Net - net - a GREAT day! 4:30 AM wake up for some breakfast (ensure and oatmeal - lots of it). Got a great nights sleep - which I attribute to the stress of my McGyver activity earlier and most importantly the massage I got the other night.
It was cool - mid to upper 50's at the race site at 5:30 - and the water was 74 - wetsuits baby! After getting set p in transition, body marked etc..and making chit chat with folks - met a couple guys from SC TnT teams - it was 7:20 - time to get this party started....or - get in the water anyways. With the overcast skies - we had ideal conditions for the race. No sun in our eyes on the swim - which can make sighting and swimming in general tricky, and no major threat of unbearable heat. Perfect.
We start at 7:34...and head out - good swim - although at one point I swore I must have made a wrong turn - as there were two extra turns on the swim. But I saw folks in front of me (not necessarily a good means of swimming as if the guy up front makes a wrong turn - we all make it.) But eventually make the final turn and head into home. Swim was really relaxed and I actually felt good the entire way. Except of course at one point when some guy - swimming up along side me managed to grab my head. Not touch it - GRAB it and kind of hold on...what am I a buoy? Dude - get off...so I push him off with my leg...and spend the rest of the swim pondering wtf? Seriously. Make it to the shore and up the boat ramp - promptly slip and almost do a face plant on the slimy concrete...but somehow right myself and get going to T1. For those of you who know me - I am not known for my grace - so not falling was a miracle in and of itself.
Quick change over. Strip off the wetsuit - pop on the riding gear and head out. Now - it's overcast and probably 60 - 65 degrees. But feel comfortable. Spin for awhile and start to pick it up after the first big hill.
The bike course map did NOT do the hills justice. They were much larger and more frequent than they appeared. Still - my McGyver gel flask is helping and the enhance water is really (or so it seems) doing just what it should. Good fuel and good ride. Chatted with a lot of folks on the ride (probably not the best use of energy but still) which helped make it move along. As we're going along I decided to chuck the ride, or break it into manageable pieces, 10 miles down, 20 miles down, 5 more, halfway...damn these hills. One woman and I kept switching position - until around 35 - when I pulled away. Also - right about this time I was thinking - hmmm - not too many have passed me - although the rest of my wave and the one before us was clearly ahead of us....and then....
One guy, 52, another 50, then three mid forties...then three women - 28 - 35 years old...well - there goes that. Oh well. Keep chugging along. Spin, spin, spin...as I try to stuff a fuel pack back in the pocket on my tri suit - a guy who is behind me goes "A little higher" telling me the pocket is up just a bit. so I thank him. We trade spaces a few times - me passing on hills - him on the flats....last hill when I see him - he says "$10 bucks you pass me on this hill" I credit the recent bike fitting to my improved cycling speed - so thanks again TrySports - and thanks for getting me over that hill.
Not one to pass up a bet, although I didn't think it would happen - I do...and then I don't see him again.
One guy - kept drafting off me - right after the marshalls passed (the folks who monitor this kind of thing) he'd speed up and get in my slipstream...I can hear him - so I try picking it up - he keeps pace - so I slow down - dude - just pass me - don't cheat...he does - and he's not even in my age group. The drafting rule is in effect for everyone - not just those in your age group...so I pass him again...jerk...as we get to mile 50 - I hear someone behind me - it's him AGAIN...fine - draft - I hope you get penalized or disqualified.
Make it into T2 - off the bike and now for the run - the part that has worried me almost as much as the swim due to my recent leg speed issues and the fact that my training has been - well - choppy.
Run starts out well - much better than White Lake last year when my knee flared up and made me walk by mile 2.
So - Mile one down - small bio break - due to all the fuel I took in during the ride - and then mile 2 - so far so good. Miles 3 (past the "wonderwomen" water stop - they were hilarious) 4 and 5....so I make a deal with myself.
Self - if necessary - you can walk water stops after mile 7 - a little gift to me for having done better and feeling good thus far. But AFTER mile 7 and only if necessary.
Mile 7 down - mile 8 water stop coming up - grab some water and gatorade - no stopping...up the hill and turn to the final turn around. Mile 9 and here comes 10...make it to ten and take in some water and electrolyte pills...those things were my saviour today...and turn to the second to last water stop. Pass a couple guys I had talked to in the morning, make it to the water stop - and walk through.
Now walking through a water stop in any race can be challenging....well - the getting going part is challenging. But I down the gatorade and water and get going again. A little less than 3 to go. The walk allowed me to get in what I needed versus dumping gatorade all over myself - which as it began to heat up - would have been sticky - and made the drive home less than ideal. My legs appreciated it too.
Mile 11, 2 more. Turn back into the park and start singing (in my head- I probably would have been disqualified or rushed to the medical tent if I sang out loud - what is that god awful noise he's making) random bits and pieces of songs, Beast of Burden, 500 miles, Start me up, White Wedding, Straight Up (yes - somehow Paula Abdul crept in there - not real sure)...walk a bit then get going again...
Make it to the finish area and make the final turn towards the finish line.
SC Half has a lovely hill at the end you have to run up to the finish...love to meet the masochist who decided that after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 and running 13.1 that we should finish up this ridiculously steep - albeit short - hill.
Cross in a PR time compared to White Lake last year. At White Lake - the wheels fell off during the run, and my swim was slow... there is still room for improvement, but not this season - as tri season is over (for me) and I head into running events for the winter.
Oh - and the dude who was drafting off me on the bike - I made 100% certain I passed him on the run. Draft off this jerk...
This race - as noted in the previous post is dedicated to the memory and extraordinary lives of Bill and Alice Faisst. They're battles with blood cancers did not slow them down and they lived lives that continue to inspire their family and me, although I did not have the honor of knowing them, to this day. Thank you Justine for sharing their story with me.
So - once I figure out what I got penalized for...I may consider adjusting my time by 4 minutes, but at the end of the day
Total - including my penalty 5:52:48
Thank you everyone for your support and words of encouragement. I could not have done it without you - and we would not have raised $17,000 in seven months.
Thank you so much.