I came off the bike and headed toward transition ready for a run. If for no other reason than it would be different than the bike. I took a bit of extra time and grabbed my fuel belt, got bottles off ice from the small cooler, threw my hat on, and headed out of transition.
Thursday, June 28, 2007
T2 and the Run
On the way toward the main run course, I stopped at a restroom, and noticed I still had my cycling gloves on. Rather than head back, I just stuffed them into the pockets of my tri top and headed out.
The run starts with a climb of about 300 feet, and most people were just walking up it. While my pace wasn't much faster, I jogged up the hill to help shake out the legs. At the top of the hill, George Schweitzer came running from the left and started his second loop. That put him about 6 miles ahead of me. We exchange a few congratulatory comments, and continued on our own races.
Immediately, I knew this run would be unlike any I'd ever done. After the big hill, we got to run up some very treacherous terrain including a nice little hill with a lot of gravel. The one good thing was the forest protecting us from the heat. As my legs loosened up from the bike, I fell into a steady rhythm and found my pace.
I carried my fuel belt on the run, which allowed me to use aid stations primarily as air conditioning units. At every station, I grabbed a cup or two of water and dumped them over my head. That helped fight the heat.
As the miles passed, it became apparent I was clocking pretty consistent 9+ miles. The "plus" was tough to gauge, because the mile markers were irregular, and some seemed to be a bit inaccurate. On some sections, I was apparently running 8'30" miles, while others were closer to 10' miles. More likely, the miles were marked wrong.
After the first loop, I knew that every person I passed would be one click up in the standings. Knowing exactly what the course looked like helped with planning, and I knew where the tough spots would be. Soon enough, I passed the 12 mile mark and knew that it was just a few more turns until the descent of the big hill. And that promised to be one of the more challenging parts of the race. Dropping 300 feet in under 1/2 mile was going to be tough on the quads.
As I came into the finishing chute, I saw the clock at 6:01. I was a bit depressed because breaking 6 hours gun time would have been cool. However, the 1 minute was more than covered by my wave time, and I knew I had broke six hours.
Total run time, 1:59:58. Not bad considering my best marathon time is 3:55. And that's without the other events in front of it.
At the end of the day, I felt great. I knew I could have done a second loop of the swim. I could have headed out for a second loop on the bike. I would NOT have wanted to do a second half-marathon, but that's what the next 9 weeks are for. Preparing for that second 13 miles. This was a great confidence booster, and I'm glad Coach Mike had me run the half.
And now, a few pictures.