Monday, December 10, 2012

Southland "Summer" Challenge 1/3 Ironman

Six days after placing 3rd in the Wooing Tree Sprint Triathlon, I was at the start line of another race: a ~1/3 Ironman (1500m swim, 60k bike, 15k run). This time, no 55km cycle warm up, no 55km cycle cool down. Drive down to Gore, show up, and race!

It is apparently summer, too, in Southland but you'd have no idea with an air temp of 7C for race day. I don't know how the Southland girls do it, must be used to it, but I pretty much put on a snowsuit in T1 to deal with being soaking wet and now cycling in the cold.

Swim: 29:08, 1500m.

I had such an epic swim!! The official time is 29:08, but here's what really went down: 2 loop course, at 760m each (just over 1500m total). I swam hard, the wetsuit kept me warm, and I felt like I was really motoring. By the time I had gotten out of the water, run up the hill, across the paddock to transition, the clock read 25:08. So I must have swam, given how long I'd been running, a high-23 to low-24 minute swim. Awesome!!! I then spent 4 minutes, quite literally, putting on clothes. I was shivering badly, and knew it'd get worse on the bike given I weigh 47kg. Bruuuutal to lose all that time, but it was the right choice. I maybe could have done with just the vest, gloves and socks (no arm warmers or headband thingy).
Coming out of the water, 5th F, with everyone behind those reeds on the right.

Walk/running up the steep hill to transition.

Putting on the snow suit

FINALLY leaving!!!!

Bike: 2:09:14, 60k.
Oi! What a day!  I got onto the bike, was cold for a bit but then all my clothes did the job. I was warm and could work hard. Given my low iron levels, small stature and low blood pressure, I NEED to keep warm otherwise I struggle badly. The course was 6 loops. You'd think that would be bad, but it was pretty epic. The first section was false flat up, so I was in my little ring, keeping things under control, then we turn and go up some pretty mean uphills, like 40rpm in the littlest gear ratio. Finally, at the top, we have some sweet sweet downhills in which to big ring it and GOOOOO... I went to switch into big ring, and holy BATMAN my front derailleur cable just exploded. I was stuck in the little chain ring... and this was an epic downhill to gain some serious speed. I cross-chained, I spun at 120rpm, but nothing doing, I was pretty much coasting for half of each loop. At first, I was pissed off, like really pissed off. Then, getting that out of my system, I just did what I could, worked like hell on the ups and spun down, minimizing my losses as those that I passed on the climbs passed me again on the downs. Frustrating? YES! But I'll be back next year for some serious vengeance on a pretty epic course.

Run: 1:12:30, 15k.
A 3-loop course, my favorite! I headed out onto the run having thrown off all my warm weather gear. The first section is on road and heading up up up. Once at the top, we turn into a headwind for a while. Finally, we turn again, head into farmland and run on the 4WD tracks on someone's farm property. The downhill is STEEP, quad-busting. Then, there's just some pretty flat cruising within the farm, including an out-and-back to check out how everyone else is doing and to place bulls-eyes on fellow racers' backs. First lap, everything in control. On the second lap, heading down that steep downhill, I got massive sidestitches. Like, really bad, as bad as the ones I got when I ran the Mt Haig trail half marathon (race report). So I managed, I managed, I tried to breathe into it, as well as push my hand into the really tense and taut diaphragm muscle to try to get it to release. I did slow down, running aerobically, trying to limit my losses to the 2 girls ahead. I finally got relief heading out onto the 3rd loop's uphill section. I caught up with the girls, managed that steep downhill again, and then decided to sprint the last 3k. I was flying, quite literally sprinting for 3km straight. Thank you, 8 servings of caffeine!! Some run photos below...

Cruising along first lap
Managing the pain and yelling to my partner "my gear cable broke, I had to little ring the shit out of 60k!"
Sprinting 3rd lap
Goooooooo
I love my Saucony's but seriously, every pair I've ever owned have ripped where that bandage is. They got a little bloody, too...
Ah "summer" in Southland. Camping in The Catlins after the race.
Okay, nice, but still cooooold.
So, in the end, 10th F on a bit of a weird day. It has been a bit topsy-turvy lately. Last weekend, I got 3rd place (yay!) but my garmin died and so had to send it off for repair. This weekend, my bike failed me, but I won the major spot prize of a 400$ blueseventy wetsuit! Yayyyyy!!
No, seriously, I adored this course when I thought I would dread it (so many loops). It's challenging as heck, weeds out the weaklings and the big gear mashing flatlanders, and it is fun fun fun! I am already giddy about next year's event just to see what I can actually do without putting on 10 thousand layers of clothing in T1 and the use of the big ring on the bike. I am seriously happy with how I handled this weekend, and really content with my effort, all things considering.

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