Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Is Triple T harder than Ironman? I say no. However, I guess it's how you decide to play it. I went into the weekend not really knowing what to expect - except that I would NOT redline any of the events. First, I was in no way trained well enough. Second, who knows how the body will respond by doing a super sprint one day, two Olympics the next day and a half Ironman the third day? I didn't want to spend the next couple of weeks recovering from this. So let's do it.
Arrive around 2:15pm on Friday - first race is at 5pm. Find out assigned race jersey (which is required for all events) is too small. Go figure. Hustle to room and scrounge for food. No time to leave and get food, just eat some of the snacks we brought for the ride. Can't find parking near event. Circle around and go back to hotel, switch all gear to a backpack and ride down to race with all gear in tow.
I'm number 58 - how did I get here? Oh, they seeded you by your fastest Half Ironman time (now I wish I sandbagged that time). Don't even have time for a warm up swim, besides, I heard the water is pretty cold. Off we go - time trial start, by 2s, 3 seconds apart. I meet the nicest guy who I'd start with all weekend - Chris from Canada. One of the nicest guys I've ever met. Get in the water, hyperventilate for about 75 yards, then settle into a flow. Turn around - oh, it's time to get out. Only 250 yard swim. Really? On to bike - keeping HR low - up a hill. Slow. Manage watts - wait...PowerTap goes blank. Are you kidding me? Who cares, it's only 5 miles. Back to transition, out on the run. HR feeling high. How long is just ONE MILE, anyway? Damn, feels long. Finish. Some food provided at end of race. Normally, I wouldn't touch it, but I was starving. One done. Three to go.
Back to hotel, shower, discuss the day - head out for food. There is absolutely NO CELL SERVICE in the area. No email, no calls, no texts. Weird. Drive around for about 30 minutes before finding a pizza buffet. Cheap. Eat, go back and prepare for the next day. First race - regular Olympic distance. First climb on the bike about a 14% grade. Yay. Pace yourself. Went about the pace I felt I could do all day. Goal was to get both Olympic races the same time. FREEZING out of the swim on the bike. Wished we were riding in some sunshine. Wished I put arm warmers on. Run OK, nothing great. Hilly ride and run.
Go back to hotel, shower, wash jersey and hope it dries before next race @ 3pm. Athletes are pretty low-key....arriving to transition very close to race start. Different type of feeling to this event, hard to describe. Take a nap. Shovel in some food and head down for an Olympic that is Bike-Swim-Run. Heard nasty stories of people getting off bikes and jumping into the 58 degree water and cramping up. I'm just gonna chill. Did the bike - challenging, but not as bad as the morning course. Ripped my wetsuit putting it on but NO WAY was I getting in that water without one. Felt refreshing, but my chafing from the run earlier in the day stung. Stung bad. I know I screamed. Passed LOTS of dudes in the water. Made me smile. Out on the run, all those dudes got me back. :( Tried to hold same pace as the morning. Couldn't do it. HOT! Not used to the high temperatures.
Showered again, ate in the room. Had to pay for internet service. Packed up all my stuff since they wouldn't give us a late enough checkout to shower after race. Went to bed pretty early.
On Half Ironman day, I decided to start later. In case you haven't had this experience, being a strong swimmer, decent biker and mediocre runner can be pretty taxing in the mental department. People pass you all day long. Somewhere during the weekend, I decided that passing someone in the swim is not as satisfying as passing them in the bike or run. Just isn't. Swim felt great. Love the time trial start, no thrashing arms and legs to be scared of. Just the ice cold water and my rhythym. Felt nice.
Out on the bike. Brutal. Climbs are hard - wishing I had more gears or a compact crank. Got passed A LOT. Downhills were not better as my back wheel slipped on the first hairpin turn going downhill. I was overcautious for the rest of the ride on the downhills. I don't want to kill a season trying to decend like a fool when I really wasn't in contention for anything. Rode the brakes. A lot. Probably should replace them now.
On to the run. Very hot. SLOW. Just keep moving - only walked up hill. That's because I probably walked up some of those hills faster than I could run them! As usual, picked up my pace in the second half of my run. Not sure why, but I always have a better second half run. Maybe I need to do more brick training. One of the aid stations I had to grab a used cup and dip it in a garbage can full of water. Nasty! But I was so thirsty! It was near 90 degrees. Not complaining, I love the heat, but I needed water!! Descended my splits the last 4 miles of the run. Felt good to actually PASS some people on the run!
I felt great. Yes, my legs are pretty cashed still - but I still think it was easier to break up the 140.6 miles over 3 days than to try and to it all in one day. Especially on that course. The second loop of the bike on Sunday was mentally challenging. I didn't want to be out there anymore. But I came out to finish. And I did. Time for the next challenge.