Saturday, April 13, 2013

Race Report: White Lake Half 2013

After the last time I raced White Lake Half I said I'd never do it again. Well, 3 years went by, I forgot the pain, and I signed up yet again. I wanted to race a half prior to Rev3 Williamsburg in June since the first half I do each season tends to be less than stellar and this race fit well into my training schedule. Plus they moved it up a month so I knew it wouldn't be blazing hot on the run like usual. 

The Jester, Kurt,& TriGuy also signed up for this race as a relay team, their goal being to beat moi. The Jester, always one for a gentleman's bet, bet our friend Jeff that he would beat me in the swim. Jeff backed me and accepted with the agreement that the loser had to take 3 shots of the winner's picking with 1 minute in between each. Justin also orchestrated another bet with Jeff that Kurt would beat me on the bike with a handicap of 7 minutes. Jeff backed me again, putting a total of 6 shots on the line and some pressure on me to beat each leg of "2 Bananas & an Egg Yolk." 

Swim - 37:46 (1:47/100 yds)
Conditions for the swim were rough to say the least. Water temperature was about 54 degrees! Easily the coldest water I've ever swam in. I spent a good half hour the night before the race searching the Internet for tips on how to best deal with swimming in cold water. I did all of the following and they worked pretty well, as I didn't feel that cold while in the water. 

*Wear the appropriate gear: BlueSeventy Helix full sleeve wetsuit, BlueSeventy neoprene cap, & BlueSeventy neoprene booties

*Wear earplugs

*Rub petroleum jelly on any exposed skin, especially your face

*Before getting in the water splash the water onto your face for 10-15 seconds

*When you submerge your head under the water blow bubbles to help prevent the hyperventilation reflex

*Warm up for 10-15 minutes

Aside from the extreme cold, the other challenging aspect of the swim was the chop. It felt like I was swimming in the ocean over top of waves! It was the worst swimming out to the first buoy and after I made the first turn I just tried to stay on the feet of two other red capped swimmers. I could tell one of them was sighting pretty well and I followed her because I was having trouble seeing the buoys over the swells and was doing breaststroke to get my bearings. I knew the swim would be slow for everyone, so even though I had the slowest swim I've had in a while, I'm not reading too much into it. I was in 4th place at this point. 

T1 - 2:37
Even though I didn't feel that cold while swimming, maybe it was because I was numb. When I got out of the water it hurt to run b/c my feet were frozen and I fumbled around in transition forever because my fingers were void of dexterity. 

Bike - 2:42:15 (20.7 mph)
The bike felt like one huge headwind with plenty of cross winds in the mix. I did a much better job of staying in the aero position, but I'm not used to riding on flat ground, for that long, at that effort, using the same muscles. I tried to switch positions and get out of the saddle some, but it got pretty uncomfortable! The worst was the last 25 miles which were on a road with a poor surface (understatement). There was literally a crack in the road every meter of the way. Riding in the aero over this ground was so painful I just couldn't do it anymore. I'm sure this cost me time, but there wasn't much else I could do. After the bike I was still in 4th place, though some passing and getting passed occurred on course. 

T2 - 1:10
After a successful flying dismount of the bike, I was in and out of T2 pretty quick. 

Run - 1:27:10 (6:39/mi)
I was interested to see how I'd feel heading out onto the run after such a draining swim/bike. To my delight, my legs felt pretty good! I moved into 3rd place within the first mile. Even though the next two were pretty far ahead, I kept it moving and focused on running smoothly and efficiently. I dropped my pace a little bit once I was over half way and soon after moved into 2nd place. I knew the person in first was pretty far ahead, but I also knew from racing at White Lake in the past that anything could happen. Plus I knew from my mile splits that I was finally going to break 1:30 off the bike and this had me excited! I saw TriGuy and The Shannon around mile 10 and they gave me a boost to pick it up, which I did, but in the end I would have needed a few more miles to reel in the last one. 

Total Time - 4:50:56
I ended up finishing second overall for the women and got a PR on the run and on my half time. So even though it was a tough day on the swim & bike, I can't complain and I feel like this race served it's purpose!

So how did the bet turn out? Well, somehow my brother crushed me in the swim with a time of 33 minutes and change! With the amount of training that he's put in & the amount that I've put in, a discrepancy like that is just not fair! Kurt also beat me flat out on the bike by 3 minutes. And their relay team beat my total time by about 2 minutes. So, it was their day and each of them had a great race. Congrats to TriGuy on his 10 minute PR 1/2 marathon! Poor Jeff, I feel so bad that he's got 6 shots waiting for him next time we go out, but maybe I'll help him out with one or two of them, haha. All in all it was a fun day, though I'm saying it for the second time - I'm never racing White Lake Half again.