Lake Logan 70.3 Race Report
|Best Sherpa Ever!|
This was the 11th year for the Lake Logan Multisport Festival by Set Up Events, which always draws a very competitive crowd. Although in the dead of summer, it's always wetsuit legal because the lake is fed by a mountain stream. The water at the swim start is generally in the 70s, but we were told that as you near the finish, where the stream meets the lake, the water temp drops to the high 50s! At the well-organized packet pick up, we got our bibs and awesome Next Level t-shirts, my favorite brand because the material is so soft!
About the time we finished setting up our transition areas, the sun was peeking over the tops of the mountains, giving us our first glimpse of how beautiful this race would be. We joined my dad outside of transition, ate our pre-race fuel, and started tugging on our wetsuits. On our way to the swim start, we paused on the bridge that crosses the final 100 yards of the swim, to scan the course, take pictures, and say our goodbyes to my Dad.
Jason and I were finally racing together again. There’s nothing like having your training partner next to you. Someone who has taken the same journey and is experiencing the same race-day emotions, and has similar expectations. Jason was in the third wave, and I was in the fifth. We hugged and kissed, said our goodbyes, and he reluctantly left me to go line up for his start. So proud, I watched him jump off the dock into the water and start his day.
As my wave lined up, I jumped off the dock and waded in the water, thinking my position would place me to the outside left. As we ticked closer to the start though, women started to crowd into the water on my left from the beach, which meant that I would actually be closer to the middle. To complicate matters, I seem to always underestimate my swimming ability, and start toward the back. As the gun went off, I found myself at the very back, dead middle. Worst possible starting scenario and rookie mistake.
|Swim start and course|
I eventually settled into my rhythm and next thing I knew, I was aiming for the turn around. Once around the two turn buoys, I found the way back a little difficult to sight. I couldn’t tell whether the orange dots were the marks for the way out, or the way in, and I felt far off course. Eventually, I caught sight of the bridge and headed for that, as I felt the water began to cool. Almost to the bridge, I popped my head up and spotted my dad, intently scanning the water for me. I waved, and saw him wave back, which gave me all the motivation I needed to finish strong.
Fortunately, just prior to the race, we had overheard athletes remark that the front part of the bike course was mostly downhill, and all the big climbs were on the back half. This bit of information proved invaluable. There was one large climb out of transition, but after that, it was all fast, curvy downhills and flats! I felt like I was flying, which boosted my confidence after a so-so swim. My second split was a 30 mph average! However, I was cautious not to hammer too hard on this part to reserve my energy for the back half of the course.
As usual in the Smokies, the mid-morning sky was still overcast, the fog snaking over and through the mountains. Farms dotted the green mountain sides, and around every turn was another breathtaking view. Eventually, we left the rural roads, and found ourselves in town. Heavy traffic and constant turning made the already technical course even more complicated. I tried to keep my head on a swivel, reminding myself to be alert.
I tried to keep my frustration in check by focusing on the beautiful scenery. Eventually the sun came out, and it started to warm up. Cue to drink more fluids. I checked my watch. I was about half way, with only 1300 feet of elevation gain, and almost a 18 mph avg. I was excited, but knew that I wouldn't be able to maintain that speed if the back half way truly all climbing. My nutrition was seemingly on point-I had three bottles of Infinit with me (one per hour), plus a bottle of water for the last 30 minutes of the ride. I don’t normally carry this much with me, but I wanted to test out my Ironman fuel. It was nice to not have to stop at an aid station. I also at my pb&j about 2 hours in.
The next time I check my watch was 10 miles later. We were now at 2300 feet of elevation gain! I could feel the climbs, and was happy I had saved some effort. My new 11-28 gearing was really saving my legs. I still got passed a lot on the uphill, but downhill, my little Kestrel was proving fast and light, as always. Nothing could prepare me for what lied ahead, however.
|Bike elevation profile|
|"Thank God!" Leaving T2|
The last 1/3 of the bike, I told myself to hold on until I could get to the run. Throughout my training, I’ve felt I’ve gained the most on the run, so I refused to be discouraged. Given the conditions, I was satisfied with my bike, but now the race could begin. I only hoped that my legs were not as worn out as they felt on the bike. As I passed my dad outside transition, all I could say was “Thank God!”
Bike: 3:25:35; 16.3 mph; 3,200 feet elevation gain
|Stream that fed the lake and ran by the run course-beautiful views!|
My tried and true nutrition planned seemed to be working as well. I had two servings of my Infinit run mix, concentrated in two bottles. My third bottle was water, which I would have to drink and fill twice to get enough fluids. I also had a pack of shot bloks. I planned to alternate water with Infinit, sipping every quarter mile. Pretty soon, I realized that I was drinking my Infinit too quickly, so I slowed to every half a mile. I ate a block at mile 1-3-5-7-9-11. I made sure my bottle of water was empty by mile 4, then 8 and 12.
Overall: 6:25:17 (8 minute PR!)
Coming into this race-I knew it could go two ways. I could be very slow, which would mess with me mentally going into Louisville 8 weeks later. Or I could absolutely crush it and know without a doubt that the training was working. Fortunately, the latter happened. Everything but the swim was executed perfectly, and I crossed the finish line beaming with confidence that I absolutely could cross that finish line in October! My training partner also did amazing, crushing his previous 70.3 time by an incredible EIGHTEEN MINUTES! Who does that!?
Lake Logan 70.3 was officially a success. Although, I do want to come back for redemption on that bike course!