The Dam Tri 2013

DamTri_2013Talk about a Dam good race.

This race was voted as the best race in the South Carolina Triathlon Series for 2012. And it lived up to Dam expectations. Is that enough Dam jokes? Ok. Dammit.

This race is a special race for a number of different reasons. This is no particular order of specialness, but these are the reasons none-the-less.

1) This is a “Sprinternational” distance race which means more than a sprint but less than an Olympic. That makes for a good race for me. The distances for this race were a 1000 meter swim, 21 mile bike, and a 7k run (around 4.3 miles) .

2) This race carries the most weight in the SC race series.

3) This was to be the last race of my inaugural triathlon season.

4) The course is absolutely beautiful. Here, see for yourself.

dam-tri-dam

What a Dam nice Dam. Sorry.

The plan right up until the week before the race was to have the entire family come out to cheer me on. Then reality set in. Having a brand new baby plus a three year old with the energy level of an electrified cartoon character would make it difficult for the wifey to be there by herself with the kids while I was racing. We decided that this year was not going to be the year that they got to see me race. I was pretty bummed, but I felt better when I came home one day and found this…

dam-tri-poster2

Made my day for sure. Even the wife got in on the Dam jokes!

Since I knew that this race was a longer distance, and because of my experience at the Greenwood Olympic Triathlon, I made Dam sure (sorry) that I prepared better during the week leading up to the race. Coach Ian had a great training week set up for me with a slight taper. I started really monitoring my food intake during the week and I hydrated like I was growing petunias in my belly. I was very well prepared and I was feeling great leading up to the race.

Jason and I headed to Lexington around lunch time on Saturday. We arrived in time to get in a couple of bike loops and a 15 minute run up on the dam. We caught up with Pearce at the packet pick up and headed to his parents house in Columbia for the night’s accommodations.  Race time was 8 am the next day so we all hit the hay around 9 pm. Such good triathletes.

Six am was there before we knew it and so we woke up, breakfasted, and headed out the door.

I will spare you  any details about setting up my transition area. It has gotten pretty much to the point that I know what I need where and it doesn’t change that much. As long as I have the Eye of the Tiger, I will always know my way home…

dam-tri-transition

I got a little warm up spin and run in and then I jumped into my wetsuit and headed down to the Dam beach. Sorry.

Swim – 1000 meters – Open swim in Lake Murray
I got a little warm up swim and I knew that there were going to be some problems. I had asked Jason and Pearce the night before what goggles they used. They told me and I told them what kind I used, Aquasphere Kayenne. One of them said that they had problems with those leaking. An omen? As soon as I started my warm up swim, my goggles started leaking. Like a lot. I stopped to check to see if my swim cap was somehow causing it. I couldn’t find the issue. Well. I was just going to have to deal with it. The call was made to clear the water, the prayer was said and the anthem was played and it was time to race. I line up with my wave and moved to the front outside. The horn blew and in the water I went. I was only about 15 strokes into the washing machine when my goggle filled completely with water. I just kept swimming until the crowd thinned out and then I stopped and dumped it. I pressed it hard against my face and just hoped that it didn’t fill up again. But it did. At least this time the leak was a little slower and I was probably at the half way mark before I stopped and adjusted again. I know it was killing my time so I just pressed it hard again and kept on going. This time it seemed to abate. I could tell that I was not swimming as hard as I usually do so I tried to light it up going into the last turn. Well little did I know that it wasn’t me that would be lighting it up as much as the sun was lighting it up. When I made the last turn we were all swimming directly into the rising sun. It was beautiful. Well it WOULD HAVE been if I could have seen anything. The entire field was basically swimming blindly toward the shore. I found someone’s feet that were pacing about what I could handle and just followed them in. It was really a crazy experience. I told people later that it was like swimming into the great beyond and that if THAT was what dying was like, then it will not be too bad… I kept swimming until I could see the bottom (the lake was very clear) and then I picked my head up. I started to stand, but luckily I realized that I was still about 25 yards out. It was just shallow. I turned on the afterburners and hit the beach. I ran all the way into transition before I remembered that I was wearing a wetsuit…

Official swim time: 20:54

dam-tri-swim
(either there was no photog again or else pictures were not posted by the time I wrote this post…)

Transition One – Swim to Bike
As I ran into T1 I started pulling my wetsuit off. I got it stripped down to my feet and couldn’t step out of them so I had to take a few precious extra minutes to bend over and pull them off of my feet. I forgot to mention that it was pretty chilly on race morning. I was feeling a bit on the nipply side. I am not actually prepared for racing in colder weather. Luckily Jason had an extra pair of arm warmers and so I left those in transition just in case I wanted them when I got out of the water. Well I wanted them when I got out of the water. I threw on my helmet and put my sunglasses on, which I immediately took off because they were dewey with the fog of morning. I hooked them on the collar of my suit and grabbed up the arm warmers which I had left rolled up like a stretch fabric prophylactic. I rolled them on and stepped into my shoes. Yes, that is right. I DID NOT clip my shoes in this time. I will explain why in a minute. I grabbed the Mad One and out of transition I went. I was surprised when I saw my T1 time because I thought it was A LOT longer…

Official T1 Time: 1:48

Bike – 21 Miles – Double Loop Across the Top of the Dam
The reason that I did not clip my shoes in was because of the immense hill that was right out side of the transition shoot. Basically you leave the shoot and pull right into a 200 yard, 45 degree double hump hill to get up to the street level. Jason and I had discussed while warming up that morning that there was not enough distance before starting the climb to trust getting our feet into our shoes if we left them clipped in. I jumped on my bike outside of the shoot and then clipped in and started pedaling. I had also left my bike in the small chain ring and a good gear to climb so I pretty much had a smooth start albeit a slow one. I got my bike refit earlier that week and I also got my new stealth ninja racing wheels trued up, so I was feeling super strong. I tore into a Honey Stinger waffle and downed a big guzzle of Roctane drink and laid down some rubber. And then the up hills hit me. And then the down hills came and that went back and forth a few times. I am getting better at hills, but my quads were barking and I suddenly realized that hills plus dehydration are what had caused my quads to lock up at Greenwood. There was nothing that I could do about the hills, so I just kept drinking. The loop carried us South away from the dam for several miles and then turned us back North to ride towards and over the dam and then loop back again. When I got to the top of the dam heading South again,  it was just amazing. It is by far the best race view I have had. I was able to really open up on the top of the dam and was pumping about a 21 mph avg on top with the tail wind. And then I did it all over again. I never felt bad on the bike. As a matter of fact, besides burning quads, I felt great. I was very slow in some of the climbs, but I tried to make up for that on the down hills. I made it back to the dam and had that same nice tailwind carry me back into transition.  I jumped off of the bike and ran in and was 2/3 done.

Official Bike Time: 1:11:24

dam-tri-bike

Transition Two – Bike to Run
There really is nothing too exciting about this transition. I dumped my helmet and bike. I threw on my new Saucony Guide 6 running shoes. Grabbed my Chucktown Triathletes visor and race belt. Took a long swig off of a bottle of Skratch labs and ran out. It was one of my best T2 transitions.

Official T2 Time: 00:54

Run – 7K (4.3 miles) – Across the Dam Walking Path and Back
So let me start by saying that even though this was supposed to be a 7k run it was slightly less than 4 miles. Also let me say that I mentioned that this race carried more weight in the SC Triathlon series than any other race for a reason. I have been sort of chasing a podium spot in the series all year. My goal was to pick up the bronze medal in the over-all series, but there is another guy who has had the same plans. I have talked in other posts about how great the competition has been this year in the Clydesdale division. Well my main competition in the series was racing this race as well. I knew that I could beat him out of the water and I also knew that I could most likely beat his bike time, but he has consistently caught up to me on the run in several races now.  It would be absolutely infuriating if he wasn’t such a cool guy otherwise. Well I knew that he was having a rough day, but I didn’t quite know how bad until I was about a mile into the run. I was chugging away at about a 9:30 pace, which is really my top sustainable speed over short distance right now. As I was pushing on down the road, I saw who I will refer to as JMic go by on his bike towards transition. I could tell at that point that if I held a strong pace over the four miles, that I would beat him in this race. It lit a fire under me…that started to fade at about mile two.  I hit the turn around and started back at a much slower pace than I had started. I just couldn’t seem to get my legs moving any faster. I have been working on quickening my foot turnover vs. lengthening my stride and so I started to try and put all of my training into practice.  And then I saw JMic coming towards me. I was far enough ahead that, once again, all I would have to do is keep a strong steady pace and I would stay ahead. I know that he has a better run than me and I know that he could have hunted me down if I had faded. So I didn’t. I dug as deep as I could and I just kept going.  My quads were on fire and I was getting to the mental point where I thought I would drop, but I just kept going. And then I could see the turn that would take me towards the finish shoot. I could hear someone coming up behind me and I just prayed that JMic hadn’t hunted me down. But it wasn’t him. I could then hear Pearce and Jason yelling at me. They were barking at me to pick it up and not to lose it at the very end. I turned on the reserve burner and held a 7:40 pace over the last two minutes. I tore through the finish and was never as close to throwing up from any race as I was at that moment.

Official Run Time: 38:52

dam-tri-run

Official Dam Sprinternational Triathlon Time: 2:13:50

I knew that if I had beat JMic to the line that I must have hit the podium in that race. Which is exactly what happened. I consider this my first legit podium (as opposed to being 3rd in a field of three.)

dam-tri-podium

Winner, winner, pimento cheese burger dinner.

I ran so hard that I didn’t even notice until after the race was over that I had bled all over the backs of my brand new shoes.

dam-tri-bloody-shoes

Triathlete problems, right?

So hear is the crazy news. (I doubt you have even read this far, so if you have leave a comment telling me what I should use to get the blood off my shoes…)

Crazy news: After this race I am about 390 points out of third place in the SC Triathlon series. That means I need to do the last race on October 12 in Hilton Head. That means that my season is not quite over… Can you handle it?

I hope so.

Peace. Love. Dam it.
(Sorry)

 

 

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