Instead of doing what I normally do which is a long diatribe of the race, I have decided this time to put my thoughts into bullet form.
• Was able to bike the entire course 1 time this summer -- very helpful!
• Injured my right leg running (6 weeks before the race) and couldn't do a run longer than 4 miles since
• Attempted to practice the wall 3 separate time this summer -- never made it
• 2 weeks before the race, I broke my front wheel, and didn't receive the replacement until 2 days before the race. So, this race was my first ride on new wheels.
• During my last wall practice attempt, I fell and broke my right bike shoe, such that I could tighten it, but not loosen it.
• Caught a 48 hour cold 24 hours before the race. This was heinous!
• Was talked into hiking with the kids and buddy the day before...not prudent given the cold and the day to come.
• Slept very little (1 or 2 hours) both the 2 nights before the race due to post nasal drip and sneezing and feeling generally miserable.
• Had breakfast 3 hours before consisting of oatmeal, bagels, a banana and coffee
• Arrived 1.5 hours before the start, had body marked (thanks Linda), set up transition, pumped tires, talked with some club members
• Was in last wave, 21 minutes after the start. Water was was 64 degrees, cool but not as bad as I feared. Wore my wetsuit. Did my ritual wetsuit warming technique a few mins before the start ;)
• As soon as I started swimming, my right goggle flooded, so I had to stop and fix. Never got them perfectly adjusted, but was able to go on with difficulty
• The sun came out of the clouds and made sighting virtually impossible for the first stretch. Just swam towards other people.
• Actually felt good during the swim at times and was able to breathe which I was worded about due to the cold.
• Came out feeling good given my time which is good for me, despite the problems.
• Decided to completely change in T1, using a towel to cover. Never did this before and it isn't as easy as you might think
• Didn't think I was going this slow, but getting the wet stuff off and putting on dry (including compression socks) takes a while. T1 of 12:58 (ouch!)
• The race director advised dressing warmly at the beginning as the first 18 miles are mainly downhill and then removing clothes at a clothes drop area, so that is what I did
• Felt ok at start, but had to eject tons of snot rockets throughout (yuck)
• Was able to enjoy the long descent into Westernport -- it is spectacular
• Had a Gu 5 minutes prior to arriving at the wall.
• Stopped at aid station at the start of the wall climb and dropped of warm clothes. Had a second Gu in hope to get a big surge of energy.
• Saw Tim CB start his wall run, and yelled out encouragement to him
• After a minute or two, the coast was clear and I was able to make my run without anyone near me, so less fear of another person falling in front of me
• Went up easier through the first 3 sections without much to do. Got to the base of the wall and gunned it.
• It was my best effort and I thought I had it. Was so close and yet so far. Hit a rut in the ground and just went over hard on my right side, and got a big bruise on my right hip and a nice scrape on my right elbow. Thanks to Bob, Sadj, Linda and others cheering for me. I thought about those last 10 or so meters I was short for most of the rest of the ride.
• I had to quickly scoot out of the way as someone was just behind me coming up.
• I walked up the grass the tiny bit up and then was on my way again.
• A short while later I passed Tim as he was having severe cramps. I was worried about him but he said he would be ok and I continued the long climb up Big Savage Mountain.
• Stomach wasn't great for a lot of the ride -- gassy feeling, but I didn't take my tums with me on the bike, so I was SOL
• I had a pretty nice ride the rest of the way. Was able to get up all the rest of the climbs including the Killer Miller without stopping/crashing, etc. Felt good about that. I saw many people walking and cramping.
• Tried to eat but didn't consume as many calories as I normally do in a ride. Tried to listen to my body.
• Since the water at the rest areas was warm, I stopped at a spot in New Germany State Park that my buddy Andrew showed me where there was fresh cold water and filled up my water bottles. That was sweet! Thanks Andrew!
• Overall I liked my new wheels. Felt good and stable. Reached my fastest ever speed at 40.6 mph.
• Towards the last 10 miles my hamstrings started to tighten up and cramp, so I had to get out of the saddle more than normal to make sure they didn't lock up.
• Had a relatively good T2. Completely changed clothes again. Saw Bob R. who said he would tell my family I made it in ok.
• Was just hoping to run several miles before my leg injury stopped me
• The run is brutal as well, as it is most definitely not flat, and there is a long section up a hard rocky trail!
• I was able to maintain an ok pace around 10 mpm for the first loop, which given my (lack) of training wasn't bad
• Had pretzels and coke at the aid stations. Also consumed 2 electrolyte tabs and some water.
• My injury caught up to me right around mile 9. I was forced into a walk.
• I kept checking the time and trying to compute my time needed to finish by the 5pm "deadline". They ended up not enforcing that, but I didn't know.
• To make sure I met the deadline I interspersed some very painful and awkward running to pick up the pace.
• Was very concerned that I hadn't seen my friend Andrew at all, but I hoped he was still going
• Finally made it in, hobbling, and my daughter ran with me through the finish line. Made it in about 5 minutes to 5pm. LIke I said, I thought this would be enforced, but unlike IM, they are a little more flexible.
• After a few congratulations, I took my recovery drink and went back into the lake to soak my legs in the cool lake water with Bill.
• Was happy to see CB come in, and couldn't believe he was in an accident and flatted.
• My friend Andrew (also his first Tri) finally finished 45 minutes later. He was the very last one out of the lake and barely made it in time. He finished (and got a brick)!
• My body was still freaked out about the effort I made it do being sick, so I got cold quickly and had trouble maintaining my body temp.
• Had a post race massage which helped, then packed up the car and my sick, stiff, sore, sleepy body was driven home.
• It lives up to the hype. Not as long as an Ironman, but the intensity level is as hard if not harder for the bike and run. Triathlete magazine was right on saying that pound for pound, this is *the* toughest triathlon on Earth.
• I feel grateful to have finished given all the obstacles I had to overcome (mechanical issues, health issue, injury issues, etc.)
• Although I am sad I didn't get the brick as I was so close, I did give it my best effort. I think about it often (getting so close up that wall and not getting it). I have gone from thinking I won't do this race again, to maybe, to probably will do it next year. Might require a change of gear on the bike, but I will get up that wall!
• To anyone else who has tried and didn't make it up the wall, don't feel like an outcast. There are plenty of us out there, and not everyone makes it. All the training for it and preparation is good, but there are other factors that will effect getting up (weather, accidents, tire hitting a rut at the wrong time, etc.)
• It was so great to have a lot of support out there from friends, family and tri club members. Thanks to everyone!