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White Lake Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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White Lake, North Carolina
United States
Set-Up, Inc.
85F / 29C
Total Time = 5h 00m 46s
Overall Rank = 55/773
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 7/85
Pre-race routine:

Rolled into White Lake Fri afternoon. The race is staged at a Future Farmers of America (FFA) center, where we had reserved a cabin. Entering the grounds, we passed a group of delapidated cabins, more reminiscent of a stalag than a camping structure. "I wonder where our cabin is - certainly, those buildings have been condemned." No, we were the one's condemned - to two nights in wooden shacks with just rows bunks (10) and a table. No windows (also, meaning no privacy), just screen from ~ 4' to the ceiling. Electric, but no fire pit. Turns out also that the finish line was right ouitside the door, so Set Up needed to run an extension cord from our cabin to run the race clock. The bathrooms had neither hot water, soap, paper towels, or enough TP for a weekend of racing.
One of the reasons we chose this race was a little family gathering. Brenda's cousin Katie (katiefrog) and her husband Andy (FlyingTiger - his first HIM) were going to race and the kids (2 theirs, 2 ours) would get to hang out together and play while the adults did their things. They got into White Lake just before dark, so not much family time before turning in. The kids, understandably, were wound up and I was wound up, so it was a pretty fitful night's attempt at sleep for me.
Woke up at 0400 to a car alarm. It stopped after about 15min, so I stared at the ceiling until 0500. Ate a Clif bar and a banana, drank an Ensure and plenty of water. Mixed my bottles. Set up TA. It was very convenient that we were staying ~100 yds from the TA. I could make as many trips as I wanted to. Didn't get to say too much to Andy. I get in my own world on race morning, so we each kind of did our thing. Closer to the start, everybody in the cabin was awake. Of course the wake up call (blaring pre-race music) at 0600 helped with that. That's one of the downsides to on-the-course convenience.
Event warmup:

Ran about a half mile and stretched. Did get in a little bit of swimming in the staging area. Mostly I walked around, nervously trying to remember any missed detail or assure myself that I had my bases covered.
  • 41m 29s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 58s / 100 yards

The water was an ideal temp for me. It was very comfortable to be in, but not so warm that you could overheat. Goldilocks. Started off pretty smooth. Not a lot of contact, a little bit of drafting. Found myself bearing to the right, but corrected and was on line with the first buoy. After a few hundred yards I felt kind of tight, but nothing as bad as my Columbia races. Kept my rythmn, focused to extension, early catch, fingers toward the bottom. Soon, was comfortable again and got to the first buoy before I knew it. Picked up the next buoy quickly, and again the turn buoy. Seemed to be keeping a good line. Outward leg, I thought, was very good. Didn't want to take it out too hard, and I was very comfortable - maybe too comfortable.
After the first turn, we headed into the sun and sighting became very difficult. I probably sighted too often and realized that this was slowing me down, so I just tried to keep with the pack. Found myself on the outside of the group and maybe this was part of my downfall, but when I got close enough to see the next buoy, I was headed right for it. Kept contact with the pack until we hit the second turn buoy. Still had a lot of gas in the tank on the inward leg. Never felt like, "Okay, I'm ready to be done swimming". Started getting cramps in my right calf. They would come and go. Just tried to put my focus out front and relax my legs. Finally got to the dock. Looked at my watch, expecting a really good time, while I waited for the guy ahead of me to get up the ladder and....
Okay, this is where I get confused. I have been busting my tail in the pool. Big workouts, lots of yards, getting faster Jan-April. Last fall I raced a HIM in a lake where my time was 34'. I felt confident that I was a better swimmer today than last fall. I had no issues with the goggles leaking. I thought my navigation was pretty decent. I felt good and was able to maintain form/strength through to the end. 40 minutes?! What the hell is that?! I was actually too confused to let myself get down. The course just had to long. There's no other explanation. 40 minutes?!
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 01m 57s

We had a long run down the dock and over the grass to get to TA, so I took mysuit off as soon as I got out of the water. Forgot to slip my right foot out right away, but, once there, two stomps on the left leg and I was running. Lost just a couple seconds. Official swim time was 41:29, but that was 40:09 in water and 1:18 on the dock (includes getting wetsuit off) before we hit the timing mats.
What would you do differently?:

Practice transitions.
  • 2h 40m 2s
  • 56 miles
  • 21.00 mile/hr

Should have practiced my starts, because I was stopped after the dismount and just got on like a leisurely ride. Once up to speed everything was cool. Checked the Garmin, hangin' around 22mph, so I was where I wanted to be. The Garmin started acting funny in the first couple miles - the speed would dip way down and it would stop for a few seconds, so I never really trusted it during the race. Not enough satellites over rural NC today, I guess. Lake Rd was good. Once I got turned up Rte 701 my avg speed climbed up to 22.2mph. I was pretty stoked. The course had to be one of the most bland courses I have ever ridden on. I just can not remember much of anything during the first half of the race. It was ES flat and only a handful of turns, so there wasn't much thinking involved. The wind started becoming a factor, and my avg speed started falling. No matter, for every headwind, there is an equal and opposite tailwind, right? ...right?
Around mile 25, my back started getting uncomfortable. Tried to concentrate on racing, passing whoever was ahead of me, and after a while the back discomfort just went away. But, not for long. The wind profiles never seemed to be favorable. A lot of crosswind, and I just couldn't keep my speed up. The more grinding I did into a headwind, the worse my back felt.
Saw the sign for the first bottle exchange ahead (~30+ mi), so I took a mouthful of gel. Well, the 'bottle exchange' was one guy in a pickup truck loaded with cases of water. So, you had to stop and wait for the guy to run over to the truck and get a bottle. I took a swig from my own bottle and kept on going. Yikes! I don't have enough water for this. I was counting on ~60 oz from the 3 bottle exchanges.
Kept grinding, back was getting more uncomfortable, avg speed kept eroding. Still tried to stay in the moment and picked off whoever was on the road ahead of me.
Got to the 2nd bottle exchange (~40 mi). Well, there was a sign where the bottle exchange was supposed to be. From a nutrition/hydration standpoint I felt pretty good, so, by this point, I wasn't too worried about falling apart, but I told myself that I would stop at the 3rd bottle exchange to make sure that I didn't get dehydrated. The break would do my back some good and it was a B race - don't worry about the time.
Somewhere around mile 40, my back was really revolting. I'd get out of the saddle and stretch the best I could every so often. Had a little friction happening on the right side of my crotch, so I'd shift. Every time I adjusted my position I'd stop pedalling for a second or two and hear, 'zzzzzz' from the rear hub. This became all too frequent as my comfort deteriorated. The 'zzzzzz' kept reminding me that I was losing speed.
Got to the last bottle exchange and .... it was a bottle exchange! A row of volunteers standing alongside the road with opened bottles of cold, fresh water and bright smiling faces. Hallelueah! Quickly gulped some gel and sucked down all 24 oz. of water.
The course took a small out and back on a very rough road. Got back on Rte 53 and started recognizing some landmarks. I was so ready to get off the bike. My avg speed had fallen to 21mph, so I tried to HTFU and at least keep what I had for the last few miles.
What would you do differently?:

Start thinking about new aerobars and bike position last November. Top 16% AG for the bike was not too bad considering my discomfort level. Feel like I left a good bit of speed on the course. Avg HR was 132. During 2007 E-man, it was 139. So, I didn't push as hard as I could have. I've got a month to adjust/adapt before 2008 Eagleman.

Transition 2
  • 01m 40s

Took a little extra time to get another swig of gel and a drink from my bike bottle. Also slowed down to get water heading out of T2 to swallow an S-Cap.
What would you do differently?:

Didn't lose any time to the competition, so I'm good.
  • 1h 35m 40s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 18s  min/mile

Happy to be on my feet after the bike. Started off pretty smooth. First split came up at 6:52! Cool! Everything felt reasonable, not like I was going out too fast at all. Second split, 6:56! Now I'm feelin' it. Thoughts of a half marathon PR start running through my head. But, I also notice that I'm running with a tailwind. Well, I may lose a few seconds on the return, but, at that moment, I was on autopilot. Could have kept that pace going for a long time. The course took a turn and now the headwind really made a difference. Took a gel at an aid station, so I wasn't concerned that I had fallen back to a 7:13. "I'll get it back". Next mile was still slower and I wasn't feeling so spry anymore. Started feeling a little unsettled in the stomach (wonder if it was the S-Cap). Leg turnover seemed to remain about the same, but I sensed that I didn't have another gear if I wanted to go faster. I started downgrading my goals HM PR -> HIM run PR -> Break 5hrs. The heat was starting to be more and more noticeable. One very good thing that this race had was wet, icy towels. I'd grab a towel and wrap it around my neck at every other aid station. The middle to late miles were tough. I kept telling myself to keep it on auto-pilot. One of the bad things about the course was the narrow shoulder - maybe 4'. We were warned to stay inside the cones that lined the road edge. Jockeying for position and/or hopping onto the uneven grassy surface next to the shoulder was a chore. I was actually passing some other runners. Some had a 40something on their calf, which helped with motivation. On the second loop, more runners were on the course and the running surface was simply not big enough to accomodate that number of athletes, especially of different speeds. I was passing quite a few 40s now, but I assumed most of them were on their first loop.
Mentally, this run became quite a challenge. The ultra I ran in January exposed some weaknesses. Not so much physically, but it revealed to me what happens when you give in ... nothing. 'Go ahead and walk, it's okay.' 'Slow down and be comfortable, no big deal.' I had to stave off the trap of lesser expectations. I did stop looking at my splits - 'Whatever happens, happens, it's a B race'. Eventually, as the finished neared, I got happier that I would soon be done. Started down the road into the park and caught sight of the clock - '5:20:xx' I had started 20 min behind the first wave, so i knew I had just missed breaking 5 hrs. Pfffft! But I was done!
What would you do differently?:

Heading into this race, I thought that my running was in top form, so a 1:35:40 half marathon was a bit of a disappointment at first. After seeing the results, I was quite happy with this effort. The heat must have been more of a factor than I had thought. The run moved me up quite a few places in the standings.
Post race
Warm down:

Drank some Endurox, which was 20 ft away from the finish line, and walked around. Went down to the lake and waded in to cool off. Drank copious amounts of warm (ugh!) water.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Ha! One of the 'golden rules' of endurance sports is to not do anything differently on race day than you have done in training. I had a bunch of firsts. Never swam in my wetsuit, never rode/run in my trisuit, new cassette, never ran the disc (wide) with the new brakes (narrow), never used S!Caps in training, new nanoflate (still unused, whew!), new hat (may not count). Everything worked out with the possible exception of the S!Caps. I had stomach issues that flared twice on the run - possibly due to the S!Caps. The flip side is that I never got cramps in my quads like I have done during every other half.
Back pain was really a limiter on the bike. Hopefully that will get corrected very soon!
I am clueless about the swim. Apoplectic. Poor navigation? Too much sighting? Not aggressive enough?

Event comments:

The good and bad of Set-Up events:
I'll fill this in later...

Last updated: 2008-05-06 12:00 AM
00:41:29 | 2112 yards | 01m 58s / 100yards
Age Group: 42/85
Overall: 381/773
Performance: Bad
Suit: Blue Seventy Reaction sleeveless
Course: 800/500/800 clock-wise rectangle in White Lake.
Start type: Wade Plus: Waves
Water temp: 72F / 22C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting:
Waves: Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:57
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: Yes
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
02:40:02 | 56 miles | 21.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 14/85
Overall: 98/773
Performance: Below average
Wind: Some
Course: One clockwise loop. Flat, long stretches without any turns.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence:
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks: Just right
Time: 01:40
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Average
Racking bike Average
Shoe and helmet removal Good
01:35:40 | 13.1 miles | 07m 18s  min/mile
Age Group: 2/85
Overall: 22/773
Performance: Good
Mile 1,2: 6:52, 6:56 Miles 3-6: 7:13-7:16 Miles 7-13: 7:23-7:43 HR=149-157. HRavg=155. HRmax=161.
Course: Two loops. Flat, mostly along road shoulder. One short out and back in woods.
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Average
Mental exertion [1-5] 2
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Ok
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? No
Post race activities: Below average
Race evaluation [1-5] 2

2008-05-07 1:56 PM

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Wye Mills, MD
Subject: White Lake Half

2008-05-07 2:16 PM
in reply to: #1387575

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Centreville, MD
Subject: RE: White Lake Half
Well done, Z5!  You would have gone about 4:15 without all that NEW stuff!!!
2008-05-07 3:31 PM
in reply to: #1387649

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New City, New York
Subject: RE: White Lake Half

I'll go on record for you: No f'n way that swim was accurately measured! On your worst day, in an ocean,  with white caps, you're not swimming 1:58/100's. 

Hell of an effort on what sounds like a bare bones course. Job well done!

And thanks for this quote  "I had to stave off the trap of lesser expectations." That my friend is gold!


2008-05-07 4:03 PM
in reply to: #1387873

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Jamestown, NC
Subject: RE: White Lake Half
rollinbones - 2008-05-07 4:31 PM

I'll go on record for you: No f'n way that swim was accurately measured! On your worst day, in an ocean,  with white caps, you're not swimming 1:58/100's. 

Hell of an effort on what sounds like a bare bones course. Job well done!

And thanks for this quote  "I had to stave off the trap of lesser expectations." That my friend is gold!


I always swim faster at Gulf Coast and IM FL than White Lake. It may be longer but I think it's the bermuda triangle or something
2008-05-09 7:06 AM
in reply to: #1387575

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Subject: RE: White Lake Half
Nice job out there!  1:35 run split is smoking fast.  I don't care if you think its only ok. 
2008-05-11 9:16 AM
in reply to: #1387575

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Sous Mon Diadème
Gold member
Subject: RE: White Lake Half

Congratulations.  I suspect that swim was long.  Regardless, you did a great job.  Congrats on the top 10 finish.

2008-05-15 9:09 AM
in reply to: #1387575

Extreme Veteran
Subject: RE: White Lake Half
Congratulations. Great run and finish. That swim is always long. Last year I was in a great swimming shape and still ended swimming much slower then expected.
2008-05-15 10:38 AM
in reply to: #1387575

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Not a Coach
Media, PA
Subject: RE: White Lake Half

Awesome run!  Great job hanging on throughout the race despite all the opportunities to 'give in'. 

Eagleman should be a great day for you!

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