Tri The Lake

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Sunday was the inaugural Tri the Lake Triathlon in Heber Springs, Arkansas. After not getting to race in the CATS Triathlon last month due to hurricane issues Lisa and I hoped to get this one in. Check Lisa’s Blog for her race story.

I did my normal training regiment for this race. You know, long stuff on weekends and next to nothing during the week. Now this type of training kind of worked for this race since it is a bit later in the season and I had recently competed in an adventure race and an odd ball triathlon but I was still a bit unsure of my abilities as this one got close. The race was in Heber Springs on the eastern side of Greers Ferry Lake, a beautiful part of the state that I don’t visit enough, mainly because there are no state parks near there. I do have plans for a kayak/hiking outing there in the near future.

The race start was about an hour and a half from home so we decided to get up early instead of staying up there. Since the race started at 7:30 and we would have to check in, set up our transitions and get our bodies marked (numbers so they can track us as we go through various checkpoints in the race), we had to get up at about 4:20 am. Yes, A.M. So we got up, loaded up and ate bananas on the way. It wasn’t as bad a drive as we thought it might be.

It was still dark when we pulled into the parking lot. The temp was in the mid-50’s so we stayed dressed as long as we could. After getting everything set up with numerous trips back to the car for stuff we forgot we were ready to go. My wave would be leaving about 4 minutes ahead of the girls and teams. I waded out into the middle of the pack. Mistake! The gun goes off and I’m in the middle of the washing machine. I was under confident, I should have grabbed a place on the front line. So I spend the first couple of minutes worrying as much about getting kicked in the face as moving. This was a 500yd race and should be pretty much of a sprint for me. As we got around the second bouy I got in a good rhythm and was siting the turns well so I took off. I never felt like I was hurting during the swim and as I got out I had no problem running for the transition. I even passed a big Navy Seal looking dude. Felt good, I’m looking forward to seeing my split on this. I came in up in the front.

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So I’m not a bad cyclist. Bike riding is one of my favorite activities and during adventure races I think of my team as always being a mountain biking team. The road is a bit different for me. I’m strong but after coming out of the water near the front of the pack it was now time for the real cyclists to take over. And they did. It sucks to get passed a lot right out of the gate but I knew it would happen. Still, once I was into the ride a couple of miles I was feeling pretty good. the ride was only 13.5 miles so it shouldn’t have been much for me but then we cam to the hill. This sucker was just before the turnaround of the out and back course went straight up. Lucky for me I was still close enough to the front that it wasn’t real crowded so I was able to push on through without getting off the bike. I’m really glad that I had my new bike with the three rings instead of the two of my old bike. Hello granny gear! Anyway I got caught by the fastest women in the race near the top of the hill and the leaders went by me right about then which meant I wasn’t far off. I kept pushing and came around the turn. heading down the hill I saw Lisa coming up the hill. She was grinning from ear to ear. She didn’t drown.

A bit more riding and I was back into the transition. I held my own on the bike which I normally do but next would be the test. The run.

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I came out of the transition with the normal rubber leg but it went away quickly. I’m not a fast runner in any way. I did want to complete the run without any walking. I had never done a triathlon without walking some of the run. I hate it when I can hear people coming up behind me on the run and there’s nothing I can do about it. I got passed by a guy in my age group but he stayed with another guy in my group in front of me. Two birds, one stone, I moved ahead to pass and never saw them again. I got passed by some others but kept moving forward. I’ve started carrying my own water on the runs and it is really helping. A lot of times when I use the watering stations I have to stop and walk to actually get some water from the cup to my mouth. Now I just run by and take a drink from my bottle whenever I pass one. It works for me.

I came around the last turn for the run and tried to pick up the pace a bit as I headed for the finish. I saw the clock 1:39:55. I gave the last few yards everything I had to beat 1:40 but missed it by a couple of seconds. Oh well, I tried hard and could feel it. No walking on the run!

Searcy County Waterfall

I went back up the road a little bit and waited for Lisa. As she came by I yelled for her to finish this thing so we could go home (something she has always said to me as I was struggling to finish a triathlon, who am I to break tradition) she said something to me that I won’t repeat here but finished strong.

It was a good race for me. The drive home was hard. Tired from lack of sleep and overexertion I was ready to be lazy the rest of the day. I did suck it up enough for walking the dogs as it was getting dark last night. I slept well. I can’t wait to see the splits.

Arkansas Cycling & Fitness.

One Response

  1. You know the first thing I thought when I saw your notes – “HEY, I can do that one!” At least I think I could… maybe by next summer anyway. Let me know if something like this comes up again and if it’s in between soccer seasons I might join you for one. Of course that means I’d actually have get a bike…

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