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White Lake Half - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Elizabethtown, North Carolina
United States
Set Up Events
85F / 29C
Total Time = 7h 01m 1s
Overall Rank = 378/473
Age Group = 40-44
Age Group Rank = 76/91
Pre-race routine:

Waited too long to rent a place, so I ended up staying in Clinton, NC, about 30 minute drive north of the facility.

Alarm set for 4:15 to allow enough time to load car and get family moving. Woke up twice in the middle of the night, thinking I'd over-slept. Once at 2:15 and again at 3:30. Spent the evening before bed affixing race stickers and mixing perpetuem for bike and run.

Arrived at transition at 6:00 AM, and set-up my area. Wife dropped me off near the entrance, but closes parking was a good ways away at that point.
Set up my transition, picked up my timing chip and got body marked. Spotted a friend, with experience at this distance, and just chatted a bit.

Drank a bottle of water and had a Fiber One cereal bar for breakfast. Too many nerves at that point to eat anything else.
Event warmup:

About 6:45, made my way, with wet suit in hand, to the swim exit to scope out the swim course. Put on my wet suit and swam out near the starting group area to await my start. Maybe swam a total of 50 yards of warm-up, enough to feel comfortable that the water wasn't going to freak me out. It wouldn't describe it as clear as I was informed, but I was able to see about 7-10 feet around me. Clearest open water event I've ever participated in.
  • 42m 56s
  • 2112 yards
  • 02m 02s / 100 yards

Positioned myself middle of the pack. Visibility in the water is no doubt why most people choose this event. (It was my primary reason.) It made it easier to find folks to draft off of, plus, being about to see in about a 10 foot radius, I could sight off of folks swimming around me. I think I only had to look up a couple of times to ensure I was on course.

Rounded the first turn, still surrounded by the main group of my wave. It wasn't until about the half-way point that I saw the first pink swim caps of the ladies wave start to pass me. It's also when I passed my first blue swim cap from the previous wave.

Made the final turn and headed for the finishing dock. Had a bit of trouble finding the orange-inflatable flag that marked the exit, but knew that so long as I kept several folks near me, I'd be fine.

There were three exits, two ladders, and finally a set of stairs. The first ladder had a line of people, so I swam (ran actually as the water was quite shallow) to the second ladder which had no one using.

Climbed out uneventfully and proceeded down the dock to T1.

What would you do differently?:

Not much I could really do differently here other than continued training. My target time was 45 minutes, and I finished a bit faster than that, probably due to not going off course as often as I usually do.
Transition 1
  • 04m 19s

Made my way to my spot without issues. Suit (probably still a size too small for me - 15 more pounds lost and it'll be awesome) was a bit of a struggle getting off. Also, I kept finding myself tipping over, as if my equalilibreum was off. I ended up sitting down and slowly putting on my socks and shoes. To give myself a bit of extra time to recover, I put on my gloves then, glasses, helmet, stuffed a cliff bar in my pocket, and off I went.
What would you do differently?:

If not so dizzy, I'd have shaved at least a full minute off of my time, maybe more. I've never experienced this before, so it was new to me. I've heard some people swim with ear-plugs to prevent this from happening, something I may end up needing to do in Arizona because of the cold water.
  • 3h 13m 59s
  • 56 miles
  • 17.32 mile/hr

I'm slow on the bike, I know I'm slow on the bike. I hate being in the early swim waves because there just aren't many people for me to pass, and I end up getting passed a LOT.

I'd heard this course had some rough roads, but I didn't expect the pounding from the seams that ran across the length of the rod, every 15 feet or so. The first few miles of the course were completely littered with strewn nutrition bottles, spare tubes and co2 cartridges. (I may go down next year just to stock up my supply cabinets for the season.)

Thankfully, I'd had lots of experience launching water bottles in the previous weeks that I didn't have any issues. I did drop my chain early in the ride, but was actually able to fix it while riding... don't know that I could ever do it again though. It was probably my only f'bomb of the day.

Passed my family at mile 6 or so, which was great. They don't usually come out to these events, so it really meant a lot.

Rest of the first half of the ride was fairly uneventful. As an admittedly slower rider, I was passed a lot, which I expected, and I was (mostly) able to resist the urge to chase and wreck plan, which did lead to the one moment I'll probably always remember...

At about mile 20, I still hadn't passed anyone, but been passed by a good 100 riders. Finally, I saw my first target, up ahead, about 300 yards. As I got closer, I realized it was a female, but at this point, I was super excited to actually pass someone... anyone. As I got closer, closer, closer, I could feel the excitement and my heart-rate climb. Then, as I make the "on your left" passing call... I notice... she only had 1 leg. Crap... I'm such a freaking idiot. Not long after that, I further realize, she probably passed me on the swim, and managed to get a 20 mile lead on me. Nice.

This triathlon thing, you run into the most amazing and inspiration folks, and can be truly humbled by almost everyone out there.

With about 20 miles to go, the ever annoying cross-winds turned into a full-on head wind for pretty much the duration of the event. By mile 45 or so, my shoulders were getting very sore, which I'm told just takes a bit of time to get used to the new bike. The last five or so miles... I really just wanted to get the run started.

I came into this event looking to go slow and not screw up my run. My target time was 3:15, and I finished a full minute and one second ahead of that. Not sure how, but thus far, I'd nailed both my swim and bike times.

From a nutrition standpoint, I decided to forgo the large speed-fill and just use my handlebar bottle for water (which I refilled three times on the course) and I premixed a 1000 calorie perpetuem bottle, which I sipped off of every 30 minutes or so, which lasted me the duration of the ride. I feel like I was good.
What would you do differently?:

I really need a LOT more time in the saddle. I also really need a coach for the bike... even just someone to ride with to tell me what I should be trying to do. I don't really know how hard I should be pushing myself, etc.
I'd be ashamed to ever get a drafting penalty, but I talk with some of the top riders, and they seem to speak about it as being worth the risk.

I'll figure it out. I had a great time.
Transition 2
  • 04m 36s

Socks were fine so I just slipped on my shoes. Had trouble putting on my hydration belt- full of perpeteum (which I never used, so I wasted time with it and got to carry that extra weight for the entire run. Hat on, bib on Garmin 405 on .... walk. I was about as far from the run exit as possible, and I walked the entire distance. Going into the runners shoot, I kept walking, saving my energy for the run. Once I made the final turn, onto the roadway, I began to run...
What would you do differently?:

Forget the hydration belt. There was more than enough nutrition/hydration for an army of triathletes. No need to bring extra. I've been eyeing one of the hand-held water bottles. I'm going to pick one up.
  • 2h 55m 12s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 13m 22s  min/mile

So off I started on my run. The plan, which I'd nailed spot on all day, called for me to run/walk using a run 9 minutes and walk 1 minute mix as long as I could maintain a sub 160HR (which is the beginning of zone 3).

After the first 30 seconds, I started feeling a bit short of breath. Checked my HR... 185. WTF??? Stomach started feeling pretty crappy too, like the smallest sip of anything, and I'd be blowing chunks all over the spectators lining the finish chute. Maybe the slow transition exit wasn't enough. Walked three minutes, HR back to about 140, and started running again. This time, 45 seconds later, HR 187. Again, WTF??? I repeated this run 1 minute, walk 3-5 minutes for most of the first 2 miles, each time with my HR spiking crazily.

As bad as that was, the 3rd mile was hands down the worst. I was getting dizzy, feeling like I was hitting a diabetic low. I actually didn't think I was going to be able to finish. I kept looking at the faces of the runners on their way to the finish, with less than 3 miles to go... and they ALL looked worse than I felt. My fear was wandering off into traffic and getting hit by a truck or car.

Made it to the 3rd mile aid station, and acted like I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet that was closing in 2 minutes. 5 orange wedges, 2 cups of flat soda, 3 cups of water, 4 e-tabs.... Continued on my way.

About a minute after leaving the aid station, I started running. 1st minute...HR good, second minute, still good, five minutes climbing, but still in Z2. No more dizziness, not more bloated feeling... all was good. Proceeded to execute my revised run 8 walk 2 minute plan. Passed my family at the 5 mile mark still running all the way, and starting to pass quite a lot of people. (My 5 year old got quite a few laughs as she screamed "run faster daddy, run faster" Everyone seemed to be walking more than running at this point.

Hit the turn-around and was doing fine. Saw one lady smack a couple of guys on the arse as she passed them (they all seemed to know each other - if she'd done that to me... I'd have stumbled and not sure I could have recovered.) Lots of other folks were run walking also, but I found that my run (slow as it was) was still faster than a lot of others. I passed several folks in my age group, and I tried to keep the number in my head as I went on. (having finished DFL once before, I never want that to happen again.) With 4 miles to go, I was starting to feel decent about my prospects, and my 6:30 target time was still viable - after earlier thinking I was going to have to drop out (or walk the entire 1/2 Mary).

Then, as I approached the 10 mile aid station, my left calf seized up. I've had issues with this at other events. From then on, I couldn't run more than a minute or two without it seizing up again. I tried to make it 3 cones, and walk/stretch it over 1 cone. Sometimes I'd make it, often I didn't. The last 3.5 miles was very slow going.

With the finish chute in site, I decided to run in the last of it, no matter what.... sure enough, calf seized but I kept running/limping/hopping, all the way across the finish line. Saw my family, and they were all cheering wildly. Hoped they didn't think I was too hurt, I knew I just needed to stretch it out and I'd be fine. I'm sure I'll look goofy as heck in my race photos. Oh well.
What would you do differently?:

Not sure. The leg cramps have bothered me before. keep losing weight and building my fitness/endurance and I think I'll be fine.

Don't need to carry so much nutrition on the run for these well supported events.
Post race
Warm down:

Went to find family, and then just sat down and slammed a bottle of water. Stretched out and just relaxed near the finish line.

Managed to watch the amputee cross the finish line. Very emotional, glad I got to witness it. Doubt I'll ever forget.

I heard there was beer, but I wasn't interested. Ate a couple hot dogs, more oranges, and another coke. Packed up and headed to friends place on the water to just relax a bit.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Weight, which continues to drop. I really only had about 2 months of training for this. I'll be going into the next one with closer to 6 months of training.

Event comments:

I finished my first HIM. Other than when my arms got really tired towards the end of the bike, I had a lot of fun.

Volunteers were all amazing and motivating. I usually like to thank everyone I encounter, but wasn't always in a condition to be able to today. I hear people complain about set-up events, but I've always had a positive experience, and this race was no different.

The roads were rough, and might keep me from making this an annual event. The swim was beautiful, so I could see myself bringing the family back sometime... possibly for the sprint.

I originally planned on driving home after the event. The family, who had a conflicting engagement that ended up being cancelled, were all able to come down. I ended up sleeping the whole ride home. Yes!!!

Last updated: 2011-12-07 12:00 AM
00:42:56 | 2112 yards | 02m 02s / 100yards
Age Group: 62/91
Overall: 325/473
Performance: Good
Suit: yes, full arms
Course: triangular shaped, exit via ladder on a dock. Start/Exit about 50 yards apart.
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 77F / 25C Current: Low
200M Perf. Average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Good Drafting: Below average
Waves: Good Navigation: Average
Rounding: Good
Time: 04:19
Performance: Below average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Yes Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Below average
03:13:59 | 56 miles | 17.32 mile/hr
Age Group: 84/91
Overall: 396/473
Performance: Bad
Wind: Some
Course: Very flat course, single loop. There is a two or three mile stretch that is out-and-back at about mile 40, which let's you see some of the people that have already passed you, and those that are about to.
Road: Rough Dry Cadence: ???
Turns: Average Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Average Hills:
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 04:36
Overall: Bad
Riding w/ feet on shoes Bad
Jumping off bike Bad
Running with bike Below average
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Average
02:55:12 | 13.1 miles | 13m 22s  min/mile
Age Group: 73/91
Overall: 371/473
Performance: Bad
Course: Out and back. Very little shade - (no shade is probably more accurate, but as some of the 18-wheeler trucks flew past me, they may have cast a shadow on me.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Not enough
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 3
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2012-05-08 3:01 PM

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Smithfield, VA
Subject: White Lake Half

2012-05-08 7:08 PM
in reply to: #4198053

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Tyrone, Georgia
Subject: RE: White Lake Half
Nice race report, sounds like you had a plan and was able to pretty much stick it.  Better than I can say for myself last Saturday.  The run was the most brutal 13.1 I have ever experienced.  I actually starting laughing so heard during your bike description that tears were flowing.  Great job and good luck in Arizona!
2012-05-10 2:51 PM
in reply to: #4198053

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N Carolina
Subject: RE: White Lake Half

Congrats on your finish and good luck in Arizona!!!!!!!

As an aside, the female with one leg would not have passed you in the swim.  She would be racing in the physically challenged division and go off in the first wave with the open/master open females.

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