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Toughman Tennessee -an Atomic Experience - Triathlon

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Lenoir City, Tennessee
United States
Total Time = 6h 38m 46s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Like at least half of the other participants, i was originally signed up for IM-NC 70.3 scheduled for the same weekend and canceled due to a hurricane. I ended up with a 6 hour drive and a much hillier course than I was anticipating. My original goal was to finish under 6 hours, but once I drove the first part of the bike course, I knew that was extremely unlikely. In any case, I spent most of Saturday in the car and made it to Knoxville in the late afternoon. Packet pick-up was from 5:30-7:00 so I thought I'd quickly pop over, get my stuff, and drive part of the course. The pick-up line was really long and turned out to take well over an hour. I met a few people in line, got my stuff, and drove over the first 6 miles of the bike course to see the "wanna cry" hills. I'll add that this race provided a tremdous amount of swag. Finisher shirt, medal, and visor but also a hooded sweatshirt, arm warmers, and leg warmers.
Event warmup:

the weather sucked on race morning. Cold and wet. This event was by far the most casual I've ever done. The transition area was not marked, so you could take whatever spot you wanted. I grabbed one about half-way back on one of the few pieces of pavement to avoid the mud. Also, body-marking? Nope. The volunteers didn't show, so that didn't do it. Transition didn't seem to be closed to the public nor did it have an official closing time. Instead, the race started not at the scheduled time, but whenever everyone wandered down out of transition. Most people loitered in there with their race sweatshirts until near race start. I wandered down to the water and tested out the wetsuit that I had not worn in over a year. It is sleeveless which was perfect for the 73 degree water.
  • 52m 9s
  • 2100 meters
  • 02m 29s / 100 meters

My pace looks slow because this was NOT a 1.2 mile swim. My GPS watch showed 1.5 miles and everyone I asked had a similar 1.4-1.6 mile GPS reading. The math on that worked out to close to a 2:07 swim according to my watch, which is pretty good for me.

The swim was two laps in the lake. The race wasn't terribly crowded, so there was less beating and banging than is typical. I felt good on the swim. I wasn't really passing many people but I also wasn't getting passed left and right by the waves behind me as is sometimes the case. There was some weird bottom of the lake vegetation that we had to swim through at the end of each lap. It really weirded me out the first time to feel the slimy gunk on my arms. Good reason to keep high elbows! Also, my wetsuit was a bit short through the torso which i felt limited my extension. However, I didn't get a lot of chaffing as I have previously so that was a big plus.
What would you do differently?:

not much really.
Transition 1
  • 00m

The chip timing was all kinds of messed up for a few of us in this race, so I'm assuming my recorded time of just over 3 hours in T1 is off a bit. I have no idea what my time here might have been, but it went reasonably well.

It rained quite a bit while I was in the lake so everything that wasn't in plastic bags was soaked. Fortunately, I had my bike shoes and run shoes well protected.
What would you do differently?:

Not much. I didn't bother with drying my feet much and saved some time by just leaving them encrusted with grass.
  • 3h 33m 15s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.76 mile/hr

I felt strong on the bike. this is first year I've really gone reasonably hard on the trainer (thanks Zwift!) and it paid off. Instead of getting passed like crazy, I held my own even on the mountains. The bike course had 2000 ft of elevation which is WAY more than I'm used to. I felt good though, even accelerating uphill at times. It was extremely wet and the roads were not closed to traffic, so I had to brake a lot downhill. I wasn't wild about the looping on the course and would have liked to have done it under 3 hours, but given I was standing up even in my lowest gear on some of the hills, I was reasonably pleased.
What would you do differently?:

if anything, maybe back off a bit. My right calf was kinda tight after the bike which would ruin my run.
Transition 2
  • 00m

again no idea what my T2 time was. It went quickly though. After riding more or less on my own on the bike, somehow about 6 of us came into T2 together and I think I was probably the first out of that group.
  • 2h 24m 22s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 11m 01s  min/mile

The run started very strong. I felt great and managed to hold about a 9 minute mile pace for the first 7-8 miles which is much better than I had thought I might do. However, disaster struck at mile 8.5 when the tightness in my calf turned into searing pain. At first I thought it was just cramps, but given that it's still very painful days later, it may have been a mild muscle pull. I am not used to running hills, and eventually, it just overtaxed my calf (I guess). Every step hurt badly. I did two things - started walking anything remotely uphill (which was about 80% of the course) and started eating anything that wasn't nailed down for the salt. I had 3 gels, a bag of pretzels and a banana trying to get my leg to ease up. I managed to run walk the last 4.5 miles which I saw as a victory of sorts given that I thought of just dropping out once the pain set in.
What would you do differently?:

I'll never race again without some salt or salt pills on my person on the run. I really didn't want the calories on course as I worried about nausea, but desperately wanted to try whatever electrolytes I could get my hands on.
Post race
Warm down:

hobbled to the tent to get some pizza. I was actually warm and surprisingly good. I could barely walk for the rest of the day. Oh, one nice thing is that they had a shower on site so I was able to shower before driving just over the state line to VA to spend the night with my parents.

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The muscle cramp/pull really did me in. I somehow still managed to finish 6/10 in my age group but would have almost certainly been 4/10 had it not been for the searing pain in my leg. Otherwise, I was really pleased with my training.

Event comments:

Overall this was a very casual race which was good in many ways. The course was pretty challenging with a very hilly bike and a fairly hilly run as well. I wish the run and bike had been better closed to traffic.

Last updated: 2018-10-05 12:00 AM
00:52:09 | 2100 meters | 02m 29s / 100meters
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Start type: Plus:
Water temp: 0F / 0C Current:
200M Perf. Remainder:
Breathing: Drafting:
Waves: Navigation:
Time: 00:00
Cap removal: Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? Run with bike:
Jump on bike:
Getting up to speed:
03:33:15 | 56 miles | 15.76 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Time: 00:00
Riding w/ feet on shoes
Jumping off bike
Running with bike
Racking bike
Shoe and helmet removal
02:24:22 | 13.1 miles | 11m 01s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Keeping cool Drinking
Post race
Weight change: %
Mental exertion [1-5]
Physical exertion [1-5]
Good race?
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? No
Lots of volunteers? No
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Average
Race evaluation [1-5] 3

2018-10-17 7:47 AM

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Raleigh, North Carolina
Subject: Toughman Tennessee -an Atomic Experience

2018-10-17 10:33 AM
in reply to: #5250801

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Simsbury, Connecticut
Subject: RE: Toughman Tennessee -an Atomic Experience
Glad you got to race - even though it wasn't the one you has signed up for!

Great job adapting to a hillier course too! It's tough when you don't train for something that shows up on race day
2018-10-17 12:29 PM
in reply to: #5250801

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Subject: RE: Toughman Tennessee -an Atomic Experience

It’s hard to go from a flat race to a hilly one, but you did it! Congrats!! I feel ya on the calf cramps, that is rough. Great job!

2018-10-22 1:31 PM
in reply to: #5250801

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Raleigh, NC area
Subject: RE: Toughman Tennessee -an Atomic Experience

Nice race! Yes, it's a super casual event. I thought that it was fun. That run course is so remote and kinda weird. So glad that they had good post race food for you because it's a bit a drive to get your next meal from there!

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