Beast of the East Half Ironman Fall Conquest - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Hiawassee, Georgia
United States
Great Smoky Mountains Triathlon Club
76F / 24C
Total Time = 5h 21m 14s
Overall Rank = 9/35
Age Group = 25-29
Age Group Rank = 1/1
Pre-race routine:

This race report is long, because I went insane during the race and took everything in. Please enjoy.

I took Friday off, so I could get as much sleep as I could. I knew I would not sleep Friday night, so this worked out well. I was able to get about 10 hours of sleep. Stephanie got home about 11:00 am on Friday(she worked a half day). I had everything ready to go when she got home, so I loaded the new car and off we went.

We got to the Deerfield Inn, and checked in. When she came out, we had the same room that we stayed in for the sprint when pulled my first AG win, room #12. I was pumped about it. Well, there was a dog next door that kept barking, so we had to change rooms. I did not like that. Well, we ended up with room #16. No worries.

After we got settled in, we went to the start line and looked around. I had raced this part before, so after that we headed over to the other side of the dam to see what the Beast of the run looked like. Well, it looked bad, real bad. After that, off to Subway for dinner (which sucked BTW), then to get a camera. We brought ours, but did not charge the batter, DOH.

RACE Morning:
Woke up 5:30, for a race start of 8:30. Jumped in the shower, got dressed, started with a multi-grain bar, gatoride, water, and then a power-bar. Straped back to the car, and off to check in.
Event warmup:

I got checked in, transition set up, and was ready to go. I had way over an hour before the start so I walked around a bit taking note of the Ironman stickers on cars, checking out the sweet tri-bikes, etc.....

I as able to meet Tyler, the only other fellow BT'er there before the race. Great guy!! So we chatted for a bit, then off to goof around a bit more to ease the nerves.

We had a pre-race meeting at 8:15. The fog was still buring off the lake, so I think the offical start time was 8:45. I was going to swim a few hundred meters to warm up, but after about 10 meters I heard Scott Hanna (race director) call 2 minutes. Oh well, here we go.
60 seconds, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, GO!!!!
  • 42m 44s
  • 2165 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

The gun goes off, and I hit it! I was one of very few people that did not wear a wetsuite, so spotting other people was done by their white swim cap. I could not see anything else, since they were in black. The water was 76F, so it was warmer than the air temp. The water felt great!

I used the other swimmers, the island, and the bouy for spotting. That worked great until most of the swimmers pulled ahead. From there, I still had a hand-full of swimmer to spot, but not as many. Next thing I know I am next to the island, and the first bouy. I kept thinking of another RR here, where she kept saying this is the IM's swim. I am doing it. Well, that thought entered my head, but was quickly removed to focus on form. Three strokes, breath, three strokes breath, etc., glide, pull, glide, spot, etc. Next thing I know, I am past the island, so I focus on the pumping station. Man, that thing is far away. Not much happened until I got close to it. I have a bad habbit of rounding far away from bouys, so I aimed right at the pumping station. Well, about 50 meters from it me and another swimmer collided. Then, it became full contact swimming for a bit. He and I slammed into one another about three times before I pulled away to round the concrete pumping station. After that, I blinked and I was at the island again. Great swim, I am killing it (well, killing it for how my race swims go). I could see several people in their wetsuites behind me, and that pumped me up. Well, as soon as I pasted the island to got to shore, the chop/waves started. WOW, I felt like I was in a washing machine. I could feel the waves washing over me, up, down, up, down as I swam. I would try to breath to my left, and everytime I did I got a huge mouth full of water. So, I started breathing every four strokes on the right, then one stroke, breath, then back to four until my hand hit bottom.

From there I popped up, and took off to T1

They had written our race numbers on our caps, so they could get slits. There was a guy right infront of me handing his in, and I hear a time of 42:40 called. Not bad, since I thought the swim felt a bit long.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 00m

I would say my T1 was about a minute. I slowed it down from being blistering fast, to catch my breath. I still beat Stephanie to the mount line even though I could hear her calling out "I got you this time", as she ran with the dog in one hand and snapping pictures off with the other.

Transition times were included in the race time, so there is not breakout for T1 or T2.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I pasted numerous people in T1.
  • 2h 46m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 20.24 mile/hr

The bikeā€¦.

I got to the mount line, and jumped on and off I went. There are speed bumps heading out of the park, so I took it slow, so not to eject my water bottles off my bike (filled with carbo-pro). At the front ot the park, we took a left and headed for some rollers, then the decent started. I knew the first 10 miles should be pretty easy since I had raced it before. Well, it was with a top speed around 42 mph. At mile 10, the Beast of the East (bike part) started. Climb, climb, climb I thought this is not so bad. Well, the Beast ends around mile 12. From mile 11.5 to 12 was a B*tch of a climb. At that point I had passed seven people (yes, I started counting). Right after the Beast ends there was a monster decent, and out of no where I let loose an aggressive "la la la la la la la la" out loud as I zoomed down the hill. For the next 8 miles I started singing G.I. Joe's theme song (out loud). Why not? There was no one around me, in front or behind. I am sure the locals thought I was crazy. At mile 20 it got interesting. Up until now, my MO for this race was to just survive. At mile marker 20 I said "to hell with it, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead". "The Hammer" agreed, and off we went (the hammer is my bike if you did not see the intro thread).

I actually broke the cardinal sin, and did something new on race day that I had not trained to do. I made up my own new fueling plan. I had around 500 calories for breakfast, and two GU's before the race. I bought a new bento box on Thursday, and I had that filled with GU's, 350 calories (2x) of carbopro in two water bottles, and one water bottle filled with just water. My race plan was to drink carbopro every 2 miles, or as needed. At mile 25 I hit my first GU, then continued that every 10 miles. So, at mile marker 25, 35, 45, and 53. I actually should have taken the last GU at mile 50 to give it time to settle, but I cut it short. The new plan worked wonderful! On that bike ride I learned how to open the bento box, get something out, eat GU without water and open all at the same time with one hand, replace the trash back in the bento box, all while in aero. I could just tell that it was going to me my day.

I was all alone most of the day except the end of the 30's. From there I passed several more people, 5 or 6 I believe, and then dropped them. Around mile marker 41 there was a turn-off onto Jackrabbit, which I almost missed. After that, I think I was around mile 43-45. At mile 45 I was drinking with one hand, steering with the other, and I hit a large rock. I just about lost control and crashed. Somehow, I was able to regain control of the bike and continue on. That scared the hell out of me. From that point on, I was done with the bike.

Pain update: At this point, I was doing good on pain except the back of my pelvis (below my lower back). For some reason it started hurting around mile 30, and was killing me around mile 40. I also remembered that I had forgotten to take Advil that morning. Stupid move, but oh well, what was I going to do.

Around mile 50 I started recognizing the course from where I had raced the Summer Sizzler International, and knew I was closing on T2. Past the GA Mountain Fair Grounds, up the hill, hung a right on the main drag that lead to the hotel. At that point I knew I was roughly 4 or so miles from T2. I took a right on some back road, pasted the golf course, then there was the park. I zoomed in the park, hopping the speed bumps because at that point I did not care if I lost a bottle, around the back to the dismount line, and flying dismount. Everything worked perfect!
What would you do differently?:

Transition 2
  • 00m

I was flying. I would say easy sub 1:00, but no chips so I have no idea. Racked bike, sunglasses in mouth, helmet off, glasses back on, right sock on, right shoe, left sock, left shoe, grabbed my race belt and I am out.

Again, no splits on T1 or T2.
What would you do differently?:

  • 1h 52m 28s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 35s  min/mile

Oh the run, the insanity.

I come bolting out of T2 like I am on fire. My legs were still rubber from the bike, and I know it would take me until the first right for that to work out (@.25 of a mile). Once I made that right from the main drag to the path, my legs returned to normal, and I started pushing the pace. I blasted by two or three people real quick, and then dropped them. I took quick notice that there was no one else in front of me at that point. No worries, they must be on the other side of the hill on top of the dam. Well, up and over the hill I go and that spits you out on top of the dam. The dam is just short of a mile long, and I could see NO ONE. Well whatever, time to start hammering it. Since the dam is completely flat I decided to really stretch out the legs, up my cadence, and go. Cross the dam, and down the Beast (run beast). I was very careful not to wake it. Shhhhhhhhhhhh Around the bend, and then I see first place. At this point I was about 2 miles or so behind the leader. Holy cow!!!

Well, from there you take a right past the aid station (water please, thank you) which is a little .25 mile down and back (.5 total) between two corn fields. I kept thinking about the Children in the Corn. Run faster I said to myself! This was the first time that I was able to get a since of what my lead was on the people behind me. I had about a .25 mile lead on the next guy, then behind him was the women's leader, running strong. After the out and back, you hung another right and continue down the road to breakpoint. There were slight rollers at that point, but nothing that bad. The worse part was that after breakpoint, there was a headwind for about half a mile. The wind felt good, but damn, I needed a push not a stop. I had pushed my lead just a bit further. From there straight back, pass the aid station (water please, thank you) and crossed Hell's Gate [e.g. the bridge (which crossed a beautiful river BTW)]. On the other side was the Beast. It starts off climbing with a bend to the left. Not to bad but you could tell it was eating the legs, but once it turned back to the right it went vertical. I blasted up it thinking I could make it without waking it. No luck, I made it clear, but I could hear it roaring behind me. I wanted no part of it for a second time. From there I stretched my legs out again across the top of the damn. My legs still felt good, so I kept pushing. The hill on the other side of the dam really is not a bad hill, but at this point in the game it was a little SOB. I was huffing and puffing at the top, but then I had a nice down hill to catch my breath and then rollers to the turnaround. I came by Stephanie, and she was floored how fast I did that first loop. Around the finish line, and back out for round two.

Now, the entire time run the first loop I was telling everyone great job, keep going, keep it up, etc., etc. to everyone I passed. Most people returned the cheer, which was great! On the second lap, all I could get out was throwing up my hand, or a couple of fingers at each racer. I presume everyone understood at that point.

As I started the second loop, I could feel blisters starting on the bottom of my right foot. Oh well, time to run with some pain. As I ran to the first climb, I told myself to become "the machine". No pain, only goal was to push forward. Zone out, focus on cadence, breathing, foot strike, GO, GO, GO. Up and over the climb to the dam. Again, I pushed the pace on top of the dam, down the Beast to the aid station. Water please, thank you! Into the corn fields, and at this point the farmer was cutting the corn. I got a good chuckle out of that, as I thought Children of the Corn getting their corn chopped down. Ba ha ha ha ha Again, I checked my status on the people behind me as I left the corn fields. The Beast must have gotten them, because I as able to make it out of the corn fields, hang a right, and they were no where in sight. Good, keep going! Out to the breakpoint, and into the head wind. All of a sudden there is a searing hot pain from under my arm. WTF?!?!?! Then I realized that where my sweat was drying and leaving a salt power had rubbed a place raw between my arm and my side. Oh hell, why not? Back to the aid station. The guy at the aid station was great!! He remembered me every time after the first pass, and knew that I would only ask for water. I grabbed it as I passed with a "thank you, you just saved my life"! Everything on my body was hurting at this point as I closed in on Hell's Gate. With a roar I could hear the Beast calling for me. This time, it was ready for me. No sneaking by it this time. Its claws were ready, teeth that looked like daggers set ready to spring like a bear trap, and a roar that was deafening. As I started the climb to the left, I armed my weapons. We were face to face now, and with a battle cry of "THIS IS SPARTA!" I hit it at ramming speed. The war raged on, I worked with the five feet in front of me at a time with short choppy steps. Run to the shadow, run out of the shadow, run to the next shadow, run out of the shadow, etc, until I had slayed the Beast. With another huff & puff I pulled myself off the dead carcass to the top of the dam. At this point I knew I was about two miles to the finish. I gave it my all to open it back up across the dam and up the hill, but there was no fire left. On the other side I tried descending as fast I as could free fall style without falling on my face. Back down the path, to the main drag of the park. One more roller to climb, and there was the finish line. I pushed as hard as I could to the finish, but there simply was nothing left. I crossed the line with the clock reading 5:20 and change. Official time was 5:21:--. I did it all for four words, I AM HALF-IRON!!
What would you do differently?:

Nothing really, perhaps grabbed another GU for the run.
Post race
Warm down:

I know that I should keep on my feet and walk around, but that was not going to work. I plopped my little behind down next to the food, and started shoving cookies, cola, water, bannanas, anything I could get my hands on in my face. I think I was on the verg of bonking, so I needed calories ASAP. I ate everything in sight. After I cooled down, and got some food in me I started talking about the race to the guys that had finished. The 8 guys that beat me looked like they were ready for another round. I was about to die!

Afterwards, I did my new race thing and went to the lake for a light swim. While I was getting in, my wife went to grab my towel for. Another racer was getting out at the time, and said it would watch me unitl my wife got back. You know, just in case. I thought that was very, very nice of him & his wife. Of couse, the lake felt great!

Scott Hanna then said that they would start the awards early for the people that had finihed, which worked out very well. As the awards were given out, everybody cheered the people finishing as they crossed the line. When they got the 25-29 AG, I had won! Actually, I was the only 25-29 male to have finished. Well, unknown to me I was the only male 25-29 to race that day. Sorta let the wind out of me when I received the offical report. Oh well, you can only race whomever shows up that day. And race myself I did, and won my AG!!! BOO-YAA

Congrats goes to fellow BT'er Tyler for taking 2nd in his AG. Way-to-Go!

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Personally, I think that my training was on the lighter side for a HIM. I think with additional long rides & long runs, I would have been able to really hammer the run. All-in-all, I am very pleased with my results.

Event comments:

I want to say thank you to all the people that made this race possible. Plus, the individuals that were maning/womening the aid stations. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT WATER!!!!

I actually saw they guy that kept giving me water on the run as I was loading the car. I stopped him, and really thanked him again for his help. He said he used to be a triathlete, and this was his way of giving back. That opened my eyes, so again THANK YOU MR. WATER MAN!!!

Last updated: 2008-06-16 12:00 AM
00:42:44 | 2165 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/1
Overall: 0/35
Performance: Good
Suit: None
Course: From the beach to the left of the island and past it, across the lake around the pumping station, 180 degree turn, back around the other side of the island to shore.
Start type: Wade Plus: Shot
Water temp: 76F / 24C Current: Medium
200M Perf. Good Remainder: Good
Breathing: Good Drafting: Average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 00:00
Performance: Good
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: Yes
Getting up to speed: Good
02:46:02 | 56 miles | 20.24 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/1
Overall: 0/35
Performance: Good
Wind: Little
Course: Down a mountain, up a mountain, back down, back up then rollers until the end.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Good
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Hard Drinks: Just right
Time: 00:00
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:52:28 | 13.1 miles | 08m 35s  min/mile
Age Group: 1/1
Overall: 0/35
Performance: Good
Course: Two out and backs.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
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: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4