I didn’t have any initial desire to do this race this year. It’s not close to Greenville (2+ hours away), it’s in the middle of the hottest part of the year (UG), and I don’t care about SCTS season points. You have to do 5 races to win anything and even though I’m winning, I can never get to 5 races so I don’t care. But, I have friends who do and they dragged me down there, so oh well. I guess it was a fun kick-off to my vacation.
The race is in Aiken, SC which is not close to….anything. It’s probably halfway between Columbia and Augusta – party city, right there. There’s a sprint and international distance race so you can suffer in the heat at your own discretion. I should’ve picked the sprint….
The one big mistake I made was not having enough for breakfast. The hotel had set out the cold foods for us (bagels, cereal, etc), so I did eat, but halfway through the bike I was really, really hungry. I ate a whole pack of chews during the bike and 2 gels during the run and they really just didn’t cut it. So that wasn’t great, but it was my own fault.
SWIM (1500 m):
The swim was in Langley Pond, which you can guess by it’s name is small so the water was pretty nasty warm. The swim was originally supposed to be 1 lap, but they changed it on race-day to be 2 laps of the sprint course. I’m not sure when they sent off the sprint folks, but it was well after I had started my second lap.
This was a small race (maybe 120 people in the Intl) so everyone except the open folks, relays and aquabikes were in one wave. I appreciated this since it meant that I didn’t have to contend with a pack of slow-moving dudes halfway through the swim. I was able to pull ahead pretty quickly and had some nice open (dude-free) water for most of the swim. I did pass a few people from the open wave and lapped a few from my own wave. I was definitely the first female out, but I think I was also the first age-grouper out because I never saw any one else out there near me.
Time: 25:34 (1/5 AG, 1/37 Overall)
T1: 3:19 – Ok, don’t judge me too much. Most of this was a run over gravel to the TA and most people were 2:30+ in T1.
BIKE (24 miles):
I had a pretty miserable slow bike split. Between the hunger, the hills, and my poor bike training of late, I just did not bike very aggressively so I’m not sure what I expected! The course is 2 laps – 3 miles flat, 3 miles uphill, 3 miles flat, 3 miles dowwwnnnn. Then all of it again. The uphill is exactly what it sounds like. 3 miles up a not very steep but relentless hill and it just didn’t feel good at all. Coming back down was nice (and very fast) but having to climb that nonsense a second time was not appealing.
Time: 1:23:04 (4/5 AG, 26/37 Overall)
Yea not impressive at all. Much slower than Lake Logan and the course was shorter.
I was told that the run for this race was flat and hot, and I would agree with that. No shade, but no hills (ok, there’s one but it’s small). I started out pretty well and hit the halfway point right around 31 mins. Then I found that wall and ran into it headfirst. Oh, man, it was bad. My legs were shaking and I was so hungry and that last 5k was ugly. I wasn’t the only one. The last 1/2 mile is out and back on the dam for the lake and everyone I saw was out there walking on it. Man, was it hot. I seriously positive split this run and it’s nothing to be proud of.
Time: 1:07:11 (5/5 AG, 24/37 Overall)
Overall Time: 3:01:00 (3/5 AG, 17/37 Overall)
Not exactly my best performance. While the race was pretty good, I’m not sure I would do it again since I just didn’t like the bike course. The way this post is written, you would think that I was super miserable the whole time, but it really wasn’t all that bad. I wasn’t super concerned about my pace most of the time -except for the last 3 miles of the run when I totally fell apart. I was pretty miserable then, but the rest was ok.
The only thing I was really unhappy with was the post race food. I was obviously starving when I crossed the finish line, so I hustled over to where the food was…and there was basically nothing. A few chewy granola bars, an almost empty container of trail mix and a few cokes and waters. I know this was a small race, but I would have rather had good food than a t-shirt! I had a coke to tide me over but as soon as I met up with my parents in Columbia, I had to insist that we stop to get food because FOOD. So, that was disappointing, but easily resolved by bringing your own food, I suppose.