2013 Go Tri Sports Hilton Head Triathlon

go-tri-sports-hilton-headSo it took me a while to get this recap posted. I do apologize.  My next post will give some insight into some of the things that have been happening in the Business of Losing Weight world. I know you love it when I leave you hanging like that, don’t you?

So as many of you faithful readers know, after the Try Charleston Half Iron back in April, I was actually ranked in the South Carolina Triathlon Series standings in the Clydesdale division. I only found out after my buddy Jason texted me while I was sitting in the parking lot of a large Arkansas based retail chain, basically sulking about the fact that I had completed this huge event in my life and I didn’t know where to go from there. And then suddenly I had some direction. I needed to race the South Carolina Triathlon Series, and see where the chips fell.

The Dam Tri in Lexington was SUPPOSED to be my last race of the season, but I had a really good race and it left me just a few hundred points out of placing third in my division in the series. Hilton Head would be my chance to reach the podium in the series in my inaugural triathlon season.

And so, I had to race…

I will spare you all of the minuscule details concerning my meal the night before and the lack of sleep that I received and the fact that I DID NOT get to perform some of my pre-race rituals the night before (namely drinking a chocolate milk before going to bed…) because I know you blood-lusting readers want to know about the goods. You want race details!

So here we go.

Swim – 500 yards – Open Atlantic Ocean

Photo Cred: Elisha Byrne

Photo Cred: Elisha Byrne

So I only found out the night before the race that it would be a mass start beach entry swim.  When I heard that, I got pretty nervous because I have ONLY done wave starts up until that point.  I checked the field and realized that there were only around 250 people signed up for the event. (only) The more I thought about it, the less worried I was. I mean, if I ever plan to do an Ironman branded event, even the wave start would be more than that. I just had to suck it up and go for it.  Most people were wearing wetsuits because, well, the water temp made it wetsuit legal, but I had decided to go sans wetsuit in order to have a faster transition. It was a good move because the water was actually warmer than they had announced and felt really nice (around 76F.) The start was up the beach so, to warm up, I basically got in the water at the exit and swam up the beach to where the start was. 500 yards is basically what I do to warm up anyway (yeah yeah, not bragging, just truthin…) so it felt good and also my goggles weren’t leaking… so I knew it was going to be a good swim for me.  When I got out of the water from the warm-up, I could see the droves of people coming down to the start, and all of the sudden 250 people might as well have been 2500. We all lined up at the start and waited for the horn to go off. I took an aggressive position in the front of the pack because I know I am a strong swimmer.  However, what I fail to remember is that I am a novice beach entry racer, so I do need to work some on getting into the water quicker via dolphin diving. I pushed forward and took one dive and was swimming. If you have ever heard the term “washing machine” when it comes to the triathlon swim, this was my first true experience in the washing machine. I really thought that I had been there before, but no. As I was pushing towards the first turn buoy I could not help but be reminded of Shel Silverstein’s poem Crowded Tub (look it up)… I felt more like I was crawling over people than swimming. People were grabbing my feet and I was throwing elbows. It was pandimonium. But as soon as I reached the first buoy and made my turn, it was over.  Most everyone else swam outside for some reason, but I made my move to the inside and just started going for it.  The water was basically as calm as a lake and so I just punched it.  Before I knew it, I was rounding the turn and heading towards the beach. I felt my hand hit the sand and I stood up and ran…I was out of the water in a right around 8:30. HOWEVER, I forgot to tell you that transition was no less than 500 more yards up the beach, through a parking lot, across the road, and into a park. I would love to have actual info on my swim time from entry to exit, but alas…

Official swim time: 11:36

Transition One – Swim to Bike
Well like I said, it was a good haul up to transition from the beach…But once I got into transition, I completely pulled a #sopro moment. I was in and out in the fastest time I have ever rocked T1. As a matter of fact, at 38 seconds, I had the 9th fastest T1 in the entire race. Too bad races aren’t won in transition…

Official T1 Time: 00:38

Bike – 12 ish Miles – Four Loops 
So right from the start I could tell something was wrong on the bike. My legs just couldn’t seem to turn over with any efficiency. The course was 4 laps with long flat straight aways that gave into tight corner turns. I feel like there was nothing I could do to produce ANY power for some reason. I really have no idea what was wrong. I had the race of my life at the North Myrtle Beach triathlon on a similar course but for some reason, nothing was happening here. And I knew it. I just trudged on doing what ever I could to keep my legs moving. It was long and agonizing and my time split confirms it. I wish I had more to say about it, but I don’t… But now that I think about it, Jason did put “lube” on my chain before the race.  Maybe he actually used honey to pay me back for breaking his tri suit right before Langley Pond…

HH-hank-bike

Photo Cred: Elisha Byrne

Official Bike Time: 42:26

Transition Two – Bike to Run
Well I knew that the guy holding third place in our division for the series was ahead of me. I also knew that there was no way I could catch him on the run. But that didn’t stop me from pushing forward.  I slipped my feet out of my shoes while coming into transition, jumped off my bike, dumped my helmet, threw on my Saucony Guides, grabbed my belt and bolted out the chute. If I can say anything about this race, it is that I PR’d both of my transitions!

Official T2 Time: 00:36

Run – 5K  – One Lap on the Same Course as the Bike
Well even though I knew I was toast as far as the series was concerned, I knew that I still had a chance to podium this race.  There were four Clydesdales racing and I figured that I was ahead of at least one.  I hit the run course knowing that I wanted to post sub 10:00 miles across the board. The temperature was perfect. The run course was flat. The conditions were ideal. If I was going to PR a run, this would have been the right time. I kept checking my average pace as I was trucking along and hit the first mile split at 9:55. I wanted to do a little better so I tried to pick up the pace a bit, but I was struggling to do any better. I hit the second mile split with a 9:58 and I felt awesome because I felt like my legs were getting into the groove and that I might actually be able to get that PR. I would just have to push the last mile.  I was on the backside of the course pushing towards the finish when I passed a guy with a 65 on the back of his leg. For those who do not know, that means he is 65 years old. He DID NOT like getting “chunked.” I just made that up. It is what it is called when you get passed by a Clydesdale. Well he didn’t like it apparently so he picked up the pace and pulled up next to me.  I knew that I was going to have to turn the jets on once I rounded the corner and I did not want to blow my engine up so I just settled in and kept pace with him.  We turned the last corner and Jason was there barking at me to pick up the pace. I turned the jets on and pushed hard. I hit the three mile split right around then at 9:51 but then realized that there was much more than .1 mile left. I felt a little panicky because I was basically using my sprint-to-the-finish-engines with more distance to cover than I was expecting. My heart rate peaked at 186 according to my watch, which is a good bit above my max heart rate. Regardless, I ran until I hit the finish chute.  I passed through and heard the announcer call my name and I was officially done with my first triathlon season. The run portion actually turned out to be right around 3.4 miles so my sub 30 minute 5k will not show up in the annals of time.

Official Run Time: 32:05

HH-hank-running

Official Go Tri Sports Hilton Head Triathlon Time: 1:27:19

And there’th end my baptismal season in the multi-disciplined sporting arrangement, known forthwith as … Triathlon.

Oh and also I brought home the bronze in this race in Clyde…

HH-bronze

So I didn’t place in the series…but if you haven’t heard…something better happened. You can go read about me being named the 2013 South Carolina Triathlon Series Rookie of the Year and be amazed…Just like I was in all honesty.

Love you guys. I miss writing about other stuff so I am going to do more of that soon.

Peace, Love, Blood, Sweat, Tears.

HH-bloody-heel

 

 

 

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