The trip from home to Oak Mountain State Park on Thursday took quite a while pulling my camper. Not to mention my rumbling tummy and the smaller gas tank in my Tacoma made me have to stop a few times. Once I finally arrived, all I could think about was getting on my bike to get some practice in that afternoon and then the next morning before the race on Saturday. Come race day I felt that I knew the trails plenty to get myself a decently fast bike and run split- it was just the menacing swim standing in my way.
The calm before the storm
Four bikes in a row and three are from Charlotte.
The LOUD cannon blasted and I was off into the water. After practicing a little bit of a different stroke Friday morning, I felt that I was off to a great start until I felt a shooting cramp in my left calf. The pain was sharp and fierce and I thought I was going down. The last thing that I ever want to do is have to call for help during the swim, but it sure was tempting with a left leg that didn’t want to move. I rolled over and began to swim on my back with one arm as I tried to work out the knot with my other. After a few seconds of doing so the pain subsided to dull and I got back to my crooked swimming. During the first lap of the swim another athlete decided that he wanted to swim right over top of me to pass, lets just say that didn’t work out for him so well… Finally I was able to get out of the water and onto my bike. I felt that I was flying the first few miles from transition to the Red Road trail. I was passing people left and right while ringing my little bell to death, I almost had to give it some of my nutrition just to keep it from quitting on me. Once I reached the Red Road, it was time for me to get up and go. I kept passing people on both sides of the road until I felt another cramp in my right leg. Thankfully it came down to be subtle rather quickly, but it was still quite aggravating having two cramping legs. I finally came to my favorite section of the course, the “infamous” blood rock. Flying into the start of it, I saw two racers who decided they wanted to walk it. I hit my little bell as hard as possible over and over to get them to move, but for some reason they just didn’t think they should. I came to a complete stop while still on my bike yelling “move out of my way” until they finally did so that I could drop down the roots and rock section. The rest of the bike was fast and my transition to running shoes was decent. I took lot of GU gel and drink mix with me on the run to help with how hot and humid it was. I finished the race with a smile on my face and an even more passion for the off-road triathlons.
First in 20-24 age group. 6 were registered, 4 started the race but only 2 finished.
Result: 1st age group – 41st overall
Nutrition: Roctane Electrolyte capsules, Strawberry Energy chews, Lemon Lime Roctane drink mix, Strawberry-Banana GU gel, Roctane Blueberry Pomegranate gel with energy flask
What I learned: Whenever you are racing in a very humid and hot atmosphere, make sure that you take in plenty of water and electrolytes before the race. I had not quite prepared for the extra humidity and heat.
Sunday Marcus Barton and I decided that we would try and double dip on the weekend races by competing in the trail run 10K also. In my head it seemed like such a fun idea but once I had checked the blisters on my feet and accounted for the amount of pain and stress my legs went through the day before, it might not have been the smartest idea we have ever had. Either way I spent the morning foam rolling as many knots out of my body that I could, taking in plenty of fluids and warming up for what I had imaged was going to be one painful run. Once the race started the pain in my legs subsided and me, Marcus and two others were pulling away from the rest of the pack before even hitting the woods. As the trails went on, Marcus and one other racer were slowly pulling away from me. I later caught the second racer but then he pulled away within the last mile of the finish. It was an awesome experience racing two days in a row but boy did I pay for it on Monday between blisters and overall fatigue.
What I learned: Believe the running store when they tell you that you have put too many miles on your running shoes. I ended up with a blister on the bottom of my foot the size of two silver dollars and a few smaller ones on my toes. Thankfully I just picked up some new ones this week that I can’t wait to test out.