I did the White Lake International Triathlon on September 06, 2014. White lake is the Mecca of triathlon racing in North Carolina. It’s set in a beautiful crystal clear lake on the east coast of the state. The lakes in this area were carved out by a meteorite shower 100,000 years ago. They are a cluster of perfectly oval small fresh water lakes with sandy bottoms. Scenic quaint views and no cell phone signal in this peaceful setting made for a super relaxing weekend.
- Swim 1500m: 30.05, 3rd AG.
- T1: 3:02 , 5th AG
- Bike 28m: 1:21:18, 20.6 mph, 2nd AG. (and the 1st one was an elite athlete)
- T2: 3:33, 9th AG
- Run 10k: 1:06:38, 5th AG.
- Overall: 3:09:34, 4th AG
Heart Rate data:
Bike: 154 avg / 162 max
Run: 157 avg / 168 max
I’m super pleased with this result. This was my first open water race after my bike crash, and first serious swim. I am really happy to see 3rd rank there, as I didn’t know if my swimming was up to par, but I think it is. I still have bike legs, which is always nice to see. Last time I did this race, I did not have such good bike legs that day. My transition times need work and my run needs work too. Fourth place is really great and I’m happy with it.
I rented a cabin on the FFA center grounds, which is right on the race site. I had packed up my car Friday morning before work, then got out of work a little early to beat the Friday night traffic.
I got there in plenty of time to check in my cabin, pick up my packet, put my stickers on my bike and stuff…also do a quick bike check ride around the lake, swim with my friend, Renee, and then eat my Spaghetti dinner. This was Renee’s first open water swim event, and she was stoked!
It was really perfect, and so relaxing to be right on race site and not have to wake up at o dark thirty to get there. Another friend Delia also came and spent the night in the cabin. I didn’t get a picture of her
At 5 am or some ungodly hour, they turned on bright lights that shone right into the cabin, and started blaring over the loud speakers. I guess we didn’t really need an alarm clock! lol.
I got up and made a pot of coffee and puttered around at a leisurly pace until the sun came out. Then I started gathering up my gear and headed over for body marking, chip pickup and transition.
Here is my transition all set up:
And here I am putting on my game face.
After getting all set up, I had a bit of time to kill, so I did some yoga stretches and a few running sprints in the soft sandy vollyball courts. I ate a Honey Stinger waffle. I usually have Gu here, but had packed myself short, so opted for the waffle. Hope that would be okay!
Then I jogged over to catch Renee’s swim start. She’s in this picture somewhere:
Then I jogged back to put my camera phone in the cabin, grab my cap and goggles, ate a Gu Roctane, drank some water, went potty one last time and head to my own wave start.
The water temperature was 79 degrees, so no wetsuits allowed. I positioned myself to the right 3 spots back in the pack of pink cap clad females. I was right behind a friend named Kari, who is an excellent swimmer (and biker and runner!) The horn went off and we started swimming. I tried to stay on Kari’s heels, to no avail. She is just too fast. Most of the pink caps got away from me so I just plugged along on my own without any heels to follow. I felt like I kept a solid line and was swimming well. But it bothered me that I fell behind all the pink caps.
At the turn, the water got a wee bit choppy so it was harder to swim. Nothing too bad, but it was harder to keep a good rhythm in my stroke. The honey stinger waffle I had eaten an hour earlier was not feeling good in my stomach. (Note to self, stick with Gu!!!)
The next turn started back toward shore, and I could see the wonderful sight of the inflatable arm waving orange wiggly man. He was still about 500 meters away, but it’s always great to see him and know you are in the home stretch. The water got calmer again and I swam a nice steady pace in. The final few yards, I pushed the pace so I got to the ladder first. Hate waiting in line to climb out, and I did not have to.
I had chosen not to wear a watch during the swim, so had no clue what my time was at this point.
I started my Garmin watch and stuffed it in my bra. I wanted the data, but I didn’t want to see the data while racing, as I feel that I race better when my mind is free to simply focus on what my body is doing and trying to make it go as fast as possible and still have good form. That really works for me.
I put on socks for the bike, donned helmet, shades, and headed off to the bike course. I passed a guy in the transition zone as I haded out for the road, planning to do my flying mount, which I had practiced. But, I chickened out on the flying mount at the last minute and took too long there. And I felt bad for passing that guy since maybe I impeded him from getting out there quicker. Oh well, need to practice that move more and more!
This bike course is flat and fast. And I am good at flat and fast. So, that is what I did the whole time. Focused on my shark-like fast riding, passing everyone I spotted. Nobody passed me. It was great fun.
I tried to go hard the entire time, my breathing was a bit hard, but I tried to keep it just under the level I had pushed at Three Pigs race, since that race was so much shorter.
At about the 25 mile mark, a couple guys passed me, who I had thought I may have passed earlier. I thought, oh crap, I hope I am not slowing down. Maybe they were in the novice or relay group? As I rode three bike lengths behind them for a while, it felt too easy. But I wasn’t sure. And I was worried I was now going too slow. So, I pulled my watch out of my bra to see what my speed was. It was around 19 mph. I figured that was a solid pace, so I stayed there. There were only a few more miles to go.
Nearing the final stretch, there was a truck up ahead that had slowed down because of riders. There was one rider right behind the truck and another rider just up ahead of me. I hammered to pass him. I thought, if an opportunity to pass the truck comes along, I want to be second in line for that, not third in line. That was probably a douchey move, but this is a race, and, well, I am kind of a bitch out there on the bike course. (sorry!)
Sure enough, an opportunity to get past that truck did come up shortly. There was a very wide section of shoulder, and me plus guy in front of me took the advantage to get in front of that truck. I don’t know if the guy behind followed or not. Hope he did.
Final stretch in and it was onto the run! I did not do my flying dismount either. I wimped out of that too! Bahh!
Since it was really hot (This race is not called White Bake for nothing!), I figured I’d be dumping water over my head alot, and my feet would get wet. So, I decided to swap out my socks with my injinji toe socks. I had laid them out just in case when setting up, and opted to take the time to put them on now. I get horrid painful blisters between my toes on long runs, and I thought maybe it would be worth the 30+ seconds to protect myself from that, so I could focus on running . The hope being I would not slow down due to the pain. That bad thing, is that since I decided to do that, I kind of slowed down entirely during transition…to put on my hat, race belt, and walk to the water table, etc. Things I normally would do on the run, but just got lazy. That was a mistake. I think the socks may have been a good call, but I need to remember to always always keep moving fast, EVEN if doing extra things.
Once I headed out on the run course, I started running at a relaxed pace until I got my running legs. They always feel a bit stiff for a few minutes. Then I picked it up and ran a solid hard effort. I was breathing hard, focusing on upright posture, good foot landing, fast feet.
It was really hot and the sun was beating down. I got to the first aid station, and grabbed an ice soaked towel, and wrapped it around my neck, tucking it into my bra straps. It felt really good. I also dumped some water over my head.
I had my own palm style water bottle filled with water plus a tablet of NuuN, so sipped on that as I ran. It was very hard to focus on a hard effort, good form, but I kept chanting stuff in my head to keep myself motivated. Fast feet, good groove, groovy fast. Just random silly stuff. Whatever it takes.
At about maybe the 2 mile marker, I saw Kari coming back. I shouted out some words of encouragement to her, and asked if she was in the lead. When she said “No”, I was like crap, really? She nearly always is 1st in my age group. Who else was here today that could beat her, I wondered. This put me in no better than 3rd place. I did not let that bug me tho. I kept on my solid effort because I wanted to perform my best no matter what.
A little bit later, a woman with 51 on her leg passed me. Double crap. That puts me in 4th or worse. I tried to match her pace, but could not, she was running too fast.
Again, I did not let this bother me. I am not in the same shape I was 5 years ago, when I was making the podium nearly every race. I can’t let those silly awards stop me from trying my best. Each and every time.
This was what was in filling my thoughts as I continued to chant “fast feet, running groove, groovy feet” – in my head – all the way to the finish line. Looking at my garmin run splits, I kept a fairly steady 11 minute mile throughout, so I did stay focused and did not slow down.
After the race, I ran straight to the water and waded in to cool down. The water felt good, but not cold enough to really feel refreshing. I stayed there for a very long time to try and cool my body down. I chatted with a few folks and we exchanged race stories.
I finally got out of the water, and headed to the food tent for water, orange slices, brownies, pizza, diet pepsi, etcetera!!! I chatted with lots of past race buddies, as well as met some new folks.
Later That Day:
I had rented the cabin for the whole weekend, and hung around the race site just relaxing and doing nothing. Here I am relaxing the deck, enjoying the pristine views of White Lake.
Here are nutrition notes for future reference:
- Day before – can’t remember! I did drink G2 several days before to pre-load my electrolytes.
- Morning of – 2 cups of coffee with muscle milk and cup of oatmeal with cranberries, about 3 hours before. I ate just past satiation.
- Before Swim – Honey Stinger waffle 45 minutes before and than a Gu 10 minutes before start.
- Bike – Gu Roctane at the 5 mile marker . 20 ounce water with 1 tablet Nuun. Plus another 2o ounce bottle with 1 nuun. I had planned on taking another Gu at the 20 mile marker, but had run out of water, so skipped it.
- Run – Gu Roctane at the very start and another at the 4 mile marker. Carried my palm holder water bottle which had 1 nuun in it. I had to fill it once at an aid station. (Super hot day)
Gu Roctane Rocks!