Into the Pit of Pain at the American Triple T (Part 2 of 2)

Here is the continuation of my race report after the American Triple T.

To read Part 1.

Race #3: Olympic 3

Bike: 40km Swim 1.5km Run 10km

Transition

As noted above, this race, although similar in distance, the order was changed. We started on the bike with a nice out and back route. Nice, especially on the way out. A nice 4km descent early on allowed me to hit max speeds of 71km. Talk about fun stuff. However, as I was flying by, I did get the chance to see the flood of people going the opposition climbing this 4km twisty uphill. That awaited me on the return. In actual fact, I reached another guy and paced off him up the climb. It was a real tough climb, but I knew that this was the type of training I needed to prepare for the Temblant terrain. My nutrition was bang on, in fact, that is one of the things I’m happiest about for this weekend. I figured when to eat, how much. I feel like I hit that on the bike perfectly.

Take me, sweating, jumping off the bike and then trying to wriggle my way into my wetsuit. I am sure that people were worried I was going through an epileptic seizure. I wasn’t. It was like squeezing toothpaste back into the tube.  A guy my size, should never do this in public. The volunteers in the transition, who were tasked with helping racers get their wetsuit on, chose to keep a wide distance. Needless to say, after a prolonged struggle, I did come out of transition wetsuit fitting snuggly. I took off to the beach, entered the water in an overly exaggerated graceful dolphin dive. I was trying to erase any witnesses memories of my other graceless actions. As my body expertly caressed the water, my legs went into instant cramping. I knew this would be a problem. Luckily, with a few quick leg bends and stretching of the feet, I was good to go. I started plowing my way through the 1.5 kilometres. I finished strong. Although, my time wasn’t where I thought it would be. But, overall, I was happy and feeling good stepping out of the water and back into transition.

I hit the run course again. This time I stopped, took some time to envelope my blistered feet with socks. The 10km run was hard, still hilly, still gravelly, and still hot. I trudged my way through the run, knowing, I had spent too much energy earlier in the day. I would suffer tomorrow.

Bike: 1:19:57  T2: 4:33  Swim: 27:23  T2: 2:45  Run: 1:13:44

Total Time: 3:08:24


Race #4: Half-Iron Distance

Swim: 1.9km  Bike: 90km  Run: 21.1km

As I woke up on Sunday knowing what lay ahead, I knew I was going to be in trouble. The twonie sized blisters on the bottom of my feet could be felt with every step. I was about to enter the “Hurt Locker” and I knew it. My legs were tired. Very tired.

Bike

The excitement and energy of the participants was noticeably more subdued. As a group, the exhaustion was palpable, but we were all set for the road ahead.  When I heard “go”, I took off in a tippytoe jaunt along the beach, trying to avoid the blisters. The sprinting along the beach was noticeably less exuberant. That would be the spirit of the day. Survival.  My swim was strong. I knew it the minute I hit the water. I felt great. My arms were keeping a strong stroke cadence. The swim would be the highlight of my day.

As I got out of the water, I jumped on the bike and was gone.  The early part of the bike course was downhill and I was thinking, this is going to be fun. However, after the first left turn we started climbing.  Culminating in a brutal switchback laden climb, I kept my legs pumping. I was lucky to have a fellow cyclist on that climb with me. We chatted in between held breath. She said to me, “The one thing you know about this terrain, you are almost rewarded with a descent immediately afterward. Sure enough, we rounded the next switchback and the crest of the hill was there. Then we got to dive down into the valley along tight switchbacks and keeping a close hold on our brakes. If you took these turns too quick, you were in the forest. It was as simple as that. The 45km loop was tough. Very tough. With a few more climbs and descents I was back at the transition and set off for lap 2. The second lap was difficult as the legs were that much more tired and digging into them I knew I would cost my run. Little did I know just how much I would spend.

I pulled into transition, jumped off my bike, laced up my shoes and slowly, oh so slowly, set off on my 21.1km run/walk. It was slow. Painfully slow. It was hot. There was really nothing good about this stage of my race. I hurt with every step. Having switched to my minimalist shoes to try to support my blistered feet, I was reminded anytime I ran with a heel strike as it was usually right onto a stone. I was in the deepest pit of pain I’ve ever been in. There was nothing I could do to get my legs moving quicker. I suffered. But I completed it. I pushed myself at the end so I ran across the line. It hurt.

Swim: 28:02  T1: 4:22  Bike: 3:20:16  T2: 4:24 Run: 2:54:08

Total Time: 6:51:15

Series Total: 13:15:58

What a weekend it was. I was told that this weekend of pain and suffering would be worth it come Ironman and I believe it.  I learned that I will survive it. I learned that I need to work on my pacing. I learned that I can manage my nutrition.

From the joy of the first super sprint triathlon to the agony of the half-Iron I ran the gambit this weekend. But I did it.

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