Race three in the series is the first team race for those doing it with a partner (I did it solo this year). They do a time trial bike start with partners going together. The weather was HOT for the start. About 90 degrees with equal humidity. I am a really late seed and all of us late starters thought we were going to wilt waiting in the sun for our chance to go. I was so tired from the first race that I'm pretty sure that I could have rolled up on the concrete and taken a nap right there. I knew I was dehydrated but my gut was pretty shut down from the morning. I drank what I could and we were finally off, around 3:20.
Pic from the start
The beginning of the ride was TOUGH. For those of you who ride, for race 3 you feel like you stopped at mile 90 of a century ride for about an hour and have to get back on the bike. The legs are just so stiff. And contrary to how I remembered this race, it's really really hard! I think it helped that I had Tony to draft off last year. Doing race 3 solo is almost as tough as race 2. The key hill in this race is a 1.3 mile climb that is a consistent 8-10% grade. It's almost exactly the grade of Old Mill Westbound for those of you in Cleveland. I was seriously melting but got a great second wind on the way back and was finally THIRSTY! That is always such a good sign after going through a gut shut-down. There was hope for this race yet!
Coming back into T1
Putting a wetsuit on a hot sweaty body really blows. I bring my old sleeveless for the job, but it was still tough. One of the race organizers was nice enough to come over and help me get it on. HFP is awesome. I will say more of that in the next post, but these guys are top notch.
And off to the lake!
By the looks of it, I was one of the only ones delighted to go in the water. I love to swim and it was ungodly hot. Getting in that lake was such a breath of fresh air. I swam nice and easy and just enjoyed every second of it. It was a great break to cool down the core body temp. I felt so good when I got out that I had to let my mom know, who was on the side taking pics:
When I started this run I knew that if I made it the same sufferfest of the morning it would be a very long day tomorrow. So my plan was to Ironman race pace the uphill section and if I felt ok, I would Oly pace the last half, which is downhill. It worked so well! I got such a runner's high on the way back to the finish line. There was about a mile where I was just so happy I was beaming. The finish line looked so good!
Coming into the finish:
Unlike the first race, where I couldn't speak and had to find a chair immediately (this is pretty typical, unfortunately), I felt awesome after this race. I had anticipated my knee to give me a ton of problems this weekend and truthfully thought I would be limping by now. But it has (knock on wood) been remarkably good to me.
Tomorrow will be a very tough day. Everyone will wake up really sore and wonder why on earth they signed up for this. Getting on the bike is brutal. The half iron course is hellish. But if all goes well, finishing is absolutely priceless.
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