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
63F / 17C
Total Time = 6h 39m 58s
Overall Rank = 34/
Age Group = 30-34
Age Group Rank = 4/
Pre-race routine:

I'll start this RR out by saying that my overall experience completing in my first HIM was great with that being said this is long and boy did this race challenge me in MANY ways. Lets begin:

I woke up at 4:50, not that I can honestly say that I had slept much up until this point. I had an odd feeling of dread mix with both excitement and nervous energy. The excitement and nervousness are normal, as I feel this way before all races, but the dread was a new feeling and not exactly welcome. I digress, woke up and ate 2 protein bars and forced down some Gatorade. Packed up the car and headed over to the park. When I pulled in I noticed that we were the second car to park and that it was not quite 6. I unloaded my bike and then hauled my stuff down to the Transition area and racked it. It was funny to be the first bike on the race. I introduced myself to Eric, the other person that had arrived, and hung out until everything was ready for check-in.

I should have known that the day was going to be FUN when my name wasn�t on the registry. It wasn�t a problem with the Tri club b/c they took care of me and there was no issue at all. I want to reiterate that one more time: they did a great job and actually apologized to me for the error while wasn�t a big deal. I just knew that the smooth sailing was off the table for the day and I would be earning every mile. I checked in set up my area and then walked around in circles waiting on something to distract me from the coming storm�enter Coldfire (Brian).

I�ll say this about Coldfire, he comes across smooth, calm and collected�I think part of this is due in part b/c he so enjoys watching me be nervous and jittery. He has a calming effect on me to an extent. He pulled up and I notice his bike on the back of the car�all at once I realize that the reason he has been canceling on me for every scheduled ride for the last 4 months�it�s b/c he has new toys. Between the new Zipp wheels and seat he now has a �tricked out� Cervelo P2C�nice! He had hidden this from me the entire time.

We racked his bike, checked him in and then talked with a number of other racers. During all of this we meet James a fellow BTer�he recognized Coldfire from his RR last year. (Great guy and a real pleasure to meet) We all talked and then went down to put on our wetsuits and headed up to the pre-race meeting. Following this it was down to the water and awaiting the start of the race. I told Brian good luck and then headed over to the other side of the group (the side opposite the first turn) 2 minutes, 1 minute 5,4,3,2,1�Oh Lord.

Event warmup:

I took Coldfire's advice and jogged for a second felt loose and then decided that 70.3 was enough milage for the day and I wasn't in need of an extra 1-2 warm-up!
  • 00m
  • 2165 yards
  • / 100 yards

We started on the beach and swam out to left side of the island (about 500-600 out). It seemed a lot further once I started swimming towards it. For the first 200 of the swim I was moving along just fine and actually with the lead pack…this just meant I was swimming entirely too fast!! There were some serious swimmer in this group. I slowed down a bite and headed out towards the island. From the shore you couldn’t see the pumping station that we were to swim around before heading back in but I knew it was out there. I kept swimming, keeping the main group within sight…they were pulling away slowly but not too bad, yet. After what seemed like 3 days I looked up to see the pumping station, I was almost there but I was starting to sink further away from the main body of swimmers…there were people behind me in the water but a much larger number in front 

All at once 2 things happened to me 1. I looked over to see a swimmer clearly cut the course and not go around the pumping station but straight across, cutting off about 100 of the swim. In a race like this where there isn’t strictly enforced rules you only cheat yourself when you do something like that but it still made me mad. 2. my goggles fogged up and I took them off to clear them, bad idea, b/c from there on I had water in them from breaking the seal…my bad.

I rounded the station and realized I was only half way through, sweet, then continued on towards the mythical place called dry land. 4 score and 7 years later I reached the shore and made my way to T1…I remember telling Carey and Stephanie that I had finished 1 section and only had 2 more to go…

What would you do differently?:

Swim harder, settle into a better cadience and just let the training take over...I always fight the swim and make it worse then it is. I can swim the distance but I need to make it work for me and not against me.
Transition 1
  • 00m

I took my time in T1 b/c I was wearing a bike jersey for the pockets. I had not gotten a bento box so i needed something to put my GU in during the race. Plus I decided to wear socks for the extra padding...bottom line was I didn't think an extra minute or 2 would kill me. I also wasn't in the lead at this point!
I decided to put my shoes on and then run the bike up and jump on it instead of my normal jump on and then put my feet in...don't know why, it made sense at the time. Anyways, I ran up the hill and jumped on only to find tha tthe shoes wouldn't lock into the petals due to MUD!! So I almost ran over my sister in law and had to balance and dig the mud out of the clips in order to lock them in...this will teach me to try something different during a race, even though this was supposed to be the eaiser way to do things.

What would you do differently?:

Not run over Stephanie!
  • 00m
  • 56 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

Oh the bike…Well it started out nice with a few rollers out of the park and down a fairly lengthy hill but that was simply to lull you into a false sense of security. There’s not a lot to say about the first 10 miles other than it is beautiful to look at…after 10 miles it sucks. At about this time you reach the bottom of the Beast and start your climb into the Heavens, clouds and all. The problem is not the mountain, or the fact that I had to move into the small cog on the front (which I never do) in order to continue up and up, but the fact that after it eats your legs up you still have the remaining 44 miles to go. I read in another RR that once you saw the big white house you had reached the last portion of the Beast, this was true. Once you make it to this point you have roughly .25 mile up at the steepest part to crest it. The wisely set up an aid/cheering station at the top for water/Gatorade and moral support. As I reached the top they asked me if I needed anything. I asked the kid in front to throw a cup of water on me…I think it shocked him b/c he asked me to repeat myself. (either shocked or it could have been the fact that I was gasping for air...maybe) He threw the water all over me, lord it felt so good. From here it was down a little ways and then back to the climbing.

I had planned my nutrition so that I was taking 2 shots of CarboPro every 2-3 miles and I started eating GU every 10 miles starting at 20. It became a game to me…2 miles, CarboPro…10 miles, GU. I even decided to learn that you didn’t need water to chase the GU, you just had to make sure not to inhale at the moment you put it in your mouth….I also choked once.

At about mile 30 I hit a straight that had was in fact a false flat…on top of that it had a horrible headwind. I started out pumping 25mph but the next thing I knew I was down to 18mph and it was all I had. I continued to hammer at a comfortable but steady pace until I reached mile 41. At this time I reached a one way bridge and I thought I was about to catch another biker…turns out it was just a person out riding around…Duh. Oh well I made the turn and kept on moving.

At mile 44 I had caught the rider in front of me so obviously it was time to have an issue…it’s not like this race wasn’t hard enough already. I was heading up the 2000 hill when I down shifted into the small cog…at first I thought I need to shift in order to catch up with my spinning legs…nope, I had de-chained. I haven’t done that in forever…and on a hill for the love of all things holy. I was so wore out that I couldn’t un-clip my petal fast enough…well if was into the ditch I went. At the same time my calf cramped on my right leg. I actually popped right back up but when I tried to get moving again I couldn’t get the petal clipped in since I was on the hill and guess what…into the ditch again. At this point it wasn’t funny and I was really hurting but in the back of my head I could hear Brian telling me to get up and finish the race. It’s a HIM; it’s supposed to be hard. I got up jumped back on the bike and this time it worked.

I didn’t have any more problems, other than a headwind the rest of the way back. I came into T2, racked the bike and started the run…

2 Down 1 to go…

What would you do differently?:

Not much I had a good ride I just had a few technical mistakes...more ride time in training
Transition 2
  • 00m

I was planning to do my standard flying dismount but I just couldn't make it work so I instead just stopped and unlocked the shoes and jogged into T2. I just wanted to get off the bike and start the run. The sooner I started the run the faster I was going to be done with it. I took a mintue to change out my socks due to the sweat and rain of the last 3 hours and then put on my ankle brace and running shoes then headed out for my date with the run Beast. Good times
What would you do differently?:

Nothing, considering how I felt I had a good T2. Maybe work more on dismounts when I'm tired to get better at it.
  • 00m
  • 13.1 miles
  •  min/mile

By the time I made it to the run I was sore, bruised and ready to finish. At the same time I was upbeat and excited b/c I had made it this far and still felt ok. I racked the bike and then headed out for the first of the 2 laps. My legs felt ok and I ran the first 2/3 of this lap strong. I passed Coldfire and told him to keep up the great race as well as James, Eric and a number of others. By the around mile 6 I was starting to hurt…all over. My only concern was finishing my first lap before Brian finished the race, which was going to be tough. I keep pushing myself to move just a little faster…I actually came over the last hill and passed Carey/Stephanie telling them I thought he was right behind me…little did I know how close he was. I made the loop, past the finish line and headed back out for another dose when Brian came of the hill headed for the finish…that was close.

At this point in the race I was ready to be done, I didn’t want to go back for seconds, I wanted to die. Everything that had been so beautiful and enjoyable on the first lap was black and uncaring on the second visit. At the turn around point on the run the sky opened up and it started to pour down rain. I can honestly say the last 3 miles were pain, pain, pain but when I crossed the finish line it was all worth it.

70.3 never felt as good as it did at that moment.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing...I had nothing left in me. I need to train more on the run so that I can keep up with the fatigue.
Post race
Warm down:

Nothing...I ate a few cookies, even though I didn't want to. (Coldfire made me do it) Drank moutian dew (how fitting) and water to try and get fluid, sugar, anything back in me. Then I walked as much as i could to keep the blood flowing in my legs.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

I just need to train more and build myself up. I think I did well considering the course and the barriers for the day.

Event comments:

Great race. I think that the people involved in this race really love the sport b/c it is tough. I spoke with a number of people and most have done a lot of races and consider this one of the hardest. The people are so friendly. I wanted to thank all of the volunteers again after the race b/c they made the directions and water etc so much easier for me. I tried to tell each one thanks as I went by.

Great event and I would do it again.

Last updated: 2009-04-10 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 2165 yards | / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Below average
Suit: Yes, first time with my wetsuit
Course: Out and back. From the beach past an island and pumping station then back to the beach simple enough.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 63F / 17C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Below average
Breathing: Below average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Average
00:00:00 | 56 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: 56 Loop. There were 2 hills that stuck out more than the others at mile 12ish the Beast and mile 26ish it's nasty brother. Other than that is was a fine day in the Alps...I should have brought snow skis.
Road: Smooth Wet Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Overall: Average
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Below average
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
00:00:00 | 13.1 miles |  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Bad
Course: 2 loops. Out to the front of the park then down across the dam, down a 7/10 mile hill (the Beast) and then out/back in the corn fields...further down a country road, turn around and run back up the HUGE hill to the finish line...wait not yet rinse and repeat...boy it hurt :)
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 4