South Carolina Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Ninety Six, South Carolina
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 49m 43s
Overall Rank = 54/152
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 15/36
Pre-race routine:

Joe's magic oatmeal with soymilk. Cold. 1 small cup coffee. 1 poptart immediately prior to swim start.
Event warmup:

Walked all of our stuff over to the transition area. Whew - like a troop of pack mules. Set-up transition, used the potties, pantomimed my transitions, wrestled into the wetsuit.
  • 37m 32s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 47s / 100 yards

This was an awesome swim. I loved the lake, it was fun to swim with such fast ladies, and I felt strong. The water wasn't too cold and the bouys were easy to see without too much looking up. There was always about a 20 yd wide swath of swimmers so it was easy keep in it. I seeded myself at the right edge (outside) and in the front and kept this placement throughout the race. It was only difficult to find my own space at the beginning and towards the end. I did run smack into a guy with a sky blue hat, but he said he was OK when I apologized. I thought there was a current fighting us on the way to the last buoy but as we rounded it, it felt like we turned completed around so then the current was with us. I got horrible calf cramps after the last buoy - at the time I blamed them on the wetsuit cutting off my circulation so I flex/pointed the whole way in to help them ease up.
What would you do differently?:

Glide better with my strokes and not kick so much in the wetsuit.
Transition 1
  • 03m 46s

Took off my suit with some difficulty and beat it to the potties (can't pee while swimming, only floating). Loaded up my pockets, applied helmet, googles, socks, shoes and took off.
What would you do differently?:

Learn to pee while swimming? Seriously, I dilly-dallied - could have saved some time by being more efficient here. Doug also suggested wearing my bike jersey under my wetsuit to give me more pockets for my stuff - which I will definitely try. However, I wanted to wear my team ZootGu jersey because I promised them I would.
  • 3h 08m 44s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.80 mile/hr

My shoulders and arms were stiff after the swim. This is odd because I usually only have the shoulder pain. Maybe my stroke is different with the suit on.

I came out of transition hot and passed a lot of people in the first 3-4 miles. I thought this was odd and checked my speed: 18.6 average. Oops. I told myself to keep my heartrate low and go easy without exerting myself. I knew that 18.6 average was not OK so I watched my average speed drop steadily over the bike, while reassuring myself that it was perfectly fine so long as I came in over 17 mph (goal pace) or 17.5 mph (super-secret goal pace). Easy, easy, easy, I repeated. We passed the guy who crashed here and that was upsetting. I said some prayers for him on the way to the next aid station and made sure someone was coming and then some more until I saw the ambulance. I drank most of my first Accelerade in 35 minutes (oops - that was supposed to last an hour!) and then spent some time trying to figure out how to get some water into my Gu flask to thin it out a bit. With 5 Gus in there (chocolate mint flavor), there was no room for extra water. After my first hit (30 mins), I tried to spit some in. Ick. When I had the second hit (1 hr) I got that back. Double ick. Round about this time, I got a water at the first water stop and topped off my aero bottle. Aha! I squeezed the extra air out of the Gu flask, inserted it into my aero bottle and let it fill. Genius!

With that problem resolved, I enjoyed the scenery and the beautiful day and concentrated on how I would fill up my 3rd bottle of Accelerade. Purple jersey and I saw a guy go by with an aerobottle mounted on his frame - the straw came up and around the front. Cool! I studiously avoided thinking about how I still had two hours to go on the bike. I was still above 18 mph avg here but it hurt my feelings to imagine the hours ahead so I didn't think about them. I had my Accelerade powder in a zip lock and was contemplating it when some FCA guys in the yellow jerseys came by. I joked that I had a whole hour to figure it out and they said to bite one end of the bag off and then pour it in. Hmm. Finally, I was able to remove the lid from my empty bottle, put it in my pocket, wedge my bottle betweeen my aerobars and dump (slowly) the powder in after biting off the edge of the bag and stowing that in my pocket. It worked! I only ended up wearing a little. Then I was able to spit two mouthfuls of clean water in so I could swish good enough to dissolve the powder and replaced the bottle in my back cage. Awesome! Now all I needed was to pick up a water at the 2nd stop and my nutrition was handled. I felt great about this accomplishment and had a little party for myself. I sang songs and enjoyed the day some more. A zillion people passed me, but that was OK. Some commented on the beautiful day, which was nice and made me feel better as they left me in the dust.

I almost crashed into the guy at the 2nd water stop because he had the water in his away-from-the-road hand. I did actually stop, apologized to him and then went on with my water. Filled up the Accelerade bottle, topped the aero, then put the lid back on my drinking bottle, shook it and then sped back up. Awesome.

I was ready for the wind to stop at this point. I was playing tag with several folks here, the lady in the team blue jersey (Gottbrath), the Nuun guy, the FCA yellow jersey guy and the purple jersey woman. Since I was over half-way, I decided it was time for the pick-me-up food. I had 2 ginger snaps and one fig newton. Fig newtons worked well in training to avoid the valley but I'd never tried ginger snaps before. They do have as much salt as a Gu, though, and were awfully tasty.

After the rough road in miles 40-45, my bottom was sore and I had to pee something awful. Since my bike was riding inside the car, peeing on it was not an option but I didn't see any others. I talked to myself about it and scared the crap out of a guy who was passing as I did this and then stood up to stretch. Hee!

After mile 45, I started counting down the miles. The road seemed easier here and I spent a lot of time in aero and coasting standing up in aero on the downhills (bottom was sore). That was fun. The other bikers seemed oblivious to the cars trying to pass us and I saw a lot of trash dropped on the road. That made me mad.

As we came in the last 3 miles, folks seemed to slow down and I passed a LOT of people here. It's weird how people slow down at the end - I get slowing for the difficult part coming into the park and transition, but not on the way there. That's just odd - why now use that downhill?
What would you do differently?:

Increase my bike fitness. This was absolutely the top range of what I could do on the bike and still run. In fact, I may have sabotaged some of what I could do on the run by going over 18 for so long. Overall, though, this was the bike of my life and I had a great time. Very pleased.
Transition 2
  • 02m 17s

Yeah, no flying dismount for me. I was so stiff I could barely get off at all. Racked the bike, removed shoes and applied running shoes and sprinted for the potties. Whew! Grabbed my race belt with hand bottle and visor attached (thank you Brett) and ran out.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing. I was extra happy with our transition location (right by the potties) because it gave me good peace of mind. My transition here was not fast but I did what needed to be done. Next time, might apply some sunblock here or in T1.
  • 1h 57m 26s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 08m 58s  min/mile

I started out of transition fast. 8:30s. Dropped the "net" from my hand bottle as I applied my visor and number and had to run back and get it. The spectators thought I was an idiot, but I explained that dropping stuff gives you a penalty. Apparently this is only a theory, though, because people threw stuff down all over the course, even the sponges that you were supposed to return to the cooler so the next person could use them. This is a pet peeve of mine. There is no need to drop stuff at anything other than the aid stations. Pigs. The people who ran last were suffering and they didn't get sponges because the earlier runners were idiots.

Anyway, rant off. I went out fast, and toyed with the idea of trying to hold 8:30s. "Are you high?" I asked myself and slowed down to the 8:50 range. Then my tummy clenched up and there was no more discussion about anything but 9s and that was looking iffy. The tummy was so uncomfortable that I had to pull my shirt up and shorts down and move my race belt so nothing touched it. I was briefly reluctant to expose the world to the tummy but decided it was better than barfing or diarrhea. Whew.

I tried to sip the Nuun water to get some electrolytes in me and take in some water before dumping it on my head. That worked OK but not great. I was glad to have the Nuun because at least I could take something in.

It was AWESOME being on the run course and being able to see all of the other runners. I had a great time looking for friends and cheering for all of the folks I recognized from the bike or who had something recognizable on their jerseys (NAMC, Tri-incredibles, Tri-PTC, Get-Fit, FCA yellow jerseys guys, yellow sneakers, believe-achieve, purple jersey, the dude with the red bike, the Clydesdale (273) who passed me on the bike, dudes with no shirt on, etc). When I did my first race, it really brought me up when folks said "go girl" or "you look good" so I tried to do that for the whole run. Concentrating on identifying folks and thinking of something to say really helped distract me from my own pain. I know that is disassociation, like when you run with an i-pod, and running purists look down on it, but it brings me up.

As we passed the mile markers, I avoided thinking about how far I still had to go. It made me feel better to pass the porto-potties because I knew that I could stop anytime. Thankfully, I never had to stop. I think this is one of my first 13 mile runs without having to stop. That is a win right there.

After the first 45 minutes, I knew that I had to eat something. I started on a Gu (vanilla). Ugh. I love vanilla Gu, but my tummy was fighting it. I ran with the envelope in my mouth for a while as we went down the hill towards the park. A guy asked if it was a lollipop. I explained that it was the hands-free Gu method. I left out the part about being about to hurl. After that Gu, I knew that there was no way I could get any more calories in. I contemplated Gatorade and even took a sip, but no.

Whew, the running was tough but it was awesome to see all of the NAMC and Tri-PTC folks cheering at their tents. We passed them on the way in and after looping through the grass. The sun was HOT on Hwy 702 and my HR went up ten beats from the shade to the sun on that hill. Ooof. We turned onto the loop road and I was having a lot of cramping. I wondered if I would feel better if I chucked. My avg pace crept up to 8:58, 8:59 and over 9. I knew I had almost enough time from the bike to go a little over 9s but was afraid I spent too long in transitions. I kept cheering for folks but they were sparse in the cul-de-sac. I passed the FTC yellow jersey guy here and told him that this was the valley of darkness and that we could do it. He didn't understand that I was there in the valley too, so he didn't pick up and join me. At some point here or on the prior loop, I kicked myself in the left ankle, hard. It hurt a lot. Throbbed. Doug and I figured out last night that this is probably how I lost my chip. I ran up from the cul-de-sac mostly with my eyes closed because my peeps were drifting away from me. Then as we started up the hill, some other folks came towards us and I could cheer for them. A guy yelled back at me "48!" and I waved and he came towards me. He said that I had dropped my chip and handed it to me. I looked down and indeed, was missing my chip. Huh! Thanks guy! I ran the rest of the way with my chip/strap in my hand.

It was great coming back in the park and passing the spectators again. I contemplated lowering my shirt for modesty's sake but couldn't bear to let it touch my tummy. We turned right and ran around the parking lot where our car was. I contemplated stopping at the car but never saw it. My GI was unhappy here and I was trying hard not to have to stop. Thankfully, when I slowed down even more, it got better. Whew. That finish line couldn't come fast enough! I called out to the yellow-jersey guy that we were almost done and to get going (he was walking) and he started to run. He picked it up and finished well ahead of me. I looped around and tried to look strong coming up the hill. Doug yelled to keep my head up so I tried to do it. I bent down to run my chip over both mats so my finish photos are probably bad. Oh well - my splits are all there so that is OK.
What would you do differently?:

Go slower on the bike? Again, I think better bike fitness would have helped me run better (or at least easier) here. However, I gave this run all that I had so I'm happy with it.
Post race
Warm down:

Walked around the finishing area and tried not to pass out. Rubbed the nice cold bottle of water and can of Sprite on myself to help. Couldn't find Doug or anyone I knew back there so I popped my Sprite and headed for the NAMC tent.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Faster? I kicked ass! Just kidding. I did shatter my stretch goal of 6 hrs so I'm thrilled with this performance. My limiter was (as always) my bike fitness. I have a faster half-marathon in me, but not after 56 miles on the bike.

I did a good job sticking to my plan and not blowing up on the bike or early in the run (except the first few miles on the bike) so I'm happy.

Event comments:

The course was nice and the volunteers were very helpful. Some better training or organization might have helped with the volunteers on the run, but they were friendly and eager to help so I can't fault them for any miscues.

This is a great race. I loved every minute of it, and would definitely come back to do it again.

Last updated: 2008-09-01 12:00 AM
00:37:32 | 2112 yards | 01m 47s / 100yards
Age Group: 0/36
Overall: 46/152
Performance: Good
Suit: Zoot farmer jane
Course: Counter-clockwise triangle starting from the finishing area. Started in the deep water at the end of the steps. Swam out towards the rising sun (beautiful), veered left, turned left again twice (1 soft, 1 hard) and then went straight in to the mat-covered boat ramp to finish.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 73F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Bad
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 03:46
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed:
03:08:44 | 56 miles | 17.80 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/36
Overall: 84/152
Performance: Good
Wind: Some
Course: Loop out from the park, through Saluda,Greenwood and Ninety-Six, and then back to the park. The hills were truly rolling - there was never a time when I needed to leave my seat to climb. As we learned at the race meeting, there was some wind from miles 20-35 and the road was rough from miles 40-45. After mile 45, the route went more downhill and though the pavement was never smooth, it was easy to glide along and even coast a bit on the downhills. Water hand-offs at miles 15, 30 and 45 as advertised. They also had gatorade at mile 30 where they said they would have it.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Below average Cornering: Below average
Gear changes: Average Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:17
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal
01:57:26 | 13.1 miles | 08m 58s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/36
Overall: 39/152
Performance: Good
Course: Rolling hills on a 2 loop course. We went out of the park, right on Hwy 702 for a long but not steep hill in the sun, turned right on a park road (shade!) to loop around a cul-de-sac and then back near the finish to do an odd loop in the grass and then the whole thing again. And then, on the way back there was a loop of the shady parking lot before the curve around by the lake to the uphill finish.
Keeping cool Good Drinking
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?
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 4