Friday, May 27, 2011

Race 4, the Half Iron or for some Little Smokies!

Again I probably stayed up later than I should've on Saturday night enjoying the bonfire and IPA thanks to CK!

Race 3 had pretty much taken us out of the running for any sort of competitive placing so the pressure was off and I felt pretty relaxed.  I really had no illusions that there would be any sort of hammer left on Sunday after my partner had the terrible leg cramps race 3.  I was just hoping the residual effects would not be too bad and we could finish!

RACE 4, the HALF IRON 1.2 mi Swim, 55.6 mi bike and a 13.1 M Run and again TEAMS MUST START AND FINISH TOGETHER!

Sunday's race was supposed to start at 7AM.  Now normally I would want to get to the race by 6AM but our group pretty much opted for some extra sleep and we set the alarm for 5:30AM.  I was sooo sleepy when I woke up but got up to start trying to get ready as quickly as I could.

First thought was, "NEED COFFEE STAT"!  Thank goodness I brought the husband along for that.  By the time we left camp it was already 6:20, so I was starting to get a bit antsy about the time but when all was said and done I did not feel rushed.  There was just less time to wait around and I was pretty much feeling like a pro setting up after so much practice in one weekend.

I knew it was going to be a warm day but I pretty much had the nutrition part down.  Full First Endurance liquid shot flask for bike, another one for run which I would likely not use all of and water for the aerobottles and 2 bottles of EFS Fruit Punch (my fav) with some prerace in my bike cages.  GOOD-TO-GO!

TYR wetsuit, check.  TriSlide, check.  Goggles, check.  Neoprene Swim cap, check.  Again I opted to go splash around in the water to make sure it would not shock the system too bad.  It was amazing.  The water had warmed from 56 to 61 by Sunday morning and the water was noticeably warmer and almost felt comfortable.

As we got lined up, I just kept thinking the 1.2 mile swim buoys looked so far away and I had to swim that loop twice!    But there was not much time to think about that, it was go time.  4 races over a weekend tend to help you feel pretty comfortable by the 4th one.  I was swimming pretty relaxed and again, I think I might have actually enjoyed the swim.

T1 was definitely on the leisurely side and then we were off onto the bike course!  After a few miles of nice easy riding, we turned onto  FR 1 and then long climb started.  I just switched into an easy gear and up Team Edwards when, switchback after switchback after switchback.  The grade did not seem too steep but holy crap did it seem like the the never ending climb up.  And as we crested the top the downhill switchbacks started.  There were a couple big corners with some holes where it was good to control your speed a bit but I was just feeling like a little kid screaming, "Weeeee!: all the way down.

I was taking out butterflies left and right (they were everywhere and it seemed anytime I was speeding along...WHAM, bye bye butterfly!!) and just truly enjoying the beauty of the course.  Forest Road 1 and 3 were cutting through the forest on what looking like a one lane park path.  It should not only be emphasized that these roads are hilly but perhaps more so, these roads are truly some of the most scenic beautiful roads to ride.  Great course!  As we turned onto FR 3 the decent sized rollers continued and then there was another steeper climb.  Lots of people were digging deep here after feeling the effects of the third day of racing.  I was actually feeling pretty comfy and taking it all in.  Then I was super excited to see my husband who had run into the woods as I came up the one roller.  He was cheering and snapping pictures!  Love that guy!

Seriously, check out that pic which shows the beauty of where we were riding!  AMAZING!

Finally we made the final turn back onto the fresh pavement of 125 which meant, one more good climb....on this loop!

Then it was another nice long descent back to transition.  My partner was refilling bottles so I had some time and made a quick stop to the POP.

Then we were back out to repeat the fun again!  Slow and steady was the set course for the day.  That long long climb up just before mile 4 on the first lap was even more fun the second time around.  Ha!

I was just plugging along.  I had two complaints as I was riding along.  My bike shoes kept rubbing away at the arch of my swollen foot from stupid bee sting.  Not only was it irritating, but it also was beginning to itch.  My lower back was a little sore too so I was definitely taking the opportunity to adjust my position periodically and it always felt good to get out of the saddle on the climbs and stretch out some.

As were back on the second loop, all of a sudden, intense pain strikes my belly which surely felt like another STINKING BEE STING!  This leads to me yanking my shirt up and freaking out a bit thinking the evildoer was still in my jersey but I never did see the a-hole!  Thankfully not sure what it was, but it did not seem to bring on the same level of swelling as my foot or issues that my foot had, and I just had a good old nickel sized welt on my belly.  (Still do...HAWT!)

Anyways after that little debacle, it was back to the regularly scheduled program.  My partner was suffering some from the leg cramping residual effects on some of the steep climbs so we were just working to get through it.  Alas we made our way back to transition.  Only a half marathon left.

Now it is boiling hot.  I have on 50 SPF suncreen on now but the fire red shoulders from Saturday evening's race was making those rays really hurt on my shoulders.  Thank goodness for the shade the course offered.

Time for that same run course again.  Yes, that fun one!  One goal, keep it together and finish!

Best part as usual was seeing all our friends along the way.  As we were headed out, Christian and Ed were already coming back in from the 6.55 mile first lap and they went on to really finish well.   Lots and lots of people fighting there way through it!  Got to see fellow Trakkers Teammates Laura W. and MJ throughout the weekend too!  The first loop was long.  And I was happy to come back around to see the other halves of Team Edwards!
The second loop was even longer.  My feet hurt.  I was wearing my small shoes that I wore the first three races but on this day I wore socks and it made my toes feel to crunched up in the toe box on the down hills.  I was hot and really starting to look forward to getting done.  The other half of Team Edwards was being a trooper and was taking caution to get in plenty of fluids.  Thankfully when supplies looked to be getting low, a golf cart came and saved the day and dropped more drinks and ice at the aid stations!  Thank goodness!

Team Edwards just kept plugging along.  It was definitely cool to see all the teams together out on the course pushing each other along!  I was really routing for a few friends that were going to have a hard time making it in from their first lap to make the run loop 1 cutoff time of 1:30.  Apparently HFP let people continue anyway, which I am sure meant a lot to those folks!  Very nice!

Finally after a lot of hills and a lot of sweat, we headed out of the woods to finally make our way to the finish line!

We did it!  Team Edwards TTT finishers!  It was my partner's first half IM distance tri.  It was his first time with 140 + miles of fun in a multisport race over the weekend!  This will be a medal and finishers shirt which will always have special meaning to everyone who got them!  We had lucked out with a great weather and in the end, we were able to finish together !!!  :-)



allanjel said...

Sounds Awesome!! Congrats J!!

ramblings of a runnner said...

sometimes I think that the races and challenges I attempt are tough or impossible... then i read your blogs like this... you are truly amazing - and truly crazy! congratulations on such a huge accomplishment!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

Congrats, I keep hearing how hard this race is.

What is tougher in your opinion, this or 140.6?