Race started at 7am. I was up at 4am to eat my traditional PB&J (all natural everything, whole wheat bread). Finished packing the car and the cooler and we were on the road late of course, at about 5:30am. I drove the first half of the hour drive as Jer was out like a light. Then we switched places and I really was a Triathlon Mom. Sat in the back with the kids as to not expose myself to the whole world and pumped. I was really stressed about not having enough time to do it because it had to be done. I could not go a whole day with very full breasts. My stress didn't equal a relaxed pumping session and being jostled around in the car doesn't help either, but I finished up just as we pulled into Pineview's parking lot. From there I litteraly ran across a field to get checked in because I had less than 30 minutes before the race started. I hadn't checked in, I hadn't set up, I hadn't used the bathroom, I wasn't even dressed in my race attire. I was totally stressed, Jeremy totally wasn't. He should have been. This is where that list of what I needed where equiptment and transition wise would have been key. I was scrambling to explain everything while running round like a chicken with my head cut off. it's a good thing the pre-race meeting was broadcast loud and i was already familiar with everything course wise so i could set up during. Jer stood in check in line while I waited for the bathroom and went and changed, got marked super fast and smeared sunscreen on. Threw my bike into transition and the wetsuit on and ran to the water. Asked a stranger to bring my wedding ring to the man in the parking lot up there with the white Sienna :) and started about 2 minutes later. Whew!
Just for reference, there were 4 swims, 4 bikes, 4 runs. Swims were 1000 meters, a double out and back, bike lengths varied from 13-41 miles, runs were 6 miles each, also double out and back except for the last run that was a loop.
Swim #1, Pineview - warm water! I totally could have done without the wetsuit temp wise but they were legal and are faster so I just went with it. That swim was choppier and more crowded than I expected and seemed a lot longer than 1000 meters (the story of every swim that day it seemed). We got to get out and slap the finish banner before diving back in for a 2nd loop which is something I've never done but always wanted to.
|Such a beautiful venue. Big smooth sandy beach, green mountains, warm water, ahhhh|
|And we're off!|
|Heading up toward Snowbasin|
|We started in Huntsville|
Run #1, East Canyon - I was looking forward to this first run. I knew it wouldn't be flaming hot yet and it was a good trail. We left the campground and ran maybe 1/4 mile on the road before getting onto a somewhat hilly rocky atv road. It was pretty running along side the lake, and had some shade, but mostly exposed to the sun. The hills were close to walking grade but I don't believe I did. Every run but the last was a double out and back so approaching the turn around I took note of where the lead lady was when we passed. I left my sticker they gave me 1/2 mile into the run on the turn around board (their way of making way sure we did both out and backs, they'd give you another one on the second lap), and headed back. I found the first out and back of every run always seemed way farther than 1.5 out, but at least on the second lap it seemed a little shorter because you knew exactly where you were and where the turn around was. Upon approaching the turnaround again I noted that I had made up ground on the lead lady. Very nice. I was running fast but not too fast, it felt good. Headed back toward transition hot but moving well and ready to jump into the cool water. Made a quick stop in the bathroom building before finishing the run.
I ran sockless in my Altra Lone Peaks because Jer forgot to set socks out and no problems at all. To all those 'I will only run sockless in my .5 ounce triathlon specific shoes' - I ran 6 miles in trail shoes without socks and came away unscathed - take that ;) Ran with 1 bottle of water in my Nathan and forgot to bring my gel flask.
|Waving high to my babies heading out on run #1|
Swim #2, East Canyon - I was excited to get in the water as I was starting to heat up and was curious how it would feel. I mean I'd simulated it in practice, but still. The water temp was great and I pulled my swim suit over my CEP compression tri shorts and sports bra to help reduce drag, worked well. I didn't like the way my sports bra and shorts held water in practice swims. My arms didn't feel as awful as I thought they would, but it did seem to be a long 1000. I did do just a little bit of breaststroke and backstroke, but just for fun to break up the monotony, I was feeling fine. It was peaceful to turn over and see the blue sky and warm sun while backstroking. The water was very dark and I'm guessing shallow, but smooth and without wake at all. Upon finally getting out I made a mess of my white CEP compression sleeves sinking a good 8-12 inches in thick mud.
T4 - Jer had everything ready to go and I suited up, grabbed some pills and was on my way. The one thing they could definitely improve for this venue is parking for the solo support cars. My husband and kids were parked a long ways away from transition when they were they ones that had to bring all my stuff down, teams could carry their own swim bike or run needs individually.
Bike #2, 21 miles - Felt fine heading out of the campground and swim and headed north along the lake. Realized I didn't have a tube with me so yelled out to Jer, he pulled over a bit later and handed me my Pitstop (CO2 and sealant in one) just in case. Then we proceeded up this beastly hill. I mean I'd ridden it twice before, but it was so steep approaching it and it just kept going. It was brutal, I was barely moving at times. I didn't want to seize my calf up or anything. Once finally to the top it was a nice handle-able but fast and fun long 5 miles downhill. Through the little town of Henifer then a long barren boring remaining 10 or so miles before coming to the next lake. I didn't see Jer or the kids at all on this leg and I missed them, but they had to get gas and were worried with how short the leg was they wouldn't make it in time if they stopped. On those last 10 miles to the lake my neck really started hurting, I'm guessing from all the time in aero, but I'd ridden farther than this without issue. Not sure what was up. My butt about had it by then too, but I think I was still in aero most of the time.
|Jer handing off the Pitstop|
Run #2, Echo - This is a flat, fairly smooth, fairly straight wide dirt trail that follows the road and lake and is very exposed. Now I was really feeling the heat. I did ok that first 1.5 miles (finally figured out to put that sticker they give you in my Nathan belt front pocket, no way to keep it sticky with sweaty hands), but was dumping water on myself at the turnaround aid station and drinking more than I probably should have from my bottles. I seemed to be about the same distance from lady #1 approaching the turnaround. The second 1.5 was worse. I lost a bit of ground on her. I was roasting out there and feeling the bonk. I think I had mentioned to Jer in the previous transition that I wanted my Coke and was expecting it when I hit 3 miles before turning around again. He wasn't there (he was actually out in the van along the road trying to find me to hand it off to me, sweet guy) and I melted down a little but only for a second. Did I mention I also forgot my gel flask for the second run in a row? Ugh. It's only 6 miles, but 6 miles as part of 134, gotta keep fueling. Grabbed a Hammer Gel from the aid station which isn't what I was planning but it was smart. Had to get something in me. Headed back out on the death march and looked through my Nathan pocket and happened upon 2 white pills. No idea what they were. But I took them. I'm sure they were probably some kind of electrolyte pill, they were capsules not like pain meds or anything, but I didn't really care, I needed whatever I could get and that would do. It may have helped a little but it was the big picture I was after. I started walking a little bit here and there on this second 3 miles but tried to just keep moving. I always say to myself and others that you can always keep a slow jog going even if you're tired. Heat is a whole other monster I guess, because that just wasn't true for me finishing up this run. I ran in some prototype Altra road shoes for this one.
|Look how low the water level is! This is running south from the North Beach toward the usual Echo swim venue. Literally, more than half the lake is dried up. It's crazy.|
|My Mckayla waiting for me at the end of death march....I mean run #2|
|And my precious Talmage with my precious Coke....finally!|
Swim #3, Echo - The water again felt good to get into but as I started swimming I realized it was colder than the previous 2 lakes. That or my body was just getting stressed enough to not be able to handle the cool water well anymore. There were difficult waves to deal with both ways, but mostly on the way back of each out and back. Waves combined with the cold water wasn't pretty. We would go through thermoclines where it was so warm I thought about stopping to warm up but had to keep moving. It would get so cold sometimes. This was a swim that scared me. I was without my wetsuit and I'm a confident swimmer, I came from a competitive swimming background, but this was spooky to me. This was where I thought that someone in future years attempting the solo HAS GOT TO BE a good swimmer or wear a wetsuit, for safety reasons. It felt long and cold and hard and I knew my body wasn't dealing with it well. I did more breaststroke and backstroke than last time just to keep moving. I tried to be smart and be willing to pull out if I needed to but thankfully I finally finished that swim.
|Walking up from Swim #3 with Jer. Walking, not running.|
|Packing up. Notice where I had to 'rack' my bike. A relay team member put their bike right on top of where Jer left my run stuff. Uh, thanks.|
|Heading out to bike #3, carrying my bike 20 yards over gravel|
|Shortly after leaving Echo. "Please let me in the car??"|
|Kiddos hanging out at Rockcliff. I asked Jer several times if they were doing ok and he said yes. I'll just take his word for it. What troopers|
Coming back to the 3 mile turnaround I asked Jer for my flask thinking I'd forgotten it again and he informed me it was in my back pocket the whole time. Nice :) Found a really nice guy, Dennis, to run with the last 3 miles. We agreed to walk the steep ups but pushed eachother and kept a run on the flat and down. He was great to talk to and we suffered together, he was so helpful. Thank you Dennis! I came out of this run feeling better about it than going in. I'm happy with it. Yes there was walking, but smart walking, and only on the uphills. Mentally I was doing ok.
|Heading out on the 2nd lap. This was probably the flattest part of the course|
|My running partner for the last 1.5. Great guy!|
|Last swim! Another example of low water. Typically the water level is right where I'm standing|
|Look at that water visibility! ;)|
|Not sure why my body position looks so weird and angled like this, hmmm|
|Walking up from the last swim with my girls|
T-11 - Was so great to see my parents and baby (and see them happy, not like "where the heck have you been?!" like I worried they might be) and Jer of course. I put my bike up and everyone was asking me how I was. I was ready to be done and I said things to that effect. A race guy was like "you can be done now if you want to". That was very nice of him, but uh, I can't quit now! I was just whiny and wanted to be done. I wasn't really sore, just tired muscle wise, sleepy wise, and mentally. The sun going down didn't help. I mean I was grateful for the lower temps, but it's interesting to say that, that the sun going down discouraged me a little, because I've always been just a little bit envious of those Ironman athletes who get to run in the dark. Just looks cool. Anyway, changed out of my tri and bike shorts under a towel and into my run skirt and Altra tech shirt. Had to look somewhat put together for the finish line right? ;) And it just sounded more comfortable.
Run #4, Midway - Here's where I'll be really honest. I waned to put on a good front, be prideful, show off, I don't know, whatever, but I ran the block or two out of transition out of my family's sight, then started walking. I have never walked more in a race than I did in this 6 miles. I was just out of gas. My back hurt around a kidney every time I'd start running too. Maybe a dehydration thing, maybe just a muscle thing. Either way it hurt. I'd try to start running/shuffling from time to time and could get a block or two, but then would get back to walking. The course was pretty, all road, a loop and took us up, up, up to the eventual turnaround I though would never ever come. It was kind of cruelly placed around a big corner so you couldn't see it till you were there. I would've like to have run down that big hill and tried at times, but again, it was just so uncomfortable. I was pretty comfortable with my position as 2nd solo woman, but the gal in 3rd was never walking when I saw her that day and came into Rockcliff off the bike closer to me than I expected. I just dreaded the thought of her catching up and me having to fight even harder for the finish. Not that I didn't want her to do well of course, she was super sweet and positive, I just wanted to finish in 2nd and not have it come down to the wire. I finally saw her and felt pretty comfortable with where I was. There was only water and Heed out on the course, I was really hoping for some food, gel, trail mix like they had on the other runs. About a mile or less from the finish line my bowels started grumbling and I got that "oh no, gotta find a bathroom, NOW" feeling. The kind of feeling where you're afraid to run. Well, uh, we were on a neighborhood street. No businesses anywhere. I almost jumped into a bush in front of someones driveway (I know, gross) but I didn't. I was really close to doing it though. It really would have been indecent exposure. Finally finally finally saw some cones in the distance and figured it was the finish. Heard the sweet Jason Crompton who had finished hours ago (SOLO mens winner and like 5th overall! such a great all around guy) cheering for me. Saw my babies and husband waiting for me before the chute (was hoping for my baby but oh well), grabbed their hands and finished. Finished. Completed. Done! All 134 miles!
|Hard to see but Jer has his arm up cheering running in. Cute :)|
|Look at my beautiful girls, and my handsome men of course|
|Love to see my Jer's smile in this one|
|Thank you Mom and Dad for having Ella all day and especially for coming up, it meant a lot!|
I finished without any health concerns like a pulled muscle, cramps, or head pain that I get on occasion that I feared would put me in a position to pull out. I didn't want to be in a position to have to drop out or run into an emergency. Thankfully I didn't. My body held up well, my nutrition went well, my equipment did well, much in thanks to my amazing crewer my husband Jeremy. He was so positive, so supportive, so mentally into that day. I know he gets stressed at my races hanging out forever and wrangling kids, but he was amazing today. I never once sensed stress from him about following me around all day in the heat. Thank you love!
I'm still analyzing the whole experience 2 weeks later (and will probably do another short post about my feelings about the whole thing as well as an equipment and nutrition summary) and a question many have asked me about whether this was harder than Ironman or not, I think it probably was. I didn't struggle to finish Ironman St George, didn't ever walk, was able to stay in aero for most of it. I think the having to repeatedly use the 3 different sets of muscles over and over is quite fatiguing. I said that no, I didn't want to do it again for sure next year, but just like childbirth it just takes time to forget the hard part and I'm already thinking about next year. I do however hold to the fact that if i am not at least in as good of shape as I am in right now, I won't. It was too hard. It was satisfying of course, but I definitely think it is a funner team event. There is something about a challenge like this though, it was different and new and epic and I was all about that. I'm proud of myself. I/we did it!
|Not the best picture of all 6 of us, but the best people!|