Archive for the ‘Race Reports’ Category

A Bad (well, not Bad just did not go well) Triathlon is Always Better Than Staying at Home…..

The plan, to get up Friday morning have breakfast and take a leisurely drive to Lake Anna, pick up my race packet and case the course, head to the hotel, have a nice dinner, watch a little TV, and go to bed. Then wake up have my normal pre-tri breakfast, have a leisurely drive to the site, set up, relax, get a warm up swim in, have a good swim with the normal 1st 100 yards of hell followed by settling in, nice bike ride, and run my normal 4 min run 1 min walk intervals and finish a comfortable slow Laura race …

What really happened, Otis (my quadruped child) had a cyst rupture late Thursday afternoon and had to have surgery Friday morning. At the insistence of my mother I was still going to go to “That” Triathlon and she would take care of Otis but, I decided I would not leave until I picked up Otis and everything was ok. Everything was OK, so off we headed to Richmond in 5:30 Friday afternoon traffic. Got to Richmond about 10:00ish and checked into Hotel, having had a Subway on the road for dinner, not recommend as a choice pre race dinner. As always had trouble sleeping. Lucky the race did not start until 10:00. Woke up and had my normal oatmeal and blueberries, coffee, and sports drink pre Tri breakfast.

We made our way to Lake Anna. Wow! what a beautiful day I could not have ordered better weather. Oh did I mention there is only one gas station between I-95 and Lake Anna and we almost ran out of gas! But we made it! Arrived and went through the regular hub-bub packet pick up, body marking, transition set up.

Ok I was ready. I did my wetsuit dance and got into my wetsuit (no easy task) and then at the advice of a friend I poured tepid water into my suit before getting into the water (slows the cold water entrance and your skin is already wet and the lake water does not feel as cold, it helped I’ll do it again) the Lake was 60 degrees it took a minute to get used to it and then I got my warm up swim in.

Headed to the starting corral. 4th wave and I was off. Pretty normal swim for me took a while to get into a rhythm but, when I did all was well and I was on my way. It was going to be a good day. I made it to transition and Had a little trouble (well a whole lot of trouble) getting my wetsuit off my lower legs had to sit down and have a little tug of war but, I escaped. And, I was off on my bike…then my legs started to cramp but, after a few miles they decided to give up and feel better so that the arches of my feet could cramp up for the rest of the day. I could barely push down on my pedals without feeling like railroad spikes were being driven through my feet. Finished my bike ride pulling up, only, on my pedals for the rest of the ride….arrrggg I knew I was in trouble for the run. Back to transition… My feet hurt so bad I had 2 options; 1 call it a day or 2 take a nice 6 mile walk ……and since quitting is not an option and finishing is….only 1 option I was off for my walk on the outsides of my feet. I still had hope that the cramps would give way….they did not even after tightening, losing, taking off my shoes trying to massage my feet….an hour and 40 mins later I crossed the finish line.

Feet hurting like a SOB and they still do but, in Laura’s world Finishing is Winning and Did I mention the weather was beautiful and Its always better to have a not so good day on the Tri course than to stay at home!!!


I did this race with, and on the recommendation of, some friends … it was not on my original plan but figured it would not hurt and would be fun.  I was right!!!  This was the 2nd year they did this race, and the idea is to bring the level of support and meaningfulness of an IRONMAN to a small race. 


And folks, I kid you not, they pulled it off.  For such a young race it was extremely organized and very well laid out.  The course was just challenging enough, and there was support everywhere you might need it.  The coolest thing they did was set up bleachers along the “shoot” and held up an IM like finish line for EACH athlete to break thru!!  Another nice touch was that every finisher got a medal to wear and their picture taken in front of a “Finisher” backdrop. 


Pre Race:  The packet pick up was in a gym, and the set up was so similar, I felt like I was back in Lake Placid, NY hanging out with my IM friends as they picked up their packets.  By the way, the race is still fairly small right now so there was no line for the INDOOR bathroom  :o)


The Swim:  300 yards in a 6 lane pool.  Which meant up and back in the same lane before crossing over.  I was skeptical at first but it went off without a hitch.


The Bike:  14.8 mile out and back.  Some rolling hills but nothing too major.  The biggest issue was 1) dealing with the chilly weather- it was about 48 degrees when we emerged from the aquatic center, and 2) the wind- the entire ride out, was into the wind.  But of course, that means the entire ride back in, was GREAT!!  


The Run:  3.1 mile loop through a nice neighborhood.  This is where the hills really came into play.  They were short, steep-ish, and plentiful.  It made it fun but, for me, it made it difficult to find a good rhythm.  There were two water/Gatorade stops on the course, if I had to guess they were at mile 1.5 and 2.5.  There was one last hill right before you ran the last .1 of a mile (flat) to and through the shoot.


Post Race:  There were medals, pictures, oranges, bananas, bagels, cookies and the list goes on!  There were also funnel cakes, but they weren’t free  ;o)  For the award ceremony they had an actual 3rd/1st/2nd place podium for the athletes to stand on, and a picture was take of each group.  By noon, the day OF the race, I had an email in my inbox that detailed my entire day- where I placed and how I paced, etc… I was VERY impressed with this!!


All in all this was a really fun race to do.  I did this race report because I want to help get the word out … this is a great race to start the year off with.  If you can, spend the night and plan a nice long ride the next day over in the lake Gaston area…. it is absolutely gorgeous up there!!


Happy Racing!

Aneis Andreoli

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The 2008 White Lake Half Ironman Triathlon was not the best moment in my lengthy 2+ year Triathlon career.  But, sometimes we have to remember why we do
this.  I think I realized that part of the reason why I race is to test and discover my limits.  If so, I bumped up against several walls of my physical limit last Saturday.

Frankly, I came to White Lake this year without the kind of respect that a half Ironman deserves.  This is a long race and requires solid
training, planning and mental preparation.  I raced the Riverwood sprint the weekend before at 90% or so and felt really good, but I didn’t begin to really mentally prepare until a few days before the big day.

With little sleep the two nights before and too much last minute preparation, I didn’t feel my normal “ok, I can relax now” period where I know that all is ready and squared away.

Like most athletes, on race morning I had to hike to the transition area from parking.  I brought in my bags and went to set up transition about an hour before the race.  I carefully taped two gels to my bars and loaded more, along with a bar and a tube of enduralytes into my bento box.

Unfortunately, I had forgotten my helmet and had to rush back to the car to retrieve it.  Thankfully, I have my own timing chip and had just body marking to complete before starting.  (note to self…bring own marker to races and do my own marking)

I have raced enough now that pre-race jitters are fairly mild.  Zipping up the suit, I realized that I had also forgotten sun screen and borrowed some from a nice couple who barely spoke English.  A friend slopped some on my shoulders and my forehead which now goes much higher than it used to.

The swim warm up ritual went normally.  I had a swim plan and felt ready to go.  The start was much more “rugged” than last year with lots more jostling and bumping than I recall.  It felt more like the start to an Ironman swim for the first 200 meters or so.

At around 300 meters my right calf cramped hard and would not let go.  I have no idea what caused this, but it stayed with me for the rest of the day.  Perhaps someone hit me – I just don’t know.  At about 400 meters my left cramped as well.  I honestly thought I was going to have to quit and hung on to a surfboard for a minute or so and tried to work it out.

Setting off again, I made it about another 200 meters and had to stop.  This was not the start to the “goal” swim time that I had in mind.  The cramps let up a fraction at 500 meters or so and I settled into a labored rhythm and did not stop again.  I completely let my legs dangle and simply
forced the remainder of the swim.  The squiggly man did not appear soon enough for my liking. I had to stop twice up the ladder and let the legs relax in order to push hard enough to climb up.  Running up the dock to T1 they felt ok, but not great.

For the second time in four races, T1 was to a bit of a shock to realize that my bike had fallen or been knocked over.  Despite the worry, I had a solid transition and rolled out.  In the first few miles I did my usual situational assessment to realize that my aero bottle containing water with electrolytes was empty.  Missing from my bento box were my bar, 2 gels and worst of all my enduralytes.  I had a down tube bottle with water and electrolytes mix to carry me to the first water stop and 3 gels for the bike.  Thereafter, I would take in only the electrolytes and calories of a few gels. I had planned to take 3 or 4 enduralytes per hour and a gel every 35 minutes (five total).

The bike course was much windier than last  year; however, I immediately set a solid rhythm and actually felt great.  My calves hurt and/or cramped with every revolution, but this was definitely manageable.

I really wanted to take about 5-7 minutes off of my time from last year.  My run has improved to the point where I felt I needed to “save” less.  Through mile 35 or so I was ahead of schedule.  I passed many 40+ racers who had killed me in the swim.

About mile 40 my stomach quit allowing me to take in gels.  I knew I was starting to be in real trouble.  The last 15 miles seemed to take forever.  I was slowing down, not taking in any more electrolytes and just a bit of water was possible.  I had a killer headache, dry mouth and my stomach was not at all happy; however, my legs had quit cramping.

Frankly, I hit T2 and was simply pissed.  I knew I was in big trouble and seriously considered pulling out.   Friends encouragement convinced me to stick it out and I also imagined that conversation with my kids and so decided to press on as far as I could.  (I have said to them a hundred times that it only hurts for a bit, but quitting lasts forever)
At about mile 3 on the run, I thought I might just be able to finish.  I felt terrible, but it seemed doable.  I remembered Beke’s comments in Kona about honoring all participants by finishing, despite having to walk it in.  I was fairly sure I could do that.  I was dreading posting a terrible time, but that is far better than a DNF to me.

The counter-point was that I was really going deep.  I knew I was seriously dehydrated and very low on electrolytes.  My stomach had completely shut down.  I also considered the damage that I knew I was inflicting on my body – that it may take days or weeks to fully recover and I wanted race again at the end of May.

I ran-walked mile four and five.  Mile six was completely walked.  At the turn-around I saw Nasrin on the side of the road.  It took me several seconds to focus to recognize her as she yelled for me.  I told her that I was “completely shattered”…and I was.

I walked another 400 meters or so toward the finishing area…passing the “lap two” turn.   It was no longer an overt decision.  I was done.  When I reached the first volunteer I told that  “I need medical”.  She quickly realized that she had to help me get there and I leaned on her.  At some
point along the way – and I truly don’t remember seeing her here, Suzy Nisbet helped haul me in.  I apparently passed many others whom I didn’t recognize and I apologize for that.

The medical crew were amazing.  They had me laying down on a cot with an IV dripping within a few minutes.  Chills followed, but the nausea quickly subsided after the IV and emptying my stomach a few times. At about 1.5 hours, the orthostatic blood pressure test indicated that the IV bag had done it’s job.  So I crawled off to lay in the grass for the next 3 hours or so.

Avoiding the graphics in between, let’s just say that nothing stayed down and I wasn’t getting any better.  So, I headed back to medical.  They threatened to haul me to the hospital right on the spot, but I asked them for another IV bag first.  They reluctantly agreed.  The second bag really helped a lot and I felt much better almost immediately.

The next two hours were spent napping in my car.  After a somewhat greasy dinner (not sure why this sounded good) and a decent nights sleep, I awoke Sunday feeling much better.

It occurs to me that what we do training each day is to retrain our brains to forget pain and to push on regardless.  I am very proud of my determination to keep moving forward.  It was, and still is, very painful for me to quit without finishing.  Clearly, I couldn’t go on, but this will haunt me until next year when I get to race at White Lake again – and I WILL race it again.

I have absolutely seen the limit.  I have arrived at the goal.

And less I forget…many thanks to you all who helped me, patted my head and assured me I wasn’t going to die.  I appreciate it very much.