Friday, August 31, 2012

Door County HIM Race Report: Him

Race: Door County Half Ironman, July 22, 2012

Door County Wisconsin - "the Cape Cod of the Midwest." Great place to vacation, great place to race and great place to shop if you are in the market for over-sized lawn furniture. 

Honey I Shrunk the Triathletes

This is the second year in a row The Triathlife packed up all their triathlon-y shtuff for the trek up to Door County Half. By far one of the best races we've been to - ranks at the very top of The Triathlife raceability scale. Location, event parking, event location, course, organization, volunteers, local support. All top shelf.

And this year, The Triathlife was fall off the bar stool excited to be joined by Team Baker and Team Chandler (say hello to Kevin and Matt flanking me in the above photo).

Yes, my friends the air was thick and drippy with awesome.

Everything about this race logistically is a breeze. Park, set up, body mark, warm up, potty time. It all goes off without a worry. So the bulk of the morning was just about relaxing and hanging out with Jen and Teams Chandler and Baker.

But Schmitty is, as Schmitty does so....

I totally wrecked the tip my third digit (right hand) whilst performing race week bike prep by violently introducing it to the business end of my big chain ring. Can't much swim in open water with an open wound if you know what's good for you. So on race morning there were finger gauze, finger condoms (giggle), and water proof medical tape to deal with. And in the wake of all this extra prep I forgot half my bike nutrition on the kitchen counter in our room. I didn't realize this until setting up in transition. I had made "friends" with a few of the guys around me and when I let out a "what the what?!" one of them just happened to have a few extra GU gels for me to make up for what I left behind. Excellent! (more on this later).

35m 55s 1900.00 meters 01m 51s /100 meters
Love this swim. They put out large orange buoys every 50 meters. And they number them. Really easy for the swim sighting impaired. I didn't quite get out with the lead group of caught in the pack. Thank god for all of Coach Keith's tarzan intervals....cause that's how I swam the first 100 to 200 meters. I know this isn't crazy fast but for me...I killed it. Really happy. Sighting and line were tight. Exited the water and "other Jessica" from the Salt Creek Tri Club was right there calling my name as one of the wetsuit stripper volunteers. That's pretty cool when you hear your name during a race and someone you know and trust is there helping you out. 

T1 | 2:36
Potty stop. I don't pee on myself on the bike. That's all I have to say about that.

2h 46m 08s 56.3 miles 20.3 Mi/hr
This is a pretty good course. I held back the first hour or so as this was really about Ironman practice....executing my nutrition and just trying to feel good. Saw Jen out on the bike - always a nice pick me up. Also saw the better halves of Teams Chandler (Megan) and Baker (Anne) out on course cheering us on. Had me a triathlon stung by a bee in the left shoulder. Wow that was painful. Swelled up immediately and spent the next bit trying to ride and tend to the sting...making sure the stinger was out and squeezing the welt like a zit (yeah, umm, gross). Thank the lord I'm not allergic. Now remember what I said abut the guys who gave me GU before the race? Well some other dude came up along side me (I know that's illegal) late on the bike...he had just dropped his bag of salt sticks...and asked if I had one or two spare....I keep mine in a plastic tube (think Airborne container) and decided to "pay it forward" and handed it over and told the dude to take as many as he needed (thinking I had plenty left over for the run). He was really appreciative and I was more than happy to help someone out. More on that after the jump.

T2 | 1:50 
Not sure what took me 1:50. I may have bobbled some stuff.....oh yeah....I stopped to "shop" the gel table on the way out of transition....looking for a caffeinated gel. Eh, I was having fun.

2h 04m 25s 13.1 miles 09m 29s/Mi

So, I realized coming out of transition that after my good samaritan play on the bike, I was left with only one salt stick. I use the salt sticks now due to my recent history of leg cramps and racing. Additionally, last year's Door County effort put me in the med tent...needing two bags of juice. And, like clock work, not more than a quarter mile out of transition both quads just shut down. Didn't panic. Kinda laughed it off. Paused, stretched and kept moving proceeding to walk the next two miles then introduced a slow jog and then eased into my normal pace over the course of the next 6 or so miles. Miracle of miracles as I caught Kevin around mile 7...who happened to have a load of salt sticks and he spotted me a hand full. See there....I payed if forward and it came back. Call it what you will...Karma?...divine intervention?....a Festivus Miracle?

We ran together for the next half mile before I moved on ahead. Saw Jennifer coming the other way on the run...she shouted - "can you believe we're both running this year?" She was referring to the prior year's 96 degree death march. By this time I was feeling sprite and headed off toward the bluff - this silly steep hill between mile 9 and 10. Once over the bluff I found two running buddies. The first one only lasted about 1.5 miles...but he got me turning over around a 7:45 pace. The next guy I caught had me turning about a 7:00 to 7:15 pace. We were killing it but still opting to walk through aid stations. This is a brutal part of the course....really exposed and open. No shade. Not a lot to look at so having a running buddy is a nice distraction. We pushed each other for a really fast finish. Felt great. Got my water. Got my finish picture. Got my legs in the communal ice my butt back into the med tent. Not sure what happened. Blood pressure just dropped. Only needed one bag of saline this time around though. That, my friend, is progress.

And now....a Triathlife Race Report Bonus Feature:

Great Geographical Findings!  

(Watch your feet folks, I'm about to drop some knowledge up in here....)

The jig is up Door County Peninsula...Or should I say, Door County ISLAND!

Am I correct to assume that you have been falsely passing yourself off as a land mass surrounded by a body of water on THREE SIDES...when, as we discovered, you are, in fact, actually a land mass with water on ALL FOUR SIDES?!

That's right....if they pull the bridges up in Sturgeon Bay you are swimming across. Allow me to adjust my reading glasses and clear my throat. 
Door County was a Peninsula until around 1881 when the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal was created by dredging part of the bay and then proceeding to "cut out" 1.3 miles of prime Door County peninsular real estate....basically turning Door County into an island.
The Triathlife would like to credit Kevin Chandler and his Encyclopedia Brown like persistence in uncovering that little geography nugget.

The Triathlife - informing the world since 2008.

- Him

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