I’m not sure why, but when I was younger I tried to avoid sounding Southern. I was born and raised in Stone Mountain, GA which you might think would lead me toward the stylings of Rhett Butler, although he was from Charleston and should also not to be confused with the former Atlanta Brave Brett Butler. It would seem that I’ve succeeded in having a neutral accent, at least according to this test.
Today was the annual Possum Trot, benefiting the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Here are the results.
My gun time was 52:33. Actual time was more like 52:13, but what’s 20 seconds between friends?? I’ll tell you. My 10k PR was set in January under much cooler conditions, when I actually got a good night’s sleep (3 in a row, actually). It was 51:20. I think I could’ve matched it if the dogs weren’t up every 2 hours last night. Oh well. I’ve at least got my qualifying time for next year’s Peachtree.
I run these things to gauge my progress in terms of fitness. On this same course last year, under similar weather conditions, I ran it in 58 minutes flat. So today’s performance was a 5 and 1/2 minute improvement. That is progress, my friends. I was also 29th out of 71 in my age group. My goal was to be in the top 1/3 of my age group and I only missed that by a minute!
Overall I am very pleased with my finish time and only wish that at least one of the usual suspects had been around to run the event with me. That’s right – I flew solo on this one. Don’t get me wrong – competing in road races and triathlons is a solo effort. But you get used to the comraderie of training and racing that you realize what all those people mean when none of them are around!!!
On another note, my Peachtree number and timing chip arrived today! Look for me in time group 1-B.
Sports Pickle ran a satirical article about a guy who got bloody nipples while running his first marathon. I’ve sawed off my nipples a few times with a variety of shirts while running and biking. Running specialty shops sell a product called “Nipple guards” that work absolutely fantastically. Band-aids also work, but the glue on them is not as strong as I’ve found the nipple guards’ glue to be.
Showering with bloody nipples is quite painful. Salt gets crusted on your body and when you shower it gets washed into the wound. This can be more excrutiating than the event itself. Sunday I learned that blisters on your feet can be much the same. When I took my sock off, the skin peeled up, exposing raw skin. When I jumped in the shower, all the salt that crusted on my over 7 hours washed down my leg, and into the blister. It was pouring salt straight in. OUCH.
So, the morals of this story are:
1) Guys need to wear protection over their nipples to protect them from being sawed off.
2) Use a product like body glide to protect other friction points (where the arms rub, where your shoulder rubs your neck while swimming, etc)
3) Re-apply either of these treatments if the previous one wears off.
4) After your event, you might was to try sponging off the excess salt before jumping in the shower. This might help reduce your pain.
And one last tip – don’t ever use someone else’s body glide stick. There are a couple of friction points that are just a little toooooo personal and private!!!
I’ve heard people amazed with the hills on the 1/2 ironman course in Macon. Same at the Emerald Point Triathlon last year. At the same time, I read people listing favorite training places as being the Silver Comet Trail, spin class, or some greenway somewhere. Those places are fine – but at some point you need to get out on roads with some elevation change.
Here I am at the top of Fort Mountain after climbing roughly 2500 feet over 7 miles. It started at around mile 17. That’s roughly the amount of elevation change over the 56 mile 1/2 ironman course in Macon this weekend. We rode roughly another 25 miles after taking this picture.
Don’t get me wrong – my time wasn’t the fastest you’ve ever seen in Macon – but I felt great at the end of the ride! And that is the bike I rode, no time trial setup for me. Training days like the one pictured here are my secret. Now you know.
Today I completed my first 1/2 iron distance event. That’s a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run – all in succession. My overall finish time was 7 hours 7 minutes and 39 seconds (male results female results). Here are my splits:
Saturday started off uneventfully. I left home around 1pm for the 2 hour drive to Macon. About 15 minutes North of Macon, it started raining. It did not stop raining until 5:45 am Sunday morning. This wouldn’t be that big of a deal except that half iron athletes were required to rack their bikes in transition by 7pm on Saturday. So my bike sat in the rain for roughly 13 hours. I picked up my race packet, attended the pre-race meeting, scoped out the swim course, and headed for Carraba’s for some carbs.
Overnight I did not sleep well. I guess my body was actually pretty well rested. Heck – I’m sitting here writing this after a 3 hour nap and my eyes are wide open. I assumed the on again, off again sleep Saturday night was due to my obsessing over the weather conditions. There was only a 30 percent chance of rain, and that equated to occassional downpours and a constant rain for 14 straight hours. If race day turned out this way it would’ve been miserable.
I arrived at the race site around 5:45 am this morning. After a quick jaunt to the port-a-johns I aired up my wheels and lubed up the drive train. I methodically laid out my cycling and running stuff in transition so that I wouldn’t have to think about what I needed on each when I got in there, I could just grab and go. If you call a 6 minute transition grabbing and going, that is. 7:15 arrived before I knew it and it was time to get out of the transition zone to avoid a 4 minute penalty.
The event was a little late starting. Presumably the late break in the weather did not give them ample time to set the turn buoys. The swim course was triangular. You were to swim out roughly 620 meters and turn right. Swim another 650 meters and turn right. Then swim a final 630 meters back to shore. As I’m watching them put the buoys out, I realize that we’re burning into my water stores and I did not bring a water bottle down to the beach.
Note to self: Take water bottle to beach and sip all the way up to race start
My wave starts and I go out a little too fast. It wasn’t too bad and is a fairly common occurrence. After about 600 meters I settled in and life was good. All except for the calf cramp in the final 400 meters. I pulled up and started doing breast stroke just to figure out my options. USAT rules say you can hang on to anything non-motorized that isn’t moving. So, I could’ve held on to a canoe for a few seconds to gather my bearings and alleviate the cramp. As it turns out, that was unnecessary. A few minutes of breast stroke and I was under way towards the finish. You’re already in a hydration deficit coming out of the water, but I knew I was beyond normal and would have to immediately work on it.
Once in the transition area, I grabbed a spare bottle of water and drank roughly 2/3 of it. I dried my feet off, put on my socks and strapped on my Shimano cycling shoes. Gloves, sunglasses and Gu packets were all in my helmet. I headed out to the mount line and hopped on for a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
The weather started getting rough, the tiny bike was tossed. Ok, ok… enough Gilligan’s Island. If you had told me I’d be in a headwind for 3 hours on a LOOP course I would’ve said you were crazy. But the swirling winds the low pressure system known and tropical storm Barry put off gave me just that. I averaged 17 mph on the bike, which I was pretty happy with. My goal was to not blow up. There was a lot of elevation change on the course. At least 2500 feet according to rudimentary GPS mapping. I’m happy with my time – it was roughly 8 minutes slower than I planned but I didn’t plan on the wind.
Back in transition, I changed socks, shoes, donned a hat for running and took in more fluids. A couple of my friends were in there and said I was looking really good. I was feeling really good and was totally happy to see them. I came in shouting out the Kramerism “Who wants to have some fun??!!”. They had done the sprint and I was looking to see if either wanted to go run a bit of a half marathon with me. I had 1 taker and was on my way.
I was able to get my legs under me pretty quick and tried to run between aid stations. That didn’t always work out. It turned out to be a sunny and hot day in Macon on a course with little shade. I love my hat. The cold rags helped bunches too. As did the ice in the gatorade. My nutrition plan worked out as best as possible, taking GU with water every 45 minutes and drinking mostly gatorade endurance other than that. I saw a lot of people doing a slow death march down the lane line on the pavement. Death probably isn’t the best word to invoke there – it was just a mindless movement of one foot in front of the other with the lane line as a guide. You don’t have to be a marathoner to do an 1/2 ironman, but it sure does help.
Around mile 10 I came up behind a guy and checked out his calf (your age is marked on your calf). He was 33. I checked out how he was holding his head and tried to figure out whether he was going to care if I passed him. I knew that once I passed him, I wouldn’t be in last place in my age group, but I couldn’t say the say for him. As it turns out, there were quite of few in our age group behind us, so it didn’t really matter. After the mile 11 aid station, I ran the last two miles (walking through the mile 12 aid station) and I can’t tell you what a thrill that was. There were still a lot of specators in the crowd yelling “go 347 – you’re looking good!” And I was looking good. I still had some in the tank and my run split would’ve been sooooo much better had the blister in my right arch not developed a blister of its own. But all in all it was a beautiful day. I ran through the cheers, crossed the finished line, and got a really cool finisher’s medal.
1 man. 7 hours. 70.3 miles. Anything is possible.