Let's begin at the end. I am so pleased about how things went yesterday! I had a great day, and pretty well raced my plan. I felt pretty strong throughout. I'll put the formal results number a little further down, but here's a teaser - SOLID SUB 7! This is a major improvement on my previous half IMs.
I'd set our one alarm clock for 3:45. It turned out the batteries are dying and it never went off. Fortunately Linda was up and woke me a few minutes later. One of my problems at Chinook was shorting myself on nutrition so I pigged out on breakfast. Almost everything was in the car already so I ended up leaving the house almost exactly when I'd planned to. It's still really dark at body marking. The nice volunteer says that she needs to write on both arms and both legs. I'm still getting used to dropping my pants in public, outdoors, in mixed company. She looks at my tag, and writes the bib number on both arms and down my shins, then says she needs my age for my calves. I turn around, and I'm waiting to feel the magic marker. Nothing. "How old are you hun?" she asks. Duh. Once on the bus I zone out and just tried to relax. It turns out my buddy Kelly that walked me in at my very first tri last year was sitting just across from me. We met later milling around and chatted. She had recognized the moustache.
Once I got nutrition loaded, and bags dropped at the appropriate place I wandered around looking for people. I hung out with Julie and the famous Kelly B that I met at last. Saw lots of other people as well, and chatted briefly.
Our wave started at 7:30 into very warm water. The swim course was a bit weird. We started on the left side of the boat launch, swam out between moored boats, turned left, swam under the bride, then had to find the next buoy. It was a long way off. I could see two orange splotches way off in the distance. The splashes in front of me were splitting the difference, so I did to. Later I realized we really were aiming for the left hand one. Coming back was hard to sight as well. I started passing people from previous waves. When we got to the last buoy we had to make a hard right and aim for a yellow sailboat, then cut the corner and go back to the left a bit, except there was nothing to sight off. I was aiming for the timing tent, and ended up almost in the lane of the people swimming out.
The swim went well. I wasn't trying to kill it, just stay on top of my breathing, with a nice relaxed stroke. I'd be swimming with someone and then they'd disappear. I actually passed a few people in my wave, which was nice. I ended up out of the water at 40 min exactly. The results say I was just at the end of the first third of my age group. This is about where I usually am, or maybe even a bit better than usual. A good start.
Coming out of the water was just fine. There was a bit of a gong show with the strippers because I couldn't find my suit lanyard going up the ramp. Then I got eye glasses. So I took off my cap and googles and was ready to put on my glasses when 4 wetsuit strippers pounced on me. They're trying to get my arms out, while I'm holding stuff in one hand, trying to put on my glasses in the other. Someone else grabbed the stuff, and they just about had the suit off me before I was on my back.
This is the first time I've done a transition out of a bag. It went ok, then realized I had to stuff things back into the bag, and carry it off to a drop point near the bikes. T1 was about my typical time.
After my crash at the mount line in Chinook, I took a second to straddle the bike, look around, get a breath, get one foot clipped in, and start. I got clipped in and away just fine. It was a perfect temperature for riding. I got settled in. This is quite a rural area. An amazing number of people were camped out at the bottom of their driveways, clapping and cheering. The funniest line of the day came as I was passing one of these. Mom, Dad, teenage daughter, two smaller kids. I can hear a race wheel coming up behind me. The daughter says, "Oh Mama, write HIS number down!" I somehow knew they weren't talking about me. A few seconds later this young guy, thoroughly ripped and buff passes me.
I am super pleased with my bike, though I was planning for a 90 K ride, and it turned out to be 94 K officially, and my bike odometer said 95.4. My plan was to stay solidly aerobic and leave lots in the tank for the run. I came in just under 30 Kph average, on a fast course. Lots of new pavement, mostly downhill, though the race profile looks pretty formidable, and a light but favourable wind. Some of the kids going by were just flying. There were a ton of people watching the race in Cochrane. Toward the end of the ride I was getting an odd feeling in my stomach. I'd been pretty good about staying on top of nutrition, water, and my energy drink, but I think I was getting a bit full.
There was a huge number of people at T2. It was almost like watching one of these European bike races with a narrow lane to ride in and people on both sides. I had visions of a kid or dog darting in front of me. I was a bit nervous about this since I had no idea how it was set up or where I'd be going, but the volunteers made it easy. T 2 is usually fairly quick for me, and I was out on the run.
The first thing to notice is how hot it is. I felt pretty good for the first 5 K or so, trying to go easy but still ending up at 30 minutes or a little over. Then things started slowing down. My legs were ok, but I couldn't stay on top of my breathing and my heart rate was really up. Just as well I wasn't wearing the monitor because I probably wouldn't have liked the number. Somewhere along the Weaselhead I started walking to get my heart rate down and my breathing under control. Then I'd run again. That went on for the rest of the race. I could feel a blister starting on my baby toe, but I didn't care about that. Lots of people passed me. I passed a couple people. It went on forever.
There was one bright spot during the out and back down the 37 st path. It's a guy thing. A girl almost my height floats by, wearing small shorts, a smaller jog bra, and a great tan. I perked up when I realized we were near the turnaround point, and I'd see her coming back. She was beautiful. Wow.
For most of the run I felt like there was an enormous belch waiting to happen, and if I could get it out I'd be fine. There was a bit of tummy slosh and gurgle, so I took that as a good sign that I was on top of the hydration. I timed my last walk so I could run the final 500 m or so. Given the heat, I'm pretty pleased with the run. I'd been hoping to run more and walk less, but still, it's about 15 minutes faster than previous half IM runs. I'll take it.
The finisher medallion is actually a belt buckle.
And here we have Susi, Julie, Kelly, and me not doing a good job of hiding behind them.
Here's the formal results.
Place 843 (out of +1600 who signed up, or 1088 listed in the results)
Name Keith CARTMELL
Bib# 614 (but number one in your hearts I'm sure)
Time 6:47:31 (more than a half hour quicker than Chinook!)
Category Place 61/76 (there were 112 who were listed to start in our wave)
1.9 km SWIM
Cat Ovr Time /100m
29 422 40:00 2:07
94 km BIKE (My odometer said 95.4 K)
Cat Ovr Time km/hr
58 758 3:09:36 29.7
Cat Ovr Time /km
66 927 2:49:30 8:02
I'm super happy with my day. I had fun, I kept my focus, and I didn't hurt myself overdoing it. A toe blister doesn't count, and despite Julie's request, I'm sure none of you really want to see a photo of it. Given that I didn't collapse and puke at the end, some might say I could have pushed harder. Maybe so. I suspect that yes, I could have pushed the run a little tiny bit harder. But given I'm still new at this, and I don't deal well with heat at the best of times, I also suspect there isn't much room between where I was, and over doing it, and I'll bet the difference comes quick. I don't fancy a visit to the med tent.
This is the end of my racing season, going out with a bang. I'll be going out to IMC to volunteer, and the plan is to sign up for next year. (Takes a deep breath!) I'm going off plan for a while. I'll still post because I want to be out riding and running and having fun. Today I'll do a recovery walk. We had an amazing thunderstorm last night so I didn't get much sleep. I think a nap is in the works as well. A big shout out to my various buddies that were in the race or volunteering. I think everybody had a good day. A HUGE shout out to the volunteers. They were all awesome!