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TryCharleston Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
Total Time = 4h 46m 52s
Overall Rank = 26/241
Age Group = M40-44
Age Group Rank = 4/55
Pre-race routine:

I'm currently sitting in the Charleston airport, waiting to board the first of three flights and a drive that will eventually leave me in Manigod, in the French Alps for a week-long intensive summer school for grad students. They might have to call for a wheelchair when I can't lift myself out of the airplane seat.

The original plan for this was to drive down Friday early evening. Misty got home and said we've been invited to dinner for a school function. She really wanted me to go. I really didn't want to go. We compromised and I went for a while, but of course I didn't actually get out of there until 9:00. Drove to Charleston, checked into a crappy hotel, and collapsed. The last week has been insane at work, and it hit me hard. I slept pretty well, for the 4 1/2 hours that I actually slept. Got up, coffee and a little bit of a smoothie, and drove to the site.
Event warmup:

None, really. As I was pumping up my rear tire, the tube (valve, really) failed. Great. I'm not exactly lucky with tires and tubes on race day so far this year. Weird, because that kind of stuff has not happened to me in the past. The bike mechanic at the race was great, and replaced it while I was picking up my packet. the rest of preparation was unremarkable.
  • 36m 1s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 43s / 100 yards

The time includes a run (and a fall -- see below) to T1, but yeah, I swam slow. That was pretty much the plan from the start. My swim training has been, um, 'minimalist', lately. So I decided to take it easy. Another problem that I'm facing this year is that starting with the open athletes, I've got nobody to use for a draft. I get left out there in no-man's land on the swim. Motivation to get faster, I suppose.
What would you do differently?:

Transition 1
  • 01m 29s

On the way to T1 I fell down and my left calf threatened to cramp. (I'm not really sure whether I slipped or the incipient cramp caused me to fall.) I grabbed the calf and squeezed then remembered what my massage therapist showed me to stop the cramping and quickly tried it. Maybe coincidence, but it worked. In T1, while pulling my legs out of the wetsuit, it threatened again, but I was able to stop it again. It did slow me down, though. My bike was very close to the bike start, so I opted to put my shoes on in T1.
What would you do differently?:

Nothing specific. Just move more quickly. Even with a poor T1 I was near the pointy end in times, so OK, I guess.
  • 2h 29m 32s
  • 56 miles
  • 22.47 mile/hr

I got off to a bad start -- I failed to negotiate well around a big bump about 2 miles outside of T1 and ejected the water bottle on my bars. Ugh. I slammed on the brakes and whoa! The back tire slid around quite a bit. I ended up in the ditch, but still upright. I walked back to get the bottle and continued. Lost about 90 seconds there. No biggie, but annoying.

I was alone for a while, then some dudes blew past me, triggering waves of self-doubt until I realized that they were the leaders of the sprint race. I was largely alone for quite a while, passing the occasional uber-swimming AGer who can't bike and I was passed by one very fast open cyclist who apparently was even slower than me in the water. Then a little over half way a group of fast AGers caught me from behind. What a mess. At least two of them were drafting blatantly, and the group as a whole was frequently surging and slowing down. I quickly got tired of that and decided I was better off burning a match to get clear of them. Up until then I had been doing a good job of keeping the power quite low, but I turned it up then. It happened to coincide with the super-rough section, so I enjoyed the cobblestone experience at relatively high speed for a while. Once back to Hwy 17, I eased back up until the finish. Two of the guys from that group (I think the two that weren't drafting) caught me again. I passed them on the run. ;-)
What would you do differently?:

More long rides. OK, OK, more biking period.
Transition 2
  • 00m 59s

OK. Could have gone harder.
  • 1h 38m 52s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 33s  min/mile

Miles 1- 10 were pretty good. I lost my watch before the race (and whoever picked it up apparently did not turn it in to lost and found -- thanks for that...), so I had no idea about splits, but it felt sub-7 and given the ultimate results, must have been. Nobody was passing me and I was moving up. Until...

At mile 10 my left calf finally made good on its threats from earlier in the day and cramped up with full fury. I had to stop for a couple of minutes until it quit. From then on it cramped again at least 4 times. Even when the cramps subsided, running was extremely painful. This wasn't a nutrition issue. I did a good job of taking in nutrition and electrolytes. This was a fitness issue. I just was not recovered fully from the Palmetto Half, and that fact made itself apparent.
Post race
Event comments:

In the end, I'm pleased with this race. It was never going to be a super race for me -- my training was aimed at the Palmetto Half, not this race. But in my HIMs last year, I was aiming to go sub-5 both times and circumstances ruined that goal each time, so I am thrilled with the result. I finally got the bogeyman of sub-5 out of the way. Now I can worry about something else, like going 4:30. ;-)

Last updated: 2011-04-19 12:00 AM
00:36:01 | 2112 yards | 01m 43s / 100yards
Age Group: 16/55
Overall: 68/241
Course: Two loops in a small lake.
Start type: Deep Water Plus: Waves
Water temp: 75F / 24C Current: Low
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 01:29
Cap removal: Below average Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
02:29:32 | 56 miles | 22.47 mile/hr
Age Group: 6/55
Overall: 26/241
Course: Flat and somewhat windy. Most of the roads are good, but Hwy 17 coming out of T1 is not great, and there is an 8 mile section in the Francis Marion Forest that is bone-rattling.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:59
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
01:38:52 | 13.1 miles | 07m 33s  min/mile
Age Group: 4/55
Overall: 25/241
Course: Loops with some hills. Temps started becoming a factor.
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge
Events on-time?
Lots of volunteers?
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5]

2011-04-30 4:21 PM

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: TryCharleston Half

2011-04-30 6:20 PM
in reply to: #3475016

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Saratoga Springs, Utah
Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half

Nice work. That's a solid time.

2011-04-30 9:55 PM
in reply to: #3475016

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Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Congrats on popping the 5hr bubble!
2011-05-01 5:26 AM
in reply to: #3475016

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Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Nice work. Would you recommend this race?
2011-05-01 11:34 AM
in reply to: #3475016

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Columbia, South Carolina
Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Thanks guys.  Yes, I would recommend the race.  It was well organized with plenty of volunteer support, and Charleston is a fun city.
2011-05-01 3:13 PM
in reply to: #3475853

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South Alabama
Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Great race Michael.


2011-05-02 2:25 PM
in reply to: #3475016

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Charlottesville, Virginia
Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
As I'm reading along, it seems like you weren't too thrilled with the race and then I get to the last line and figure out it is 15 minutes faster than you've done before... you are too funny.  Nice race, Michael.  Congrats!
2011-05-02 3:40 PM
in reply to: #3475016

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Extreme Veteran
In front of computer when typing this.
Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Dude, you have gotten so fast over the past year or two! Great job thinking through the little issues (well, the calf is not little, but I mean the bike bottle issue and the tire). 4:46...phew. FAST!
2011-05-05 12:45 PM
in reply to: #3475853


Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half/sprint

I agree about the volunteers.  I thought they were great.

I was there for the sprint.   We stayed in N. Charleston and underestimated time to site and could not pick up our packets and therefore could not race.  We road the bike portion anyway.

This was the FIRST 2 transition or split transition area race I had experienced (or not).    Didn't really like the logistics for this one as far as locations and shuttles, transport etc.

However, the signage for the race was plain HORRIBLE.   The bike course portion on highway 17 was nuts with drivers doing 60 and giving no quarter and that portion being in horrible condition.  Welcome to SC roads...they suck everywhere.    Gas tax? Where does it go? 

I do not like 2 transition areas for sprints.   I probably won't give future sprint races with those setups my first priority. I realize it may become necessity with longer distances.  I tried to give constructive criticism on this but the packet lady (who was clearly an expert) said that this was the way most tri's were going now (WHAT?)...

A logistics document was circulated about 5 days prior to the face but left out packet pickup times which where on the website but would have been nice in the document since it had all other info and course maps.  A bit of a Setup Events issue here... that and I should have been more thorough...

$60 for 2 T-Shirts, a bag, a beer and shrimp creole (plus 2 tanks of gas, meals and a hotel room) the race...priceless.   The food was good though....

Making the best of a disappointing situation,  we spent the day at Folly Beach and Loggerheads.

Given the circumstances,  next year looks like the Mud Run in Greenville instead.

2011-05-06 9:35 AM
in reply to: #3475016

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Subject: RE: TryCharleston Half
Great race, Michael!  Congrats!  I'm hoping to visit Charleston sometime and maybe even do a TryCharleston race while I am there.
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