American Triple T - Race #4: Half Iron - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Portsmouth, Ohio
United States
HFP Racing
Total Time = 5h 28m 5s
Overall Rank = 58/397
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Woke up thinking, 'please please please someone tell me I don't have to do a HIM today. It just doesn't seem real.' I didn't know what the course would be like compared to yesterday, I just knew it would be hard. And the American Triple-T doesn't disappoint in that regard.
Event warmup:

Popped into the Arctic Circle, aka Sludge Pond, aka Mucky Fingers, etc. Still insanely cold, still don't want to swim. What's wrong with just doing duathlons again?
  • 31m 38s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 30s / 100 yards

Totally unmotivated to push it in the swim, I just glided along and saw some people pass me before getting into a groove and sticking with the same pack the rest of the way on the first loop. The dark brown slog of the lake made it difficult to see when you came up on people until you were basically on top of their booties, so I tried to stay away from them.

The second loop got bad. I got punched in the back of the head twice but kept most of my composure if not a very good attitude, and then while approaching the last buoy I got punched in the face hard enough to have my goggles knocked sideways, so I yelled more unmentionables while fixing them. I don't think it's my imagination that some guy called out, "you'll be fine!" all dad-like, so I felt like a whiny brat, but who likes to get punched?
Transition 1
  • 01m 33s

I wasn't in a very good mood after another bad swim. Alaina was very patient with me in transition. Can't thank her enough.
  • 3h 09m 18s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.75 mile/hr

So far in IM training, my nutrition on the bike has been pretty awful, as I've not taken in enough calories before or during riding, and I've had some mean layovers in Bonktown, which is still a real hole of a place for anyone who hasn't stopped by recently. But the one good thing about screwing this up so many times is I know when my body is starting to shut the front door, so I can start taking in more gels and Infinit pronto. The first loop of this course tested this premise, and I'm glad to say I recovered.

The first 2 miles sail by downhill splendidly before turning into the boy scout camp Oyo (sing with me now: "It is the wrong 'em boyo!") for a grueling 4 mile climb of 4-5% grade rife with switchbacks and a beautiful, green ravine off to the right. Check out the pics from this climb on HFP's site -- they're hilarious -- each face in more pain than the last. The sticks were pretty tight of course, but not dead here, and you get the chance to stretch them out on the long descent to mile 12.

This second set of hills was where I went Skywalker style into the Death Star to either blow that sucka up or, well, die. The desire to go all fetal position was creeping into the legs, so I dove into my goody bag of Vanilla Bean Gus. I took two and felt kinda great after about 10 minutes, then decided to go with another at transition where the second loop started. Miles 12-19 are a more gradual, but obviously longer, giant climb, and me guts were definitely in check. Stand, sit, aero, handles, I tried all the positions I knew to make it up this section before heading down to route 125 for one last climb.

At transition we took a quick pit stop and I downed a few more Gus and the rest of my Gatorade + Carbopro, while Alaina gave me some Endurolytes for the rising heat. With an empty bladder and some food in the gut, I went back to the proverbial meat locker (think Rocky III here), and had a really strong feeling 2nd loop. In all, I took in 6 Gus, one big bottle of Infinit w/ 3 scoops, a big bottle of Gatorate + 2 scoop Carbopro, and a 64oz camelback of water and was still starting to feel a little weak in the head at the start of the run.
What would you do differently?:

Carb load better the night before or get up earlier to take in more cals.
Transition 2
  • 01m 43s

Time to go go go.
  • 1h 43m 50s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 56s  min/mile

First thoughts: Oh fock, I'm not gonna finish this. At mile 2, deep enough into the woods to again face the hordes of horseflies and slug up a few hills, I fell behind Alaina and started the "slow down" chant to her. I needed to stay on the dirt, not rock, part of the trail and thought she could be my pace booty, but there wasn't much that could motivated me to keep moving my legs at any decent speed. Didn't wear a watch for this, but I think we were just a touch over 8m/m for the first 5k, and just under that for the second since it's downhill.

Lemme say that the volunteers out there were hardcore. They dealt with the heat, humidity, flies, bees, skeeters, etc, but also had to put up with us haggard racers, and they got water and Heed out to people with smiles and speed. Amazing people, these guys + gals.

I took in another 3 Gus and water at the aid stations on this run and finally felt like I would make it through the second loop. BTers birkierunner and newbz were looking as strong out there as could be possible considering the terrain and fatigue.

We passed the Co-Ed team that was in 3rd coming into the race, but the 1st or 2nd place team (depending on our standing, which we didn't know) was a good half mile ahead of us and not letting up, so Alaina and I pushed each other to stay steady, stay strong and not blow up when things got really tough. We knew we couldn't overtake them on this race, but we could stay close enough for the final times to be competitive.

All downhill for the last mile, so finally I knew we had this finish in the bag. It still didn't feel like a HIM finish though, probably because we were going at survival speed and effort rather than true HIM effort. Crossing that finish line hand in hand with the one who got me off my azz and doing all this fun stuff was one of the best moments of my life, regardless of whether we won or not.
Post race
Warm down:

Ice bath in the stream! Tried to get some food down but just felt like crap. Shared war stories with Jim, who made it through another race with some banged up knees atop all the pounding of the weekend.

Went back to the campsite to pack it up and down those bloody stairs, happy with ourselves but nervous about how close we were to finishing first. We showered and then went down to the race site where we thought the awards ceremony was and saw Team Two Hearted: Ryan Case and Alaina Neary at the top of the list, just 4 minutes ahead of the next Co-Ed team. We were giddy. The girl on the second place team congratulated us in a supreme show of sportsmanship that I'm not sure I'd be capable of in her place. Kudos to Amanda.

They fed us well once again at the awards ceremony, where we picked up the two $1500 gift certificates to Wheelie Fun bike shop, plus a bag of Hammer product goodies and some really cool American Triple-T socks and hats.

Event comments:

HFP rules. The get their events started on time, mark their tough-as-nails courses clearly -- with police at all major intersections -- and I would definitely do their events again. Still not sure about doing TTT again next year, for the pain has yet to completely subside, but I am thinking about it :)

Last updated: 2010-05-02 12:00 AM
00:31:38 | 2112 yards | 01m 30s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/397
Course: A longer 2 loop course in Turkey Whatever Lake mess
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 01:33
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:09:18 | 56 miles | 17.75 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/397
Course: 2 loop course on some insanely hard but tremendously beautiful and smooth park roads.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 01:43
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:43:50 | 13.1 miles | 07m 56s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/397
Performance: Average
Course: 2 out-n-backs on that same unrelenting Lamp Black Trail
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5