Friday, May 20, 2011

Taylorsville Half Ironman

       I met my training partner at his house around 7am we grabbed a cup of coffee double checked our gear, broke down our bikes and loaded up. The GPS was set for the 6.5 hour trip to Kentucky, tunes were jammin and the tank was full in the turbo saab wagon, We averaged about 75-80 mph on the way down with almost no highway patrol in sight.

We each took turns driving and  stopped to stretch out every 2 hours to try to keep our legs fresh. We decided to grab our race packets first, at a local running and multisports store and then check in to our hotel. When we checked in I was getting worried because I could hear dogs barking in the room next to us and thought they would keep us up all night, yes Days Inn is apparently dog friendly! Come to find out the couple next to us had 6 jack russell terriers and were taking them to a competition. I put my running gear on and headed out for a 25 minute shake out run, it was kind of a crappy area, heavy traffic and all industrial, we managed to find a side street and dodged traffic for a out and back run. After we returned from the run and unpacked, it was time for dinner so we headed to a historical part of town  to grab some pasta, we were way!!! under dressed for this place, but it was the only place we could find with some good pasta dishes and we did not care if we got a few stares, we were hungry and needed the carbs! After dinner it was back to the hotel to tune up the bikes and  watch the weather, to verify the bad news we knew was coming and get some rest. The forecast was calling for rain all day, bummer! The dogs next door never made a peep, but the road crew that was staying there returned home from the bar hammered at 2:30 in the morning  and was slamming their doors, screaming and swearing outside. I got out of bed opened the door and yelled at them to knock it off and amazingly enough they did.

      RACE DAY........ Ahhhhh, the alarm went off at 5 am, I popped out of bed and grabbed a quick shower to warm up, the AC had been blasting all night and I was freezing. We ran over to the waffle house for coffee and returned back to the hotel for breakfast, a couple power bars and a banana, then packed up and headed to the race. On the half hour drive to the race I began to go over my race strategy, I had been swimming extremely well and estimated my swim to be under 30 minutes, I planned to keep my watts on the bike around 220 to give myself some energy  for the run. I figured my bike would be around 2:30-2:35 on this tough course and I planned on holding a 7 minute per mile pace on the run. I had the idea it would be possible to go 4:35-4:40  on this course, who knew my body and mother mature had a cruel joke planned for me!

      We arrived at the course, set our bikes up and headed out for a warm up run, as we returned back from the run it started to rain. We set up in transition in a down pour, I had plastic bags to keep my gear dry, but It was raining so hard they were little help! The temperature was in the low 60's with 20-25mph winds, at least the water temp was in the 60's as well, we had heard it was still in the mid 50's the a couple of weeks ago. I began to warm up in the water as the race director gave race directions and was feeling relatively good. As the gun went off I sprinted the first 200 yards to get out of heavy traffic and as I turned the first bowie, I started to cramp up, this was a nightmare! I could feel my calf balling up, I slowed down and tried to relax but every time I started to kick it would cramp. I decided there was nothing I could do but pull the entire swim, so that's what I did. I entered the transition at 37 minutes my training partner was shocked to see me out of the water behind him, he looked at me and said relax, this is a long race! I blazed out of transition in 59 seconds and headed out of the park. The first hill on the bike was about an 8 to 9 % grade and yes my calf started to cramp again, WTF, I debated on dropping out, I knew this was a super hilly course and If I was going to cramp on every hill I would never make it. I decided to relax drop my watts under 200 and soft pedal for a while to see if I could beat the cramps, and after 5-6 miles they disappeared. I started to get in a groove and brought my watts up to 225-230. The rain was steady the entire ride with only a couple of down pours, but the wind and the hills made this course a challenge! I entered the transition off the bike in 2:36 and had averaged 223 watts, at least my cycling plan was in tact.

   I transitioned off the bike to the run in 40 seconds and headed out to the 3 loop course, the only major hill on the run was the 8-9% grade hill out of the park witch was about 400 yards long, the loops were out and back, up hill mostly on the way out, down hill on the way back. The rain was still coming down but had slowed to a mist and was comfortable, only bad part, shoes were soaking wet and I developed a blister about 3 miles into the run. I felt good through the first six miles but started some mild cramping at 7-8 miles and slowed down considerably. I finished the run in 1:38, with a total race time of 4:53:33

   Even though this was an early season race, I considered myself to be in really good shape and expected better results than this, I was about 15 minutes slower than anticipated, I am still dumbfounded as to why I cramped so bad, I had a sound nutrition plan, came into the race hydrated and had followed a solid nutrition plan entering the race, need to figure this one out! Anyway I am happy that I gutted it out and pulled out a decent race!

    1st Age Group, 8th overall        

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