American Triple-T Ohio - Race #4: Little Smokies Half Iron - Triathlon

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Portsmouth, Ohio
United States
HFP Racing
Total Time = 15h 06m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 96/105
Pre-race routine:

A bit of a background: I did this race last year when the TTT of NC was cancelled. Hills are not easy for me, so I did it just b/c I had a free entry. I was ill prepared with nutrition and was severely dehydrated going into the half last year. I only made it through one bike loop as I hadn't even peed the morning of the HIM, thats how dehydrated I was.

Oh, did you know this was the fourth race of the weekend? We did a sprint Friday night, and two Olympics Saturday in the heat, and all were hilly. Yes. So a half ironman after having just done almost one the day before!
  • 36m
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 42s / 100 yards

Don't have exact data from splits. But this was a difficult swim for me. I was late getting to the start, didn't pull up my wetsuit all the way. My allergies were also miserable, eyes watered and was stuffy.

got in the water with Slake and Alice, but immediately something was wrong. I couldn't breathe. I didn't want to put my head in the water. When you can't breathe and can't touch the bottom, panic sets in, no matter how many races you've done. I had to breastroke. I kept stopping, trying to calm myself down, but my asthma was acting up, and i just couldn't breathe. Had thoughts of quitting at the first turn, had thoughts of quitting triathlon in general at turn 2. I hate swimming in races in open water since I hate contact, and this just pushed me over the edge. I don't understand why it has to happen. But in this case, it wasn't the issue, so much as I couldn't breathe.

I forced myself to finish, if I had gotten out midway, I don't think I'd ever get in the water again without panicking. I got to the end of the first loop, saw Shelly and told her something was very wrong. She asked me what and I burst into tears. She told me to go slowly, lay on my back, take my time, breastroke if necessary. I wiped my eyes and got back into the water, while pulling up my suit. that turned out to be the issue. It was choking me. I ended having a really strong swim the second loop. Amazingly, I got out of the water with Alice! She's not a great swimmer, but geez, I had really taken my time, so I was very happy. And very very happy I had fought my demons and succeeded.
What would you do differently?:

Make sure the suit is all the way up to my crotch, or take it off mid swim! I'm a good swimmer, I don't panic normally, and if I do, something is wrong. Taking off the wetsuit would have been the best choice.
Transition 1
  • 00m

took my time getting to the bike. Didn't care how long it took, I had a long way to go!
  • 4h 00m
  • 55.5 miles
  • 13.88 mile/hr

My delay on the swim caused me to be behind Laura and Kristen, and I caught up to them after the first hill. Decided that since I was already having a bad day but I was determined to finish, albeit slower than I may be capable of, I asked if I could join them. I knew K wasn't going to stop, no matter what, and I needed that. Besides, last year I was scared to be biking out there solo. It was pretty desolate in places, and I wanted to have friends nearby.

Laura would get to the top first of the big hills, then me, and K would come and pass us. Sure, we rode as a group. But when you're stopping and waiting, its not really drafting. And, we spaced out quite a bit on the downhills. I also zoomed ahead a couple of times to pee. Slake joined us around the half way mark, and it was wonderful just having people within eyesight.

We got stopped on the first loop with about 20 others b/c a girl got taken by an ambulance. She came around a descent with a sharp turn and a pothole and ended up hitting the pavement face first. Apparently needed to be medivac'd too! this course was extremely technical, and left little room for error.

We came in from the loop, chilled at the tent, refueled (since there are no water stops along the course on the bike), chatted with Shelly, and headed out again. Boy those hills were really tough on tired, sore legs. But we did it!

When we hit 125 for the fourth time this weekend, I picked up the pace a little. I was so happy to be done, and I knew the others were faster on the run and would catch me.

I was so proud to have made it through two loops. My friends were my saving grace. I rode pretty easy and it saved me from going too hard, so I was as fresh as fresh could be after 3.5 races. And headache free!!
What would you do differently?:

nothing. I could have ridden solo, but slowing down a bit was a great strategy since I was a bit scared from last year.
Transition 2
  • 00m

so happy to have made it, got some cheers from Shelly since I accomplished my main goal of 2 loops of the bike. Slake caught me and we decided to head off together on the "run".
  • 3h 05m
  • 13.1 kms
  • 14m 07s  min/km

Slake and I agreed to run only flats and downhills. It was great to have a companion. Henry as usual was coming in as we headed out. He was in the same spot all four races!! Saw Leslie, Scott, Chris Geary, and Kim all looking strong. Took cookies in my bag on the drink and took infinite and water every stop.

On the way back the first loop, I trotted a little ahead of slake since he was hurting. Turns out I was only a few hundred feet of him the whole time! Went around and told the folks I had to do another loop and still got cheers. It was so helpful!

Headed back out on my second loop, and it was so hard. It was so so hot!! Sun was beating down and it was humid. The volunteers were great. I told them all I wanted was Sonic, and dammit, I was getting to it! I had to pee too! Boy I nailed my hydration. :) Actually peed behind the run turnaround at the end, and tried to run as much as I possibly could. It was slow, but I ran everywhere but the uphills.

so proud to be trotting down the finish! I teared up a bit and had a huge smile. I did it.
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

I packed up and drove right to Sonic!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

soreness, my general lack of running ability. But I executed the race very well for MY ability, and made huge progress from last year. I am pleased.

Event comments:

This race is not for the faint of heart. There are no water stations on the bike, there are not sag or many people out on the bike. The hills are brutal, but the scenery is beautiful.

The run is hard, but its awesome how everyone, even those fast folks, are supportive of all the runners. Its like everyone knows how difficult it is, and the fast people are appreciative of everyone's effort. Kind of nice in a sport where fast is king.

I can't say enough about the run volunteers that worked tirelessly all weekend. They were helpful and friendly and a great distraction.

Overall this has a very back to basics feel, and I loved it. No pomp and circumstance, its just you and the elements. I highly recommend it!

Last updated: 2013-05-23 12:00 AM
00:36:00 | 2112 yards | 01m 42s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/105
Overall: 0/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
04:00:00 | 55.5 miles | 13.88 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/105
Overall: 0/
Course: HILLY!!! Hardest course of the series.
Road: Rough  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
03:05:00 | 13.1 kms | 14m 07s  min/km
Age Group: 0/105
Overall: 0/
Course: Very hilly, rocky trail. Our fourth time on this course, two loops.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4