The Ironman Wisconsin crew had a 1/2 Ironman on their training schedules this weekend. With no races in the area, they decided to design their own 1/2 Ironman at Clemson. Is this in my training plan? Nope. But did I join them. Of course! I can’t pass up a day of training with friends followed by Mellow Mushroom and beer!
I wish I would have gotten some pictures, but it was a crazy, sweaty day and by the time I thought about getting the camera out, it was too late and I was too grossly sweaty!
The pre-race email read something like this:
Start: 6:30 a.m. or as soon as it is light enough.
Swim: One out and back to the buoys, then roughly out to the tree line and back should be about 2000m. **Or do whatever you want, there is no chip timing as this is a low budget affair.
T1: Drinks should still be lukewarm as the heat will not be fully out yet.
Bike: Scheduled to start once we all finish swimming and changing. Less than 60 miles.
T2: We will coordinate a large cooler with mucho ice for our drinks between and during the run. Maybe a quick nap in the car with the AC running
Run: Gonna be a sweltering and miserable 95 degrees. Begin sufferfest…
Post Race: Since the budget is tight, shower facilities are courtesy of mother nature via Lake Hartwell.
T3: Mellow Mushroom to include mucho pizza and cold beverages.
So with the plan set, we met at about 6:40 a.m. and started swimming pretty quickly. The air was cooler than in recent weeks, but the water was like bath water. I felt pretty crappy on the swim. I just felt slow and choppy and inefficient. This is a new feeling for me, so I was thrilled when it was over.
We took our time getting ready to bike and finally got out on the road at about 8:00. I felt sluggish, but after about 10 miles I loosened up and we were riding at a solid 17+ mph pace. The early part of the course was rolling and probably pretty similar to my Augusta course, so I was happy with being able to keep such a strong pace. At mile 40, we hit some serious “grunts”. There were about 3 in a row over the next 8 miles or so and it was tough! This section dropped the overall pace to 16.7, but we finished the 56 miles in just under 3:20, which is a HUGE confidence boost for me, considering my goal time for race day is under 3:30!
Again, we took a lot of time in transition and made sure to get fully hydrated before heading out to run. It was after noon when we started and HOT. I was only setting out for a 45 minute run, because, while none of this was on my training schedule, I didn’t want to completely trash my body for the rest of training. My legs felt surprisingly strong to start the run! I was thrilled!! My out and back went by pretty quickly and, aside from taking a wrong turn on the way back and having to scale a fence like Spiderman to get back to the cars, I considered it a success!! The first couple of miles with the group were right at a 9:00 min/mile pace, but I picked it up on the way back and finished with 8:50 min/mile.
After I finished, I became the hydration support for the rest of the day, tracking everyone down to refill water and help with directions, etc.
Overall it was a great day! It was a good confidence builder for me, but I don’t want get over confident, especially about the run, because these 5+ miles don’t compare to the full 13.1 that I will run on race day!