Duct Tape To The Rescue: The Whitefish Lake Triathlon Race Report
Ah Duct Tape. To quote Garrison Keillor, “It works practically most of the time!” So true. It can hold up cars, fix boat leaks, bind terrorist, and now…control blisters.
If any of you are on my Facebook page, you know that since I put out a 5k time trial this week in my new Netwons, I have had one honking blister on my left foot. Here’s the proof:
To make matters worse, I went on a three mile hike yesterday in some flip flops. Look at the big brain on Dr. V….
Needless to say, my foot was hurting more than BP’s public image the night before the race. Did I think about calling it and sleeping in? Sure. Did I race today? Of course I did….
One week prior to the race, I wasn’t even registered. After finishing Calgary, I had pretty much ended my season, and was enjoying some down time. I’m in my building stage for Coeur d’Alene next year already. It wasn’t until one of my co-workers mentioned the race that I even realized it was this weekend. It was on Wed, as I was sitting at my desk wondering about this weekend’s workouts, that I decided that a sprint would be some good training. Also, I figured it’s always nice to race local and support the community. So, I made some phone calls, and despite the race field being at around 170, fifty MORE than the cap, I got a spot. Had to depart with some of my paper friends, but hey, got to do what I got to do.
As I regarded this as a training race, I kept the pre-race thought train to a minimum. Didn’t even pack my gear up until race morning. Woke up, had two slices of pizza and a triple shot of espresso. Donned my war gear and headed out to the race site.
Again, no assigned racks, so I picked a spot midway between the run and bike exits.
Got body marked, visited the Thunder Bucket, and….broke out the duct tape. The way I figured, there was no way around the pain. However, I sure didn’t want to tear things up worse. Band-Aids weren’t covering it; kept falling off. So:
1/2 Mile Swim: 16:00 ish, or some other sucky time.
Its been a long time since a swim has sucked for me, so this was a surprise. Water was warm enough, clarity was so-so. For the first time, I decided to line up on the front. The very front. Since this was a training race in my book, I just figured why not. Pretty low key: No count down or horn. Just the director saying “GO.”
Off we go, and I’m hammering it. It looks like I lucked out in this race, as the bump and grind was minimum. I had a couple of hands on my back, but other than that, nothing to complain about. I was pushing pretty hard on the first stretch, and I had to slow back to my “normal” race pace around the first buoy. Went around that pretty well, sighted two swimmers on my right, and I decided to just stick with them.
This turned to be a classic example of why you should not just follow someone. As I was sighting the person on my right only, I didn’t realize that we had veered off from the line about 25 yards. Eventually, I saw we were going the wrong direction, and I turned back. Unfortunately, the damage had been done.
By the time I came out of the water, my time was an unbelievable 16:00+, or greater than 1:52/100 yards. YUCK.
Wetsuit came off without much difficulty; no sticking to the watch effect. It was then that my faith in the Mythbusters (they built a boat out of ductape) ended. Low and behold, my duct tape had peeled off, and the Big Red Spot Of Jupiter was staring at me from the bottom of my foot. I had some extra tape, and quickly tried to stick a fresh strip on. No luck. Basically, at this point, I just said to hell with it, slid on my shoes with a wince, and off I went with my bike. I would guess my time was somewhere around 2 minutes.
12.4 mile Bike: 36:00 ish.
I have never seen a more challenging sprint course than today. I had previewed the course the night before, and to say it was hilly is similar to saying Paris Hilton likes to go to an occasional party. In addition, there were some seriously hairy turns and a road surface as smooth as a porcupine…..that hasn’t shaved. Again, I didn’t want to over think things, and I decided just to go as hard as I could. All the time. Every hill, flat, and descent. My goal was sub 40:00.
As I came out of transition, I quickly sucked up four riders. I was gasping for air about five minutes in as we settled into the first set of hills, but I just gritted my teeth. Sure, I may have looked like I was having a heart attack on my bike, but I also looked like I was having heart attack while going fast. When I made it to the turn around, I was sitting at 19:40. I knew this was cutting it close, so I pushed it further, sprinting up and down hills. I sucked in about 15 more riders on the way back.
As I made it to transition, I stopped at the dismount line, and was almost creamed by some dude skidding in. Was one of the situations when you hear the crowd saying “Look out!” and you’re just waiting for something to happen. Dude stopped about a foot away from me, and I couldn’t help but give a little grrrr of discontent his way.
Not the most beautiful transition I have had. For some reason, I was changing on the side of my bike without my shoes. Awkward having to reach under to grab my stuff. Tried a second piece of tape on my throbbing foot to no avail. Again, I just shrugged my shoulders, shoved my foot in, and started running.
3.1 Mile Run: 23:01
Staying consistent with the bike course, this run had some nice little steep blips in it. As I got going, I just started running as fast I could. My gait was quick and my stride was short. As I came through .5 miles, I started to feel my legs more. For some reason, my short stride just seem to be slowing me down. So, I decided to loosen up and let my stride lengthen some, cadence go down a bit, and still keep on my forefeet. This was much better, and my speed seem to come much more easily. As I rounded the half point, I was looking at 10:00. Coming back into town, I sucked in a few people, including one of my age group. After the last hill, I just closed my eyes and hammered it. Chest pound, legs burning, form all over the place hammering it. I wanted less than 25:00 and so I was content after finishing.
Overall goal, if I had one, was to stay mid field in this pretty competitive group and finish under 1:20:00. As there was no chip timing, I have no idea of my exact numbers, but I did see that I finished up around 1:19, and was 9th in my age group. 1st overall was in my group to boot. So in the end, I had a good day despite my horrendous swim. It was a fun experience, and I will surely be back next year. It was also really nice to have some Van Fans out there. I had to do some double takes to see who was yelling my name. Thanks for all the support!
Things I learned:
Dont take directions from strangers.
Duct tape will not stick onto your body when your wet.
Things to work on:
My new shoes.
Right now, keeping my feet clean and elevated.