Race Report: Hartsville YMCA
1500 meter swim: 49:53 (with a fairly long run from the beach to transition)
27 mile bike: 1:52:08
10 k run: 1:17:23
Last in the race (though ahead of someone who started later) but second in my age group out of two. The fast people in my age group did the sprint this time--a 52 year old woman was second overall in the sprint with a time of 1:22:55. Last year my time was 2:04:56 for the sprint, so I'm happy about doing less than twice that.
My daughter and I didn't quite get to Hartsville in time for packet pickup, which ended at 4. But I'm glad we went into town, as we stopped at a bookstore and asked for restaurant recommendations and got sent to a perfect place, called Shug's Smokehouse. My barbecue feast was half a small chicken and a half rack of ribs, with broccoli and salad (and my daughter's coleslaw) for $17. I ate less than half of it--we knew our motel had a refrigerator and we had a cooler so we took it to the race the next day to supplement the chicken and rice lunch provided.
We stayed at the Econolodge in Bishopville for the third time. It was almost empty--I had made reservations at the last minute and hadn't even bothered to try the motels that were closer to the race but maybe I should have. We were happy to have a refrigerator and it was quiet this time. I got up a little before 5 and woke my daughter at 5:20 to head out for the race about 5:45. We got to the race site just a little after 6:15. I knew most of the route, but wasn't sure I could spot the last two turns. A car in front of me with a bike on it made the first turn, and so I started just following him. However, he missed the second turn--there were about 5 cars who had to turn around when we saw cars with bikes heading the other way.
It was dark when we got to the race site, but by the time I had picked up my packet it was getting light. I set up in transition and then we had a picnic breakfast--I had a combination of high fat plain Greek yogurt and flavored yogurt. It was cold so I didn't do a swim warm up and in fact kept my long sleeved shirt on even after I had left my glasses in my bike helmet (and put on my prescription goggles) and headed for the start, then gave my shirt to my daughter just a few minutes before the start. I did learn from people talking around me that this lake is always very warm because the nuclear power plant uses it for cooling.
I remembered that the water was shallow on the right side of the course so I started to the left. The water was unpleasantly warm--85 degrees--but not as black as I remembered it. I felt like I was swimming well and keeping up my effort. My main problem was with sighting--I went past the second turn buoy on the wrong side (not realizing I was that close to it) and had to turn back and I also went to the wrong side of the beach for the finish. I'm disappointed my swim time wasn't better than the international distance race I did in June as I believe I have improved my form with the new coach.
I was last out of the water so transition was quiet. The bike course was hillier than I remembered. Because it was a two loop course I got to watch the fast people go by me on their second loop. There were two water bottle handoffs but small bottles--I drank both and the 22 oz. bottle I had on my bike and ate my usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich. At the end of the first loop I passed a couple of people, a man doing the sprint and a woman doing the international distance, and then went back and forth with a man during the second loop.
When I got off my bike my legs didn't know how to run--the first time that has happened to me.
I still felt that as I started out on the run course, but after half a mile it felt ok. By this time it was hot. I had emailed to ask if there were going to be gels at the aid stations on the run course and was told yes, but there weren't. I had only put one in my pocket, so I started drinking Cytomax instead of the water I usually drink. It actually wasn't unpleasant and seemed to work fine. I walked stretches of some of the hills, in fact I was sorry the last mile was all downhill because I didn't have any excuse to walk
I passed the man I had ridden with on the bike; he repassed me once then was mostly behind me and we talked cheerfully at the three turnarounds. The woman I had passed was behind us the whole way until the last mile, when she speeded past us. The man caught up with me the last half mile. He suggested we finish together, which I thought was a wonderful idea--that way neither of us would be last. But then he got a terrible leg cramp and was nearly hopping on one leg. He told me to go ahead and I did. I got a big cheer at the finish, as they had just started the awards ceremony.
I went straight up to the awards ceremony, as we had checked for other people in my age group the night before so I expected to get an award. I got a nice hat that says age group second place. We ate our leftover barbecue and then headed out on the long drive home. We took a different route so we could stop for good icecream. I frequented Steve's icecream in Somerville MA when I was in college and I am fussy--Marble Slab or Cold Stone are about the only icecream stores in this area I consider worth eating at (or more rarely Ben and Jerry's).