was 1.2, but swimming zig-zag is not the fastest way to go.
Transition 1
  • 00m 45s

Very fast T1. Exited the water, unzipped and striped the wetsuite down to my waist. Checked my time, and I was at 38:32. Shaved roughly five minutes from my previous swim, even with all the zig-zagging around.

Got to my rack (great spot Derek), and dropped my cap/goggles. Tried to kick off my wetsuit, that did not work, so I dropped on my butt and yanked. The wetsuite came right off. As I was sitting there James was at his rack. I told him I must have swam 2 miles out there, and some guy the next rack over ask "was that you?". We all laughted, I grabbed my bike and out I went. Felt like a long T1, but it was fast enough my wife could not keep up to take pictures. The time on the camera shows less than a minute, and I was heading out the door.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Sub 1 minute is fast enough.
  • 2h 46m 10s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.22 mile/hr

The bike course was harder than I remembered. Plus, combined with a nonstop headwind, it was brutal. Within the first five miles I blew past several people, then found myself alone for a while. Started to climb the bike beast, and it was on. Climb, climb, climb. I looked up and there was the big house on the left. I knew I had the toughest part left. Past the house, and hit the final 200 meter climb. Dropped it into the 25 (12-25) and drove the pedals down. Hit the decent on the other side, and zooooooom. I looked down and saw 47 mph. Shortly after, a guy on a P2 with flashpoint 60's caught me. He and I played cat and mouse for a long time. I would pass him on the climbs and flats, then he would pass me on any decent. Not sure why, since we were built the same, so he should not have that much of an advantage on a decent. We chatted a bit, and laughed at the rollers, nonstop rollers that is. Anyway, I ended up dropping him around mile 35-40, and picked up another guy. This guy had a 29 on his calf, and was hauling azz. I kept him within range for the rest of the bike.

Around mile 40 I went to take a hit of GU from my squeeze bottle. Well, I dropped it!!!! I heard ding, donk as it hit the pavement. DAMN!!! Oh well, I pushed on. I had already hit it three times, with big doses, so I figured I would be good with only carbopro after that.

I could tell the wind was brutal, because I hit a long flat where I normally would have been around 24-27 mph, instead I was grinding at 18 mph, WTF? Passed the Fair Grounds, and knew I only had around five miles left. Few more rollers, then I made the final turn and the volunteer said two miles left. I saw the golf course and knew I was almost home.

Right as I turned into the park, the guy on the P2 caught me. I looked at him, and asked "where did you go?" We laughted and brought it in to T2 together. I could tell the wind chewed up my legs.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, wish away the winds?
Transition 2
  • 00m 45s

They changed T2 a bit. After dismounting the bike, you had to run down and around a tree at the bottom. Basically, you entered transition the same way as you did from the swim. That added a few extra seconds, but nothing big. There were hardly any bikes in transition at this point, so I knew I was in a good spot.

I will blow my own smoke here, I am lighting fast in transition. On the way to my rack, glasses off/in mouth, racked bike, helmet off, glass back on, swip foot with hand, sock on, shoe on, repeat, grabbed race number and I am out.

I forgot my race belt, so I had to hold my race number the entire time. I did not want to shove it in my shorts, then hand it to the girls at the finish all sweaty (in my shorts sweaty if you get my drift).

Passed a couple of people comming out of T2, and even the guy with a 29 on his calf.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Had to be close to 30 seconds. I am guessing at 45 seconds.
  • 1h 52m 10s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 34s  min/mile

I had caught/passed the guy with a 29 on this calf in transition. Well, he caught me pretty fast, and we ran together for about a mile. I had to let him go, as I had blown up my legs on the bike. A mix between the course and the wind, and my legs were DONE. Found a nice pace and just sat down in it. Up the hill to the dam, back down, then across the damn. No one was in sight until I got to the top of the run beast. There came first place. That guy looked like he was running on fresh legs, and he had just run up the beast, WOW. Down the beast, and to the corn fields. Actually, in the spring they are not corn fields but rather grass fields. I had my first gauge on the people behind me. I had about 100' on the next guy, and 150' on the guy behind him. Did my out and back, then out to the breakpoint. Again with the stupid wind. Killer headwind on the way out. It pissed me off since that was the only down hill, but I thought at least I will have a tail wind pushing me back up the hill. WRONG, as soon as I made the turn, the wind stopped. Yes, I said a few choice words to the wind about how dumb it was.

Back to the aid station, water please, THANK YOU. There lies Hell's Gate. Across the bridge (Hell's Gate), and the Beast was waiting for me. It was ready for me this time. Dear lord was it ready for me. It started beating me down, I focused on my feet. One in front of the other. The beast was beating me down to a new level. I looked up and saw a crow feeding on a dead carcus (turtle I think), and I thought how appropriate is that? The beast almost reduced me to a walk, but I HTFU and push up and over. I thought F-you as I topped it, round one goes to me! Back across the dam, up the hill (huffing and puffing), back down the other side. there was Derek. Great job, keep going! Made my loop and out for round two.

It was at this point I could tell my training started to kick in. My legs finally started to get going, and I pushed forward. As I headed back out, I had increased the distance on the guys behind me, at least .25 of a mile or more. I found myself all alone, cheering on the racers going the other way. It was at the top of the beast that I found my zone. Three guys were coming up the beast for the first time. One was chopping up it, the two behind were reduced to a walk. It was at this point that I cried out "CHOP IT DOWN, CHOP DOWN THE BEAST, NOOOOO MERCY!!!" and gave them a fist pump. They gave me a look like I was crazy. I think I had lost my mind I laughed because at that point I was going down it, I knew that would change within 10 minutes.

Back to the aid station, water please, THANK YOU! Out & back in the corn fields, the guys behind me were no where to be seen. As I exited the corn fields, Derek passed heading to Hell's Gates. Great job, keep going! Out to breakpoint, made my turn, then a little voice in my head said to the finish! Back to the aid station, and asked if they had a water to go? They laughed, and handed me the final water. I guess I was just full of jokes Saturday, at least I thought I was funny.

There it is, Hell's Gate, round two. I told myself, NO surrender, NO retreat, FIGHT to the very last breath, and prepared myself. Crossed Hell's Gate and said "so it begins". I knew the only way I was taking it, was to go to my toes. Up on my toes, and I began chopping. I could feel the blisters forming on my feet as I chopped up the beast. I didn't care, the body shall receive no mercy. I think two people were coming down and cheered me on, but I was zoned out and did not hear them, nor see them. I was on a two breath count, 1, 2, exhale, 1, 2, exhale. FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! Kept telling myself I will NOT walk, I will NOT walk, pumping my arms I pulled myself to the top. I let out a grawl as I went up and over. At this point I knew I was almost there, two miles to go, so I started hammering with everything I had left. I was catching people on their first lap, so I turned my focus to running them down. I blew past three people (on their first lap) before I got to the end of the dam. Up and over the hill, spitting and sputtering on myself, then down the other side. Hung a left of the main road, only half a mile left. There were two more people, I turned all of my pain and suffering on them, and ran them down. I blew past both of them, then saw Derek heading back out for lap two. Topped the final hill, with 150 meters left to go to the finish, I hit the nitous into a full sprint to the finish. I saw Steph jump up and take off running to get the finish picture, but I blasted by her. Hit the tape at 5:16:22, and about fell over trying to hand off my race number.
What would you do differently?:

I need to do more bricks, but other than that, nothing. The wind is an unknown factor, so I did my best to keep pushing through.
Post race
Warm down:

I knew from my first HIM, I needed to keep on my feet and keep moving. Even though all I wanted to do was sit down. I drank a Gatoraide, and propel to get the calories back up. I actually felt pretty good. I went to the lake and jumped in, washed off, then changed clothes. I also put on my compression calf sleeves to start recovery. I actually felt 100 times better than I thought. I ate some pizza, and cheered on the other racers. About that time, the bottom fell out of the sky and it started to pour rain. I could only think that Derek would have a great first HIM race story with all the rain.

Cheered on James as he came in! Great race James, way to hold stong to the finish!!

After a bit of light stretching, Derek came in. I grabbed all sorts of water, mountain dew, cookies, etc. for him. He definitely needed to get those calories up in a hurry.

I also grabbed several other people waters that were sitting alone. Yes, I was that overly cheerful guy at the finish.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

IMHO I had a great race considering the course, the wind, etc. I shaved five minutes from my previous HIM PR, so as long as I keep getting faster, I am happy with that.

Event comments:

I have only two complaints. I am a stickler for the rules, and there were lots of people out there running with ipods/MP3 players. That made me so freaking mad. I wanted to rip them out of their ears, and tell them it was illegal. Of course, I didn't, but I wanted to.

Second, and the biggest thing. They had me in the incorrect age-group. I was listed under 25-29 on the finish sheet. I told the RD that was incorrect, and that I should be in the 30-24 AG. I turn 30 in November, so per USAT rules on Dec 31st 2009 I will be 30, I should race the 30-34 AG. I think they had already had the awards ready to be given out, and he said it would stand. I finished 8th OA, but second in the 25-29 AG. Behind the guy with the 29 on his calf I raced throughout the day. I double checked the finish sheet after the awards, and I actually won the 30-34 AG. I am more pissed at myself for not throwing a bigger fit, and noticing it sooner. Oh well, after a HIM I did not have the energy to throw a fit.

Last updated: 2009-04-03 12:00 AM
00:38:32 | 1980 meters | 01m 57s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/41
Performance: Below average
Suit: Zoot Zenith
Course: Around the island, around the pumping station at the dam, then back on the other side of the island.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Good
Waves: Navigation: Bad
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:45
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:46:10 | 56 miles | 20.22 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/41
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind
Course: A big circle around the lake, then back.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:45
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:52:10 | 13.1 miles | 08m 34s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/41
Performance: Average
Course: Two lap run course.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4