High Cliff 2006
This was my second half of the year, the first being the half that’s the closer of the DeSoto Triple T (freaking brutal). Anyways I just came off a good cycle of training, capped off by following/sometimes leading Matti around Madison and totally blowing my top. It was the first time in training where I totally smoked myself, I mean we went for a 25 minute run after and I was physically unable to speak – I was that toasted.
So this past week was a recovery week, and I top recovery weeks off with a race to jump start the next cycle. Recovery weeks are nice, except I usually start to freak out – this week for instance despite the fact that I’ve done a lot more volume then last year, and I’ve completely cooked my self at least once in training, I was utterly and throughly convinced I wasn’t in as good of shape as I was last year at this time.
Anways – I took Friday off of work and tooled up to Appleton/Green Bay with my wife to do some sight seeing and just vege. Picked up our packets (she did the sprint), after an easy ride and run. Freaked about not being in shape, went to Subway for a sandwich, and then didn’t get to sleep until 11:30 because of noisy Harley riders in my hotel (it was a HOG ralley in Green Bay this weekend).
Got up at 4:00 am, downed two nouriche yougurts and loaded up our car, I let Mary drive because, well I didn’t want to . We got to the park uneventfully, although we saw the aftermath of a terrible (lethal from the looks of it) accident on the opposite lanes of the highway. Did the usual pre-race stuff (i.e. Another nouriche, and several trips to the rest room.
I was starting in wave 4, (didn’t request to be in the first wave, because although I get annoyed having to swim over I get annoyed even more getting past by people on the bike. So this evens it out ) I was pretty stoked because the bouys looked like it was going to be pretty close to a spot on 1.2 miles, so I’m happy. All in all it was unevently, the swim was either dead on accurate and I swam really fast, or it was 100m or so short, but very close.
24:33 – 4th OA
This bike course ranks third in diffculty of the races I’ve done (behind DATT, and IMWI). After spending the first mile on a pretty wicked climb, this course is basically a meat grinder. All flats and false flats. It’s the type of course that never, ever gives you a minute to rest your legs. In general all very good roads though. I spent most of the race in a no mans land, either getting totally smoked by people, or blowing by people that I did not manage to pass in the swim.
Around mile 25 or so, I had some one zip by who completely blew my wheels off, I flirted with the temptation of trying to stay with him for a bit, but resisted and rode my own race. I was rewarded with riding by him at mile 45-48 or so, and seeing him completely blown – up on the horns, on a downhill flat, with a tailwind.
I had a lot of problems on this course at the aid stations, the first dropped exchange I blame on myself and not wanting to slow down, the second was simply because all the volunteers had gatorade in hand, and I wanted/needed water to rinse down my last gel and some cliff bar, so no one was ready until I was almost all the way through, and they were on the left side of the road. I just hoped I wouldn’t pay for a gatorade downed gel and cliff bar (which I could only manage to eat half of) later on the run.
I did have one down moment, when the course turned east around mile 20, we turned into a sick head wind, probably in the neighborhood of 30 miles an hour, and a mean false flat that made 16 mph hard. After suffering through this, I remembered a q-u-o-t-e (can’t spell it out, it funks up the formatting) from a book I had read the day before Heft on wheels: “Savor it, this is as good as it gets.” From that point on, I simply revealed in the suffered, and just put everything I had into it. I began to actually enjoy the pain, and just kept searching for more.
I got pumped for the run, and for the last 8 miles or so kept saying to myself, “Scott, you are a *** animal, you are going to eat this thing up,” or some variation of that.
2:35:10 (~21.6 mph)- 20th bike time of the day
I cruised into transition, legs complaining, but totally ready to just crush this run. I ran by Mary, who I was happy to see, and asked her how she did, she said “Good.”, so at this point I’m thinking, man wouldn’t it be nice to just have a 5k in front of me . Up the same climb that the bike course starts up (did I mention you don’t get to ride down it….) just taking nice short strides up it, feeling pretty good. I was told by a spectator that I was 20th as I started up the climb, I remember thinking: “Holy crud, and I started six minutes back from the first guys, this could be good.” First mile marker shows up – 6:12. “Well, I guess they have the markers in the wrong place again this year.”
I really don’t remember to much of the run it was very smooth, very easy, mostly in a daze. Around mile 5, I got passed by a guy going about 10x the speed I was, just flying – until he was out of my sight, I just kept thinking “Dear god, please let him be on a relay – not for my sake, but for his, I couldn’t imagine riding 56 miles in my running shorts.” Got passed on the second lap around mile 10, pretty much the same place, this was was wear your usual tri gear, and was running way faster then any human has the right to run at this point in a half ironman. I picked it up a little, trying to keep him in eye sight as long as possible.
I wasn’t able to do that for long though, at mile 11 things started shifting from “Omg, this is easy” to “Okay Scott, you’ve only got to keep this up for 15 minutes….14 minutes…13 minutes…” My pace didn’t drop, but I could tell that a melt down was on it’s way, and all I could do was try and race it to the finish. When I turned the corner to come down the hill to the finish, there was someone about 150 yards in front of me, I tried to shift into another gear to catch him, but he heard me charging down the hill and started to run faster….ugh people. I didn’t have the gas/speed to catch him and eneded up crossing the line a few seconds after him, but I’m pretty sure I still beat him because of the stagger.
1:31:12 13th fastest run of the day; and my fastest 13.1 miles run ever – so that first mile was pretty accurate
4:33:15 10th OA
Sum: At matti’s suggestion I increased my nutrition on the bike, I usually go with 1 gatorade + gel per hour on the bike for about 300 calories per hour, I upped that to about 400 per hour, and I think it payed off huge dividends on the run – I did this by taking in 2 gatorades, 1.5 bottles of water, 3 gels, and most of a cliff bar. I would have liked to have gotten the whole cliff bar and another bottle of water, but I had sloppy aid stations. Although the weather was pretty perfect, I tried to take 2-3 salt tabs everytime I thought of them, so about 8 per hour, I think this helped a lot to. I wish I could have gotten a gel or two more in me on the run earlier on, but I didn’t think to carry any and none were available until mile 6ish.