It was the best of times it was the worst of times…….. Ok maybe not the worst and maybe not the best.

Friday May 4th we packed up Ace and Axl with a couple bags of clothes and a crap ton (metric crap ton) of gear and set off on a trip to Knoxville Tenn. for my first Triathlon of the 2012 season. Revolution3 Knoxville Half

700miles of driving takes more out of you than you might think. I sure give those long haul truckers some credit! The trip down was pretty uneventful with your regular fuel stops and potty breaks making the trip take roughly 12hrs. A long day for sure.

We rolled into Knoxville at 6:30 and found our hotel, which just happened to be 2 blocks from the race expo/finish area. A score in our book.

After we checked in and unloaded our things we hit the ground for some walking around to check out the area. Having been here before, it looked the same. Grabbed a beer in the hotel and called it a night.

The next morning had breakfast at the hotel and an early start to the day outside. (Perhaps hindsight has this as a bad idea) We wandered around waiting for things to open and our Rev3 Tri Team meeting at 11:30. Down at the “practice swim” I found a bunch of my teammates chillaxing and we all exchanged our pleasantries. We have been in contact for a while now online and this was the first time that most of us have been able to meet in person. Nice group of folks to call my team.

We got our sweet Pearl Izumi gear and grabbed some TriSlide and got ready for the swimmers. An impromptu TriSlide pit was put on by us as folks were getting their wetsuits on. If you haven’t tried TriSlide I highly suggest you do. (click the link on the left for SBRsportsinc.com) This was my first time using it with a wetsuit. It did exactly what it was supposed to do and it does it very well. No chaffing or hot spots.

In the water, cozy 66 or so degrees, I felt pretty good. I have been swimming fairly well lately so I was half expecting to feel good. I only swam for a few minutes as I wanted to get back for the kids adventure race. Hit a couple sticks in the water and called it a swim. Took my Blue Seventy wetsuit off and grabbed the wife and kids to head up for the Rev3 Kids adventure race.

The kids’ adventure race is a series of check points throughout the park that vary from simply running a ways to get to them to performing physical challenges. The A-Team came out of the gate strong and only got stronger from there. Having two kids that can run a 24min 5k comes in handy. From start to finish took us 22:xx and we were the proud family that ran across the finish line first, with our hands up. Good times were had by all. Thanks to Fuel Belt for the cool prizes and to Rev3 for the new pilsner glass!

Dinner then bed time…. Ok I think there was more, but this is getting rather long with out pictures. (Sorry, phone was dieing the whole weekend some limited on the pictures)
Race morning always comes about 5minutes after going to sleep I swear! Well actually for a change it didn’t come ‘that’ early. Since our hotel was right on top of the race venue we got to sleep in a little longer than normal. This was a good change of pace.
The morning ritual begins just the same with setting the coffee and grabbing a Powerbar (vanilla crisp on this day) as well as the other things we do on race day ?

Time to leave finally rolled around and we head off down to set up Transition.

Transition was in a covered parking garage so all of our bikes were nice and dry and we didn’t have to walk around in wet dew covered grass like most sites. Just a small detail that was nice.

Fast forward and we are hanging out with a bunch of rubber clad grown athletes leaving wet footprints on an otherwise dry concrete sidewalk (you do the math).

Mama Bear (swim course director and team leader) called us down after the pro’s had started their day 30 minutes in advance. It’s finally go time.

In the water with 2 minutes ‘til the puck drops. (chilly)

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-BANG This was/is always the crowning moment of all that goes into what we do. That loud bang is the last thing you hear that isn’t coming from inside your own head. For the next half an hour the only person you have to talk to is yourself.

Today’s swim was good. I started out quick and in the first couple hundred yards had clear water. No body to draft, but then again no body to try and swim over/around. I could see a group of 4-5 that were just flying off the front. I have improved my swim, but not like that. I knew they were gone and only hoped that later I could scoop them up on the other two legs. After all this is a TRI-athlon so if you aren’t great at one event you still have two chances to redeem yourself.

The swim starts off swimming upstream and away from the finish of the swim. About a 1/3 of the distance up stream followed by the 2/3 back the other way. If there was a current it wasn’t very strong as swimming both directions felt about the same effort wise. After the turn around buoys I passed one guy and that was it. I swam alone. Crawling out of the water alone with no body in front and no body behind is odd. People didn’t really know how to react, so I gave them some wise cracks and some arm pumps on the way by to get them going again. My official swim time is light years slower than the actual ‘swim’ time as there was a short marathon of a run to get to transition where the timing mats were. I remember looking at my watch and seeing a 27:xx and I see my official time is 28:5x, so it was a fair amount of running with a wetsuit. Never the less the swim was done.

T1, thanks to the before mentioned TriSlide, my wetsuit came flying off and I wasn’t left feeling like a middle schooler that just found out about hickeys. I had a little pre race scouting mistake as I tried to go out the wrong side of transition cost me maybe a few seconds but nothing too incredible.

Onto the bike, Kelly and the kids were waiting for me as I turned onto the main road. A quick hoot-n-holler and it was back inside my head for a while. The mounting and getting my feet in the shoes went very smoothly with no time or forward motion lost. The road in front of me was clear for just about as far as I could see and the same behind. It’s good to be lonely sometimes. The first few miles (10ish) had more ups than downs. I was able to catch a couple people that were up the road and I was also caught by a couple from behind, so no net gain. I did my best not to burn any matches on the hills as I know my weakness. It’s really easy to start digging a hole rather early. Even though I’m a big fan of “Hammer down from Gun-2-Done” even I know there is a limit to crushing oneself. So there were folks that passed me on those long grueling uphills. I have the benefit of going DOWNhill like nobodies business! This is how it went for 56miles. I would go up these hills at my pace and get passed by the same 3 guys. I would go down at MY pace and get a big gap on these same three guys. For about 35miles there were 4 of us, 3 that were riding clean, the fourth guy seemed to think we were some type of paceline where it was ok to draft. Not cool buddy. Any who, it was starting to get warm during the bike and this is when I knew there were going to be issues to deal with later in the race. I was sweating far too much. I took water at the aid stations and was able to drink all of it. I just don’t think there was enough fluid for my sweat rate. Especially considering I might have been a smidgen under hydrated from the day spent in the sun running around with the kids and not drinking enough. Oh well, nothing you can do but try and fix the problem. Finished strong with a top 5 or so coming off the bike (not sure about other waves)

T2, I was a little clustered in my functioning here. Almost ran over a slower moving racer from the oly race, Sorry I tried to yell but you didn’t hear me or it was all in my head. At my spot I over shot my landing so to speak and had to back up a few spots. Not a big screw up, but just another detail to add to the mix. Add the slow application of a pair of socks and a short decision making on gel reserves and you get a less than stellar T2. I did how ever come out of T2 right on the heels of the guy that was up the road from me so position almost gained!

The run (Aka; The melt down!)
The run is the event that I’m most ambiguous about. I’m certainly not the fast guy on the course but I’m equally not the slowest guy on the course (most days). Generally speaking when I get off the bike I can count on gaining a few spots on the run while simultaneously losing a couple more with a net loss sadly. It’s something I need to work on I know, but never the less that’s what happens.
Today was definitely not one of the days where I was the fastest. Well, let me back up. The first mile went like this; I had to pee but the next place up was just 20yds up from me. After setting pace with him for a little bit I realized I wouldn’t be running to my potential if I didn’t go pee. So I stopped and I went. It took some time, since I had been holding it for most of the bike. Good news is after I went I was able to start moving and I was feeling really fresh. A couple miles clicked by and I was catching back up to my ‘minute man’. We were somewhere in the neighborhood of 3miles when the course cleared out. The oly distance was mixed in up until we go to their turn around point. After that it was lonely again with only half racers left to chase after. I continued gaining ever so slowly on my guy as one of those faster guys comes flying by us from behind. Always a terrible mental moment, but when you know you can’t match the pace; you just have to let them go. By this time we were out of the shade and the temps were really starting to get to me. Up until this point I would guess we were running at just below a 7 minute pace (no mile markers, and I didn’t start my watch) this wasn’t fast but felt very comfortable to the point where I was happy to go for a strong finish. The problem was, when I got to what would be around mile 5 my body stopped. The hills and the heat had taken their toll on me and it all came to a screeching halt at that point. I wasn’t alone in this misery as I saw other cracking as well. I had passed a few that had already popped and I was passed. From that mile 5 on was just a matter of getting fluids in my system and trying to keep cool since I was pretty much done sweating on my own at that point. Those 82go water packs they were handing out on the run were great. Gave me loads of water to keep putting in the system and on me to keep me cool. If it wasn’t for those I might not have made it to the finish line.

Well, after an epic explosion like that and still having a handful of miles to traverse there isn’t much to look forward to, well except for what I got at the finish line. It was pretty cool. Ace and Axl were wearing their Rev3 Shimmer Speedo’s and waiting for me. If only Kelly had one too. They ran down the finish shoot with me arms up and proud. Just after the finish I went and played in the water fountain with them and got cooled off and cleaned up.

5:00hrs isn’t something that I’m proud of, but some days things happen. Today was one of those days. I learned that I need to run more, but specifically I need to figure out how to deal with heat.

I had a great time and can’t wait for the next race Quassy. Until then I think I will be running in my winter parka.

Thanks for the well wishes out there.

Tim