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USAT Halfmax National Championship - Triathlon1/2 Ironman

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Innsbrook, Missouri
United States
Ultramax Events
80F / 27C
Total Time = 7h 33m 23s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group = 20-24
Age Group Rank = 1/
Event warmup:

No warm up except for swim up. I wasn't "allowed" due to Dr's torders.
  • 31m
  • 2111 yards
  • 01m 28s / 100 yards

Just couldnt get up and going. got pushed to outside and pack went by. finially caught back up, but it should have been a 28 minute swim.
Transition 1
  • 01m 54s

took my time.
  • 3h 36m 59s
  • 56 miles
  • 15.49 mile/hr

Serisous blow out at mile ~4. Tore my tire and tube off the rim. No joke!
What would you do differently?:

Push a little harder in the middle. I need to train to race myself mor ein the middle of the bike
Transition 2
  • 02m 50s

I really took my time here. I really wasnt in a hurry. If I had known I was racing for first place, I would have good WAAYYY faster here, but I just didnt want to screw up my achillies... and I knew i had 13.1 miles up down up down to go.
What would you do differently?:

I'd just go through everything quicker
  • 3h 20m 1s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 15m 16s  min/mile

Yep. plenty slow. I'm okay with that. My first Half Marathon, my First Half IM, and a torn achillies.

I walked up the hills and ran down them. THat was all i could do. I took ice chips and oranges at every aid station (there were tons and wel stocked). Ate the oranges, ice under the hat. had water at every station and HED at every other.
What would you do differently?:

Go faster?
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

A torn achillies, and my run.

Event comments:

This race was so well put together. I will be doing many more UltraMax events in the future. I am attaching my race recap that we do for our team.....

USA Triathlon Half-Max National Championship
Half-Ironman Distance- 1.2 mile swim / 56 mile bike / 13.1 mile run

Day Before Race
Julie, Dan (Julie's fiancé), and I drove out to Innsbrook, MO on Friday. We got
out to the resort, picked up our packets, and fielded all the "Are you really
racing?" questions I got. I have a walking cast on my left leg because of a torn
Achilles. I can easily get in and out of it by just a few Velcro straps. It
looks worse than it really is, promise. I eventually started telling people that
Time sent me special cleats to attach at the bottom of it, and Brooks was
over-nighting me a size 20 left shoe so I could put the whole walking cast
inside of it. I told this story enough times I began to get good at keeping a
straight face and people started to really believe me.
We dropped Dan off at the hotel and Julie and I headed back out to the resort to
check out the swim. The lake and we swam in is one of the most pristine,
beautiful lakes I have ever seen. Rarely do you find a lake in Missouri that you
can see past your toes and not taste or smell gas fumes.
I have to say, standing on the beach looking at the buoys, it looked like a very
long swim. Julie and I suited up into our skiing wetsuits, which are very good
to keep you warm, very bad at keeping water seepage at a minimum. It felt like I
was dragging a parachute behind me, but I warm and that was okay. It felt so
great to swimming along, out in the lake all by myself with Julie just a little
bit back from me. I don't remember how long it had been since I felt so relaxed
and clam just out swimming. The shore line is just phenomenal, too. Great big,
beautiful homes, with landscaping going all the way down to the water's edge.
There were some grey bluffs that dropped into the water, and all of the trees
just had the slightest color in them, indicating the turn of the seasons. I
swam out to the half mile buoy, came back and met up with Julie. We just floated
in the water for a few minutes taking it all in. We swam back to the beach,
dressed and went to the pre-race meeting.
We had a terrific pre-race meal of Bob Evans (Hey, French toast has a lot of
carbs!) then headed back to the hotel. I was having a really hard time just
getting everything put into my TA bag. I kept thinking that I was forgetting
something. I eventually got settled and climbed into bed about 9:00 pm.

Race Morning
The alarm went off about 4:30 am, Julie and I both started swatting at it, then
sat up at the same time. It was immediate nerves for both of us. We got dressed
and headed down for breakfast. We both picked at our bagels and looked around
the dining room. It seemed that everyone there was a previous World's team
member. Everyone had on a Team USA jacket- except for us.
We loaded up the car and headed out to Innsbrook. In the short drive there we
listened to Cake's song "Going the Distance" probably five times at the minimum.
Poor Dan got to hear us sing every verse.
After unloading the car we went down to body marking and then set up our TAs.
The racks were assigned by age group, and in terms of location, we were in BFE.
But, we got lucky and were racked on the same stand, with just one girl in
between us. The rack location did play out well after all, because we were the
closest rack to the bike out and bike in.
We climbed into our wetsuits and headed to the beach. The sun was just coming up
and the water looked pink. It couldn't have been a prettier site. I swam out
into the water a little bit, and came back in. I stretched and did some jumping
jacks and Nordics to get the blood flowing and the HR to wake up. Even though it
was getting closer to race time, the butterflies started to go away and could
feel myself getting more focused. I gave Julie a hug, told her good luck and
made my way up the front of the women's pack, to see the men off.

Swim- 1.2 miles 0:33:30

The guys stared five minutes before we did. I haven't seen very many large wave
starts before, so it was really exciting to everyone out there. I started to get
a bit of tunnel vision and found two girls that I knew we quick swimmers. I
chose to start right next to them so I could at least draft off of a hip or some
fast feet. When the gun went off I immediately got shuffled to the outside. Not
a good place to be in a 1.2 mile swim. I tried to work my way back over, but it
was futile. I just decided I was going to need to swim my own race, and then
push to the middle again near the half mile marker. Since the water was so
clear, it was pretty easy for me to see my watch under the water. When I rounded
the buoy, I saw that I was actually right on the pace I wanted to swim. I passed
the half mile at just over 13 minutes, continued on the .2 mile section, then
was able to get back into the group. Every time I looked up to sight, I could
see hundreds of people in front of me. Not something that I'm used to on the
swim. Then I looked to my right, and saw a white swim cap, then to my left,
another white cap. It donned on me then, I must have squeezed into the second
women's pack that was following the lead pack because the girls had on blue
caps, and I was passing people in white caps- the guy's caps. I came out of the
water with a time better than I had expected at 33 minutes. I had a goal of 35
minutes; however, the top 20 women were all under 32 minutes, so I had some time
to make up. It really surprised me how fast these gals were in the water. It
was humbling to have so many quick ladies in front of me in the part of the race
where I'm usually at the very front.

T1 0:02:22
I had some trouble getting my suit off of my shoulders, but it came off okay. I
really wasn't in a big hurry in the TA because I wanted to be absolutely sure
that I had everything I needed for the next 56 miles.

Bike- 56 miles 3:36:59
The bike course was 28 mile two lap course.
Right out of the TA we hit a decent climb. I was very glad that I had set my
bike up in the little ring. I felt almost naked, though. I really thought I was
forgetting something important- when you peel out of a full wetsuit The first
five miles would be the most difficult, as determined by the long steep climbs.
At mile 3 there's an out and back section where you get a chance to go fast, on
the way out of the out and back you had to make a sharp right turn at a small
down hill. I was going pretty fast so I got on the brakes, when I did I went
over a small sand patch and it shot the back end of my bike around sideways. If
you know what flat tracking motorcycles look like, then that's how I looked.
Then BAM! My rear tube exploded (yes, exploded, not went flat, but exploded)
like a shot gun. I thought for sure I was going down. The road drops straight
off into a 15 foot crevice filled with gravel, dirt and tree stumps- not
somewhere I'd like to find my self. It was so bad, that the girl that was in
front of me stopped to make sure I hadn't died.
Now I had changed a tube one time ever, and I was sitting on my front porch
drinking a beer. So, in an adrenaline fed frenzy, I clicked my bike into the
little cog, flipped it over, and pulled it off. I didn't have to do anything to
take the tire and tube off, because the sideways slide caused the tube to get
ripped completely out of the tire, and both the tire and tube were just barley
dangling off the rim. At this time a guy at the aide station a ways up came
running over and asked if I was okay and if I had gone down. He had heard the
tube bust! I asked him if he had a tire pump, which he didn't but there was a
SAG truck about a half mile up the road that did. It turned out perfect because
I only had one Co2 cartridge, and since the next aide station was 18 miles away,
I wanted to save it as a just in case. The SAG guy got there just as I was
pulling the last part of my tire back onto the rim. Amazingly, the rim was not
hurt, and the tire would last the rest of the race (but it's done now, for
sure!). I pumped the tire and popped it back on, then off I went. I had one
more big climb to get out of the resort (it's like you're in a deep valley and
you have to climb your way out), and then onto the outer roads.
One note about the hills at Innsbrook, so much has been said about how terrible
these hills are. Even Julie remembered them being just awful. Well she and I
really did some training on some massive climbs- both short steep and long slow
climbs. This really paid off. The hills that I had built in my head were twice
the size of the ones we actually had to do. It was such a relief to count on my
training to get me out of the resort each lap.
Once onto the nicely paved roads I encountered quite the head wind, but the
section was very, very fast rolling hills and it made for quite the ride. Then
you descend back into the valley with a few climbs, but nothing terrorizing.
Then repeat, with out the near debilitating tube blowout. The second lap was
much windier than the first lap, I guess the wind was blowing between 20-25 mph,
and gusts even more. Not fun to ride in. However, I almost didn't want to get
off the bike because I knew that the run was next.
Throughout the ride I was wondering how Julie was doing. I figured it out when I
headed to the TA and saw her standing there taking pictures of me. As it turned
out, she was having terrible knee pain and finished the first bike loop by just
pedaling with one leg.

T2 0:02:50
Once again, I wasn't in a huge hurry here. I was sure I wasn't racing for any
major spot, so I went a quick as I could, but was very deliberate in everything
I did. I was racked on the very outside of the stand, so my towel and gear had
plenty of space. I grabbed my DFT hat, more gels, sipped some more water, and
out I went. I put my number belt on as I was running.

Run- 13.1 miles 3:20:22
Well, we know what happens here. I haven't been running that great so I know
what I need to work on. The run course was an out at back 6.5 mile route. The
hills here were just straight up or down, with the "Three Sisters" right in the
middle. These are the biggest nastiest hills. And I got to run each one four
One of the hardest parts of this course, is at 6.5 miles, your run right up to
the finish line, just outside of the finish chute, and turn back around to do it
again! I saw Julie and Dan there and that gave me a boost. I was glad to see
Julie and I felt like I was getting a second wind.
As you can see from my half marathon time, my mile pace was about 15 min/mile.
I'm usually much closer to nine or ten. In the last four miles I walked up the
big hills backwards to relieve some of the pressure off of my Achilles-
remember, it's injured. At about mile 10 or 11, I hit the wall. The wall is when
you shut down, mentally and physically. It's hard to come back from. This wall
was the middle and biggest climb of the Three Sisters. I was walking about ten
steps, stopping, stretching, mainly just standing there, then repeating for the
whole length of the climb. I started to get over it and shuffled along a little
slower. It had begun to get really lonely since the nine mile mark, and the only
other people still out on the course were the ones behind me. I would not pass
anyone going to other direction, or basically see another person until the
finish. Even the last aid station had been abandoned. There was still plenty to
drink and the cups set out, but the volunteers had gone back to help round up
the last of racers.
I managed a survivor shuffle as best I could, and tried to "finish strong,"
which, at that point, meant picking up my feet and feeling like I was running.
When I got to the last 200 yards I felt tears welling up. I was just so tired,
and happy to be finishing. I started crying as soon as I got through the finish
chute. By the time Julie and Dan had come over to me, I was hunched over
bawling. The medical guy came over to see if I was okay, and I told him, in
between sobs, I was okay, and just tired. It probably took me near five minutes
to make my hands quit shaking and make the "Holy Shit, I just did a Half-Ironman
on a hurt Achilles" freak out I was having stop.

Race Time: 7:36:05

I grabbed some food and listened to Joe Friel, THE guy in triathlon and cycling
coaching speak. I got up, went and changed clothes, and put my leg brace back
on. My ankle hadn't started to hurt yet, but I knew it would. I also hobbled
over to the results board, just to check my official time. I scanned with my
finger down to my age group, 20-24, and completely over looked my name. Then I
went back to the first line* it read: Pl. 1 No. 240 Crutcher, Courtney L.
No way! I won! I won! I had qualified for the ITU World Long Course Champs as a
member of the National Team USA and was now the reigning American Women's 20-24
Half Distance National Champion.
I was so excited when they called my name at the awards ceremony. It was even
sweeter that I had a cast on my leg. I had the winner and runner-up of the
Women's 25-29 tell me how amazing they thought it was that I was even racing.
So, I had a great time, got a bad-ass Granite Trophy, a sweet finisher's medal
and visor, and Contingency money! Whoo-hoo!

Next Up: A month off. Entering next year's IronMan Florida. Then I'm looking
forward to my first full marathon with Julie this spring.

THANK YOUS for a wonderful first season:
My boyfriend Eric for listening to my non-stop triathlon chatter; my parents and
grand parents for always supporting my sporting endeavors; Justin Julian at
Freeride Bike and Skate- the best shop in the Midwest! ( ); my training partners- Julie Williams, Robyn
Karlege, Sarah Jones and Kathy Penka, they made training this summer fun; The
whole Defined Fitness Race Team and owner, Megan Hottman without you all I would
never have found such an amazing team!!


Last updated: 2006-07-07 12:00 AM
00:31:00 | 2111 yards | 01m 28s / 100yards
Age Group: 1/
Overall: 30/
Performance: Average
Suit: Skiing full wetsuit
Course: Rectangle out and back
Start type: Wade Plus:
Water temp: 74F / 23C Current: Low
200M Perf. Below average Remainder: Average
Breathing: Average Drafting: Below average
Waves: Navigation: Good
Rounding: Good
Time: 01:54
Performance: Average
Cap removal: Good Helmet on/
Suit off:
Wetsuit stuck? No Run with bike: No
Jump on bike: No
Getting up to speed: Average
03:36:59 | 56 miles | 15.49 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Wind: Headwind with gusts
Course: VERY VERY tough course. many hard hills and increduble headwind. The weather man that night ont v said the wind was 20-25mph with gusts up to 35. I could tell.
Road: Smooth Dry Cadence:
Turns: Good Cornering: Average
Gear changes: Good Hills: Good
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Time: 02:50
Overall: Good
Riding w/ feet on shoes Good
Jumping off bike Good
Running with bike Good
Racking bike Good
Shoe and helmet removal Good
03:20:01 | 13.1 miles | 15m 16s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: Nothing to describe on the course. This is what it looked like. (no joke, look u8p the profile map) _/\/\/\/\/\_/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\_
Keeping cool Average Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 5
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Too hard
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2006-09-30 12:18 PM

Blue Springs, Mo
Subject: USAT Halfmax National Championship

2006-09-30 5:53 PM
in reply to: #556451

, Alabama
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

HOLY COW!  MAJOR guts doing a 1/2IM on a torn achilles!  You are one tough triathlete!


2006-09-30 5:58 PM
in reply to: #556451

User image

Tallahassee, FL
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship
And congrats on winning the AG
2006-09-30 7:12 PM
in reply to: #556451

User image

Denver, Colorado
Subject: RE: USAT Halfmax National Championship

Excellent job.  Some times it really pays to stick with it and push through.  I know because I injured my Achillies during a Grand Prix race.  I made it and qualified for the 2007 Du National Champinships.

A co-worker of mine is friends with the guy the came in second over all and he said it was a very tough course.  Considering he races Kona every year that says a lot to me.

Enjoy the AG win.......ChampSmile

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